Tuesday, 18 August 2009

What the hell was wrong with...

manual train doors? I mean the internal ones between carriages and on
the toilets rather than the outside ones because unlike the outside
ones which are fairly speedy the internal ones are fucking shite.

The newer looking Scotrail trains seem to be the worst offenders to
me, there are 2 doors between each carriage, the first one opens
fairly quickly, but there's this delay of several seconds before the
2nd deigns to open leading to impatience and the feeling of looking
like a dick.

Toilet doors are worse, they emit this loud hiss like a tremendous
amount of pressure has been released then they open explosively for 2
inches before slowing to drunk tortoise pace. And once you're in it's
the same again. Most people could be in out and had a dump in the time
it takes these doors to get open and closed.

I can see the practicality in them - they shut on their own thus they
don't flap open if people neglect to close them properly. However I
can't help but feel doors you could manually open that would
automatically close if neglected would be a superior solution. Hell,
they could even have motors for the infirm, but for those of us with
fully functioning limbs and a low threshold for unnecessary waiting,
how about a handle?

freedoms_stain, fuck patience, out.

Sent from my mobile device

Sunday, 16 August 2009


With Rafael Nadal's defeat to Juan Martin Del Potro on Friday in the Quarter Finals of the Rogers Cup ATP 1000 Montreal Masters and thus loss of his title and the subsequent progression of Andy Murray to the final of the tournament for the first time in his career the British number one will move to the world number two spot.

Fuck Yeah!

The final will take place tonight and Murray's oppopnent will be none other than Nadals conqueror, Del Potro himself. Murray has the edge in the head-to-head (3-1) although Del Potro does have the most recent victory. Murray has been displaying the best form of his career this past week, so you've really got to like his chances - yet to drop a set this tournament and only two games against his serve - pretty impressive performance (except that 1st serve percentage). It'd be foolish to count Del Potro out though, he's an extremely talented player with plenty of titles in his future. A win tonight would see Del Potro take the no 5 spot from Andy Roddick - mixed feelings on that, Roddick has been playing really well lately and sliding backwards in the rankings won't feel great for him, but Del Potro really deserves to go up... we'll just have to see what happens.

The final is due to start at 6.30pm British time, I suggest you find somewhere to watch.

freedoms_stain, Tennis head, out.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Woman wins clothes store tribunal

Woman wins clothes store tribunal: "A disabled woman from London wins an £8,000 payout in a case against clothing firm Abercrombie and Fitch."

Ok, yes, she was unfairly treated, yes she deserved compensation, but £6800 for hurt feelings? Come the fuck on, I think our society has to learn to grow up and get real about this sort of thing.

This sort of attitude has become ubiquitous in the UK. I remember not so long ago there was bitchery over birthday cards that made light of a persons age. It's the same sort of thing, "hurt feelings". I think if you're not mature enough to deal with hurt feelings you're probably not mature enough to be fucking working in the real world.

Is this a side effect of the nanny state? Possibly, there are certainly a number of areas the government should be butting out of that they seem terribly insistent on butting in on, I've already had a wee bitch about censorship in the past. Really the Government shouldn't be muscling in on this sort of thing unless it's actual full-on abuse.

It's a complicated issue and I don't know if I'm really communicating my thoughts on it too well here. Bottom line I suppose is that I see this level of "hurt feelings" thing as terribly infantile. This is something we should be able to rise above as people, not cry to the government or authorities about with our hands stretched out for compensation.

The woman in question was discriminated against because of her appearance: no question, but I think compensating her because she didn't have the personal strength of character to rise above it seems a bit... unfair? Should we compensate everyone with similar weaknesses? I don't think it was right. Loss of earnings, cool, compensation for discrimination, cool, hurt feelings? Get over them.

freedoms_stain, trying (perhaps failing) not to sound like a heartless bastard, out

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

So the government has all this debt...

So why am I seeing wastage?

Let me tell you a story, a true story that pissed me off massively. There's a lot of resurfacing work being done in my area,both roads and footpaths. A couple of weeks ago on my way to work I passed a workman filling in potholes on a road along the side of a kerb. At the time I kinda felt the guys time would be better spent filling in potholes elsewhere, say on roads where the potholes are actually in the way rather than right up against a kerb where they're more of an eyesore than a hazard.

