Sunday, September 23, 2012

Slam Jam

It’s been about two years since I last wrote a proper blog. I dipped my toes back in the water with that music quiz post (which I suppose I should answer pretty soon) but I wanted to do something that was a bit more substantial. My problem is that I’m incredibly lazy and enjoy lounging at home too much to spend half an hour throwing some words together and seeing how they stick. Parsnip. (Those two didn’t stick that well to be honest.)

Anyway I’m quite lucky in that I get reasonably well paid for a job that generally finishes before 5pm. My previous job was quite good but there were two days every month where I had to stay until at least 8 o’clock. And it wasn’t my fault, there was just so much work that came at one point that we had to stay to get it done. I didn’t enjoy this, if work gets in the way of your homelife then your work needs to do something to stop this happening.

Except they don’t because that would involve spending money to sort it out. And companies are tight.* But if I ever found myself working regularly for longer than my contracted hours I would start to see if there was anything I could do to prevent it from happening again. As a last resort I would even go to HR - not because it would be seen as dobbing people in - but more because HR are useless cretinous morons.

It’s one of the reasons why I wouldn’t want to become a videogame programmer**. Every so often there’s some sort of scandal about how a big videogame company is making everyone stay late to do crunch work on their latest game. Which apparently lasts about six months.

Could you imagine working until after 10pm every night to get a game finished? I definitely don’t think my body would be able to cope with it. I could see me lasting two weeks tops before I would start to hallucinate and mistakes would creep into my work.

It would certainly be interesting to see how lack of sleep would affect the accuracy of programmers work. I’d reckon it’ll probably cause more bugs and errors than it was actually meant to solve.

The problem is that - similarly to the magazines and newspapers that offer unpaid jobs to anyone who’ll apply for them - it doesn’t matter if you don’t agree to do it. They’ll just get someone in who is prepared to do the work and wouldn’t complain. Annoying isn’t it? And if there are laws to stop overworking happening the company will either find a way around it, or they’ll just move to somewhere else where it can happen legally. But I know you didn’t come here for a lecture in communism.

What’s the point of this blog? Not the blog as a whole - it’s fairly obvious that there’s no point to that other than some live kenickie mp3s that people wanted - but for this specific blog. I suppose it’s to say that the videogame industry needs to grow a conscience and grow up.

For too long they’ve gotten away with doing things just because everyone else is doing it***. Someone needs to take action and it needs to start with the Global Game Jams.
Eh? I hear you question in disbelief. Why are you going after the Global Game Jams Ben? They’ve done nothing but bring like minded coders together to produce fun little games that can then be expanded to produce even more fun larger games. The bonds formed in those small groups are something that cannot be explained by someone like you who has never been to anything like this.

Well that’s a fair point, I reply as I kneel to look you in the eyes and ruffle the cloth cap on your head, but it’s still promoting that the only way to program is to do it all in crunch mode on the minimum amount of sleep possible. This doesn’t sound right to me.

Pretty much every article I’ve ever read about a Game Jam always ends on people saying “Now I’m off to catch up on some sleep!”. The only differences are whether they end it on a winky face or LOL.

But essentially no-one wants to sleep ‘normal’ hours on a Game Jam. Because sleeping means you’ve given up on your idea for your game before everyone else. The norm has been set as not sleeping. Change it. Have a lie in. The game isn’t going anywhere and a break can do you good.

Of course I’m probably saying this because I like to be in bed by 10pm everyday. Not everyone else is as snoozy as me. So ignore me. After all Thatcher slept for only four hours a day so she’s definitely someone to look up to.
Let’s end on a happier note with a song that Simon Cowell helped happen:

* In fact they made me redundant not too long after the late nights started getting annoying. I could have moved to Staines to keep my job, but no-one wants to do that do they?

** The other being that I have absolutely no programming skills to speak of. I can amend a VBA program and can write basic html, but if I can’t find the answer easily on google then I’m screwed.

*** It’s the same thing with people speeding on the motorway. It’s seen as ok because everyone else is doing it. BUT IT’S NOT.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


Right, in order for Karen from Good Job Brain to enjoy a music quiz I've created my own one. Let me know who is performing the song and what it is. There's also a connection between all six songs. Put your answers in the comments.

If you need a clue with the connection then it's (highlight to see tip) mostly connected with the second tv show that the artist of the third song is associated with.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Scumm VM for Android

Hello Sankles!

Hopefully this guide will help you install Day Of The Tentacle on your Android phone, it worked for my HTC Desire anyway. If it does work then I only want those V Feltz pictures as payment (you know the ones), or a jumpsuit and some brownies. I cannot guarantee that this will work on Infomax.

