Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Closing Credits

You may have noticed recently that I've been a tad more lax than usual in updating the Mad Iain Blog. There have been several very good reasons for this. Firstly, I'm much busier at work, and I'm enjoying work much more recently; so I'm a lot less inclined to blog as a work-avoidance strategy. Secondly, I was rather unexpectedly offered a staff writer's position at a new videogames website, after an old online acquaintance pointed their webmaster in my direction; so I'm now devoting my writing energies to writing reviews for this new venture - and have had two reviews published within the last fortnight, with many more to come, hopefully. Since the site's only a month or two old, with a fairly small user base, it's not a paying position - though the site does have a few decent PR contacts, so we do get the odd review copy, and the occasional bit of free software is enough of a compensation for me - I'd write reviews just for the hell of it anyway.

I'm not going to say which website I'm working for - I've either already told you about it, or will get around to telling you in good time - if I want you to know about it - because in terms of my creative self, I want to make a clean break from all the history and dogma from my association with State. The appearance last week of yet another "I can't believe it's not a State Trying To Find A New Direction And Some Enthusiasm thread!" has pretty much sealed my decision to make a clean break from State creatively. I don't want to denigrate what Pat is doing with the State wiki one iota - it's a fine project, just one that doesn't interest me in the least, now that I've seen it evolve over the last couple of months. Wikis leave very little room for expression or personal creativity - and that's what I want to explore - that's what I feel being a writer is about.

Obviously, I'm not cutting ties with State *completely* - I've invested far too much time there over the last three or four years to do that; and I've got far too many friends there - but I'm not going to be nearly as active there as I used to be, as I find that as time goes on, my interest in State is waning. The opportunity to be there at the start and help form and shape a new online gaming community is much more enticing than trying to prod a well-established forum out of its torpor and apathy.

Therefore, it's time to move on, figuratively and literally - and that means the end of Mad Iain; a persona that's long outlived its usefulness and relevance. This has been an interesting exercise over the last year and a half, and if you've been an avid reader, thanks for your interest and time. All good things must come to an end, however, and it's nigh for these ravings.

As this blog's final huzzah, I'd like to say some "Thank you"'s.

Oskar - thanks for getting me interested in this writing business. You've got a lot to answer for! ;-)

Rich and Kieron - thanks for your time and all your invaluable advice to a budding neophyte writer. The crisps and fizzy pop are on me next time I visit Bath.

Jamie - the Scottish Axis Of Evil will never be defeated!

Ian - a reluctant journalist and inspiration to all videogames writers; I salute you.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the people I'd like to thank, but for all those of you out there who've shown an interest in the things I've written - whether it was a benign interest or not - thank you for your time, feedback and attention, regardless. Rest assured it's not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.

So is this au revoir or adieu? I leave this up to you, fair reader. This may be the closing chapter of this book in my writing life, but the opening stanzas of the first chapter in the new book have already been written - and there will be many more to come, I'm sure. It's up to you to find them...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Play.com is evil

Why do they have to be so bloody cheap?

And where did this spring from? I'm going to have to burn my credit card.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

They're heeeeeee-rrrrre!

This day gets marked down as being as close to perfect as possible without being repeatedly fellated by Angelina Jolie and being given the keys to a brand new Aston Martin DB9 in British Racing Green.

Monday, November 15, 2004

The long-awaited e-mail

Today was a Good News day. I got two e-mails I've been waiting for; one I've been waiting around a week for, and the other that I've been waiting over a year for. Both coincided today with joyous serendipity, which promises to make tomorrow one of the most momentous days of my life.

Yes, not only is the Uber-PC arriving tomorrow, but tomorrow also marks the arrival of the perfect game with which to test out its obscene processing power. Yes. Half-Life 2. *And* I get to work from home, so I don't miss the deliveries. Could it get any better?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Four more wars!

The fucking maniacs jumped. Again, it all seems to hinge on one state - not Florida this time (though give it a couple of days for the legal challenges to come in about the integrity of the voting practices there) - but it looks like Ohio's going Bush's way.

I'm too depressed at the thought of another four years with Bush sitting in the White House like the smug chimp he is to write too much at the moment. It's not like this time we can even claim that Bush stole the vote or that the Democrats ran an ineffective campaign - simply more rednecks, morons and Christian Fundamentalists turned out for Bush than Kerry. Another triumph for fear and paranoia over hope and optimism. Humans are such fucking idiots.

I hereby propose that all right-minded liberal individuals club together their finances and build a spaceship to colonise Mars with a technological, intellectual meritocracy, where everyone gets to play videogames all day and look at the stars all night. Who's with me?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

We stand on the edge of the abyss

And only one question remains - do we jump or take a step back? This time tomorrow, we should know who is the next American President, or if the courts will decide who it will be. Anyone who's read this blog over the last year or so will know that I'm rooting for Kerry.

This election is being billed as the most important in a generation, and the pundits aren't wrong. If America can get of its collective behind, and be bothered to wait in queues for a couple of hours to exercise the democratic rights that they apparently hold dear (FOR APATHY!) then perhaps we can finally be rid of Bush's crooked cabal of CEOs and Neo-Conservative warmongers. If there's a high turnout (anything over the 50% mark) there's a chance that Kerry will win by a landslide, hence why you have the lovely Grand Old Party trying to disenfranchise voters, not just in one place, but here, there and everywhere. The Republicans can only win by suppressing democracy, by lying and cheating people out of the very things they claim to hold dear. The hypocrisy from the Bush camp is nothing short of outrageous, yet will the American people wise up to it and kick the bastards out of office? We can only hope so, for all our sakes.

Vote Unilateralist Preemptive Draft-dodger or Multi-lateralist Alliance-building Decorated War Veteran? It should be a clear cut choice. As usual, I'm with Michael Moore on this one - There's no way we can even contemplate anything but a Democrat victory; the consequences of another Bush win are too hideous to even think about. Four more years? Four more wars, more like.

Monday, November 01, 2004

My wallet lies bleeding

With the impending arrival of Half-Life 2, and the death of my DVD drive last week, I decided this morning that the time has come to get a new PC. So having kept my eye on the market for a good six months now, I found an online retailer that sells Alienware spec Athlon 64s without the Alienware pricetag, and with a very similar Return To Base warranty that should guarantee trouble free computing. The fateful decision was made all the more easier by the fact that my expenses got paid into my account this morning, and that I get paid next week. My wallet now sits in my pocket with its guts ripped out, having haemorraged £980 to pay for my new toy, though since £820 of that came from my expenses anyway, it's not so bad, really. I'm used to having an overdraft, and since I get paid next week, that's not going to last long, anyway.

The spec of the machine is worth the immediate financial pain, anyway, particularly when you factor in that all the games I want between now and Christmas have been pre-ordered anyway. Once you read the specification below, I'm sure you'll agree it's money well spent, and should ensure that I don't have to worry about upgrading for the next couple of years.

Athlon 64 3500


SATA 160GB 7200rpm Hard Drive with 8MB cache

ATI Radeon X800 XT with 256MB and DVI

Soundblaster Audigy LS 5.1

16x/48x DVD/CD-ROM

52x32x52 CD-RW (and all the other bells and whistles, inc. Firewire, USB 2, etc)

Fleur will probably have a fit when it arrives (though at least she'll have to admit that it's got a sexier case; nice and shiny in burnished silver), and I've not decided what to do with the other tower yet, but all of a sudden I can't wait until it and Half-Life 2 arrive (probably in the same week)...