A week later the entire road was pulled up and resurfaced.

A WEEK later the entire road was pulled up and resurfaced.

A WEEK LATER the ENTIRE ROAD was PULLED UP and resurfaced.

Who the fuck co-ordinates this shit? One week we have a guy being paid to fill in holes, that's a use of manpower, time, materials, money, and the next the guys work is pulled up and the road resurfaced anyway. A complete waste of resources. Resources that we're continually told are stretched so thin they're almost at breaking point. So why the fuck are we wasting time, money and resources like this?

This really reinforces my belief that the bureaucratic infrastructure of the UK is just a massive fucking mess. We've got cheating incompetent shits in Parliament (that's both Scottish and UK bytheway) and worse running the councils, because so far they've been too incompetent even to cheat! (unless they are and we just haven't had the whistle blown on them yet - in which case would you miserable cunts perhaps direct some of that cunning towards running the country rather than raping it, ta.)

I'd be interested to know what if any formal training people in public office receive. We're talking largely about elected positions here, the prerequisite for the job is often standing for the right party in the right constituency at the right time, and something tells me that that's far from enough. I'm not saying we should slap minimum requirements on electoral candidates - that would defeat the ideal of democracy (as pathetically weak as that ideal is under a first-past-the-post electoral system), but I am suggesting we ensure they know what they're doing following election. Maybe give them a couple of months schooling before they're allowed to take their positions/seats/whathaveyou.

freedoms_stain, demanding political competency, out.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Misleading RSS Headlines Fuck Me Off

BBC RSS headdline: Radiohead 'to stop making albums'


*clicks link*

Thom Yorke quote: None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a
long-play record again. Not straight off.

Read that again "NOT STRAIGHT OFF". Fuck, who's above writing a highly
inaccurate headline just to reel in a few more clicks? Not the beeb

freedoms_stain, tired of reading boring news reports due to bullcrap
headlines, out.

Sent from my mobile device

Monday, 10 August 2009

Edinburgh festival plus Lewis Schaffer Review: moron

So, went to a free show at the Edinburgh comedy festival on Sunday,four comics all doing a short free set to plug their full shows. In general pretty good show, but one guy bugged me. Lewis Shaffer, American guy, decides to pick on the Scottish/English relationship, which is perfectly fine by me - as long as you do it for the right reasons. Lewis Shaffer did not.

He seemed pretty intent on portraying Scots as mean spirited wankers who are jealous of the English. One of the points he made was that 90% of the Scottish population live in a small population belt "hugging the English border" supposedly something to do with our jealousy or resentment towards English people. It was around this point I let my body language illustrate how unamusing I found Lewis Shaffer's observations to be, because that one at least was pure fucking bullshit.

Ever seen a map of Scotland Mr Shaffer? I'm going to presume not, because if you had you'd have noticed that the vast majority of land north of what you referred to as the Glasgow-Edinburgh belt is covered in one of the following: mountains, hills, valleys or lochs, or commonly a whole bunch of these stuck together. So where do the majority of people live? The mountainous and hilly areas with little terrain suitable for building, agriculture or livestock? Of course they fucking don't, they live on the fucking flat bit in the South with all the fucking arable land you stupid cunt. If you have a look at an actual map of Scotland you'll see that the main population centres are central Scotland and the East coast, because those are the fucking flat bits.

So due to my unamused demeanour Lewis Schaffer decides to pick on me as an example of grumpy Scots, who can't even appreciate a free show apparently. Well I'm not laughing at something just because it's free Lewis Schaffer, to illustrate the point Matt Green came on after you and got 3x the laughs out of the audience, I myself was in fucking stitches. Nothing to do with your artificially constructed British stereotype bullshit, you just weren't funny to me.

I have used the name Lewis Schaffer far more than strictly necessary here, I'm just hoping he's the kind of comic who likes to google his name to see if hes been reviewed, and since this is the month of the festival there's a decent chance he will and he'll read this and know why the guy in the glasses and the black t-shirt wasn't laughing.

