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Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

In the “bleak” midwinter….

Posted by captainbeaky on July 14, 2008

HA!!! Its been a fantastic day here in Melbourne. Had the day off (as its a rostered day off at Boeing) and godamn have I been lucky with the weather. Woke up at 9 and it was lovely and sunny. After a brief bit of interneting, left the house with iPod in tow and got the tram into the CBD. As if by magic, my ipod was picking out songs on shuffle that I hadnt heard in months, and put an extra smile on my face. After arriving in town, had a brief wonder around then got my ticket to go see Hancock, and again, I was impressed.

Its been the only “blockbuster” Ive seen recently that I havent got bored with and started checking what time it was. Smith wasnt annoying, or big headed or too yehaw-yankee-doodle-dandy as he’s been in most of his other films. Not too sugary or predicable either. A solid 8/10 I reckon.

After the film, it was off home and a walk along the beach while the sun was still out. Got back around 4, and rolled straight into a nice session of Rock Band drums. Had a stroll outside again at 5, watched the cockatoo’s sqwuaking at me from their palm tree homes, observed the 14 dogs playing together in the park, and met Becca for coffee and a cake after her day at work. Now at home, looking over the menu for the posh pizza place and deciding what to have for tea, while watching last nights new Top Gear. The days dont come much better, so Im gonna scoot now before I ruin it! T’raaaaa!


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Posted by captainbeaky on July 13, 2008

Yesterday, we spent the day around Yarraville, looking at houses that were open for inspection. We had 5 to look at, all of which looked promising on paper…..which quickly changed once we saw them! 

House 1 was nice, but opposite a train line. House 2 was very nice, but is at the extreme end of our price range. House 3 had all the DIY done by Frank Spenser. Wonky floors, cracked plaster, pink bathroom suite, mismatched skirting boards – it was a joke! House 4 was ok but very dark inside, and house 5 was ok, but needed a lot of structural stuff doing to it. I left the day feeling somewhat disappointed, but it is only the 1st time we’ve looked around the place, and Ive already got some more properties earmarked for next weekend. One good thing to come from it, was that we had a wonder around inbetween inspections and found a load more nice shops. Just helped to seal the deal as to this definitely being an area we would like to live in. 

On the games front, Rock Band drums have been ruling most of my time. However, as they are quite noisy to play (even with sound softening pad) I dont play them when Becca is around….which is a pain! However, tomorrow is a flex day at work so I’ll get some quality time on them then. BF:BC is also taking up a lot of my time, as Im begining to think the gunplay is second only to Black, in terms of satisfaction. Battlefield has always been about on foot and vehicular combat, but I find myself avoiding the vehicles now as the first person stuff is so damn good. The guns feel and sound right, and like Black, have a tangible “weight” to them. Between these 2, Ive also managed to cram in some Katamari as a spot of light relief, and Ive tried the Topspin 2 demo, which at some point I will buy. Not now though, as Ive already got too much to be getting on with. 

Films wise, ive not really seen anything new, just been catching up on some stuff that we’ve had downloaded, so for the record….Spiderwick Chronicles – enjoyable family style entertainment. A good Sunday afternoon film 7/10. Porco Rosso – had it to watch for ages and really enjoyed it. Like a lot of Ghible films, it doesnt really go anywhere, but its captivating all the way through. 8/10. Futurama:The Beast with a Billion Backs – has some really funny moments, and has some really hard sci-fi moments where the story goes a bit poncy. Still, miles better than the Simpsons movie. And has some awesome Steven Hawking moments. 7/10. 

Thats really about it. The weeks are flying by and I cant believe we’re fast approaching a year out here. Its quite cold here now (well, about 10 degrees, but it feels relatively cold), but its the height of Winter so I guess its to be expected. 

Oh, and for the record, its well known Im an Apple fan, owning a couple of Macs and an iPod Touch, but its got to be said that Im sick to the back teeth with bloody iPhone iPhone iPhone everywhere! The hype is WAY too much and has saturated everywhere. I hope the world gets over the fact that  its just a phone quick smart!

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Fat & Happy

Posted by captainbeaky on July 7, 2008

I sit here quite content, with a belly full of home made onion soup with cheesy crouton, after watching download highlights of what was probably the best tennis match Ive seen (last nights Wimbledon final). Really pleased that Nadal one and really deserved it. However, I digress. Im also content because of our renewed interest and enthusiasm in houses. 

Saturday, after spending a criminally long time in bed, we drove over to Yarraville to meet up with one of my mates from work who lives over there. She promised to show us around and give us a tour of the area, and she delivered on every front. Yarraville seemed like just what we’re after, being charming, small and having none of the increasingly annoying hordes of visitors that come to St Kilda every weekend and inhibit your daily goings on. Lots of nice little coffee shops, a big pub on the corner, butchers and bakers, 2 supermarkets and an old art deco cinema. The surrounding areas were a mixed bag. Kingsville and Seddon are close enough to Yarraville to be a walk away, and are both nice too. Footscray seemed a bit run down, but no more so than the arse end of Wolverhampton or Birmingham. My mate took us to a couple of big parks in the area too, which were amazing. One park had a lovely little pond and stream running through the middle of it, and if it werent for the cockatoo’s screeching, you could almost imagine it being a summers day out in the country in the UK. The other park was massive! It was an old quarry which has now been partially filled and is a lake, while the rest is kinda forest-ey full of mad giant water fowl, that are probably venomous or something! Anway, overall, were totally sold on moving over there, and are looking at houses to book house inspections for on the weekend, nearly all of which are old weatherboard style houses with ornate ironmongery on the frontage, and picket fences around the front garden. Like our own little fairytale house! Cant wait!

As for stuff going on this week, theres not much really. Were off to see a doublebill at an old arthouse style little cinema on Thursday (Ironman & Spiderwick Chronicles) and Id like to see Hancock and Speed Racer at some point. Rock Band is still thrilling me with the download content, and it seems like Im finally starting to get the hang of that damn tricky 5th button! GTA is still keeping me going with stunt jumps and pigeons aplenty to be found, and BF: Bad Company is great, but its really intense, so I wont allow myself to play it too close to bed  time as Im wired afterwards! 

Macbook Air bargains on Ebay seem to have dried up, and Im toying with waiting a bit and holding out for a Macbook Pro. There are rumours of a case redesign floating around today, so Im hoping its not too far away. I dont really need the power of a Macbook Pro, but it would be good to compare the MBA against. We’ll see. Im spending more time having a lie in on the net rather than with a book, so a light mac would help. Speaking of net stuff, if youre an internet nerd like me, have a butchers at this and see how many your recognise. Good song too!

Anyway, thats it for now. Im gonna get off to watch the last Dr Who and Youve Been Framed. T’raaaaa a bit!

Posted in Food, Games, House, Oz, TV | Leave a Comment »

Rock Bandlefield: Bad Company

Posted by captainbeaky on June 28, 2008

So theres not been a post for a while, primarily because we havent done anything really to warrant a post. Work, TV, eating, sleeping. And Im pretty sure you have no interest in that so I’ve kept my mouth shut. However, I feel compelled to post now, although it wont interest most of you.

