Sadly, I haven’t finished watching Series 5 of The Wire, and nor have I finished Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, so I can’t review either of those things. The one thing I have finished is the January round of my exams, which meant a whiplash-inducing change from virtual penury where free time is concerned (due to all that revision) to whole hours spent doing nothing productive at all – mostly playing Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, which is very good. A refinement in almost every way from Assassin’s Creed 2 (more of which whenever that review is written). It’s also meant that I’ve been thinking about doing other interesting stuff. I’ve got a laundry list of long-term projects to complete in the purgatory between exams and university, but there are a few things I need to start doing inbetween. Firstly, podcasting. Some of the more astute (and dedicated) NRB readers may remember this blog once had a podcast, the NRBcast, which I did with Friend of the NRB (and former contributor) S.C. Wilson. It was rubbish, in all honesty, but it was entertaining rubbish, and fun to do. So, it will be starting again at some point in the near future (I’m aware I said something similar a few months ago, but I mean it this time), probably as the hecklr podcast (and if hecklr doesn’t relaunch, as has been promised for the last however long, the podcast may well become the site).
So I’ve been watching through box sets of The Wire for the last few months. For the most part, it’s really, really good, and when I’ve finished watching all of them, I’ll do a longer post on the topic. I’m currently midway through Series 5, and before I started, my father told me that Series 5 isn’t really as good as preceding series, that it gets a bit ‘weird’. He’s right – it is different to the other series, albeit subtly so. One of the things that makes The Wire so great, so unique, is (at least in comparison to the majority of television dramas involving police) the lack of artifice. It excels at portraying brutal mundanity – the harsh truths of life on the street. Series 1 chiefly deals with the Barksdale drug dealers, Series 2 with the slow death of the Baltimore docks, Series 3 with the corrupt and corruping world of Baltimore politics, and Series 4 with the Baltimore school system. The new element introduced for Series 5, however, is the Baltimore Sun newspaper, where David Simon, series creator and producer used to work.
Almost everything I’ve read about Echo Bazaar has begun ‘Echo Bazaar is difficult to define’ or ‘Echo Bazaar is a rather hard game to pin down’ or similar contrivances, which does rather show a lack of imagination on the part of the writer, given that Echo Bazaar (!) is not diffitult to describe, but that its description is rather esoteric. It’s a browser-based game set in ‘Fallen London’, a post-apocalyptic-pseudo-Victorian-Steampunk-Gothic city under the ground. In 1859, London was stolen by bats and delivered into the clutches of the titular Echo Bazaar (which is rather more difficult to define). Further details are rather hard to come by – information about the city, the Bazaar and its history are revealed incrementally as you progress, and desire to further explore the setting is one of the key things driving you forward in the game*.
I’ve had quite a good day today, all told. It began with an exam – Chemistry, F331 retake, in case you’re interested – the third (and last) this week, third out of seven total, and the last of the retakes. I’ve got C3 (Maths) next week, and M1 (Further Maths), F334 (Chemistry) and Unit 4 (Physics) the week after that. I then had some lessons, which were good, wandered down to the local Starbucks, had a drink and read The Times, which was thoughtfully provided for free (a brief diversion for a second. I have previously refused to read The Times out of principle – I think it’s a newspaper of quality and like its style, even if I disagree with some of its viewpoints (same with the Economist) but I wouldn’t read it because it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch, who’s quite possibly one of the greatest forces for evil on the planet today (perhaps Michael Gove’s a contender for that position, but we’ll get to him). The long and the short of it is, it’s OK if I’m not paying for it, so Murdoch’s not getting my money. I’m happy to watch The Simpsons and Firefly and Family Guy and Futurama and Star Wars, so why should I continue this folly if I’m ultimately not giving Rupe his tithe (however small)? The answer is, I still won’t buy it, but it can go in rotation with The Graun and The Indie of Newspapers I’ll Read In The College Library. Hey, it’s free. The Telegraph can still go dive in a skip full of used syringes for all I care (apart from the games people. They’re pretty good. And Oliver Pritchett).
I got a new phone today! Hurrah! It’s about time too! As you can see in the photo above, it’s a Samsung Galaxy Europa, the cheaper end of Samsung’s Galaxy line of Android phones (and that’s a CERN shirt, by the way. The equations you can see there describe the fundamental forces, particles, and the Higgs mechanism). And that is a map of the world and a periodic table on the wall behind me. With such things is my bedroom decorated.
…apparently. In all honestly, I would very much recommend you not download it (unless you feel like you’re too cheerful, and want something to send you into a spiral of depression and despair). They repeated Episode 2 on BBC One the other afternoon, and I left it on out of morbid curiosity. It really is just as bad as I remembered. I’d forgotten about the whole ‘Dalton’s glove can do anything, except fire death beams with any degree of expediency outside of plot demands’ bit (and the fact that it was the Torchwood resurrection glove, respurposed.). Good grief, that episode was stupid. Don’t download it, people!
You might have seen Hans Rosling’s TED talks – he’s a global health professor with a keen interest in statistics and their visualisation. He recently did a documentary for the BBC which has made its way onto Youtube, and it’s excellent, so I thought I’d share it with you all.
Isn’t that the rule? I could’ve sworn it was. Anyway, as you can see (that is, if you visit the website – I’m aware that there are quite a few people who read the feed, as it were, and to them this will mean nothing), I’ve changed the theme on the site for the umpteen-bazillionth time. Do you remember at the end of Fable II, when you see how differently you dressed at various points in the game? The statues on the Road to Rule in Fable III serve a similar purpose. I’d quite like something like that for this blog, so I could see its various incarnations. This theme is a little cleaner than the last. I like the font and the first line capitalisation. Bit sad I can’t still have the Flanders and Swann gif for the background, but maybe that’s for the best. I’ve got another use for it, anyway. Miss Marple was quite good, wasn’t it?
I thought since the lovely people at WordPress were generous enough to provide it for me, here’s my blog review thing. I would be very interested to know if anyone’s ‘blog health meter’ was anything less that the top thingy, though. Here it is
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.
The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.
In 2010, there were 234 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 287 posts. There were 281 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 27mb. That’s about 5 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was June 27th with 833 views. The most popular post that day was Review: Doctor Who: The Big Bang.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, lifetheuniverseandcombom.blogspot.com, shipwithoutarudder.wordpress.com, en.wordpress.com, and twitter.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for fable 2, star trek enterprise, midsomer murders, doctor who big bang review, and david cameron funny.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
Review: Doctor Who: The Big Bang June 2010
My Problem With… Star Trek February 2010
Review: Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens June 2010
Jokes which are no longer funny February 2010
Review: Doctor Who: Cold Blood May 2010
Just updated the blogroll/links in the sidebar. Added pretty much all the stuff I regularly read. If you’re not included and want to be, please ask. g’night.