Attempt 782

This is the umpteenth time I’ve slightly altered my blog’s “branding”. The identity, sort of.

I haven’t been around. Life, y’know.

However, I had an idea the other day. Why force myself to write a blog only 3 people read (including myself) on a daily basis? I’m going to switch things up a bit. I’m committing to at least one weekly blog post. I don’t have a specific day in mind to drop it by, but let’s say a week starts on a Monday and ends on a Sunday. Any set of days from a Monday to a Sunday that doesn’t include a blog post (henceforth and including this post) counts as a week missed. Which will result in… nothing. Meh.

The topics will stay the same, broadly speaking (see the about page). I just want to do a weekly update of my opinion on a thing or things.

Other than that general announcement, I don’t have much more to say in this post. I do have an idea or two for opinion pieces I’ve been mulling over that I’ll probably put out over the next two weeks. One of them might be a but touchy, and I need to get some research done in order to back my stance on the issue.

Until next post, au revoir.


Pertaining to Wellness

Life hardly ever goes according to our precise planning. In fact, the very act of planning seems to trigger a fundamental law of the universe many refer to as Murphy’s Law. Personally, I like to call it the Fundamental Law of Irony. Irony seems to be built into the fibre of existence, and the sooner we all accept that the better.

The specific event that set off this train of thought is also the reason I’ve been absent from both my blog and the act of just living my life. I’ve been rather ill, and what it was is still largely a mystery. While remaining vague on the details, fever and a vague delirium were the core of my suffering for the better (ha) portion of two weeks.

While the concern for my own health was prevalent, I found the inconvenience of being incapacitated more annoying than anything else. Lately I’ve enjoyed my exercise, specifically in the form of running. Such an illness interrupted my regime quite rudely, and therefore has proven to be a significant hiccough in my physical progress. Thankfully, it appears I’m on the mend and won’t die of this specific ailment (I think).

With convalescence comes a restart to my fitness regime, and a renewed fervour to make progress. Of course, I’ve been told to wait a bit before I get back into the full swing of things, but that will just stoke the fires. Every day that passes the desire to get out there again grows. It’s an odd sensation. Never before have I responded to basic exercise, and specifically running, this way. I always imagined running to be a boring way of maintaining fitness. However, with the right incentive (fitness and weight loss), with the right programme (Zombies, Run!), and the right luxuries (a bespoke playlist of my music along with a structured programme created by someone else), I have found myself depending more and more on the simple run. The rewards are more than just fitness. The endorphins or dopamine or whatever I get from the exercise has lightened my overall mood considerably.

Exercise is good for the body, good for the mind, and good for the soul.

All the more reason this illness was such a damn pestilence.

But, as they say, onward! Only a bit more of this convalescing and then we can get back on the road again (my dog and I — my running partner. It’s not a royal “we”).

Plus, it’s good to write again. Even if the break seems to have resulted in a rather pompous tone.

The Forgotten Blog And The Man Who Would Jog

Once upon a time there was a blogger,
Who also fancied himself a jogger.
He neglected to write,
And abandoned his site,
How can we then still call him a blogger?

I set myself a target of writing every day this month. I have already failed miserably. But I’ll try see out the month in a better fashion.

Sometimes when life keeps you busy, you don’t prioritise a vaguely neglected and empty corner of the internet. It completely slipped my mind entirely until two days ago, and then I continued to forget until this very moment.

See, one of the things keeping me busy and relatively tired is my new running routine. At the end of last year I reached my goal of finishing the Zombies, Run! 5K trainer programme. Since then, I had been running 5km roughly every second day, but taking some more days off because it was holiday season. However, I wasn’t satisfied with my minutes per kilometre, so I’ve enrolled in a new training programme: 5K Expert.

Like the initial 5K Trainer, this programme spans 8 weeks. Unlike that beginner’s routine, the 5K Expert schedules 6 runs a week (as opposed to 3). So, I’ve been running every day since last week, and finally got yesterday off. I’m seeing a marginal improvement in my times, but the app’s timer and distance measurements seem to be slightly glitched, so I’m not sure I can trust those times entirely.

So, between last Monday and the 11th of March, I’ll have run 48 times. I’ll run a minimum of 197 km combined. That’s assuming I don’t become too ill to run or something else gets in the way in the mean time. That would be highly inconvenient, seeing as this fitness routine is working well for me. And I’m finally growing accustomed to the constant running. Last week was a tired haze of exhaustion.