Quite simply…Rock Band…..best music game ever! It shows Guitar Hero whos boss in a huge way. The aesthetic, the playlist, the online store, the customisation, it beats it in nearly every conceivable way (graphics and general polish arent up to GH’s efforts). Im amazed by just how damn good the setlist is. Guitar Hero had forgotten that it was a t heart a party game, and instead pandered to the fanboys and put in stupid 80’s B-sides of songs youd never heard of in the first place, were no fun to play and  had ridiculous achievements to satiate the fanboy needs. Rock Band, has a fantastic range of recognisable songs, that are generally much easier to play than Guitar Hero’s too, which means that you can turn the difficulty slider up to hard and not expect to get bone-itis after 30 seconds. When I started playing Enter Sandman, and Wont Get Fooled Again,  Id not had such a huge smile on my face since playing the original GH on PS2. And on top of this, Ive looked at the online store and there are 37 songs that I instantly want, know and love. The icing on the cake is the multi-instrument focus, and the drums I have winging their way from the states as we speak. Just superb…..

Unfortunately, this also means that my prior purchase of Battlefield Bad Company has taken a back seat (with Beautiful Katamari now in the boot behind the back seat). However, this doesnt mean its a bad game, far from it. The combat isnt quite up to Call of Duty levels of intensity, but it has more comedic value, and the destructible environments add to the tension. For instance, a tank appears and normally, you’d run into the nearest building and hide, knowing its shells wouldnt be able to harm you in there. Not so in BF:BC. Hide in a building and the tank will just blow the building up around you. Theres also a layer of strategy about it too. If youre tasked with wiping out an enemy base, ordinarily you’d have no choice but to go in through the obvious entrances and exits to the place. With BF, you can punch a hole anywhere in the defences and attack from where you please. Like I say though, as good as it is, its on the back burner right now.

Anyway, as I said, weve not been up to much else. House hunting has slowed to a crawl, as is usual with this time of year. This time away from frantic house inspections IS helping cement our expectations of what we want though, so we’re able to instantly pinpoint what we want. No plans for the coming week, other than watch the Euro 2008 final on Monday morning. 

Posted in Games, House | Leave a Comment »

Mostly Games

Posted by captainbeaky on June 19, 2008

So this post will be mostly about games, as We’ve not really been up to much since last weekend. Going to work, coming home, going for coffee, eating cakes…thats about as exciting as it got. Ive been taking a much lower intensity of interest in the housing market as a stab at minimising unecessary stresses.Ive not been sleeping right for a few weeks and anything thats been stressing me out ive been getting rid of, with looking at real estate websites being vastly reduced. And I have been sleeping better so it IS working. 

SO games wise, I finally finished GTA IV. Overall, its a great game world to mess about it, but it doesnt half get boring. I was also disappointed with the way the story unfolded as I was hoping (dont read the following bit if you havent finished it) for more of a back story, with more of Niko’s history playing a part. For it to lay back on tired old mob and mafia stereotypes, in exactly the same way GTA III did was really poor in my opinion. The difficulty later on also got stupid, with one mission being extremely hard, having several stages to the mission and needing multiple retries to complete and next mission revolving about me, getting out of my car and firing an RPG at another car…done!?!? wtf?! However, it was still an enjoyable game and theres still a lot of life left in it thanks to the achievements and side missions.

More susprisingly, Im mightily impressed with my recent cheap purchase of Need For Speed: Most Wanted. Its a pretty good racing game, in itself with decent handling, a good impression of speed and nice graphics, but it has 2 specific things that really stand out. Firstly is the police mechanic. The best way how to think of it in modern terms is that its quite similar to GTA. If you drive like a mentalist, or go through speed traps at a rapid speed, the police start chasing you. The tension of this is heightened by constant police chatter, alerting more and more units to your location, and some pretty intense “24” style music. However, unlike GTA the police drive faster cars than you, and are extremely efficient at boxing you in and busting you. Its damn hard to try and evade them and really is a thrill to play. The second best thing about the game is the hilarious chav/racer theme running through it. Its trying to be all street and “urban” and it actually comes across as some kind of ridiculous pastiche of racing culture. UKR would have a field day if they played even the 1st 10 minutes of it! Andy in particular, you’ll piss your pants – if you see it cheap…BUY IT!

Anyway, I’ll stop harping n about games, and let you go. Its getting late here and I want an early night so I can watch/listen to the portugal/germany match tomorrow. Have fun!

Posted in Games, Health, House | Leave a Comment »

You expect me to drive THAT!?!?

Posted by captainbeaky on May 14, 2008

Who’d have imagined that after only 6 weeks with a license, Id become a car snob. Dont get me wrong, Im grateful that Ive at least GOT a courtesy car, but damn….compared to my MX5 this Hyundai Getz (pictured) is terrible. I feel like Im driving a van Im so high up. The steering wheel feels like its been stolen from a bus, the brakes are spongy, and the thing handles like a slug. In mud. The only thing I like about it is its rear wiper. The heated screen on my MX5 takes an age in the morning to demist, so Im going to get a wiper thingy so I can see out the back. However, I suppose beggars cant be choosers so I’ll grin and bear it.Only got it for a week so I shouldnt moan.

Im now starting to have doubts at the longevity of GTA IV too. After youve got past the gloss of the new things and explored the city, essentially, its the same old “go there, kill someone” missions, and no amount of fancy stuff can hide that. Im 23 hours in and its starting to grate a bit. Maybe its just backlash from the overkill of the game, I dunno.

Went to a nice house viewing yesterday. Nice big top floor property, equi-distance from Elwood (Elwood is like St Kilda’s more sensible, more posh and less slutty  older brother) and St Kilda, with great size rooms and a good kitchen. However, the only downside is its location – its right on a main road, so traffic noise is apparent. Its not loud or anything, it just never goes silent. The sound in the bedroom is quiet as its off to the side, but Im not 100% sure. Going back tomorrow with Becca for a second opinion. Will let you know how it goes. We’ve about a squillion other properties to see this weekend too. A lot of them look nice, but nothing stands out and screams buy me. Maybe we’re being unrealistic, and looking for a big place with character for cheap. Lots of folks have said WE can inject character to an uninspiring building, but Id like the building itself to come across as interesting. Far too many places are just square rooms, which feels clinical and cold. I like boggles sticking out of walls, and funny corners. Not good for furniture, but it makes things more interesting.

I’ll let you know how it goes……

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Where does time go….?

Posted by captainbeaky on May 12, 2008

So this has probably been the worst stint of blog keeping ever, and I have several good excuses lined up! First is the omni-present GTA IV. This is the first game in ages that Ive played where I dont really feel the need to progres through the main story. Im walking aorund, buying clothes, helping passers by, and beating the be-jesus out of folks that cuss at me. Its just so fascinating to hang around one spot for a a few hours, see the weather change, the sun drop in the sky, over hear all the different conversations that go on…..etc… you get the idea. You can litterally waste hours and not do anything – its like a black hole of time! So thats one excuse down.