1. Make sure your phone can install software from unknown sources by going to Settings -> Applications and then ticking the unknown sources box

2. Using your phone, download the Scumm VM software from Then install the software. I did this by clicking on the download in the notification bar when it had finished. I think you can disable the Unknown Sources thing at this point if you want, but I enjoy the risk.

3. On your PC/Mac download Day Of The Tentacle here and unzip. If you need software to unzip it then it is here for PC and here for mac. The password is your twitter id. Once you've downloaded it and got it working then I'll delete it.

4. On your phone make a folder called 'DOTT' or something so you'd remember it and move the files over to it.

5. Load the Scumm VM software on your phone. Select 'Add game'. Find the DOTT folder on your phone and select choose.

6. You should now be able to play the game with Start.

7. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fifty, fifty, fifty

It's a boring poll! Except I like this as I can bore you with why I like the top 50 bands on my chart (I removed podcasts).

1. How did you get into 31?
The Long Blondes – I reckon K Gillen mentioned them on his blog & then I bought their album when we went to see the Flaming Lips in Manchester

2. What was the first song you ever heard by 22?
Quasi – All The Same. It was the first song on the album I bought, which I got just because Janet was the drummer

3. What's your favourite lyric by 41?
Solex - Of course they just tried to remove / The apple from a bucket of / (Water without using their hands)

4. What is your favourite album by 49?
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus as it has my wedding song on it

5. How many albums by 13 do you own?
Regina Spektor - 2. Both of the accessible ones.

6. What is your favourite song by 50?
Cake – Short Skirt/Loooooong Jacket. Way before it was used on Chuck

7. Is there a song by 4 that makes you sad?
Pavement – Painted Soldiers. Thinking of them all getting sacked in the video

8. What is your least favourite song by 15?
Ladyhawke – Back Of The Van

9. What is your favourite song by 5?
Emmy The Great – History Of Britain. I'm a sucker for handclaps

10. Is there a song by 6 that makes you happy?
Tilly and the Wall – Let Us Be Free. I remember it from the only gig where they sounded good (I've seen them three times)

11. What is your favourite album by 40?
Sufjan Stevens – The Christmas Ones as I've hardly listened to the Michigan one

12. What is your favourite song by 10?
Annie – What Do You Want (The Breakfast Song). Good chanting

13. What is a good memory you have involving 33)?
Feist – 1234 when it was sung on Sesame Street

14. What is your favourite song by 37?
Laura Veirs – Saltbreakers. The chanting is great (Look inside a space, look inside a space and you can tell)

15. Is there a song by 19 that makes you happy?
The Olivia Tremor Control – Jumping Fences. Short and sweet, I always include this song in mixes I make for anyone.

16. How many times have you seen 24 live?
Rilo Kiley - Three times. Once in Leeds supporting Bright Eyes (I HATE CONNOR!!!), then in London at the crappy Koko where stupid girls were screaming for them to play “The Frug” as it “would complete my life”. My brother, Freya & I all laughed at them. Then once in the Cockpit when they had brought out Under The Blacklight.

17. What is the first song you heard by 23?
Northern State – A Thousand Words. Again, the first song off the album which I bought as a Beastie Boy was involved

18. What is your favourite album by 11?
Los Campesinos! - Hold on Now Youngster. It has You! Me! Dancing!

19. Who is your favourite member of 1?
The Donnas – Donna C is the one I fancy the most. Although Donna F has the best Michael Jackson jokes.

20. How many times have you seen 14 live?
Deerhoof – Once supporting the Flaming Lips. And then I bought their album

21. Do you have any good memories involving 45?
Guillemots – I thought Fyfe was funny on Buzzcocks once, but seeing them supporting REM was spoilt by too many drunks.

22. What is your favourite song by 16?
Petra Haden – Apple Juice. I remember asking for this album one Christmas as I wanted anything Weezer related (and P Haden was in the Rentals). This was an unexpected album, but absolutely perfect

23. What is the first song you heard by 47?
Camera Obscura. I haven't a clue. I know the first time I saw them was when they supported Lambchop at the Barbican

24. What is your favourite album by 3?
Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible. Almost perfect.

25. What is your favourite song by 18?
St. Vincent. Marry Me.

26. What is the first song you heard by 38?
TV on the Radio. Again the first song off the album, so Halfway Home. I do buy some albums on the spur of the moment (providing I have heard of them).

27. What is your favourite lyric that 21 has sung?
Robyn - “One Left, One Right / That's How I Organise Them / You Know I Fill My Cups / No Need To Supersize Them”. Although the whole of Konichiwa Bitches is lyrical genius.