Tomorrow I’ll pop in with who knows what (hopefully). Until then, ciao.


I seem to have completely missed a post yesterday. I’m not going to beat myself up about it, I was busy. Plus, I’ve been good this month already.

Later this year Avengers Infinity War is coming out. To prepare, my friend and I are watching the preceding 18 MCU films. One a week, starting last week. So, this is the order:

Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man Homecoming, Thor Ragnarok, and finally when it’s in theatres, Black Panther.

That’s the entire MCU leading up to Infinity War, and it’s rather remarkable. Marvel and Disney have put together the biggest cinematic universe, with few inconsistencies. I might get sick of the super hero genre at times, but this is just great. And what’s even better is that you can’t fault any of these films on their quality, they’re all high-grossing for the most part, and even the worst ones are better than a lot of movie trash we get out there.

So, we’re a week ahead (to compensate for one of us going away in a few weeks), and I thought I might as well start on a retrospective of the MCU. Seeing these films, that start as far back as 2008, all lining up and building towards something the original creators of Iron Man couldn’t possibly have foreseen. This is a gargantuan achievement, I’d say. 19 films (including Infinity War) spanning 10 years. Not bad.

Coming up soon: impressions of films that have been out for years (until we get to the more recent stuff).


After a somewhat rainy December, the weather has decided that everyone should be cooked. The temperature is unbearable at the moment, and during the day it’s difficult not to be absolutely brain dead and lethargic.

Therefore, today’s blog isn’t cognitive, it’s not anything really.

Stay cool, kids.

What Remains of Edith Finch

Thanks to the January sale, I finally picked up What Remains of Edith Finch. And wow. So, let’s chat (I’ll be covering spoilers later, but I’ll give fair warning).

Developed by Giant Sparrow, the people who made The Unfinished Swan, this is the type of adventure game idiots have taken to labelling a “walking simulator” (I have strong opinions on this topic, remind me to rant about it in a post at some point). The game focuses heavily on story and narration, and therefore falls squarely in the adventure genre without the “action” tacked on.

The game starts off the way I love a narrative game to start: with no context, just an intriguing intro. From then on out it’s just a calm trek through the story, which later turns out to have a lot of emotional impact.

Spoiler warning: I’ll be covering story elements now. I’ll end this section with some more bold text so you can’t miss it. 

Just like The Unfinished SwanWhat Remains of Edith Finch chooses to start on a quieter note. You play as Edith Finch who is returning to her childhood home after her mother has died. She narrates the story, and quickly you learn that this family has an amazingly interesting history.

The story follows various members of the family, as they all deal with the vague but ominous Finch family curse. The arrive at the house, and it looks ramshackle. It looks like something out of a Dr Suess book, or like the Weasley house is described in the Harry Potter books. It’s big, and it has many improvised additions, culminating in a tall and unstable looking tower on one side. The image attached to this post shows the house in profile. This makes for an amazing setting.

The atmosphere is slightly creepy, but it’s never filled with tension. This is not a game with any horror or jump scares. Yet, there’s an eeriness that the developers have designed into everything. Every creak of the house, every howl of the wind hints at the history this house and it’s long-gone family have shared. The whole place is cramped and filled with furniture, books, and odd-and-ends, giving it a personality you later learn comes from Edie, Edith’s great-grandmother. She left her mark on this house, and so did many of the other ex-residents, in their own ways.

While young Edith narrates and acts as your vehicle to explore the house, you end up playing bits and pieces of each member’s story and their inevitable, and bizarrely interesting, deaths related to the curse. Each family member is given a fair share, and each individual story is engrossing and emotionally impactful.

So far in this spoiler section it’s been rather mild, but what comes next is the most spoilerific. Be warned.

Quite late in the game, you end up in Edith’s brother Milton’s room. He disappeared as a child, and during the course of the game you find paintings of his littering the walls of the house and its secret passages. It’s only when you get to his room that it clicks. His room is stark white, with black paint everywhere. There are paintings and drawings representing designs and locations we play in during The Unfinished Swan. The implication is that Milton’s disappearance is somehow linked with what takes place in The Unfinished Swan.

In fact, Milton appears to be the king from that game. You find a story flip-book made my Milton, where he discovers a magic paintbrush. He then paints a doorway, and off he vanishes. Up until this point, each character’s tragedy had been poignant, yet something made this even more impactful. The fact that this is a nod to The Unfinished Swan being connected to this universe enriched both games. It lends “credibility” to the curse we’ve been observing in the mini-tragedies until now. This was probably my favourite part of the game.