Excuse 2 – Ive been busy trying to sort out my car getting fixed. After much hassling via phone and beating my head against a wall, it looks like my car is finally being sorted out by the guy that hit it, on his insurance. I actually got a call from the repair shop today that I may have to drop my car in to them as early as tomorrow, so thats a weight off my mind. Got a poo-ey Hyundai Getz as a courtesy car, but hey….at least I GET a courtesy car.

Excuse 3, and this is probably the most prevalent one. We’ve been hugely pre-occupied with house inspections, getting a mortgage sorted and spending an-holy amount of time on real estate websites. The last 2 weekends have just been frittered away on walking for miles, investigating the surrounding areas and attending house inspections around the clock. Its been both physically, and mentally exhausting. Every place we’ve seen so far fails to tick all of the right boxes. They either have no carspace, no outdoor area, have a poor kitchen, have no character, are too expensive or have all kinds of weird and wonderful rules and regulations that inhibit buying them. We saw 7 last weekend, saw 6 this weekend, already got 2 lined up for midweek and am waiting to see what crops up next weekend. Saying that, we’ve both got our heads screwed on and are not settling for anything less than…well…..what we want.

So there you have it, 3 perfectly reasonable, legitimate excuses. Its not just blogging that has suffered though. Weve got a crapload of downlaoded TV, and recorded TV that we just havent had time to see yet. Not been for a relax on teh beach in a while either. Im just thankful that excuse 1 serves as a bit of escapism from excuse 2 and 3, or I’d be going mad right now! Saying that Ive just watched Match of the Day, and its been some of the most thrilling TV Ive seen in a while. Been a great Premiership this season, with it going right down to the wire. I just wish some of the Aussies here could have seen it, to ween them off the crapness of gAy.F.L.

Posted in Cars, Games, House | 1 Comment »

Rubbish Australian Mongrels!

Posted by captainbeaky on May 5, 2008

So, Ive not been posting recently – due to GTA IV eating up a shocking amount of time, being back at work and being tired, and well, me being crap. SO I’ll give you the short versions of whats been going on.

1, – GTA IV and UEFA 2008 are both extremely good.

2, – The friend count is going up with me meeting up with a Manucunian to watch the PROPER footy.

3, – Some twat has hit my car while it was parked up on the street. Nice big dent in the front passenger side panel and in the door. They left a note thats scribble, and has a fake phone number on it. So its going through MY insurance, having to pay $450 excess for something that was nothing at all to do with me. Bloody marvellous! Be glad when we have our own place and off road parking. Im paranoid now at how many other shitty drivers are going to run into my car, but there not much I can do about it.

Thats the short version anyway, theres been so much more minutia, but the post would be several page long and would take me more time to type it than all the people that would read it. So, I’ll be more frequent, especially as I have annoying stuff to speak of.

Posted in Cars, Games | Leave a Comment »

No Work Update Below….

Posted by captainbeaky on April 25, 2008

….as there is no significant change, so its just going to be a recap on non-work related stuff that ive been up to. The weather has been fantastic here over the past week, despite the fact that its the end of September, in northern hemisphere terms. Its been almost consistently 23/24 degrees, each day with the sun going down about 5.30, so it IS in fact close to UK sunrise/sunset times. But Ive been making the most of it, going along to St Kilda pier most afternoons, taking my book with me then having a cake and a cuppa at the cafe at its end. On Thursday, we even saw one of the often mentioned/never seen St Kilda penguins, that nest in the breakwater. I always thought that there were penguins there ONCE, but with the influx of tourists, they’d gone elsewhere. However, we’ve seen them now with our own eyes – it was great!

For the second day on the run, we’ve gone for a bit of a drive in my new car, roof down, soaking up the sun. Today we took a drive down to Sandringham, and had a quick look about. Its a very affluent area, with lots of posh cars and big houses and a huge, deserted beach. I have no idea why folks chose not to spend time here, as it was lovely – you couldnt hear anything other than the waves lapping against the shore. Ive added a few photos to my Photoshop Express page, which Ive put a permanent link to on the right……here——->

In other news (videogame haters, skip the next couple of paragraphs) Ive had a rethink on Mass Effect and got right stuck into it, with overall positive results, but with a small number of reservations. First the good points. The story line and character development is top notch, with me actually getting attached to certain members of my squad, having my favourites to accompany me on missions, based on nothing more than if I liked them or not as people! It sounds messed up but Bioware really did a great job of making these people actually seem real, with coherent individual agendas, without going down the cliched videogame route of hideously over-egged stereotypes. the games environment too deserves a mention, with it actually feeling like you were engaging in a large space opera spanning multiple systems, with each story mission having a distinct feel to it. However, there are down points, specifically to do with the environments too. The side quests arent too hot, with most of them being identikit versions of the last, the only difference being this ones on a snow planet, this ones on a desert planet, etc…. Right down to the space ships and buildings, all of them are the same, with just different crates inside. This really ruins the brilliant job that Bioware did with the rest of the games universe, as it takes you out of the realms of fantasy and the shoddy game design pokes through and ruins the illusion. The other area that Mass Effect isnt too good at is with the purchase/managing of weapons and items. I dont think I bought one single thing in the whole game, rendering the entire money system useless. You get far more powerful stuff by searching through enemy lockers and crates, but this has its own negative consequence. Your inventory can only hold 150 items, which include all your weapons, your armour, grenades and biotic amp, each of which have up to 3 upgrades on each item, making managing what you have a lengthy procedure. None of which is helped by there being no “convert all” button, and when you DO select an item from the list to get rid of, it resets the list and puts you back at the top. It really does sound like Im picking flies, but when you have to do as much inventory juggling as you do in ME, then it really does start to annoy. Other larger scale niggles include the games length. Im on the last mission now, and it didnt take me long to get there. I now this game is the first of a trilogy, but thats no excuse to shorten it deliberately. Compared to Oblivion, both in terms of game size and amount hours invested, ME is minuscule. It also sometimes feels like it holds your hand too much, telling you exactly where to go, what to do and what your next step is. A more open ended approach may have been better. However, thats not to say I didnt enjoy, I did. Im on the last mission now, as well as mopping up a few side quests and its been hugely enjoyable. The story really does hook you, especially me being a sci-fi nerd, and having just recently finished a great book (more later) I found I just couldnt put the controller down. I had to see what happened next. So far, the game gets a solid 8/10.

In other game type news, Im going to have a bit of a clear out. Out goes Assassins Creed (ace game but Ive done everything I wanted to do with it), Sega Tennis (again, god game, but multiplayer is borked and single player gets ridiculously difficult on the last “bonus stage”, and Frontlines (crap singleplayer, but brilliant multiplayer, ruined by lack of support and not many folks playing – plus Battlefield and Quake Wars are nearly out, both being similar and being part of already established franchises). In comes Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 (got it cheap off Ebay) and GTA 4, which Im really looking forward to now. The more I read about it, the more impressed I am with it. Opinions to come on Tuesday.