After the free thing we went to go see Richard Coughlan (who I know from YouTube as coughlan666) unfortunately the bastard never turned up, might catch him another night. Matt Green who I mentioned above was pretty fucking funny, I hope I can catch his full show another time too.

freedoms_stain, victim of another man's stupidity, out

Saturday, 8 August 2009

You Know What's Strange?

If your dog shits in a public area it's illegal, there are fines in
repercussion for allowing your dog to dump wherever it pleases,
however if your HORSE craps out 2 metric tons of fertilizer right on
the pavement it's a-ok.

I live in an area fairly near horse stables. I don't like dodging
shits bigger than my head on the way to work. Horse owners, you have
no excuse, plenty of room on a horse for a bin bag and a shovel, you
can even gallop the fille to the nearest bin to dispose of it
quick-smart. Sort it out.

freedoms_stain, nasally offended, out

Sent from my mobile device


There's a reason I haven't been posting much 1 recently - and it isn't because I've run out of thoughts, trust me, it's because of Bethesda - bastards. Bethesda make video games. Their style is the epic sprawling sandbox RPG. This style of game - if it hooks you - will eat your life. This isn't the first time Bethesda products have consumed my life, back in 2007 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion performed a similar feat and this time it's Fallout 3.

I wasn't too keen on FO3 when I first had a gander at it earlier in the year at a mates house on Xbox 360, I can't explain what didn't really appeal at the time but something felt wrong. Therefore it wasn't until Steam heavily discounted the game recently that I decided to risk it and take the plunge.
I have to admit to being instantly intrigued by the game - it starts with the birth of your character who then "grows up" in a fallout shelter called a Vault - Vault 101 to be precise. The growing up process introduces you to the basic control schemes and concepts of the game while guiding you through the initial character setup and development (appearance, attributes, all that guff).
Things really get interesting after you leave the Vault however - Welcome to the Capitol Wasteland! The game proper is set in Washington D.C. a couple of hundred years after a nuclear strike on the USA - and it looks stunning! FO3 is running on the Oblivion engine, so it's quite an old engine at this point, but Bethesda really have squeezed the best out of it - it's really impressive. As with Oblivion their attention to detail has been huge, you can really believe that this world is a post-nuclear holocaust wasteland. Few of the original buildings are left standing, many are simply rubble filled shells, others are burned out husks. There are still a lot of accessible buildings though, and sections of intact underground metro line - most of these teeming with unfriendlies, although there are plenty of friendly settlements around too. One of those details I found most amusing is that toilet water can be drank from the ladies room for about 24HP and 4 Rads, in the men's room however you net 4HP for 18 Rads - which based on the men's public loos I've seen, can't be too far off the mark.
FO3 looks at first glance like any other FPS, but it's not. You can play it like an FPS if you like but in addition to that there's the V.A.T.S. system. Entering V.A.T.S. freezes time and zooms in to your target displaying each target-able region of their body, it's condition and the percentage chance you have of hitting it based on your characters stats. The amount of AP your character has determines how many shots can be made in V.A.T.S. mode - so you can't just enter V.A.T.S and have your character pump 10 shots into the head of every hostile in range. V.A.T.S. makes the game feel more like an RPG, because there is suddenly a new angle to strategy beyond choosing the right weapon for the job and maybe launching the odd sneak attack. Say for instance I'm fairly low on HP and I come across a Super Mutant with a minigun, I don't have enough V.A.T.S. shots to kill him (in this case) and he's close enough that