Avatar Culture in the workplace

Flushed with success at my recent foray into workplace safety, I decided to take more steps to improve the lives of my colleagues.

I noticed a long time ago that one of the bathrooms I regularly use at work has a small A5-sized frame with a glass front that faces you as you enter. I assume it was out there to hold notices from our facilities department – maybe a sign saying “we clean these toilets regularly” or “if you’re unhappy with the state of this bathroom you should see some of the others on this floor”. But as far as I know, it’s always been empty, possibly for years.

What this frame needs is a picture, and I have just the thing. I printed one out and stuck it in the frame. Now, instead of a joyless beige bathroom, toilet-bound staff members are greeted with the sight of one of the world’s finest artworks, placed there by me to lift their soul.

I don’t know how many of them have noticed it yet, but they are very welcome.

Avatar ‘Void Bastards’ – mini review

When it comes to video games I am equally attracted to both the box art and the title itself. ‘Void Bastards’ immediately jumped on my radar when I was reading about it last year and recently I managed to pick it up in the sale for the reasonable cost of twenty sheets.

It’s available on Nintendo Switch (where I’ve been playing it), XBox One, PS4 and Steam so just about anyone can get their sweaty paws on it.

You play as one of an infinite supply of dehydrated prisoners who is brought back to life because the spaceship is on the fritz, stranded and floating in space. Your task is to use your widdle wocket to fly to derelict vessels in the area, steal everything that isn’t nailed down, hopefully find some useful item that you can use to smush together with something else to make a better item and, eventually, fly the fuck out of there.

Played from a first-person perspective, as you infiltrate the various spaceships you encounter enemies and other environmental hazards such as radiation, fire and oil which makes you slip everywhere. Sometimes the generator is down so you have to turn the electricity back on before you can start sniffing around for junk. Sometimes the lights are off and you have to peer through the darkness hoping not to trip any alarms. Each vessel is randomly generated, using the same series of rooms mixed up each time, so whilst it can be repetitive you can never guarantee what you will get every time.

Movement is responsive and fluid. The graphics are cartoony, cell-shaded and fits the feel of the game perfectly. Progression is measured by certain milestones broken down into smaller achievements such as making weapons, armour and other items. You need to keep your supplies of fuel and food topped up otherwise you’ll be stranded for good or die from starvation. Your time on each ship is limited due to the small supply of oxygen (usually less than ten minutes) granted so you have to be fast and you have to be precise.

The only real downside, other than the aforementioned repetition, is the humour. The game sadly isn’t as funny as it thinks it is. There’s an enemy called a ‘Janitor’ who walks around and when he hears you approaching he shouts, “Gary! Is that you?”. Smaller enemies called ‘Juves’ call you names such as twatface and dickwad in their nasal almost Mancunian accent. The AI on your spaceship tries desperately to ape the peerless deadpan narration of ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ with not great success. If you can get past this, you’ll find lots to enjoy. It’s a shame though because ‘Journey to the Savage Planet’, a similar game in structure and tone, is a lot funnier.

8 voids out of 10

Avatar The toolbox has arrived

It was my birthday, obviously, but as an adult man with his own bank account I very rarely have a list of gift-sized things that I want but don’t yet have. As a result, when Kev and Ian came knocking with birthday questions, the only thing I could think of was that I needed a toolbox because the house is littered with all sorts of DIY paraphernalia.

They sent me some money. I ordered the one I wanted. Yesterday it arrived.

It’s enormous.

In many ways, that’s great, because it has absorbed not just all the tools I own, but also a range of other miscellaneous things, including a set of 100 drill bits in its own heavy duty carry case, a picture hanging kit, several pairs of goggles, miscellaneous other items of workwear, and it still has room to spare. In other ways it’s a bit dispiriting because the measurements of this box match the measurements on the listing I chose (I checked them) and yet somehow I failed to appreciate that I was ordering a toolbox that is only marginally smaller than my car.

Still, there’s plenty of room to add more stuff in future, which is good, and if I ever go camping, I’ll just take this and sleep inside it. Win win. Thanks everyone.

Avatar ABOFB 25: Racehorses

In another longer-than-usual episode, chris poses an excellent question about racehorses which leads us down many an interesting path. Its also the catalyst for our first ever ‘Bonus Episode’!