Enough with the games, and onto books, which is pretty rare for me! I finished Iain M Banks new book, Matter recently (thanks to my St Kilda pier adventures!) and I was impressed with it. The last book I read of his was Inversions, which was too dull for my liking, and I missed The Algebraist, which seemed good, but not much to do with the Culture universe of its predecessors. However, Matter is right back into the Culture setting, but through clever use of technology, intertwines the fantastic futuristic setting, with a more medieval story line, which I initially was sceptical of, but the more I read it, the less of an issue it became, and eventually, both storylines meet and continue as one. Its typical Banks, with sprawling galaxies, battles, many distinct and interesting characters and all with his trademark attention to detail and descriptive nature. My only complaints are the books loss of purpose in its middle section, with it getting bogged down in the journeys of both sets of protagonists, and its abrupt ending, right when its hit its stride. On the strength of this, I started up Mass Effect (above) which isnt to dissimilar to Banks writing, and Ive got a Peter Hamilton book to get into now. This is a 1000 pager though, AND part of a trilogy so no reports anytime soon of how THIS book is!

Well, Im sorry for the long post, but I didnt think it woudl go on for this long. Future plans include going to an out of town shopping centre tomorrow, and then for a few drinks with a work colleauge. Oh, and probably nothing else too strenuous as Crooks coming down with a cold. Better not give it to me! Anyway, Im going to end this now before it gets any longer.

Posted in Books, Games, Oz, weather | 1 Comment »

Work. Games. Car. (In that order)

Posted by captainbeaky on April 14, 2008

Howdy! Well this is another short update, as…well….we havent been up to much due to the turbulent work situation. No work = no money = no going out. Everything is the same as when I last posted, and after speaking to folks today, its still in full effect. Frustrating, but Im not upsetting anyone this early into my Boeing career. Anyway, i dont really want to say anymore about it on here so I’ll zip it!

This break in working life has let me catch up on my gaming hobby, allowing me to revisit Forza, Gotham Racing and Halo 3. Halo has actually finally got me hooked on its multiplayer component. Its just so well balanced and for want of a better word, fair. Compared to a few frustrating rounds I played of Frontlines (spawn, dead, spawn, dead, spawn, dead, sp….you get the idea) its simple to pick up but takes a long time to get good at. Ive had my ass handed to me on several occasions by people of a much higher skill, but Ive done my fair share of killing too. Strange, on some rounds Im just cooking on gas, then the next round Im as flat as a pancake. Still, I was the same with BF1942. Im continuing to plug my way through Sega Tennis and Burnout, with the former becoming quite frustrating. Not sure how much milage I’ll be able to squeeze out of it as online, as its bloody awful, suffering from terrible lag. Your opponent is able to return your strokes, even when theyre 6 foot away from the ball. I’l see how many achievements I can get out of it, then trade it in, probably for GTA IV, which Im increasingly looking forward to. Not long to go now…..

Finally, my money has FINALLY come through successfully, so I’ll be going to the Mazda garage tomorrow to pick up my car. Hopefully anyway. Last I heard the garage wanted a heads up on when Im collecting it, so it can be valeted and the guy Ive been speaking to wasnt in today. Also got to get my insurance sorted for tomorrow too, but that shouldnt be a problem. Im excited but its a bit scary. Ive never driven over there before, and Ive never driven on my own, let alone in a new car! Oh well, Ive got TomTom Jane to help me out, at least thats what I think she’s called! I’ll keep you updated on what happens anyway.

Right oh, must dash. My thai take out isnt going to choose iteself!

Posted in Cars, Games, Job | Leave a Comment »

Ups & Downs

Posted by captainbeaky on April 10, 2008

A quick update to let you know whats going on, and that all is NOT well. Im personally ok, but work isnt. I dont want to write anything huge about it on a public blog, but go here for details.

I had written a big speel about me buying Sega Superstars tennis, but WordPress screwed up and I lost the text, and Im not writing it all again. Short version – If you like tennis games, buy Virtua Tennis. If you like Sega, fun, or read UK Resistance, you owe it to yourself to buy this game. My opinion, 8/10.

I may also be able to pick my car up this weekend. Cutting a long story short, my money is due in my Australian account tomorrow, so if I do a same day transfer to the dealership, I could be quids in to pick it up. We’ll see.

Im sure more stuff has happened, but Im pretty tired so I’ll post more tomorrow, when hopefully I’ll have more to say. come to mention it, I think Im going to end the daily posting business. If Im honest, if i put myself in some of my friends/families positions, I wouldnt particularly be interested in reading about what other people had for tea, or the fact that they did nothing at the weekend. I can understand that folks may have been interested during our honeymoon period here, when everything was new, strange and exciting, but now day-to-day life has set in, it doenst make for a particularly thrilling read. So I will probably be posting every other day, or every 3 days from now on. I would say let me know your thoughts, but seeing as only my Mom comments/emails me about it, I wont bother as I know its a fruitless exercise.

Posted in Cars, Games, Work | Leave a Comment »

Friends, Food and Frontlines

Posted by captainbeaky on April 6, 2008

Firstly, yet again, sorry for the lack of posts. Been due to us actually having a social life, tiredness and well,,, lazyness I suppose. Will do my best to not let it happen again!

So a quick recap on days gone by. On Friday, we met a friend from work in a pub up the road for food and beers. After that we left to go to a local venue to see CSS. Once again, strange Australian band times were in effect with doors opening at 8.30 and the CSS not actually coming on stage until 11.30! Was a good sized venue and Im looking forward to seeing Architecture in Helsinki there. CSS were…well….they were OK. Nothing remarkable but fairly competent anyway.

Saturday we slept in real late, probably until gone 1pm. The week just caught up on us, plus we had a late night on Friday to contend with too. Popped into St Kilda for a mooch about, then just came back and read the papers/played games. Went out to meet more friends from work for post birthday drinks, and got invited to one of the guys, sisters birthday party in the CBD. So we went along to a nice bar, had some, or many drinks then left in time to get the last tram (1am). Was a real good night, as we met and talked to some nice folks. Hopefully the first of many get togethers.

Today we’ve been proper lazy. Clocks changed so we had an extra hour in bed, which also meant that we didnt wake up until 10 (doesnt sound so bad that way!). Did some food shopping and just “done stuff” during the day. Ive really enjoyed myself, as I had some Star Wars Lego for my birthday, so spent the afternoon watching the 1st episode of the new series of the Gadget Show, with a cuppa and a desk covered in Lego bits and instructions. Reminded me of how much we used to love building stuff out of it when we were kids. Unfortunately it could turn out to be a rather expensive hobby, as the latest Lego kits are pretty pricey. Theres a limited edition Millenium Falcon Lego model on Ebay for $800!!!! Ouch! But if you do a bit of research online, folks have made custom models for pretty much everything. From Aliens models, to tanks, to Johnny 5, all of which are fantastic and predictably, expensive to make. Oh well, I’ll keep my eye on Ebay for cheap kits – was a real treat to get back to it though!

As the picture in the post may suggest, we have struck veritable gold! You CAN get Marmite in supermarkets here!!!! And its not ridiculously expensive UK imported Marmite, its bonafide, produced over here, cheap Marmite. Except its called “Our Mate”. Woo Hoooo! On the subject of food, I had a good, tasty cumberland sausage with mash last night at the pub –  was a welcome change from horrific soapy australian beef sausages. Becca’s made a superb homemade pie this afternoon. Pickled onions, steak, lots of wine, puff pastry with a side of mash – god damn it was good! Cant wait to have it again, so we can both make pigs of ourselves…..again!