his minigun is going to shred me to pieces before I can kill him - in a normal FPS it'd take some pretty fancy evasive maneuvers, awesome shooting and a shit load of luck to survive such an encounter, but in FO3 we don't need luck, we need brains! Instead what we do is enter V.A.T.S. and target the minigun. All equip-able items in FO3 are subject to wear, once an items condition hits zero it becomes worthless - if I damage the Super Mutants minigun enough it'll be knocked out his hands and he'll be forced to come at me either unarmed or with a melee weapon or with a lower powered gun, I now have the advantage with my superior ranged weapon and can cut the bastard down before he has time to reach me and do any damage. If I had enough V.A.T.S. shots I could target the minigun and one of the Super Mutants arms or legs - crippling a limb reduces it's effectiveness - a crippled arm would reduce the damage his physical attacks could do and a crippled leg would slow him down giving me more time to gun him down in FPS mode before he reaches striking distance.
Call me a bin raker if you like, but I love scavenging shit in this game, well, scavenging and looting. The wasteland is huge and every intact structure hides pre-war goodies that are useful to you for survival - food and meds, weapons, ammo, armour, components all ripe for the taking - as long as your prepared to fight for your right to take it. The game has a weapon building feature - you need schematics and components to build weapons, I've reached a stage in the game where building weapons has become possible, so I've found myself hoarding random components in the event I may need them later - they're also useful for selling if you needs caps (the games currency) quickly.
In Oblivion repairing worn equipment required either an NPC who would repair it for cash or the use of expendable repair hammers which improved the condition of your stuff based on your repair skill stat, FO3 changes things slightly. You can still pay certain NPCs to repair stuff for you, but now you can repair items using other similar items rather than expendable repair hammers. I like this system better as it makes my scavenging/looting more efficient. Say I invade a Super Mutant camp and I loot 10 poor condition Assault Rifles from the Super Mutants after I've killed them, that's something like 70 weight - probably an instant overburden preventing me from running, jumping or using the fast travel function, furthermore a poor condition Assault Rifle may only be worth 20 caps a piece, so I have potentially 200 caps in Assault Rifle that I can't carry. With the new repair system I can use the Assault Rifles to repair each other, so I can actually end up with 2/3 great condition Assault Rifles that are worth maybe as much as 200 caps or more each, so in actual fact I've saved myself time and earned a decent amount of caps into the bargain. In terms of my personal working equipment there's maybe a slight disadvantage in having to find a similar item before you can repair gear out in the field where you can't pay for repairs, but if you gain an NPC follower you can have them carry spares for the purpose of repair. I obtained a great Plasma Rifle early in the game, however I haven't come across another one since so the one I have is languishing in a state of poor repair which somewhat sucks.
Voice Acting
There are still a ton of less important characters who have identical voices/phrases, but it's far less noticable than in Oblivion where the voice acting was so fucked up you could talk to 5 people in a row with the same voice actor and on occasion talk to someone and their voice would change from one dialogue option to the next. They seem to have made a better effort in FO3 and it's pleasant.
Followers are NPCs who join your quest. They're useful for carrying spare shit and evening the odds against large groups of enemies. They also go a little way towards limiting the XP you earn by killing enemies and thereby preventing you from earning the XP from that particular kill. This will slow your progress toward the level cap slightly (a good thing, see No Likey section).
No Likey