And now, that’s it for the spoilers.

See, I told you. The spoilers are over now. 

Just like The Unfinished Swan, I finished this game and had to sit in silence for a bit processing. The story was excellently crafted, and almost left me in an emotional wreck afterwards.

The overall design of this game gave this game even more impact. The music and sound fleshed everything out, set the right mood for specific sections, and are excellently designed. Along with the simple-yet-beautiful art style, the game comes together as a phenomenal whole. I’m happy I got to play this now. Giant Sparrow have successfully converted a new fan, since both of their games are just brilliant.

If you’re on the fence with this one, but love narrative and adventure games and also liked The Unfinished Swan, then you absolutely need to get off that fence.

Three thumbs up from me.


Games to Come… 2018

Yesterday we anticipated the films out this year, now to the games.


It’s hard to look at 2018 with any real excitement in terms of announced or confirmed games. Therefore there’s no “super stoked” category for games just yet, but we can update that after anything exciting gets announced.

So there’s only one in this category at the moment: Insomniac’s Spider-Man PS4 exclusive. While I am stoked, I am also weary. Spider-Man 2 from the PS2 era is firmly in my mind, and I’m trying to separate the expectation from my memories of that fantastic game. We’ve seen little of this year’s Spider-Man, so we have to be patient and manage our expectations as gamers. Although, I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be a major hit.


The bulk of the titles will appear here. My expectations and desire to play these titles are standoffish at the moment. Some I might be more open to playing than others, some just seem interesting and warrant a try at some point.

Red Dead Redemption 2 looks interesting. I had no patience for the first, so we’ll see if I hop aboard this hype train after release.

Far Cry 5 looks interesting, yet I can’t muster any enthusiasm to even want to play it. Still, I enjoyed Far Cry Primal, and I’ve played about an hour of Far Cry 4. Not bad games, but it will depend on my mood. How tolerant might I be to an American-centric story?

Soul Calibur VI was recently announced. I may be over the fighting game genre in general, but this one tugs on the nostalgia string. It might be worth a look. I deeply enjoyed Soul Calibur III.

Other’s that I might deliberate about picking up, or wait for a sale: Dad God of WarDetroit: Become Human, Metro Exodus, Biomutant, System Shock, Vampyr, and Darksiders III (if I can ever finish the first two). Those are just the games for the console I have. Sea of Thieves looks like I would love to try it, but there ain’t no Xbox in my life just yet.

Please, no. No. Nononononono.

Monster Hunter World. I have little to say here. I played a few minutes of the beta after never touching the series before, and promptly decided I never wanted to touch the series again. Not for me. I actually find it cringe-worthy, and I hate it. However, a more mature part of my brain remembers that these are just games, and it’s just a preference. If you like the Monster Hunter games, then you do you.

Unannounced and unconfirmed titles

Battlefield title for 2018 is obviously in the works, but we probably won’t know what it is until March. There’s a lot of speculation, and no firm information to make any predictions on, despite the Bad Company 3 rumours swirling around. Some want a WWII setting, some want Vietnam, others want a futuristic setting, while another contingency want a return to a more contemporary setting. “Wait and see” is hardly ever bearable to say or hear, but it’s our only option at this point. I’ll be interested to see what they come up with, after having lost a lot of time to Battlefield 1 in 2017.

Call of Duty is another inevitable title for this year. CoD: WII left me bored and I had no desire to get the game after dipping a toe into the beta. We’ll see if Activision doubles down on the “boots on the ground” slogan. Another selection rife with speculation and zero evidence. We’ll have to wait and see.

Cyber Punk 2077. I’ve seen this on lists for 2018, and I have absolutely no confidence that this will come out this year. I strongly believe this is a 2019 title, but I can stand to be pleasantly surprised.

Medieval remaster. It was briefly announced at PSX 2017, and that’s it. No dates, nothing else. 2019 maybe? It could also just be this June, and we get a short-notice date announced.

Anthem is another title I am heavily sceptical about seeing this year. I believe that it’s been in development for some time, but I think EA and Bioware are relying on it a lot. It will require polish, and after the Battlefront II fallout and the micro-transaction controversies in general during 2017, it will be interesting to see their approach. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a late 2018 launch in mind, but had to change tack after the recent scandals.

