kingfu.co.uk

Bullshit & Ignorance

June 3, 2011

I feel an urge to rant

So I will.

The following driving related things piss me off:

  • Fog lights (as previously mentioned. Fuck you fog lights).
  • People who move into the outside lane of a two-lane road/dual carriageway and then proceed to drive at less than the speed limit. Fuck you. Why should I have to break the law by passing you on the inside just because you’re a fucking wanksock?
  • People who wait until you pull out to pass them because they’re driving well below the speed limit, then notice you passing them and speed up. What is wrong with you people?
  • People who move out to pass you, then slow down and sit in your blindspot. Good job, twatspoons.

There. I feel better already.

May 21, 2011

Velocirapture

Some nutbar went around telling people the ‘rapture’ was supposed to happen today. It didn’t. Bloody cheek if you ask me, going around announcing the apocalypse then not actually having one.

I was expecting to see choirs of angels coming down, lead by Jesus riding a velociaptor. Granted it’s not meant to happen until 6pm, but since it’s already later than that in some parts of the world, I’m hedging my bets that Harold Camping was just wrong, wrong, wrongity-wrong-wrong-wrong. Sucks to be you, Harry.

April 30, 2011

Good Old Charlie

People like to say the British Royal Family don’t do anything, but how wrong they are. Yesterday they were all at some big knees-up, and today big Chas is right back to the grindstone. Off to go visit the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre. That’s working that is, and on a fucking Saturday no less! No doubt he was up all night doing tequila shots with the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen and so on, so he’s probably absolutely hanging. Working, on a Saturday, with a hangover! That’s dedication that is. He’ll have to look at stuff and say “How delightful” and maybe even shake hands with commoners. Good work, fella.

March 30, 2011

It’s not just me, right?

Whenever I play games from the Fallout series, I get the urge to hoard the caps from beer bottles and things…I might need them come the apocalypse after all!

It’s not just me, right..?

March 7, 2011

DVD and Blu-Ray

When the price of DVD started to drop, I thought nothing of replacing my VHS movie collection with DVDs. The experience of watching a movie on DVD compared to VHS was a pretty huge leap for both sound and picture quality. The experience improved in such a way that having watched movies on DVD I found it hard to go back to VHS.

Blu-ray though. Hrm. I have a PS3 which I bought a couple of years ago primarily for the ability to watch films on it on blu-ray. It was, I felt a worthy accompaniment to my purchase at the time of my 42″ Panasonic plasma screen with its fancy HDMI inputs, and my DTS amplifier with its fancy digital audio connections.

I’m rather underwhelmed by the whole HD revolution though. I mean, don’t get me wrong – High definition visuals and audio are stunning, they really are but relative to an upscaled DVD? eh…

Play them side-by-side and sure you’ll see the difference. Play them separately and you’ll know the image is that much crisper; however there really isn’t that same experience altering difference that came with the switch from VHS to DVD. Hardly surprising I suppose, given that one was a switch from analogue to digital and the other is, let’s face it, a refinement of what we already have.

I’m not saying don’t get a blu-ray player. They also play DVDs and if you have a decent TV and sound system, then you’ll probably enjoy the clarity of images and sound and so on. The players are also rapidly dropping in price, no bad thing. For now at least though, the cost of the discs themselves are substantially more than DVDs.

While I was still in England, I’d often pop into HMV or wherever at the weekend and browse around the film section. Yes, I know it’s much cheaper to buy shit like that on t’internet, but sometimes I jut felt like watching something new then and there. Being able to browse around and take something home with me that I could watch that same day. Anyway…frequently I’d pick something out and stand with the DVD in one hand and the blu-ray in the other, trying to decide if I wanted to spend an extra ten quid on the blu-ray version. Nine times out of ten the answer was no. Unless the film is all sparkling special effects and so on, I really didn’t see the point.

I don’t think it’ll ever replace DVD as a format unless manufacturers stop selling DVDs. Unless they come down in price so they cost the same as DVDs I think there will always be that weighing up moment.

Not like it’s a world changing issue or anything like that, just one that crossed my mind!

March 6, 2011

DVD storage

As someone who has a tendency to buy a fuck of a lot of DVDs, I’ve often found it something of a struggle to store the bastard things. Commercial storage units are usually a) small b) expensive c) both. A DVD storage unit that costs 60 quid (Or the dollar equivalent these days!) that holds 300 DVDs sounds great until you realise you’ll need three or four of them.

Before I moved to the US I bought a couple of shelving units from a guy who used to run a DVD rental place. They were kinda ugly and massive – but cheap. I paid about £20 for the pair and they held around 700 discs each. When it came to moving to the States however I decided against shipping them with the rest of my stuff. Like I said, they were fucking massive and I was paying for shipping by volume.