Level Cap
Being an RPG the game has a level system, each level you gain allows you to add skill points and choose "perks". Fine by me... except they've capped it off at Level 20 (Level 30 if you buy the Broken Steel DLC). The level cap wouldn't bother me if it was possible to complete most of the game before reaching it - but it rather appears that I'm going to hit the level cap long before I see the end of the game never mind the DLC. It's also pretty irritating that you get XP for pretty much anything and everything which speeds you along towards the cap at a rate of knots. Furthermore some of the perks are related to gaining XP and levels faster, and like a dumbass I actually took the perk that gives you 10% more XP - TWICE! So I'll be hitting that level cap faster than I had to. I'll know better next time. Bethesda recently announced that a further level cap increase would likely "unbalance" the game therefore they are not inclined to raise it further - shower of shits!
Yeah, I know they're in Likey, but sometimes you wonder if they're worth the bother. My current follower is Charon, a Ghoul a obtained the contract for in the Ghouls safe-haven Underworld. The problem is that he can be fucking dumb sometimes. Charon has slightly better perception than me which means he'll detect enemies from further away than my character does. The pain in the tits is that he'll go attack that enemy regardless of whether I want to or not, and occasionally without even my knowledge. Bethesda really should have included some better team controls, maybe similar to those in Gears of War to allow me to call back followers when they run off. 
Followers can occasionally adopt retarded tactics like ploughing in with a weak-ass knife when they're armed to the teeth with far more powerful guns.
Followers also appear to be ignorant of environmental factors such as gas - firing guns in an atmosphere filled with leaked gas causes explosions and gets you dead, you'd have thought they'd be smart enough to recognise that, but they don't.
Followers can also be picky about terrain and may choose to take the long way round if its too rough or any jumping is involved. They also appear to have an issue with drops - even drops that do no damage they'll be reluctant to take without being physically pushed.
Microsoft Points
Now these really annoy the shit out of me. FO3 has 5 DLC packages (4 released, one forthcoming). There are two ways to obtain the DLC packages, download them from Microsoft via the Games For Windows Live marketplace orrrrrrrr, buy them on disc several months after the DLC was available online.
Each DLC costs 800 MS points. How much? errrrr, well, that's the issue really, the points system confuses the matter. 800 points is worth about £6.80 directly from MS, but you can't buy points in denominations that are multiples of 800, so you have to buy more than you need, which is bullshit to be perfectly honest.
5x800=4000, that's how many points I need to buy all the DLC, but MS is only willing to sell me 4200, forcing me to pay more than the DLC I want costs and leaving me with 200 useless points. Of course I don't have to buy direct from MS, buying points cards from other retailers is often slightly cheaper than buying direct from MS, but they still only sell in values of 2100 and 4200, which still leaves me paying more than what they're asking for the content alone.
The first DLC disk can be bought new online for <£12 which would appear to be a bargain compared with the points cost, but what about the other 3 DLC? The second disc isn't out until late August and will retail at £14.99 forcing a longer wait for it to drop to a more equal price, but having bought the discs of both what about the last one? I find it somewhat unlikely they'll release a single DLC on disc, so then I'd have to buy it with points, but the minimum points I can buy are 2100... 
What a pile of shit.
Moira runs a trading shack in the town of Megaton. She's a crazy bitch who asks you to do dangerous shit in research for a book she's writing. I don't care about that because she pays you, but her voice and demeanour are the most irritating things in the Fallout universe. When I play through the game again as an evil character I'm killing her personally before I blowup Megaton.  
Your wrist mounted computer (the Pip-boy) can receive radio broadcasts for you to listen to - cool! No, not cool. The same handful of songs are looped eternally as are the news stories - although as you complete quests they'll occasionally slot in a new story covering that. To make matters worse all the music is easy-listening 50's shit. I hate easy-listening 50's shit :(
Karma's a bitch as they say. There are several ways you can act in this game, good, bad, mixture of the two, however you like really. Generally speaking doing good and selfless deeds (helping people, giving away stuff for free) grants you positive Karma while being a murderous selfish bastard pretty much grants you negative. I like the idea of the Karma system, but at the same time I do think it's a bit unfair. Like if I kill someone or steal stuff but no one witnesses it I don't see why I should lose Karma. I suppose if you apply some sort of divine Karma giving/taking entity who lives in the sky - but I don't believe in that shit dammit! I also feel that it kills the stealth gameplay aspect as it's hard to be a theif-type character and maintain high positive Karma. So far I've been playing the goody-goody character, although my Karma has fallen to Neutral after I massacred the entire Republic of Dave (that's a whole five NPC's btw)
Fallout 3 is an awesome game. Its emersiveness is second to none in the single player market. There are a couple of niggles but they're easily overlooked by the rest of the games sheer awesomeness. Bethesda have created an awesome experience, one that allows you to be a hero or a villain, to explore, to conquer, or, if it suits you, to bin rake!
I warn you one last time, it will eat your time, I have played 40+ hours in the last 2 weeks, and I estimate I'm no more than a quarter through the game...
freedoms_stain, aka Tessa The Lone Wanderer (That's right my character is a chick, big whoop wanna fight about it?), out.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Why why why???

...Is it that my mobile phone when low on battery proceeds to vibrate
and bleep every few minutes? Surely this is madness? Vibrating and
bleeping use up power - the very thing I'm short on! And what's more
the feature apparently cannot be disabled.

It seems to me that a better system would be to alert the user until
they acknowledge their lowness of battery. Less naggage too.

incidentally this is my first go at publishing a blog directly from
the google mail java app on my phone. It'll be interesting to see how
blogger interprets the formatting. This way isn't ideal, but it should
allow me to publish a bit more when I'm busy - recently been working
regular 6 day weeks, doesn't leave much space for thinking, thus not
much space,for blogging.

freedoms_stain, not dead, out.