Games wise, its been more Burnout, more Forza, and Ive really got into Frontlines. I was all set to trade it in on Saturday, but gave it another bash online, and this time there were quite a few games in progress, so I joined the 1st one and had a blast! Lots of weapons, equipments and levels that arent in the singleplayer. The team and kit balance is brilliat with no uber-class that out performs everything else. Its kit structure is also pretty novel – youve got your standard, assault, sniper, anti-armour etc… but then you can pick a role to play. For example, I can pick anti-armour, with a ground support role. Now the more points I get, the more XP I earn towards 3 upgradable “perks” such as perk 1, a blow torch to repair vehicles, perk 2, a deplyable mini-gun and perk 3, a deployable automatic sentry gun. You can vary your role selection, as well as your kit selection each time you spawn so you can really tailor your loadout depending on how youre going. If youre doing some heavy defending, sentry guns, and EMP beacons are the way to go. Attacking you can go for air strikes and remote drones. It really adds a huge degree of depth to the proceedings, with the rock-paper-scissors style of balance contributing to an vast, open and ever changing battlefield. So, ultimately Ive changed my mind on trading it on (and Im sorry Andy, but Mass Effect is still going). Dont misunderstand me though the singleplayer component of Frontlines  is pretty poor, and boring. Its the multiplayer that keeps this game from sinking and should do me nicely until BF:BC comes out anyway.

So there you go – its been hectic, and lazy at the same time. Above everything else, its been fun. The weather has picked back up again too, although I hear the UK has gone the opposite way and has had a fair bit of snow! Haw……and indeed….haw!  It was hazy all day yesterday and been sunny all day today, with temperatures reaching about 22 degress. The week ahead looks good too, with it reaching a high of 28 next Friday. This all bodes well for me picking my car up next week. My money didnt trasfer from the UK in time for me to be able to get the car weekend just gone, but will definitely have cleared for next weeked. As for other plans, Im badminton-ing tomorrow, seeing a comedian on Tuesday (I forget who exactly!) and seeing another comedian on Friday, by the name of Ross Noble. Cant wait for this one!

I’ll duno when I’ll post again, becasue of above committments, but I’m going to see how it goes making more frequent, short posts rather than infrequent mega-posts like this one. The time I spend doing links to stuff seems pretty pointless too as I can see from my admin page that nobody clocks them, so I can at least keep posts nice and simple. Let me know through comments what youre opinions are, as I either you guys dont know how to use them…or nobody can be arsed leaving comments. I can see I get a fair ammount of traffic per day, but no comments are left – what gives! Anywhow, Im off to watch the latest episode of Doctor Who. Nighty night!

Posted in Cars, comedy, Food, Friends, Games, Music, TV, weather | Leave a Comment »

Birthday Post!

Posted by captainbeaky on April 3, 2008

bdaycake.jpgAnother year older, and I dont think a year has gone by when I could have imagined so much change, both good and terrible. I can only be thankful that all the thing we have planned, or are planning have turned out,well, and just hope that the next year is….well…..less turbulent, at the very least and has no more sickening shocks around the corner.


Anyway, enough of the pensive, thoughtful stuff….its my birthday goddammit! Got up early so I could A, open my presents before work, and B, watch the Liverpool vs Arsenal match (I was hoping for a Gunners loss, but 1-1 is a pretty good result for the ‘pool). I got choccies, a t-shirt, book, toys, nick-nacks, a cap (yes it DOES fit Anne – cheers!), a DVD and a few cards. Id already had my main present off Becca (comedy festival gala tickets), and still have a  couple stuck in the post, winging their way to me as we speak. Considering we dont know many folks here, its not a bad haul for my first birthday away from friends and family.  Its also my first Birthday Ive ever worked, but it was better than moping about at home on my own. Plus I treated myself to a huge bacon and egg roll, and a lovely chocolate orange cake – fatty fat fat fat. Was meant to be going out for meal later, but the more I sit here, the more that takeout becomes a more attractive proposition. Im dead tired and just dont think I would appreciate the full meal “experience”. Got The Apprentice, the Gadget Show and Traffic Cops downloaded from UK TV so will probably watch those later, as well as a few games online…


…speaking of which – games. Had a bit of a mooch through my collection and can feel a clearout coming on. I bought Frontlines, mainly as a bit of a Battlefield substitute (I didnt have the BFBC beta when I bought it) so seeing as I had completed it, and wouldnt be ruining any new weapons or vehicles if I took it online I decided to try it on multiplayer. It was then I discovered that I could only find 2 games in progress, 1 with 1 player and the 2nd with 3 players. Out of 24 possible players. Hmmm! If this is the level of community around this game, its being traded in. On top of this, the BFBC beta makes it look like a NES game – so damn drab and dull. Dont get me wrong, its a competent game, its just completely un-spectacular. Next on my list was Mass Effect. I know some might object (you Andy!) but I just cant be arsed to get back into it. The inventory system is broken, the micromanagement of your squad/equipment is unnecessary,  and its one of those games that doesnt exactly do anything to help you understand its conventions or controls when you start from scratch, let alone when youre halfway through a mission. So thats added to the trade in list. In contrast, I had some enjoyable times online with Forza 2 last night, with some people of about equal skill. Made for some real tense races, and makes the game so much more interesting knowing that people stuff up sometimes, which the AI opponents never did. Burnout is still enjoying some of my attention too, as is, bizarrely, Pacman Championship Edition. I was never a fan of Pacman by any stretch of the imagination, but this remake, has lovely jazzed up visuals, and far more interesting play modes than just “eat stuff, get a high score”. I dont know whether to give Bully a shot, as Ive heard it is meant to be hugely enjoyable, but with the imminent release of GTA IV, I dont know if it will tire me out of sandbox games before Ive even played it. Who knows!


Weather here yesterday was crazy – super super strong winds – we had 95km/h in Melbourne, with other regions in Victoria getting up to 130km/h! The kind of wind that really did push you off your feet. Today has been more representative of typical Melbourne weather. Its been sunny, warm, windy, rainy and mild – makes life more interesting.


Plans for the next few days…..tomorrow were off to the pub with a fellow Boeing engineer, then off to see CSS, and Saturdays plans may have changed. Im still waiting to receive my trasnferred money from the UK so its unlikely I will be able to pay for my car this week, so will have to wait until next week. Annoying I know, but nowt I can do about it.  Saturday evening will be out in the CBD with work chums and we’ll see where that takes us. So there you go, not exactly an exciting, rollercoaster ride of a birthday, but an OK one non-the-less. Here’s to the year ahead……cheers!