I guess my enthusiasm for this year’s releases is muted partly because I’m still making my way through the excellent games from 2017. Wolfenstein II is great, and I wish I was playing more of it more often. I just finished What Remains of Edith Finch, and I think I’m going to mention that in tomorrow’s post.

What’s Up in Movies for 2018

It’s the fourth of January, and 2018 is already ancient and decrepit. So, my prediction post is a bit late.

Since predicting what’s going to happen in the new year is all the rage, let me join the fun.
2017 was a phenomenal year for entertainment. We got a plethora of great films, we got a torrent of brilliant games. Honestly, my book knowledge for new releases has always been paltry, so I won’t touch on that.

That said, I want to predict what I think might be some of the best we get this year. I don’t like building expectations for these things too highly. There’s a massive list of movies releasing this year, so I’m not going to be too comprehensive. I’ll just touch on some of the ones I’m looking forward to the most, and some others.

Super Stoked

These are the films I want to see the very moment they release in cinemas here. They have the concept or trailer I’m looking forward to the most. This year, from the films I know about, there are only two: The Incredibles 2 and Avengers: Infinity War. The former is a sequel I’ve been waiting 14 years for. I adore The Incredibles, and I’m sure I’ll love the second too. Avengers is simple: the trailer speaks for itself. It’s been 11 years since Iron Man ignited the MCU, and 18 movies lead up to the third flick featuring Marvel’s First Team superheroes. Rather exciting.


These are films that excite me, but I don’t skin my nipples to see them. I’d prefer to see them in cinema, but I could probably live without that if I miss them and watch them later.

Black Panther, Deadpool 2, Pacific Rim Uprising, and Mission Impossible 6 all have me excited to throw my money at my local movie theatre. I’ve become a big fan of the Mission Impossible series, and I’m yearning for another good spy flick with bombastic action set pieces.

Black Panther looks like it will be amazing, and I’m interested to see how it leads up to Infinity War.


These are the films I’m not entirely sold on, but I want to give them a chance. I might see a few in theatres, I might wait for others. It’s also possible I miss a few until later or even next year.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is the most important entry here. Rogue One subverted my expectations, but I remain sceptical of the possible execution of the Star Wars Anthology. We’ll see how this story is handled, especially with the trouble the movie had in production. Those signs do not bode well, and while I may get excited for this film, I won’t get my hopes up. In fact, I have low expectations.

A Wrinkle in Time, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Ocean’s 8, Annihilation, and Early Man round off my “intrigued” list, and we’ll just have to wait and see how they go. Although, I have the urge to read the original material for A Wrinkle in Time and Annihilation before I see the movies. I don’t want another book potentially ruined by a terrible film adaptation before I read it (looking at you Eragon).

Ew, No

These are the films I already hate. You won’t catch me watching these unless I’m forced to or something equally ridiculous.

Mary Poppins Returns. Just, why? Come on people. Not everything needs to be a franchise.

Tomb Raider. The trailer shows that this is a retelling of the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot. I can do without that, thanks. I don’t care that it’s the amazing Alicia Vikander, I won’t watch it.

Peter Rabbit. The trailer was an abomination. Yet another classic children’s property being shamelessly used to rake in the cash. It does not honour the spirit or timelessness of Beatrix Potter, and it appears to have the horridly garish humour they put in kid’s flicks these days. Also, it’s James Cordon.

And that’s it for the movies. I’ll treat games tomorrow.

Maundering 01

I recently learnt a new word, and I must say I do love it.

1. to talk in a rambling, foolish, or meaningless way.
2. to move, go, or act in an aimless, confused manner.

I must confess, I do love learning new words. English is rich in terms to be used. We can find specific labels for things in the world, actions we perform, sensations and feelings we experience, and various other aspects of life. With the full spectrum of the English language and the many, many, borrowed and integrated words, we can express ourselves quite extensively and specifically.

I often find myself maundering through life, through conversations, and through blog posts.

People often idiomatically refer to losing their train of thought, but thoughts aren’t trains. They’re not on rails. They’re more like cats or rabbits, behind herded by a group of easily distracted dogs. Have you every tried herding either cats or rabbits? Not easy, not practical.

Of course, I don’t want to romanticise the habit of maundering. It’s just something that happens. Often in life you need to focus, but we can’t focus every single moment of the day. Well, I can’t.