Listen in close as we discuss:

  • Names for horses
  • Names for cats
  • The Queen Mother
  • Riding all the horses
PouringBeans
PouringBeans
ABOFB 25: Racehorses
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Bonus Episode: Can Donkey Swim in River?
The big question raised in this episode was “can donkeys swim”? Chris found ‘an’ answer online. This is that answer, complete with much giggling.

PouringBeans
PouringBeans
ABOFB 25: Bonus Episode: Can Donkey Swim in River?
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Avatar Cruel, cruel irony…

In my time, I’m well aware that I’ve been known to be an annoying pedant:

  • I’ve been the guy to point out when people have flags upside down.
  • I’ve been annoyed that people don’t cook toast properly (justifiably in your case Ian!)
  • I’ve been someone who re-arranges people cutlery draws to put them in the correct order.

Anyway…

Last week we bought a new cutlery set. Our old one was getting tatty and the shiny bits were starting to wear off, so we popped down to Freeport and bought a new one.

Sometimes life just conspires to give you a metaphorical middle finger…

Read More: Cruel, cruel irony… »

Avatar No mangoes in the server room

You will remember, of course, that this was some excellent advice from Kev, who is an IT magician and retailer of high-quality wireless abbabs.

I have, therefore, put up signs enforcing this rule at work.

I was just going to take pictures of my new signage and then take it down, but when I actually put it up, I decided I liked it, so it’s now going to stay there permanently. It’s a good rule. Safety first.

Avatar Four Word Reviews: Discomania

A good cover version can make the world a better place. One talented artist taking the work of another, and filtering it through their own lens, can bring new depth or a different sound to something familiar. The best cover versions take something wonderful and turn it in new and unexpected directions to produce something else that’s wonderful. Have you ever heard Stevie Wonder’s version of “We Can Work It Out” by the Beatles? Have you heard David Bowie covering The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset”? A good cover version can be glorious.

A bad cover version, on the other hand, adds nothing. Singing your way through someone else’s song just to say you’ve done it will only make your audience wish they were listening to the original, because the original is associated with happy memories and was made with a conviction that the cover is entirely missing.

If you would like to listen to twelve cover versions in that second category, plus a badly made “megamix” and one track of library music that seems to have got lost and arrived here by mistake, then the album for you is Discomania, a compilation of genuinely dreadful music released by Mercury Records in 2004 when they could have just as easily not bothered.

Read More: Four Word Reviews: Discomania »

Avatar Shoe FM – the return

“… and we’re back, back for another hour or so of the best boot-y-licious tunes you’ve heard since yesterday. Shoe FM is here for you and yours, and maybe even your neighbour too. Crank up that dial for the best in shoe and shoe-related music all day, every day.

As ever I am your host, coast to coast, Jazz Bungleton, ready and willing to satisfy your need for tweed. After all those flip-head bangers this morning I think it’s time we slowed down and indulged a little. There’s no need for the pace to fully drop though, we’ve gotta keep pushing through to the afternoon; that’s when things get shoe-per good.

This is your friendly reminder to check out our most recent podcast where martial arts actor Robin Shou picks out his top five desert island shoes. Even I was surprised with what was at number one and I can guarantee that shoe will be too.

Get cosy with your loved ones because we’re schmoozing out of the gate with a double bill of ‘All I Want is Shoe’ then ‘With or Without Shoe’ both by U2. Whilst I’ve got you in a vulnerable position take a little bit of ‘Shoe Got It’ by Roy Orbison with a pinch of ‘Miss Shoe’ by the Rolling Stones. Then as we’re approaching the hour it’s time to hold onto your brown brogues because Bryan Adams is going to ‘Run to Shoe’ before Bon Jovi needs to tell you that ‘Shoe Give Love a Bad Name’.

Edge of the seat stuff I can tell you.

If you want to be in with a chance to win a year’s supply of shoe polish courtesy of our superb sponsors, Kiwi, the world’s number one, then you need to call or email the station with the answer to this question: “who was trying to dress shoe up back in 1984?” Only by getting the answer right can you potentially qualify for our game ‘Shoe Do You Think You Are?’. Call or email now.

Sandra Qwango has a fresh platter of news laid out towards one o’clock, Bernie Boxfresh is here after two o’clock but to perk up your buns before they can get comfy George Harrison has a confession to make because he’s got his mind set on shoe. Take it away, George…”