Posted in Cars, Games, weather | 2 Comments »

Be Kind, Rewind and Stuff

Posted by captainbeaky on April 1, 2008

22187206.jpgOnce again, sorry for the tardiness of this post. Yesterday I was shockingly tired from badminton and today has been pretty busy. Had a bunch of stuff to sort out at work, and had a meeting with a mortgage guy right after work. The short story is that we CAN get a mortgage for the range of house prices we’re after (in fact we could get a loan for nearly DOUBLE what we want!) and its more a matter of how much we can afford to pay each week/month than how much can we get a loan for. The options open to us are both vast and complicated, but the guy did show us a scenario in which it could be possible for us to repay our mortgage in 10 years! Shocking, but all his sums seemed right – will have to give it some serious thought.


Secondly, we went to our local cinema which is the George theatre on Fitzroy St. Its a nice litle 3 screen cinema with a bar, hot drinks and cakes, so will soon become our cinema of choice I reckon. No annoying kids, lots of beer and cuppa’s! We decided to go see Be Kind, Rewind starring Jack Black, Mos Def and Danny Glover. Its basically a film about 2 guys who accidentally erase all the videos in their store and remake them all themselves. Now, Im not generally a fan of Jack Black, but he’s not too overbearing in this perfectly amusing, popcorn movie. Its not going to reinvent the wheel, or cause a big stir, but its good at what it does, with the Ghosbusters remake being my favourite (especially the whole “how do we shoot it at night” scene!). Gets a bit cheesy at the end, but like I said, it does what it says on the tin admirably. If you want to see a light hearted, charming, throwaway comedy, you could do worse than see this film. 7/10.


Not much else gone on. Not got to play Xbox for a couple of days due to tiredness and lack of time, but should hopefully sort that out tomorrow. Really getting back into it in a big way now, after a short hiatus playing solely on Wii, thanks in no small part to Burnout and Battlefield Bad Company. Ive even gone as far into planning ot get back into COD 4 online, once the BF:BC beta ends in a few weeks. Ah, on second thoughts, that will only be a couple of days before GTA 4, and I can see that eating up a lot of my time, so maybe I’ll give COD another go this week.


Plans for the rest of the week….nowt for tomorow (except aforementioned gaming), Thursday we’ll be off out for Birthday food, and Friday we’re having a a few drinks with the guy who’s training me at work then off to a gig (CSS at the Prince Bandroom). For once a busy week, full of excitement, thrills and beer! And me being a year older :o(

Posted in Film, Games, House | Leave a Comment »

Battlefield Bad Company

Posted by captainbeaky on March 28, 2008

battlefield-bad-company-2.jpgSorry, but this post is mostly as the title says. Its all Ive been playing for 2 days now. I have probably put more hours into this beta than COD 4 and Halo 3 combined….and I have the full games of those! this is just a fantastic game – Im not sure if its just me, loving the Battlefield series as I do, but it just feels more of a team game than COD 4. Less snapshot kills, in the way that whoever see’s who first in COD is generally the winner. Its slower, more methodical, and you get rewarded well if you move in groups. A medic to heal, a support guy to drop ammo, a special ops guy to “paint” heavy targets, anda  recon guy to call in an airstrike. When it works, and people decide not to rambo it, but team up, its a joy to play. Got 2 knifey knifey kills too, with the nice touch being when you knife somebody, you collect their dogtags, which can be viewed like a trophy room in the awards section. Has some really good stats tracking and medals behind the scenes too, which sounds kind of corny, but it acts like achievements – you end up REALLY trying to get specific medals and rewards. 


Granted it doest look as slick as COD, but you can blow up buildings with your grenades in COD. Most other FPS’s are good, but once you try and play them after BFBC (as it shall henceforth be known) they seem static and rubbish. Like playing Half Life 2, then going to play, I dunno, something where everything is glued to the floor and you cant interact with the environment at all. It ends up feeling like half an experience. I had a great moment today, when I was trying to shoot a guy hiding in a building today, failing, so I dropped off my sniping point, bought out my nade launcher, fired a couple in the enemy buildings general direction, then ran towards his position with the nades still in the air. As I ran against the wall of the building he was hiding in, the nades hit and his corpse flew out of the building onto he floor in front of me, still with ragdoll limbs flailing. Cant wait to unlock some new weaponry and equipment. ANd I cant wait until June, when it should come out. 


Other things Ive been up to today……messing around with the recently released Photoshop Express, which is an entirely online photo album and editing package. I am mightily impressed with it, as it read Facebook albums, is quick at uploading your own and for a Flash program is quite adept and basic photo manipulation. Is all I will ever need anyway. If you use any image editing software, or subscribe to one of these online photo hosting sites, I would certainly give PSE a try. At the moment its in Beta (like most good things right now!) and is totally free, so what have you got to loose!


Plans for tomorrow – go over to Brighton to have a butchers at this car Im after. Scary as I am going to have to haggle, and take it out for a test drive, which is scary as it will be the first time Ive been out in a car without somebody shouting instructions at me. And I dont know the area! Shoudl be…….interesting. If I can get him down to the right price, I may even put a deposit down on it, until my money comes through from the UK. Is all very exciting, and scary at the same time.


Weather was still cold (18 degrees cold anyway) and Im sitting here with my fleece on and the aircon on “Heat” mode! We’ve turned intolerant of anything below 20 degrees since being here….wimps! Oh well, I see its about 10 degrees in Birmingham so we’re still warmer than the UK – god knows how I would be coming if we were still in Kings Heath!

Posted in Cars, Games, weather | 2 Comments »

Short and Sweet….Not at all like me then!

Posted by captainbeaky on March 27, 2008

15586_normal.jpgJust a short, brief post to let you know what Ive been up to, but not in much detail. Its 11.37pm, which means its precisely 17 minutes past my bedtime. But a promise is a promise and I said I wouldnt leave it more than a couple of days in between posts, so here I am.

 Been to see 2 comedians tonight – Reginald D Hunter, and Kristen Schaal, both of them excellent, and both with totally different styles of comedy. Hunter was a straight talking, very funny American dude with traditional observational comedy, whilst Schaal did a kind of geeky, nerd like performance and the humour was very odd. Definitely an acquired taste, and definitely to OUR taste!

Before that, I downloaded and was playing the hell out of the Battlefield Bad Company beta for Xbox 360. Damn….what a fantastic beta – its invites only, multiplayer only but it gives a really good impression of what the final product will be like. Best thing about the game……you actually can blow up, pretty much anything. No cover (bar the fortress on the 2nd map) is impenetrable. Pesky sniper in the barn? Blow a hole in the side wall or roof! Enemies the other side of a very large, very long wall? Punch a hole in it and stroll through. It adds SO much to a very crowded, tired genre. Plus the fact its classic Battlefield at its best. Helo’s, tanks, jeeps, boats…. Its also stolen some of the niceties from COD 4 such as the whole ranking and unlock system. Increases in score/rank allow you access to new weapons and equipment. I’ll post more details after I have a proper sit down with it tomorrow.

Oh, I bought a sat nav before going to the town hall tonight too – TomTom XL – got a good deal on it. Planing on going to see the car Im after this Saturday and dont want to get lost. Been getting tips at work, on how to handle the guys at car dealerships too, in order to get myself the best possible price. I dont particularly like or relish the thought of haggling, so its going to require a lot of effort on my behalf. Still….if its gets me a few $1k off the price, it will be worth the discomfort.

