The BIG THREE-OH-OH or 300 (for Purists)

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 04.15.42

So I lay my head down to take a nap (I’ve been very busy lately and damned if it’s not tiring) and when I wake up, all fuzzy headed and wondering where the hell am I and what just happened. I pass the 300 follower point on my blog!

(How’s that for one long-assed opening sentence? Well I’ve got plenty more where that came from.)

Seriously though, I am pleased, excited, happy, (You like me, you really like me! Sorry Sally Field, I couldn’t resist.) and surprised. When I started blogging seriously back in 2011 I never dreamed that it would become such a huge part of my life.

Mind you I never knew that I was going to have two heath issues in one year (one of which was kind of critical) and have all that extra time to write. I did pretty good while I was working full-time at a real job, but my “not-real” job is a lot more fun and the lunch breaks are better.

You will all be happy to know that this is a short post. It will not be one of my 1000 word plus Margaret Mitchell length rants or reviews.

No, this is a quick 0410 in the morning shout of “Hurrah!” and thanks. Thanks to all you great folks out there who have made the ultimate show of interest and followed little old me.

I am eternally grateful and pleased to make your acquaintance.

Now go out and get your friends to follow.

Now.

Just kidding! I love you all for reading, following, commenting, and “liking” my stuff. Gee, it seems like I’ve said that before. The only fly in this honeyed ointment is that WordPress obviously do not give an award for the big 300!

So… what? Is 300 not as amazing as 200 was?

Still complaining aside, I’ll leave you all with one thought; this is how a blog post from moi looks when written at 0400 hours in the morning…after a nap!

Thanks guys! I raise my coffee cup in toast and say, “You’re the best!”

Cheers!
Cheers!

 

Assassin’s Creed III – Meh With a Capital M

I must be one of the only people in the world who is not excited about the upcoming release of Assassin’s Creed III. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike the Assassin’s Creed franchise. I’ve just gotten bored with it.

When Assassin’s Creed first came out in 2006 I was swept away by the stunning graphics and the wonderful story line. The main character, or hero of the game if you prefer, was Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad. Set during the third Crusades, the game’s tapestry was rich with history, both real and imagined.

Of course we only see  Altaïr once Desmond Miles, bartender extraordinaire, has been plugged up to the Animus. A machine that allows modern day folk to ‘live’ their ancestor’s memories.

Most people I know, didn’t like the first one. Stating that it was repetitive, boring and too long. Of course the biggest complaint was that you could not really assassinate anyone. Which is true, the moment you killed your target, no matter how discrete you were, you had to fight for your life.

So okay a little annoying but not enough to put me off the entire game. Just the graphics alone made my eyes feel like they were stretching out of their sockets trying to take in all that breathtaking, colourful and real looking verse.

What a wonderful blending of science fiction and historical drama. The Animus, which tied all the memories together was exciting and scary.

Still definitely my personal favourite out of all of them.

Which leads me into my first complaint. The next Assassin’s Creed had a new protagonist Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Desmond is rescued from the evil Knight’s  Templar aka Abstergo by the modern day Assassins. When he enters their Animus he re-lives the life of Ezio.

Now Ezio was okay, but, he isn’t Altaïr and his story arc is nowhere near as interesting. *Please remember that this is just my opinion.* But obviously, Ezio is the masses favourite. Because he  has come back no less than four times. I quickly got over any excitement I initially felt when I heard that a new Assassin’s Creed was being released.

But my lacklustre reception of all things Ezio, was not just down to his character. My dissatisfaction grew because of the change in the graphics and the storyline.

Gone were the breathtaking graphics that ‘one’ brought to the party. Gone were the brilliant mixing of history and science. Instead we were given graphics that were…okay. We were given a larger history lesson via on-screen data messages, a lot. And the interaction between Desmond and his ‘saviour’ Lucy Stillman, suddenly changed.

By the time that Brotherhood was released, the Uncharted series was huge. As Nolan North voiced both Desmond and Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series, and Nolan’s speciality is ad-libbing and engaging in banter with the other actors, Ubisoft decided to have Desmond and Lucy interact with each other differently.

What??

Where did this come from? When did Desmond and Lucy turn into Nate and Elena? Why try to make them into characters from another verse?