So I decided to build my own. I’ve never really been what you might call a DIY enthusiast so I just kinda made it up as I went along. The end result was this:

dvd shelves

I know, awesome right?

I’ll now attempt to give instructions of some kind in case anyone feels like trying to build their own. You will need:

  • 4 8″x1″x6′ boards
  • 16 1/2″x48″ dowels
  • A drill with a 1/2″ spade bit
  • Wood screws (I used #8 x 1-1/2″ but you can probably use other shit, fucked if I know, like I said I was making it up as I went along.)
  • A screwdriver
  • A wood saw
  • A tapemeasure
  • A pencil or pen
  • A bit of paper or cardboard
  • Stickyback plastic, some empty washing up liquid bottles and a the cardboard tubes from a toilet roll.
  • Okay you don’t need any of the previous item, I just got caught up in that whole Blue Peter vibe.

Right, so now we have a big fuck off pile of stuff. This is how I did it, which may be cackhanded and have proper DIY types being all ‘WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING YOU TWAT!?” But bollocks to you, it worked so I figure I was doing it mostly right. Or got very lucky.

Step One

This is turning out to be a very professionally written thingamewhatsit I’m sure you’ll agree. Look at me using headers and stuff for the steps. Wait, I should be explaining what to do not wazzing on about how good my guide is, shouldn’t I. Moving swiftly on.

Get your tape measure and one of your big planky-things. The 8x1x6 things. Yeah those. Use your tape measure to mark the board at 9 inch intervals. That means every 9 inches. Why? Because I told you to, that’s why.

Step Two

Get your bit of paper or card, which needs to be at least 9 inches tall and 8 inches wide – probably should have mentioned that earlier but it’s not like I’m getting paid for this so you can’t expect me to care. Anyway; get that bit of card and cut it so that it fits exactly into one of the spaces you’ve just marked out on the board. Then, get a DVD case and position it so that it fits on the card, tilted back slightly. Use your spade bit (IN YOUR HAND NOT IN THE FUCKING DRILL. Just saying) to mark a circle under the front edge of the DVD, and another one at the back edge, near the top. I should probably do a diagram here because I’ve already done this and even I’m not sure what the fuck I’m talking about.

badly drawn diagram

It’s not to scale or anything, just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Okay? Okay.

Use the spade bit, or a knife or scissors or whatever to make the holes go all the way through (you may want to get an adult to help you with this if you’re a child or stupid or whatever) This will become a template.

Step…whatever the fuck I’m up to

Use the template to mark where the holes for the dowels will need to go on the board you marked the lines on. At this point, I put three of my boards together and used the spade bit to drill through all three at once. This means getting them all lined up and making sure they don’t move around too much and stuff. You can do it that way, or you can do them one at a time or however you like really. Again, using a power drill here so if you’re prone to self harm, or a child or whatever, probably best to get someone who’s less of a fuckwit to help. Also don’t do it on your floor, or whatever because you’ll make big holes in it. This should be common sense but I’m well aware that there are a huge number of people in the world who buy Apple products, which is a good indication that common sense is lacking in the world thus I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry. Really? An ipad? okay back on track..

The step after the one before

Get your saw. Cut your remaining 8x1x6 in half. Exactly in half, so measure it, with a tape measure or something. The two halves of the cut board will be the top and the bottom of the shelves. They go on top, and on the bottom…use screws and a screwdriver of some kind to attach them to the larger boards with the holes in, making sure that the holes in the three uprights are lined up. There should be one on each side and one in the middle. Look at the picture of the completed shelves if you hit your head hard, or are too drunk to know what I mean or whatever (if you’re really drunk you probably shouldn’t be doing this, since it involves pointy things and power tools. Just saying).

At this point I also attached another piece of wood across the back about half way up to give the frame more support. I don’t think it actually needs it once the dowels are in place but it might, so you might want to get another bit of wood and do it, or you might not, I don’t care either way since it’s not me it’s going to fall on if it’s not sturdy enough.

The next bit

Thread your dowels through the holes. All the way through. They’ll poke out the end. That’s because they’re longer than your shelves are wide, don’t panic or anything that was expected. Just cut them off at whatever length you want. You could probably do that before you thread them through but measure it if you’re going to because you’ll feel a right twat if you cut them first then realise your cackhanded carpentry has left you with the shelves slightly wider at the top than the bottom or something and you’ve cut the dowels too short.