28. What is your favourite song by 2?
Flight Of The Conchords – The Tape Of Love. Sticky Sticky!

29. What is the first song you heard by 32?
Auf der Maur – probably Followed The Waves. I bought it because I liked her in Hole & wanted to see what Melissa came up with.

30. What is your favourite song by 8?
She & Him – This Is Not A Test. The 'Anyways' is a good hook.

31. How many times have you seen 17?
Weezer – Once at Leeds Festival. I wish I'd seen them at the time of Pinkerton rather than during Maladroit.

32. Is there a song by 44 that makes you happy?

33. What is your favourite album by 12?
Scarlett Johannson – Anywhere I Lay My Head. The one she did with Pete Yorn has a song that Northern Uproar also did so I can't choose that.

34. What is the worst song by 29?
Jenny Lewis – Godspeed. But it's not terrible, just my least favourite

35. What was the first song you heard by 34?
Ween – Freedom of '76. I heard it on MTV2, when anyone could have an hour mix and have it on the telly. I put this in my mix, which actually got shown, but I couldn't record it. MTV2 should go back to this.

36. What is your favourite album by 42?
Sparks – Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins. I know their other albums are better, but I love “...My Way” and that overrules my head

37. How many times have you seen 39 live?
Dressy Bessy – Never. I don't think many Elephant Six bands tour the UK

38. What is your favourite song by 36?
The Lovely Eggs – AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Tyrannosaurus Rex For Christmas

39. What is the first song you heard by 28?
Basia Bulat – In The Night. It came up on emusic & sounded good. Shame it's her best song by far.

40. What is your favourite album by 35?
Stephen Malkmus – Stephen Malkmus. Perfect Pop.

41. How did you get into 48?
Be Your Own Pet. I was in HMV in Harrogate & saw the CD. Jemima had sports socks on

42. Have you ever seen 7 live?
The Pipettes. Once at the Cockpit. Now they're a weird electro-two piece I doubt I'll see them again.

43. What song do you love by 43?
Sleater-Kinney - Leave You Behind. Total departure from their usual stuff & is more affecting for it

44. How many times have you seen 20)?
Kenickie – twice. Both at Reading Festival. Wish I saw them more (and also saw theaudience at the last Reading Festival I was at)

45. Who’s responsible for getting you into 25?

46. Is 30 one of your favorite artists?
CSS – not really. I like the first album, but I'm not crazy for them

47. Favorite song by 9?

48. Would you like to see 46 live?
Amanda Palmer – Not sure as I'm a little scared of her & Freya doesn't like her that much.

49. Favorite member of 26?
The New Pornographers – Neko Case. As she has red hair

50. What’s the most played song on your computer by 27?
Those Dancing Days – Hitten. I think.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ninety-nine days to go

Do you remember NaBloPoMo when I blogged increasingly shorter posts every day for a month? Or blog365 where I was meant to blog every day for a year, but gave up partway through March? Well Hundred Days is similar to that, except I don't have to do any writing.

What Hundred Days is Josie Long trying to improve her comedic & personal skills by vowing to write one proper joke and meet a new person every day for the next hundred days. And as usual it's a lot easier to maintain the vow if you make a public declaration of it, so the guilt of other people can keep you on track.

Josie, being kind, or wanting to spread the pressure onto other people, decided to allow others to make similar vows. These can all be read on the Hundred Days website (or on twitter). And if you squint (or look alphabetically for my name) you'll see that I've vowed to write a topical haiku a day and to do a page of my Japanese book.

I'm pretty sure that this should be achievable for me as it takes about five minutes to read one page of my Japanese book* and haikus are pretty easy to pull together.

As long as you remember how many syllables are in a haiku that is. I foolishly put my first one on Twitter and about four minutes after posting it realised I'd put one extra syllable in the middle part. If you're interested here is the correct haiku for Tuesday 1st December:

B. C. F. testing
data not ready today
so I leave early

And here's the one for Wednesday 2nd December (aka Day 2):

Died before saving
Mario and Luigi
train journey wasted

The Japanese stuff I've learnt is how to say hello and goodbye so sayonara & bis bald**!

* Although it's easy now as I'm at the beginning which I know off by heart. I'm more worried when it gets to the later stages and I'm doing buildings and stuff.

** Oh wait, that's German

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thoughts on Thought Bubble 2009

I've done some rather geeky stuff in the past. There was the time I went to see Amber Benson in Leeds, the year straight after I left uni where I spent all my money on Buffy figurines and last month when I went to Nottingham to see some people from a podcast play chiptune music.

