Avatar Announcements

As we dwell on what it is to be human, how it is to act and treat others, and other big questions such as these, occasionally you sit down and decide that all of that can be pushed aside for the moment because there are more important things to consider. I mean, I could wax lyrical about the *checks* state of growing marrows in grow bags for hours on end, but who would really take the time to read it? Would you? I didn’t think so.

What you need is something to get excited about. What you need is a big ole’ bag of news that I can throw over you and you’ll drown in all my tasty, tasty titbits of information. I am doing it right now, as you read this; if you try to swim you won’t be able to from all the bumpy pieces of gossip I am using to weigh you down. You may be gasping for air and I am going to squeeze the life right out of you.

Actually, that sounds pretty threatening, so I’m not going to do that. Have a bunch of announcements instead:

  • Today is 22 June which means nothing but happiness and joy for the good people of America celebrating National Chocolate Éclair Day. Yes, it does sound completely made up and I would imagine that 99% of the population don’t even know that it is National Chocolate Éclair Day but who am I to stand in the way of our overseas cousins? Let them eat anything they want if it means that we can carry on receiving their Lucky Charms and odd flavours of soft drinks
  • Famous birthdays today include Meryl Streep, Cyndi Lauper and my personal favourite, Bruce Campbell. Keep on tooting, guys
  • For my personal announcements, I want everyone to know that I try to be as observant as I can be. I took the recycling out the other day and, crossing the street to the communal bins, I noticed a sock on the floor. Hmmm, that looks familiar, I thought, and carried on walking. A few days later with another bag of recycling, I noticed the sock was still there. It had been ran over by a few cars by then, flattened against the tarmac and grubby with muck. It was only then, striding past it clutching my bogrolls and cereal boxes, did I realise that it was my sock. How it got there, I’m not sure, but scientists are doing their best to reconstruct the series of events leading up to this using fancy sci-fi gadgets that I’m not allowed to touch.

If anyone else would like to announce anything then please do so.

Avatar Kev up in a brewery

The other day we went to a brewery and made some tasty beer. You know that, of course, because if you’re reading this, you were there.

Anyway, I have now published photos of this excellent day in the Photos section, so that the three of us, and Sarah, can see what we got up to all day. It was one of our best days for photography.

I also had a great plan to edit together a video using all the footage we shot on the day, but despite having coined the new catchphrase “get a video”, we seem to have only created three videos. One of them was in portrait and was just me pulling a pint with nobody saying anything, so having skipped that, there were just two videos.

Not to be put off, I made a video out of them anyway. It will only cost you three minutes of your life. Please enjoy.

Avatar V-Game Review – Imagine Girl Band

Can you? Can you imagine a girl band? I bet you can’t. I bet, when you try, all you have is a blank space and the feeling of hopelessness when your favourite steak knife (?) is out of stock and you have to settle for second best.

The ‘imagine’ games were a series of shovelware nonsense pushed out by Ubisoft to capitalise on the casual gaming market that was en vogue during the Nintendo Wii and DS era. Don’t fancy your kids shooting soldiers in ‘Call of Duty’ or smashing deities in the face in ‘God of War’? Get them into some harmless touch screen fun on a Nintendo. They covered a lot of bland topics and you can regularly find them taking up space in charity shops and lining the walls of CEX because parents and grandparents bought them in droves and now nobody wants them.

You start by choosing your name and what instrument you want to play. I went with Fluke, cos I’m cool, and bass guitar, because everyone knows that’s the coolest. You also get to choose one of three genres of music to specialise in so I opted for funk. After some perfunctory story about being in a band and looking for a new member, you start practising. When I say “practising” though I mean engaging in a basic version of any rhythm game from the past 20 years. My band is called The Oppress because funk music is very music about sticking it to “the man” and how much he’s holding us all back. Fluke and the Oppress. Yeah.

The song plays in the background and coloured buttons move across the top of the screen. When the button reaches the circle at the end, you tap the corresponding button with your stylus. The closer it is to being perfectly in the circle, the higher the score you get is. You can choose to practise with the rest of your band mates at home or you can perform… in the library?

This, to me, had “bar in the aquarium” vibes. Do music and reading go together? I get distracted when trying to do both but each to their own, I suppose. I was practising the whopping three songs our band had in the library and getting fairly good scores, however the game wasn’t moving forward so I took the girls to the mall instead.

You can buy instruments, new items of clothing and accessories at the mall like a real mall. As my character is a teenager and we hadn’t done any gigs yet I didn’t have a lot of money so I bought a new top and trousers to complement the funk style the band was going for. Still nothing. I went home to speak to what I thought was my brother but was actually my boyfriend who I never see because I’m either at school or with the girls trying to kick out the jams. Still nothing. With very little options, I went back to the library and performed each song until my score was off the charts.

Success! By smashing the songs, I opened up a brand new place to visit on the map; the park. I also earned some decent cash from performing at the library so I headed back to the mall to buy another bass guitar. I needed my instrument to match my new outfit, of course. It was then that my thirty minutes were up and I decided to stop.

It’s not an inherently bad game albeit one that’s so bland you wouldn’t be able to pick it out in a line-up some six months after last seeing it. If you aim for the lowest common denominator then you’re guaranteed to refrain from offending anyone. It blows my mind that someone will have paid full price for this once.

