Posts Tagged ‘Real Life’

I’m A Freemason And I’m OK

This post has nothing to do with MMORPGs unless of course you believe that Freemasons control the development of MMOs (which we do) along with everything else in the world. As you’re reading this, I’ll probably be seated in some dusty old lodge in Glasgow watching my dad be re-initiated as Grandmaster, a prestigious honour to say the least.

George Washington Was A Freemason

George Washington Was A Freemason

I can’t say much about the Freemasons (I was sworn to secrecy on pain of death… although the severity of which wavers depending on how drunk I am and how good looking you are) other than that I was initiated when I was 21, in accordance with English ‘law’, into my mother lodge in London. I achieved the full rank of Master Mason of the 3rd degree two years later and I’ve been slowly climbing up the ranks ever since.

Although my lips are sealed and my hands at my side unless pressed to prove myself as per tradition, I will make three statements about something that occurred during my first initiation ritual: two of these statements are false, one is true and it’s up to you to guess which.

During my first initiation ritual, I:

  1. Fought a wild boar to the death, naked (and won obviously).
  2. Whilst blindfolded and disorientated, was asked if my trousers would fall down if my belt was removed (it was removed).
  3. My arse was paddled thrice by different men in time to me kissing a silver compass.

Any guesses?


I Hate Computers

After a hectic week at work, I was looking forward to a chillful (yes, I just invented a new word) weekend. Some quality time with the wife, hanging out with a few friends and maybe even indeedy a smidgen of gaming. Annoying how things don’t work out the way you plan. I awoke to find my wife sick and that my desktop computer had died. Passed away. Kicked the bucket. Ceased to function within normal operating parameters.

Regular readers will know that my PC has been acting up on me for some time. Back in March it decided it wouldn’t boot if it had been on previously within the past 4 hours or so. A new PSU fixed that but then in September it started rebooting on me randomly. I was kinda living with it and thought it wasn’t too bad as sometimes it would last a good 3 hours or so without a reboot. That is, of course, until this morning. I turned it on and just after it posted, it rebooted and then wouldn’t start again.

I have absolutely no idea what’s wrong with it. I would’ve thought it was the PSU had it not been for the fact that it has a brand new Corsair one in it. I also would’ve thought it was overheating but I ran a ton of CPU and GPU temperature tests over the last few months and none showed any problems. I’m stumped and my only conclusion is that it’s something quite serious, possibly a fault with the motherboard. Any techies out there got any thoughts?

I’ve still got my laptop but it overheats and shuts down when I play games although i just purchased a $10 laptop cooling stand which I’m using now and it’s quite efficiently cooling my testicles as I write this article. Hopefully it will be good enough to let me play some games on the ol’ laptop until I get the big boy fixed or replaced.

And I am seriously considering replacing it even though new components or a new build won’t be cheap. I’ve been looking at an Intel i5-750 CPU, Windows 7, either 4GB or 8GB or RAM and a GeForce graphics card, maybe the GTX295 but probably the GTX285. Although not cheap this would give me a significant upgrade to my current desktop and then I can try to salvage what I can from it to make a second, backup PC. Anyone got suggestions for components or recommendations on these parts?

Wish me luck; computer’s suck. Ooh, I made a rhyme…


Computer Woes

As if moving apartment wasn’t stressful enough, my PC decided it wanted to break on me. Thanks computer, thanks a bunch. It’s only 18 months old and has been giving me grief for the past six. Is it too much to ask for a computer that just works and runs nicely?

A few months ago, my PC started having trouble booting and wouldn’t POST if it had been off for less than a few hours. Very strange indeed.Three weeks ago, however, I replaced the PSU with a sexy Corsair 650W one and it seemed to fix it completely. I was able to power off and on to my heart’s content and, suffice to say, I was incredibly relieved and very happy. Until two days ago.

On Sunday evening, after being out of the room for a while, I returned to find that my PC had restarted on me. The Windows Event Viewer reported a 6008 error – unexpected shutdown – but mentioned nothing else. It then ran fine the rest of the evening. Yesterday, however, my computer restarted twice and tonight it’s just done it again.

There’s no BSOD and the machine seems to shut off and then attempt to turn on again rather than restart. I say this because (what I assume is the CPU fan) whirls very noisily for a few seconds before it POSTs and it doesn’t do this on a normal restart. Also, yesterday after one of the restarts, it failed to POST and had to attempt to power back on twice automatically (it turned off during the first fan whirl and then powered on the second time).

It’s all very bizarre and highly annoying. If it hadn’t been for the fact that it has a brand spanking new PSU, I would’ve assumed that was the culprit. Right now I’m thinking it’s the motherboard but honestly I guess it could be anything.

So this is my plea for knowledge from all you geeks out there. Anyone got any clues? In the words of Princess Leia, “help me Obi-geek-Kenobis, you’re my only hope”.


MMORPGs: Ultimate Hobby Or Waste Of Time

The other day I joked with a friend of mine about what my life might be like had I, instead of playing MMORPGs over the past 10 years, done something more productive with those 14,962 hours (give or take an hour). In an alternate reality I’m most likely a famous brain surgeon who does male modelling on the side or a Nobel Prize winning physicist and poet. It made me wonder – has all that time I’ve plugged in MMOs just been one big waste?

I think back to my days of summer holiday at University when I literally had nothing to do except hang out with my friends, drink beer, watch Jackass, occasionally attend half-assed Kung Fu lessons and play MMORPGs. A lot. I was kinda like a middle class, well-spoken, redneck geek who instead of living in a trailer park, stayed in a comfortable flat in town and pondered existentialism whilst battling the undead mobs of the Estate of Unrest in Everquest.

