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Kind of a halt

August 13, 2016

Netbook has died, due to water spillage (my own fault). I used it to blog while I was hanging out with cats, watching TV.

Not half as keen for sitting up at PC because it’s something I associate with work. But I’ll see what I can do.

Not apologising, my blogging is such that no-one really cares, but I’m recognising there’s another barrier to it now.

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The day of the cursed child

August 8, 2016

Yesterday we spent the entire day in London, to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Both parts in a day. Part 1 started at 1pm and Part 2 at 6pm. Add to that an hour train to London, plus 3o min walk to station (usually train is 30-45min, but boo, Sundays).

So, it was a long-ass day. But worth it.

I don’t want to go into too many details about the play. On the whole we preferred the first one, not just because of fatigue setting in (it was also a ridiculously hot day and old London theatres aren’t great at air conditioning). It’s definitely worth watching the plays if you can. Whether they show in cinemas, embark on tours, show in other countries – the staging is sheer magnificence. Obviously a lot of thought put into how to bring a play where magic is central to the stage, and it is magical.

There were moments the crowds just giggled with joy at tricks, or at nods to films/books and it was hard not to be swept away by all the enthusiasm.

Cast were amazing, and it’s a big cast without anyone I’d say was being carried. Quite an achievement when you have to have some oldish kids in there along with the adults.

I wish it was easier to get tickets. I wish everyone could see it. I’d see it again to be honest. Probably both in same day again, but that’s because I don’t like THAT near theatre.

 

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Vive talkin’

August 6, 2016

So yeah, this blog started as a gaming one. It’s time to doff my cap in that direction and talk a little about the HTC Vive our house has acquired recently. My husband had been saving up since it was announced, so we ordered one as soon as they went on sale and started to upgrade the computer to be able to handle it. We also use bluetooth headphones and are lucky enough to have a spare room to have it all set up.

I was pretty unconvinced by VR before I’d experienced it. I thought it’d make me sick as many people said the initial Oculus Rift tests at gaming cons said it did for them.. but I never even bothered to queue up to test it. As far as I was concerned, it was something my husband was interested in, in the same way as I played MMOs and he didn’t much.

But he was quite eager to get me to try the system. And of course, I was interested once it was in the house!

I started off with the tutorial, set in the Aperture Science Labs, which is always nice to see. There’s a few small games to get you used to controls, how to jump around so you can walk seamlessly even when the physical room is running out, how to shoot bows, investigate objects, pick things up, and even stroke a robot dog (highlight, of course). Got to wander around a mountain looking at scenery, shoot a bow at baddies trying to storm a keep, repair an Atlas robot with GladOS badmouthing me, and yes.. even locate some cake. I threw a lot of things around, shot an Aperture Science worker because I could.. it’s quite liberating. And then didn’t do much else for a while. I really like the immersive scenery, couldn’t spend too long on ledges of mountain as it made me feel a bit vertigo-y, which shows how realistic it can get.

Then I tried Waltz of the Wizard, which let me wander round a magician’s house and play with objects. And TheBlue, where you stand underwater, and watch stuff, including a very majestic whale swim-past. And then of course Trials on Tattoine where you get to wield a lightsaber and use it to deflect bolts back on Stormtroopers. All very short, but cool experiences.

But none of which are ‘real’ games. More like experiences. And that is one of the strengths of the Vive VR for me, it really does take me out of the room and let me just BE somewhere else, even if I don’t want to play an active game.

However, it was time to try a game. So, after the summer Steam sale, I played Vanishing Realms, which is proper little D&D game, and includes swordplay, solving puzzles, grabbing items (and yes, smashing barrels and crates) and feels very much like a real version of Knightmare, but without the actors. I haven’t played through too much, we had some computer issues which are now resolved, but I found my height was an advantage on the skeleton-killing, since I could go under their shields and stab upwards. Yes, I had to kneel to get through a knife trap, I jumped over platforms to get through a water room, and had to choose my weapon! It’s not all crazy action though, so that suited me.

And my most recent gaming has been on Audioshield which is a bit of a workout. Using music from your own hard drive, it takes songs and turns the music into a series of blobs you have to deflect with shields on your hands. Your right hand is an orange shield and your  left a blue one, and you have to hit blue and orange blobs, with the correct hand! And you put them together to deflect purple ones. It comes with 3 difficulties, 3 shield types (I mostly use gladius) and 2 stadia to choose as backgrounds. It’s not a graphically amazing game, but it’s pretty fun and I hope to do 20-30 mins a day just to get me moving on days I don’t leave the house.

I know most people would have tried EVERYTHING, but I’ve been purposely picky. I don’t want to dip in and out too much and I’m still finding what’s best for me. But I’m delighted by the Vive VR experience much more than I ever thought I’d be. And we love showing it to people, because mostly they have the same reaction – that it’s a lot better than expected.

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I skipped a day! But not Groundhog Day

August 5, 2016

In my defence, I was going to blog all about Suicide Squad when I got in from the midnight showing. But having been up for work from 2am and then spending the day in London with a friend, I wasn’t in any fit state to go to the cinema. Heading there in a couple of hours to catch it instead. I have a cinema subscription card, so for £17/month I can watch all the films I want. It’s pretty good for not feeling bad about last-minute cancellations!!