Not much else to say…in detail anyway. Except the worm has finally turned here and the weather is pants. Raining all day, and despite it being 18 degrees, it feels like its -10 – bloody freezing. You really do become accustomed to the heat. We’re both sitting here in thick jumpers and drinking lots of tea. Have to keep reminding ourselves that at least its not UK cold…….yet! I’ll do a more in depth post either tomorrow or on Saturday. Ciao for now, you big fat cow!

Posted in Cars, comedy, Gadgets, Games, weather | Leave a Comment »

Where the Grass is Green and the Girls are Pretty…..

Posted by captainbeaky on March 23, 2008

burnpar.jpgHowdy. Firstly, apologies for the no post over the past few days. Thursday I was tired from badminton, Friday I was lazy and Saturday…well……we’ll come to that. Either way, I should have posted soemthing, but its beginning to dawn on me that I may not post everyday from now on. On a routine day, not a fat lot happens other than I go to work, and come home, which doesnt really make for good reading. As a consequence, If I dont post on a set day, I’ll post on the next one from now on. I dont want to let the blog slide, but I dont want to bore everyone (even more!) with talk of nothing. Anyway, I digress.

 So Thursday we played badminton, and I lost every game, mainly because of the lack of sleep the night before. My heart wasnt really in it so I hope for better results next week. Friday….I went to work despite it being a public holiday but got a shitload done so it was well worth it. The overtime loading will be nice in next weeks paycheck too!

On Saturday we went to Chadstone shopping centre and came back with quite a lot of new stuff. Becca got a couple of tops and some girls stuff, while I came away with a portable mouse for my notebook (more later), an ipod speaker dock, a new ninja fast, ninja quiet kettle (sounds stupid but you could hardly hear yourself talk over our last kettle!) and I traded in 3 games (Rainbow 6, Conan and Command & Conquer) to get……..

……Burnout Paradise…..and while I was sceptical at the time, seeing that I was trading in so many quality games for “just another Burnout Game”, after several hours of play I feel totally justified in my choice. Burnout Paradise is one of THE best arcade style racing games Ive ever played. The sense of speed is incredible and when you crash it really does make you wince. There is great feeling of the kinetics of the world in the sense that you really do feel like you have a tangible physical prescence within the city. The new open world format, while annoying to some is pleasing to me. The fact that you cant just retry a race if youve just failed doesnt bother me as it was the same in Test Drive Unlimited. It feels like there is a huge amount of things to do, as well as the “main missions” within the game, there are a multitude of other sidelines to keep you busy. Each stretch of road has its own time trial and crash mode target to beat. You can find all of the car parks, ramps, jumps, and billboards to smash through all over the map. There really is a lot to get on with and Im only just scratching the surface with what I tell you here. Its also pretty tasty using the wheel instead of a controller too – I feel a lot more in touch with the car than I ever did with the pad. In short, if you like racing games of any variety , you owe it to yourself to check out Burnout. 

The only reason I got the mouse was to help me with Adobe Illustrator. Ive taken to having a play around with it on the strenght of a DIY t-shirt website. Ive not seen any purchase-worthy T shirts around for a few months and its been annoying me that all tee’s seem to be either flouro related, or crappy vintage prints, none of which I go for. So the website in question allows you to make your own tee, with your own designs, as long as you send them a decent image to put on it. And since you need a decent dpi jpeg file for it to appear unpixellated, a vector image is prefered. Now I wont go into the pro’s and cons of vector and raster images but Ive never produced any before, and today Ive had quite a bit of fun with Illustrator and got some pretty decent results. It was just impossible to get a decent amount of control with a trackpad, so this mouse was essential. I wont show you anything Ive done yet as it still work in progress, but I’ll let you know how it pans out. For all I know, that site may just print your picture onto a rubbish iron on transfer!

Today we’ve done nowt (well, ive played my game and messed around with Illustrator) and we’ve gone for a walk around as its been a nice 27 degrees kinda day. We went to a new ice cream place thats opened up on Fitzroy St and got some very ….different…ice creams. Its gimmick is to let you pick your ice cream of which there are all sorts of fancy flavours (peanut butter, ferrero roche, strawberry trifle, etc…) then you pick some bits and pieces to smush into your ice cream (smarties, gummi bears, bounty bars, M & M’s, etc…). I had a cone and it was fupping huge! I plummed for white chocolate ice cream, and had a snickers bar, and some peanut M & M’s mashed into it – bloody lovely. You leave with all kinds of crazy combinations and flavours popping around your mind and I cant wait to go back. In the evening we went to see Stephen K Amos as being part of the comedy festival – a very funny guy. We have a lot more tickets booked, but I cant remember all of their names for now, but I’ll post about them just before we see them. We also bought tickets today to see Architecture in Helsinki and CSS at a local venue in St Kilda – should be good!

 Right, thats more than enough typing/reading for 1 day. I’ll post next when something exciting happens. May not be tomorrow but I will DEFINITELY post on Tuesday, to let you know how my driving test went.  

Posted in Clothes, comedy, Food, Gadgets, Games | Leave a Comment »

More evil than a pound of mashed up Dundee cake!

Posted by captainbeaky on March 18, 2008


No post yesterday as :-
  •  We didnt do anything spectacular
  •  We were both ill

We both ate a frozen quiche last night, that must have gone off or something, as later on the pair of us endured hideous stomach cramps, sweats then the inevitable bum gravy. Very unpleasant indeed. the stomach cramps kept me awake way past bedtime last night, so I rang in late so I could catch up on lost sleep. Neither of us have eaten all day, but we are both feeling better now. Last time I buy a quiche from Safeway!

In other news, Becca starts her job next week, after Easter. Im not sure if Im repeating what she’s said on her blog, but there is is anyway. What have I been up to…..er….. working, watching TV, and thinking that this time next week, I will either have a Full Victoria Driving License, or crying into my pint and booking another test ASAP.  

Played a bit more Frontlines, but the kill-a-thon is wearing a bit thin now. I reckon I pushed myself to get back in the FPS saddle too quickly. Nevermind, I’ll just press on with Metroid.  The 360 really isnt doing it for me at the moment. Ooooo….the moment I typed that I checked a gaming news site and found that Forza is getting more cars tomorrow, one of which will be the Maserati Gran Turismo – DEFINITELY be getting that.  Im also more surprised than anyone that last night I actually chose to read my book over TV and gaming!!!! I never thought Id see the day! On saying that, it IS an extremely good book though, and easily as addictive as a good game. Just one more chapter……..

So there you have it, pretty uneventful really. Better decide what we’re having for tea. Nothing too volatile thats for sure! Oh, and 10 points for recognising the post title reference (Andy’s not included ;o)

Posted in driving, Games, Health | 1 Comment »

My New Babies! Oh, and something about a Grand Prix-thing???

Posted by captainbeaky on March 16, 2008


So, as you can see, Ive changed things around a bit. I was getting a bit bored of the old look, and it felt a bit “Windows-ey” so Ive gone with this theme. I think it looks more fresh, and clean, but post a comment if you think otherwise, or have problems with it. 