Being married and shackled to a full-time job, I now look back at those years with mixed emotions. Half of me regrets not taking advantage of my time more and using it for more product pursuits whilst the other half of me really envies my past-self and wishes I could still be doing that right now. I guess it boils down to what you think the purpose of life is: is it about doing something meaningful for mankind or is it simply just about enjoying yourself and being happy?

MMOs are serious business and very few people play them lightly. They tend to require a lot of time and commitment and aren’t called addictive by many people for no reason. In many ways, they are indeed the ultimate hobby as they offer a huge amount of scope and lifespan yet on the other hand, they are also very demanding and suck up much of our lives.

I guess as I’m getting older, I’m starting to look at life in a different way and now my spare time seems more precious than ever. Should I be spending those rare hours plugging away at a MMO or should I be trying to do other things and better the life of myself and family? It’s tough because I want to achieve more in my life yet I also selfishly thoroughly enjoy my hobby.

Hmm, too much thought for me tonight so I’ll put it out for discussion. What do you think? MMORPGs – ultimate hobby or complete waste of time?


Could You Live Without The Internet?

Yesterday Tesh posted a very interesting article entitled “Cutting the Umbilical” with the umbilical referring to, as you’ve no doubt guessed, the Internet. Apart from being fascinating, the article struck a cord with me because I’ll be moving apartment in a few weeks and I’m currently trying to get an Internet connection for my new home sorted out. The prospect of moving in without an Internet connection (or my dreaded unrealistic catastrophic thought of being unable to get it all for some extreme reason) fills me with terror.

As Dblade pointed out in one of Tesh’s comments, MMORPGs are very habitual and for me, that habit has been carved into me for over 10 years. Although I don’t play anywhere nearly as much as I used to (and sometimes not at all), the idea of not being able to play for an extended period of time makes me really quite anxious. I would never say I was addicted to MMORPGs because I can easily not play them but I feel like my reliance on the Internet is more than that and MMOs are just another component of it.

I’m not sure why I feel nervous about living without an Internet connection. I could still tweet on my phone, upload blog posts from my work and even play World of Warcraft at my mum’s. I guess in many ways the Internet has become my safety blanket. I moved out of my family home when I was 19 and lived alone for a total of six years that I think I’m just so used to it as a source of entertainment, information, communication and, of course, habit.

This whole experience has left me frustrated because I hate the idea of being dependant on anything and I’d like to break this habit. I don’t like feeling neurotic and, in many ways, I feel like the Internet controls me. It’s like some sort of poisoned chalice – giving us so much, yet making us so dependant on it.

So could I live without the Internet? Yes, I could. Should I lie without the Internet? Yeah, I probably should. But do I want to live without it? Hell no.

Could you live without the Internet?


Interview At Grinding To Valhalla

Last week I got an email from Randolph Carter at Grinding to Valhalla asking me if I’d be interested in doing an interview with him. Being the egocentric chap that I am, I of course jumped at the chance! You can check out the interview here if you fancy discovering a bit more about me and deleving into my inner mind. Don’t worry, I promise I’m not just a total chauvinist who comes up with crazy theories about banned top secret MMOs… I’m actually only mildly chauvinistic ;)

In all seriousness though, I was tremendously flattered to be interviewed by Randolph, someone who comes across as a very nice guy with lots of integrity. He’s site is also tremendous and a shrine to MMORPGs bloggers and podcasters from all over the world. I’d definitely urge you to check it out as you’ll find interviews with almost every MMO blogger you could imagine. I for one found it very interesting to read interviews with bloggers who I follow on a regular basis as it’s not often that they take an opportunity to talk about their motivations, history and future intentions.

So there you have it, my claim to fame. Thanks again to Randolph and good luck with the site. What he’s doing is amazing, like some sort of biographer for the MMO genre to last for the ages. Good show!


Champions Online vs Batman: Arkham Asylum

Miscellaneous superheros vs Batman, who would win? For me… Batman. Yup, this means I’ve officially cancelled my Champions Online pre-order and decided to buy Batman: Arkham Asylum for my PS3 instead.

My decision wasn’t really based on anything negative towards Champions Online (I’ve no doubt that I’ll probably pick it up one day) and, as I as said yesterday, I don’t have a problem buying a MMORPG even to only play it for a month. I still feel like that’s decent value for money and I don’t necessarily need to expect them to last me for several months or years (ironically, I bet I’ll complete Arkham Asylum and be finished with it within two weeks).

Ultimately my decision was based on time and finances. Take a handful of MMO subscriptions (EVE Online, WoW and EQ2), add a dash of upcoming games that I’m definitely going to purchase (Aion and Marvel Alliance 2), stir in the fact that I’ll be moving apartment soon and sprinkle on the intensive sexual demands of my lovely wife and you’ve got a recipe for an expensive busy beaver cake. At the end of the day, Champions Online just didn’t excite me enough to cut it as one of the ingredients.

Don’t take this to necessarily mean that I think Champions Online is bad – I really haven’t played it enough to comment – but just take it to mean that it’s not got me pumped up enough to choose it over everything else. Had it not been competing with Aion and a couple of PS3 games in September, I most likely would’ve bought it. Goes to show that timing is so very important when it comes to release date of a video game. Plus, Arkham Asylum looks absolutely shit hot.