So instead, a brief review of Tim Minchin’s latest musical Groundhog Day.

We (husband and I) saw it last week, buoyed up by our love for Minchin’s witty comedic songs. And it was fine. There was a lot to like about it. I especially liked the cast, while my husband found it harder to shake off Bill Murray from the central role. I’m not going to summarise the story – see the film if you haven’t, it’s an absolute classic and much funnier than the musical could be. But it was done well enough. Most of the best jokes were direct lines from the film, though.

The songs were ok, not catchy enough to be singing them in the interval or after the show, but the lyrics were clear and made sense. Nothing stellar though, and I’d kind of been expecting stellar.

Additionally there were a few awkward almost anti-women moments, that felt really out of sorts for Minchin, and even a gay joke that didn’t sit too well (none of this was so bad as to veer into offensive – but knowing it’s been written by someone pretty ‘right-on’, it felt weird).

The staging though, that was pretty damn cool. Because they knew they’d have to repeat themselves a lot to get the Groundhog Day vibe, but they did it cleverly, so you never felt bored by that aspect. In one particular segment the main character had to end up back in bed regularly to show a day had passed, and it was done so skilfully that I grinned in delight, as if I was watching a magic show where I could actually believe in the magic.

We paid £22.50 per ticket and it was definitely worth that. Probably wouldn’t see it again, or buy the soundtrack. But since I know it’s a limited run, I thought I’d share what we thought of it.

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A little more randomness

August 3, 2016

Since tomorrow will almost certainly be a comic review – today’s blog post will be pretty short. I walked 1.5h today, so kind of tired, especially as it’s so hot outside.

We saw Finding Dory, which is only just out in the UK. Technically it was great and the voice acting very strong still, but it wasn’t anything like as good as I was expecting after rave reviews from US friends. I’m not really sure what didn’t click, it wasn’t bad in anyway, it just wasn’t great. I liked the short, Piper, that played beforehand though.

It’s not been a great summer cinema season so far, lots of disappointment and fear Suicide Squad may go the same way from initial critics reviews (I’m seeing it midnight Thurs/Fri) with my fab green hair! Star Trek Beyond so far the only summer film that’s surpassed my expectations – which were a little lower than they should have been, but genuinely really enjoyed the film.

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Onto comics

August 2, 2016

I’ve always been a comics fan, from a very young age. And I’ve always maintained some level of interest, but over the past few years it’s become stronger again. And I’m bound to talk about comics a fair bit here.

So, because Tuesdays are my nightmare work day, I thought I’d give a list of comics I’m currently following:

  • Nightwing (because if you don’t love Dick Grayson, you should)
  • Batman (because Tom King may be one of the best writing talents in comics)
  • Captain America: Steve Rogers (because, Cap!)
  • Captain America: Sam Wilson (because SamCap! and Misty Knight)
  • The Thunderbolts (being led by Bucky Barnes atm, will have tie ins with Cap)
  • Moon Knight (I will definitely write more about this one!!)
  • Mockingbird (ditto)
  • Vision (one of the best comics out there, about to end it’s run)
  • Power Man and Iron Fist (because Iron Fist is one of my fave chars, and it’s great)
  • Vote Loki (4-issue run, 2 issues down)
  • Civil War II: Gods of War (I’ll talk about CW2 as well, and why I’m not wholly in)
  • Saga
  • And.. the next few issues of Invincible and International Iron Man (2 titles)

I’m also currently reading Preacher and then dipping into some older collections on Marvel Unlimited.

It’s a very Marvel-heavy list, and I buy a mix of hard-copy and digital titles. Comics are getting expensive, so may have to cut back a bit and rely more on Marvel Unlimited (a subscription service, that makes Marvel comics available 6 months after release, and has a TON of back issues).

Apologies for the brevity. I was going to seriously cave and not post today, but even I know that giving in so soon would be far too ‘me’🙂

 

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So I guess I’m blogging again

August 1, 2016

In a rash decision I signed up for Blaugust 2016  yesterday and committed to posting something here every day. I haven’t blogged in years. I’ve always kind of wanted to get back to it, but had dropped into a pit of thinking I had nothing much to offer in the way of interesting opinions, especially as I dropped out of gaming through a bad back, anti-social working hours and spending too much time on my own sitting in front of the TV.

So I can’t promise this will be insightful, interesting or otherwise all that great. But I hope that within the month, there’s at least a few things worth reading.

Topics I hope to  cover include:

  • Comics – my main passion at the moment. I get quite a few per month, and also have a subscription to Marvel Unlimited, so there may be some suggested reading lists (or links to places to find them)
  • VR gaming – we have an HTC Vive, and while I’ve not played with it much, I have enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would
  • TV / Films – I’m still a TV-obsessed creature, and I have a cinema subscription card, so I can see as many films as I want at local cinema for £17/month. This means I see most things
  • News / Media – can’t promise I’ll delve into this one, but my work involves reading a lot of world media and occasionally there may be something I want to say about how things are reported, and maybe suggest some good places to get news

There’s probably other things too, and if there’s anything you want to know about, just let me know and I’ll try and come up with something!

(Also, now re-learning WordPress, so don’t be surprised if things like changing my Blogroll takes a few days – it will happen)