I'm not sure if going to the Thought Bubble Sequential Art/Comics Festival is geekier than any of these, but it comes pretty close.

This was the third year of it taking place and as usual it was being held in Leeds. Unfortunately for Freya & I Leeds was rather rainy that day, so we were rather damp when we showed up.

Going from what C-Monster had written before I was expecting a pretty spacious hall full with comicky goodness. In reality it was smaller than I imagined (although conversely Freya thought it was a lot bigger) but the goodness was still there.

It's a bit of a cop-out but there really was something for everyone with the cosplayers grouping around the princess, numerous stalls selling indie comics to people after something new and massive queues for the big names in comics who I had never heard of*.

The main thing I came for was to annoy C-Monster which I did successfully by first making him think I liked him by mentioning J Nash and Kenickie***. But then I turned on him by askin him why he didn't write Sleater-Kinney with a hyphen. So he threatened to punch me which was exactly the response I wanted! Hurrah!

We also spoke to Jamie McKelvie, and Freya told him - when C-Monster's back was turned - that she not-so-secretly preferred Suburban Glamour to Phonogram. Jamie also claimed that he was not that well off, which went against the Tescos Finest croissants that he had just bought. Aha! Foiled again McKelvie!

Marc Ellerby was sat near C-Monster and he's one of Freya's favourite comic book people, so I pushed her to the front of his table and made her talk to him. As expected he was super-nice and spoke to Freya for a long time (although that could be because she had brought (an bought) a lot of stuff to be signed). Marc's girlfriend Swedish Anna was there as well and she was super-nice as well.

As well as the stalls there were some talks going on in the curtained area. The first one we saw there was about films and comics. It was interesting, mostly due to Paul Cornell who made lots of quips and added humour to what could have been a dry talk. One bad thing was that they didn't actually talk about Scott Pilgrim which could have been intriguing, instead they preferred to complain about everyone talking about superhero films, ironically by only talking about superhero films.

The other talk was chaired by C-Monster and was about comics and games. This was made slightly weirder by the fact that C-Monster obviously recognised us from earlier and kept looking over in our direction. I can only presume he wanted me to make a J Nash style interjection by standing up and going "Oh look - it's the Goodyear blimp! No, erk, oh! (dies)". In which case he was sorely mistaken****.

I was going to stand up and ask if they were upset that games had a mainstream appeal that comics were currently lacking, and if so, would they be prepared to work on a Wii Fit comic. However I decided not to as everyone else was asking serious questions and I just wanted to do a weak joke about Wii Fit.

This panel was a bit more humorous as there was a Yorkshireman who took the piss out of almost everything anyone said. All convention panels need a Yorkshireman.

The other thing this panel had was that all five people on the panel wore glasses and had a bald/shaved head. Which made this look like a Buzzcocks-style identity parade for INSERT NAME HERE.

By this point Freya and I were getting tired so we missed out on the after party, where I understand McKelvie and C-Monster did various drunk things. As I was in bed by nine-ish, it was probably for the best that I didn't attend.

We'll certainly come again to next year's Thought Bubble though, particularly if that Cosplayer who was an X-woman wearing tight green spandex and a strawberry-blonde wig attends again*****.

* Or more accurately who I had heard of but I didn't have a clue who they were. For example, I knew Andy Diggle had worked with 2000AD but I couldn't for the life of me tell you any comics he's done**

** Except after Thought Bubble I can tell you he wrote The Losers, on which Jock was the artist.

*** Indeed I had a massive spike in visitors when C-Monster linked to my Kenickie@Reading post. Which I then ruined by not blogging for another nine months.

**** As that was a very poor J Nash impression

***** Actually the best cosplayer was the girl dressed as Luke from Professor Layton. I walked past her four times before I realised who she was******, mostly because it was pretty obvious who were the cosplayers were as they were dressed in luminous colours and had tails, whereas Luke was charmingly understated.

****** When I realised I said "Professor, I've sorved it!"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The two best songs of the decade

I'm not sure if they are the best songs of the decade, but they're the first two I could think of where I could write around a hundred words each for.

So Simon, the ace music blogger at Sweeping The Nation, was after some people to write about the best songs of the decade. As the take up on the offer was rather low that meant I could swoop in with my meagre offerings and get published on something other than my own blog.

Everyone else seemed to be writing about the song itself, whereas I went for a mini-biography of a pop star and rabbiting on about my watabe wedding. Both posts included poor jokes.

If you're interested in this then please go to:
Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Breathless

(Two blogs in three days? I must be doing something wrong*)

* Oh yeah, I am being made redundant** which does mean I have a bit more spare time nowadays

** And being made redundant must mean I'm doing something wrong