I’ll also have to apologise for the lack of posts over the past 2 days. On Friday (you may or may not be aware) we were celebrating Becca getting a job! Wooo hooo! Working at a lab over in Clayton (East Melbourne) doing science (though not with GLADOS – sorry nerd reference). She is starting next week I think, but will know more details soon. So, to toast this news, we went out to a fabulous restaurant, right on the sea front, and managed to get a seat on the balcony overlooking the setting sun – it was lovely. And Im not sorry to say that the food matched the view – it was bloody stunning, and I reckon we’ll be going there revisiting it extremely soon. Strawberry and apple crumble topped with macadamia nuts – yum!

Saturday was spent in and around St Kilda at house inspections. We visited some really nice places, and one, which was simply stunning. Right on Marine Parade (sea front) with huge rooms, walk in robes and a patio with doors from the front room AND the bedroom. However, it was a bit out our price range, but its not hurting anyone to have a nose around.Today was driving lesson (last one before my test!) and more house inspections. The one we went to today was a really nice unit, with a massive amount of storage a great bathroom and a really nice kitchen but wasnt really in a great area. Much further from the beach than Id like, but at least we know what else is around.  After that, I went down to the beach to catch the flypasts by several FA18’s fighter jets and a rather low flying Qantas 747 – was mighty impressive, but what the photos (on facebook and webspace, page “oz photos 4”) dont show is the noise, speed, and just how low these things were. Like I say, impressive. The Grand Prix itself has been pretty good from our pespective, although I dare say if I lived up in Albert park itself I probably wouldnt say the same. Lots of eurotrash hanging around, dressed in awful, ill fitting clothes and being brash and noisy. Despite us being about a mile from the circuit itself, the noise coming from there was pretty loud. We were both really surprised at just how much we could hear the cars bombing around. 

Finally, a quick game update. Metroid 3 is damn good, feeling atmospheric and tense. The control scheme takes some getting used to, but once you adapt to how unusual it is, it becomes second nature. Much more like using keyboard and mouse than a standard console controller. I just cant help wonder how much grander it would have felt if the Wii had a bit more grunt under the bonnet.  Some moments are just aching for more grandiose graphics and effects, but on the whole its a great game. More details to follow – Im only just off the 1st level. Frontlines again, is a good game. The presentation isnt anything spectacular but it has solid gameplay. The FPS aspect of it is never going to challenge COD4 or Halo 3, but there are a few aspects where it excels. The open ended levels are truly opened ended, with more than just 1 avenue of attack, and multiple choices on how to tackle the same objective. The other area that plays out well is the variety in the gameplay. You can run around on foot, get in a  tank, a helo, a plane, or just hide in a corner and control a plethora of RC tanks and helo’s to shoot, missile or just kamikaze the enemy.  Single player seems short, but I guess its just a warm up for the multiplayer, which I havent tried yet. I think I’ll get myself proficient with everything before taking it online. Oh, and Im still slugging through the rest of the levels in Mario Galaxy. I cant seem to put it down, despite having “finished” it. 

The week ahead is not shaping it too badly. Going to the Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala on Wednesday night, Becca should start her new job next week, and its Easter weekend coming up. I think I’ll be working it, but only if the company want to pay for taxi’s there and back – no buses up there on public holidays.  Then its driving test next week – gulp! Been 40 degrees today, and the forecast for tomorrow is 39 – damn its hot – first time I’ll ever be going to work in shorts! 

Posted in driving, Food, Games, House, Job, Sport, weather | Leave a Comment »

Haircuts, Trainers, Tests, Gig’s & Games

Posted by captainbeaky on March 13, 2008

maximo-wenn.jpgPhew – a been a lovely hot day, full of nice things. I’ll start last night.

Went out late (about 9-ish) to see Maximo Park at the Billboard, which turned out to be a club, but with a stage and stuff for bands. The venue was pretty good for bands, as it had several raised levels as you went further back from the stage so you had a good view of the band no matter where you were. The atmosphere was brilliant and the crowd loved the band and the music, which surprised me as I didnt imagine they would have a big following over here. They played out of their skin and got a great reception, with the only downside of the night being the price of the beers. $16 for 2 pure blondes! So thats about £3.50 each for a bog standard bottled beer! Oh, well I’ll know for next time. We got back around 12.30am so Im glad I had booked the following day off, as Otherwise it would have meant only 4.5 hours sleep.

As it turned out, I got close to 12 hours kip and didnt wake up until 11.30am!  So aquick shower then down the new hairdressers. Im always wary of going to a new place, as its always a worry that theyre going to butcher you, and Ive had some bad cuts from some terrible scissor merchant before. However, I was really impressed with this place. the girl who did it was talkative and seemed to love bringing me tea. I was really pleased with the “do” and will definitely be going back.

On a high from a good haircut, I went into the trainer shop near our road, and had a squizz at a new pair of Adidas they had in, which were REALLY nice……so I bought them! The guy in there was a bit of a trainer nerd like me, and also a fan of Adidas like me, so we had a good chat, and a moan about horrible flouro trainers!  I’ll make sure my new babies have pride of place on my next post – my camera battery is on charge right now. 

Went straight from there to Carlton for my hazard perception test for driving. hte journey there was more of an ordeal than the test itself as the Grand Prix has slowed things right down. The tram goes right past the course and you can guarantee a shitload of euro-trash will get on it at Middle Park and be load and annoying. The Grand Prix, as it turns out, is both exciting, and annoying! Anyway, I digress.  The test itself seemed more like pot luck more than skill. YOu got presented with a picture, taken from the drivers perspective saying htat your driving forward, or whatever. You then got a prompt saying, “you want to slow down” or “you want to turn right” then the video plays and you have to click the mouse when you think its right to do so. Except that you only have about a 0.5-1 second window to do so safely. This led to it being rather sporadic, and you didnt really know if you should clock the mouse when you actually thought it was the correct time, or try to second guess the random computer time which judged you had selected correctly. Regardless of any of this, I passed with 71% (pass mark was 54%) so the next step is the practical test in just under 2 weeks time. 

On a second high from passing the test, I went into town, and met Becca, who informed me that her interview went well. Seemed like a good job, with decent prospects and only 4 other applicants. The place said they would let her know by Monday at the latest so keep your fingers crossed.  Went a got a lovely fresh made smoothy then on to JB Hifi where I got Frontlines for my 360 (I know its another kill-a-thon game, but its more BF1942 than Call of Duty, and it was on offer this week for $79) and got Metroid 3 on Wii second hand for only $69. Even better than that, the woman who served me at the till gave me a brand spanking new copy of the game instead of a pre-owned version. Bargain! Not played either of them yet and not sure if I’ll get chance tonight, but you can be sure I’ll post my thoughts on both. I wanted to get Zak and Wiki, as again it was on special, but its sold out. Hope they get some more in before the offer runs out.

So there you go, its been a thoroughly enjoyable day off, with a lot of things purchased, and accomplished. On to tomorrow, where they reckon we could be on for another 40 degrees celsius day, so I hope they got the air con on in the factory. I think Ive remembered everything thats gone on, but if not….tough!

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