That’s about it. Now you can put it wherever you want, and slap your DVDs on it. You could use a wall strap of some kind if you’re worried about it falling over, but it seems pretty secure to me once its full. Finished it should hold roughly 58 DVDs per shelf. With 8 shelves, that’s 468 DVDs on the unit total.

Price for materials will no doubt vary from place to place, but I got mine for a little under 40 USD, and the build took about an hour, maybe a little less.

February 24, 2011

Browser Games

Browser games are everywhere these days. Most of them are utter dross, but every now and then a diamond shows up in the rough.

My top three at present are:

3. Urban Dead

Found at urbandead.com, this is a zombie apocalypse game. You can play either as a survivor, or a zombie. Odds are, whichever you choose to be, at some point or another you’ll wind up joining the other side. It’s easy to die, and Zombies can be ‘revived’ and turned back into ordinary people.

You’re limited to 50 turns a day, which sound a lot until you play the game for a while. It’s really not and probably the most annoying thing about it. I understand why it’s limited that way, but it does mean that you’re pretty much done with a character after 10 minutes. There’s a pretty decent community and despite being a pretty low involvement game it’s still fun to kill a few minutes in the morning while you have your morning tea, coffee or class A drug of choice.

2. Echo Bazaar

Found at echobazaar.failbettergames.com. You have to use twitter or Facebook (ewwww) to sign into this one, which is a plus point for most people I suspect. For me it was a pain in the fucking balls because, as regular readers of my ranting my know, I am not a fan of either. Since facebook is the spawn of the devil’s inbred cousin or something, I registered a twitter account for one of our cats (because he likes to walk around on my keyboard so I figured what the fuck, he probably has just as much of value to say as the vast majority of twitter users!) and then usurped it for playing Echo Bazaar.

Okay so now that I’m done ranting about how you log into this one, I can get around to the part where I actually tell you something about the game.

This is a kinda…erm, I guess Steampunk game, about London falling into the ground and devils wandering about and people with squids for heads. And cats who can talk. There was probably a lot of crack smoked during the creation of this game. It’s beautifully presented, and the story elements of it are entertaining and well written. It’s also not finished, and has recently switched to a subscription model to get the most out of it, which is understandable in the sense that a lot of time and money has gone into its development I have no doubt, but that switch from freeplay to paid for content always leaves a bitter taste.

Spangly as it is, it’s also pretty slow to load if you’re on a shitty connection like mine and as I mentioned, unfinished. As you progress it also turns into a bit of a mindless grindfest as you spend your time repeating the same storylets over and over and over again in an attempt to build up a skill enough to progress to the next part of the story.

1. Kingdom of Loathing

Found at kingdomofloating.com. It’s hard to know where to start with this one…I’m not sure if it rates so highly at the moment because I’ve only recently discovered it, or if it really is as awesome as it seems to be.

It’s really, really silly. It’s a fantasy rpg type game but really only in the loosest sense..character classes include Disco Bandits, Turtle Tamers and Pastamancers. The currency in the game world is meat, and meat is also used to forge weapons and armour. Yes. Really. So apparently copious amounts of crack were smoked during the creation of this game, too.

This one is totally free to play, though you can donate if you want to. There’s an astonishing amount of detail and content in this one, too. It’s nuts. You get limited ‘adventures’ per day, but these can be increased by eating food, which you can cook yourself or buy, or drinking cocktails…don’t ask. If you miss a day, your adventures accumulate, too. I don’t know if there’s an upper limit for how many you can accrue, but if there is I haven’t yet found it. Awesome fun.

January 13, 2011

A (very) Short Story

I am a huge fan of the Cyberpunk genre. I was bored, so I wrote a short story.

Best Dressed

Christian Miller was full of promise. A bright, rising star in the corporate world. He came from a family who ensured he had everything a young man could want or need to get the very best start in life.

His transition from corporate academy, to University and into full time employment, albeit in a junior position with GenX (The leading light in functional and fashionable personal protection devices) was as smooth as they come. His subsequent assent up the corporate ladder, was recognised by his peers as one of the fastest, yet most deserved in the corporation’s history.

With a rise through the corporate ranks came money and with it, influence. Young Christian found himself the centre of attention everywhere he went. People latched onto him and hung on his every word. Popularity comes easily to those with money and influence.

This is where Christian’s story takes a familiar turn. A turn readily associated with musicians and actors. The parties were always wild, the drink and drugs were plentiful. Christian took every precaution to ensure he was always the best dressed person in the room. His suits were personally designed for him by top fashion houses and he was sure to have only the latest and greatest in accessories.

He carried a gun, of course. Everyone who was anyone did these days. Like everything else that Christian owned, it was a highly valuable, and extremely fashionable item. He snubbed his own corporation’s wares, they were fine for street fashion but Christian knew he was better than that. His own weapon was from a private designer. It was more than a weapon, it was a work of art.