So, my personal word of the week is maunder. I’ve been using it ever since I learnt it. Well, in my head at least. I quickly learned that while I may love learning new words and then using them, it only tends to alienate people when you show them off. It’s pretentious and obnoxious. It’s still fun to have them in your personal word arsenal though. Logo-cache? No?

Plus, in order to fulfil my quota of a blog post a day for January, I’m going to be maundering. I don’t always have a lot to say (which seems rather unbelievable to a few people who have met me).

I’ve thought of determining a word or words of the week for myself. New words I learn, or am reminded of, and that I must challenge myself to use in either my writing or conversation — without being obnoxiously pretentious. The loophole to that, of course, is using the word while telling someone that you learnt about it.

“Hey, I learnt a new word: maundering. Yeah, it means to ramble in a foolish or aimless way. Yep, veeery interesting. I know. No, come back! We haven’t finished dinner yet!”

Perfect table talk.

This post is a bit late, sorry. I almost forgot about it. I do have some topics up my sleeve for later posts though. It’s not all going to be this boring. It’ll be boring, but only slightly less so.

Toodles, for now.

2018 Reading Challenge

The year is still nascent, yet we cannot delay in setting and starting towards our targets and goals. Some big, some small. My first goal I’ve set this year is to read at least 12 books. I’m doing the Goodreads challenge and everything.

Already, I’ve finished a book today. I started reading it ages ago, but it counts in my eyes. One down, at least 11 to go.

There are no rules or caveats to the challenge other than the books only referring to novels and other literature that isn’t a graphic novel or comic. I also considered setting a target for myself to read only books I haven’t read before, but I don’t want to be ridiculous. I return to various individual books and series for comfort. We all do, whether it’s a book, a show, a movie, or a game.

I do want to read several new books I haven’t read this year, and that should be easy enough. I have 12 11 laid out and listed, waiting for me to come along and read them. Full disclosure: I’ve started 9 of them at one point or another. I haven’t gotten particularly far in any of them, so I have the majority of them left to read. Here they are:

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline. Currently my main book.
Skippy Dies, Paul Murray. I started this at some point last year and somehow forgot I was reading it. That’s a problem with digital books for me.
Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari.
It, Stephen King. Of course, the movie last year prompted me to get this. It’s a bit of a long one, so I might delay or take my time.
Gamma Nine and Artemis: A Gamme Nine Short Story, Christi Smit. A random one, from a guy I met on Discord.
American Gods, Neil Gaiman.
Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman. Intrigued by this one. The newest of the titles, and hopefully available in a bookstore again soon.
Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Somehow I’ve been reading this on and off for a while, and it just hasn’t grabbed me enough to sit down and finish it properly.
Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby. As an Arsenal fan watching my club go through a rough patch, this might have hit a bit close to home when I started it last year.
Inverting the Pyramid, Jonathan Wilson. A history of football told through the story of the evolution of tactics and formations. I started this almost 3 years ago, and I got at least a third of the way through.

Most of these are in my digital collection, and therein lies the challenge. While I enjoy my Kindle and what it offers, I still have a severe mental block about reading a book on a tablet. I want to read a book that I have to page through. I need to be able to smell the pages. I need to be able to sit or lie uncomfortably while I grip it so that I don’t damage the spine too severely. It’s how I’ve always read books, and so I find myself losing interest when I can’t instantly see which page I’m on. I forget to charge the tablet. There are up sides, of course. I can read in the dark, I can carry a whole library in my pocket, I can instantly define words I don’t know with a click. It’s purely psychological and preferential, and yet it’s a rather large hurdle.

And so, 2018 will be the year I attempt to clean up the loose ends, the books I’ve started and never finished or even got very far in. But I also want to read other things too. I want this to be the year that I make strides in completing my Discworld collection and start in on my monumental read-through of the entire 41 novels. We’ll see how that goes.

Thankfully, the books listed above, and others I may have in mind to read, have a mix of genres. I’ve always been rather fussy, and comfortable in the Discworld style of sci-fi and fantasy. Branching out can be rather discomforting, but it’s worth it.

Of course, I think I should clarify that these are just the books I want to polish off. If I don’t finish them all this year, it won’t be a disaster. As long as I read at least 12 books this year, any books, I’ll be happy. 12 is my minimum, while the sky is the limit. Could I read 24 this year? Maybe.

Happy reading, until next time.