*5 out of 10 funk trousers*

Avatar Proto-Papples

I’ve been digging around my old boxes of nonsense again because new content doesn’t find itself and bringing old things you’ve forgotten about back into the light is a good process. Right?

FYI, expect more of this over the next month or two.

This page was lurking at the front of one of the many notebooks I used to keep. It definitely wasn’t the genesis of the name ‘Papples’ because Chris and I definitely came up with that when I was visiting and we tossed off the idea of continuing the music making antics of The Office and recording an album. I must have been musing on the mythos, considering the chumblies and trying to develop a chart for people who didn’t quite understand.

It takes a while to comprehend both the genius of the name and the music of The Papples.

I’m not entirely sure why I was developing a gun of sorts to turn good apples to pap apples, then again I am an inventor so it must have come naturally (?). Let’s go with that.

Avatar Holiday picture

I am on holiday, but I still need to make one more post this month to earn a bean. The obvious thing to do is to post a massive gallery of holiday photos and be all smug about where I am and what I’m doing.

I respect you both too much to do that. Instead I will post one carefully chosen picture, which is a self-portrait I took using an underwater camera while I was wearing a snorkel mask. The rest of my smugness can be inferred from this if you wish to experience it.

Avatar What can you see?

I was preparing a hot drink the other day over the mostly rainy Bank Holiday and, after pulling the mug out of the cupboard, noticed something strange.

I have seen that there was a weird mark on my crab mug and never bothered to look a little closer. Now that I have, well, look for yourself:

To me, it looks like a puppy with stick arms is facing off against a very angry Sonic the Hedgehog who may or may not have his own arms up in despair.

What can you see?

Avatar 40 things

I am now 40. That’s fine. The joke is that everyone has a mid life crisis when they reach 40, that it means you’re “over the hill” and all that. I think 30 bothered me way more than 40 did. What I can’t deny, though, is that I am noticing the effects of getting that little bit older. 

Here are 40 things about being 40 that weren’t the case when I was 30.

  1. There’s several grey hairs on my chin. I suppose I’m old enough now to call these “whiskers”.
  2. There are also about five grey hairs on my temples. 
  3. When I trim my beard I also have to trim some small hairs growing out of my ears.
  4. I appreciate Redbush tea now.
  5. If I put my feet up, and leave them in the same position for too long, my heels hurt and I have to shift them around. 
  6. I can pull a muscle in my shoulder just by tying my shoelaces in a reckless position. 
  7. I can sense a cold coming on days in advance. 
  8. The level of mental arithmetic that my grandparents wanted me to have aged about 8 is very nearly mine. I reckon I could probably have a stab at my times tables now if I had to. 
  9. I can no longer run up three flights of stairs and then immediately hold a conversation. 
  10. The cleanliness of my car’s interior bothers me less, though that might be to do with owning a dog. 
  11. I listen to quite a lot of Radio 2. 
  12. I don’t mind hearing music I don’t like. I used to be very tribal about music and hate songs and bands that weren’t my taste. Now I don’t really care. 
  13. Eating an egg will have a noticeable effect on the speed of my digestive system for up to 24 hours. 
  14. I have moments of nostalgia for very ordinary things from my past, which sometimes are quite unexpected. 
  15. There are things I saw my dad doing when I was a child and he was 40, which I now involuntarily do myself.
  16. If I have to get up off the floor I need to put my hands on my knees to brace myself on the way up. 
  17. I give much less of a toss about whether or not people like me. 
  18. I feel much less need to make jokes about everything. 
  19. All my friends live a long way away. The nearest ones are an hour’s drive.
  20. I’m quite good at DIY now. I thought I was before, and would have said I was when I was 30. But now I actually am. 
  21. I appreciate early mornings more. I’m rarely awake for them, but when I am I like them.
  22. The fact that the lawn is mostly moss and buttercups genuinely annoys me. 
  23. I don’t care any more who knows about my hobbies and geeky interests. 
  24. If I don’t want to wake up stiff in every muscle in my body, I now need to consider warm up exercises before doing jobs in the house or garden. 
  25. I am working with people who were born when I was doing my A-levels. Some of our apprentices were born while I was at university. 
  26. I need to moisturise my hands every now and then to prevent them taking on the texture of sandpaper all over. 
  27. I own a pair of Birkenstocks. 
  28. Old people moving slowly are much less frustrating to me.
  29. The type of chair I sit on matters much more, and if I have a choice of chair I will give it careful thought.
  30. I can see the appeal of cricket. However, I don’t understand it or watch it any more than I did before.
  31. If I find an item of clothing or a pair of shoes I particularly like I’m quite likely to buy several of them, because finding something that suits you and fits well is not to be taken lightly, and you’ll be sad when it wears out.
  32. I prefer a regular hoodie to a zip-up one now. 
  33. I have developed better coping strategies for making small talk with other men who expect me to have a grasp of either football or sports cars.
  34. It’s no longer possible to switch to cider when I decide I’ve had enough of beer at the end of an evening, because the sugar will keep me awake all night.
  35. I’m more willing to have a go at new stuff. 
  36. I like Motown music.
  37. One very big meal will fill me up for the whole day, regardless what time I eat it.
  38. I’m much better at remembering to wear a hat when in the sun. 
  39. I have a dog now. 
  40. When I trim my beard and my ears I also have to do my nose hairs. 

Unchanged since I was 30:

  1. The 2012 Olympics were, I’m pretty sure, about two years ago.