With his gun tucked inside his jacket, a wad of cash and the encouragement of his friends, Christian thought nothing of venturing out of the warehouse party he was attending. It was on the riverfront – edgy, cool place for a party everyone thought. You could see the combat zones from there.

He wanted to score a little something extra for him and his friends and hell, he’d be safe. No one was going to screw with someone as rich and powerful as him. Besides, he was armed.

Christian Miller was full of promise. Now he was full of holes. His blood soaking into the silk of his very expensive suit. No one sent the Smiley Sharks the memo about not harming rich and powerful corporate executives.

The Smiley Sharks with their gang leathers had seemed likely folk to ask about acquiring some party prescriptions. However, the negotiations went a little differently than Christian expected; offer was usually met with counter offer that’s true, but “How about you just give us all your cash and fuck off before we kill you?” wasn’t quite the counter offer he expected.

He’d pulled out his gun. That Antoine DeLaney, one-of-a-kind with all it’s highly impressive etching. They’d laughed. That wasn’t quite the response he’d expected either. It also jammed, when he pulled the trigger, expecting to wipe the smiles of their faces.

That night, Christian Miller got a lesson in why GenX was the choice of the masses. Moments after the ill fated decision to try and shoot a booster ganger in the face; a variety of GenX’s best selling weapons appeared in their hands and sprayed the street behind Christian with promise.

At least he was the best dressed corpse in the gutter that night.

January 3, 2011

Wait, was that another decade that just went by?

Where’s my fucking flying car? That’s what I want to know. We’re living in the future and sure, we have some pretty cool technology and all, but we were definitely sold short on the flying cars and rocket packs.

2010 was a pretty big year for me personally, what with me moving to another continent and getting married and all. It was a pretty interesting year for British politics, too. I mean, a Conservative/LibDem Coalition? Really? I wouldn’t have believed it a year ago. That’s not what we (well not really me at this point I guess) actually got though, is it? Seems to me what the British public really got was a Tory government with Nick Clegg bolted on (by his lips. To Cameron’s arse) doing a great job of destroying any and all credibility the LibDems are likely to have…pretty much ever again. Good job, fella.

Anyway. Happy New Year to all!

December 7, 2010

This probably needs a snappy title, but it doesn’t have one

I’ve watched a few films lately, and figured I’d give my fingers some exercise and type some stuff about them. I’m pleased to say that none of these movies featured talentless plank of wood, Terry Stone.

Pride & Glory

Edward Norton and Colin Farrell team up for this one. It’s about police in New York and thus the story trots along the inevitable cliché avenue of corruption and the like. There’s a good story in this movie, but to be quite blunt about it, it’s too long. It runs for over 2 hours and there are a lot of scenes which should probably have just been left on the cutting room floor. I totally get that building a background for a character allows us to feel empathy for them when shit hits the fan or what have you, but in this instance, those scene disrupt the flow of the main story and don’t really add anything significant to the characters development. It’s almost as though they were added as an afterthought.

“Hey this is a good movie, but what it needs is more human interest”
“You mean like, scenes to show these otherwise tough-guys to have a caring, sensitive family focused side?”
“Yeah that’s it! We’ll toss in some scenes where they get a bit emotional about stuff and maybe tell someone they love them. That kinda shit. It’ll be great. Oscars all ’round I reckon!”

Still, it’s not a bad movie, a solid 6/10 I’d say.

Slither

This one’s been around a while, I’ve seen it before but I don’t believe ever commented on it. It’s a comedy-horror dealy, with some genuinely pretty good horror moments, while still being very funny. Good script, good cast and probably able to pick it up in a bargain bin for next to nothing. I know this, because I did. Excellent movie.

7/10

Righteous Kill

De Niro and Pacino play a couple of detectives on the hunt for a serial killer. It was written by Russell Gewirtz, who also wrote ‘Inside Man’ which is another excellent movie. I enjoyed this one. The story flowed well, the acting as you may expect from two old legends like these two is excellent and there’s a quite cool, if somewhat predictable twist in the tale. I figured it out not too far into the movie, but it was well handled all the same.

7/10

Knockaround Guys

I felt like I probably shouldn’t have liked this. It had a lot of warning signs flashing when I first looked it over – Vin Diesel and Seth Green, er, really? Amazingly though, this is well worth a watch. The story is kinda predictable in many respects, but its well done. John Malkovich features in the cast, and he is brilliant as always. This is by no means a great cinematic masterpiece, but for an entertaining movie to kill some time, it’s worth a watch.

6/10

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