All this just proves to me that Ubisoft has lost their way with the franchise.

Assassin’s Creed II and beyond I could just about deal with. I was still able to suspend my disbelief enough to go along with Ezio dealing with Leonardo DaVinci, and the Borgias.  But it did get increasingly difficult to enjoy the games themselves. I still haven’t finished Revelations. And before I move on, I do have to say, I like the fact that Ezio is older. I mean seriously the guy had to age sometime.

Now III has an assassin interacting and presumably influencing the American War of Independence. *cue mouth dropping open* Huh? I’ve seen the trailers and the new assassin’s ‘costume’ (yes, that’s right, I said costume) is so out of place compared to what everyone else is wearing, I’m surprised that he isn’t shot on sight.

There is also the little detail of the ‘assassin’s tomahawk’ it looks far too modern and again out-of-place. The whole thing has completely broken down my ability to suspend my disbelief.

I really do think it is time for Ubisoft to move on.

Money

Credit Card
Credit Card (Photo credit: 401K 2012)
Money seems to be a problem for everyone these days. The entire world is gripped by economic woes and it doesn’t seem to be easing up for anyone. There is a global tightening of the belt going on that is causing widespread discontent and most of this “belt-tightening” appears to be of the “knee-jerk” variety.

The cause of these economic woes all depends on who you talk to. Economists and financial “experts” all have differing opinions as to who or what is to blame. There is an awful lot of finger pointing going on, with too many suspects to choose from. I think that even Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot would have difficulty finding the guilty party.

I do know that economists have warned for years that the world has been heading for financial meltdown.  It is abundantly clear that they were right.

I personally feel that everyone is to blame. I can see you shaking your head now. “Oh, no.” You say. “I haven’t contributed one iota to this abysmal mess!” No? I beg to differ. I’ll explain.

When I was growing up, it was very important to “live within your means.” In a nutshell, that means living within your salary. There are and were exceptions to that “rule.” Buying a house, for example, put you firmly in debt. This was acceptable though as it was deemed a necessary part of living.

In those far off days of my youth it was a lot harder to get credit. If you wanted to buy an expensive item you put it on lay-a-way, or as the English call it, the HP. Folks had credit cards back then, but, they were a little bit wiser in how they used them.

Now it is a lot harder to “live within your means.” Mainly because of leisure time. We have more time for leisure activities than ever before in the history of man. Don’t think so? Well we do. We as a people work less hours per week than ever before. We also have more things to do in our off work time. That combined with the new “must-have” gadgets and toys make all this spare time an expensive deal.

We all “need” laptop computers (or home computers), games consoles, flat-screen High Definition (HD) or 3D televisions. DVD players to play these HD or 3D films. Every household has multiple cell or mobile phones with the expense that involves. Folks are relying more on their gaming consoles for exercising and inter-acting socially with their families. We use computers and their bastard cousin the internet to do a lot of things that used to be done the old fashioned way.

Everyone wants to buy new things.  The number of second hand shops has dwindled alarmingly. It is just too easy to get “fast” credit and purchase new things instead of used.  We all seem to have an inbred desire to buy bigger and better things. We’ve stopped just keeping up with the Joneses, we’re all now striving to outdo them.

We are not the only ones guilty of this financial “snow-balling” getting so far into debt that we’ll never climb out. It’s the governments as well. Governments go into enormous mountains of debt for things ranging from bigger and better bomb and space exploration, to funding silly research programs.

I’m not wagging my finger at anyone, mind you. I’m just stating the obvious as I see it. I’m just as guilty as the next person of living beyond my means. It happens sneakily, you know. One day you’re balancing everything nicely – if a bit manically – and the next thing you know, you’re buried in a huge amount of bills.

Because, let’s face it, we all like this new lifestyle we lead. And as parents we want little Billy or Suzy to have the latest gadgets and gizmo’s that are out there. Just as we or our governments do.

Money may not be the root of all evil, but it is definitely a close relation and one that is going to be a problem to everyone for a long time yet. I remember once in school a teacher stated that in the future it would be hard to keep everyone occupied when they weren’t working. His theory was that so many things would be automated that  people would have a lot more spare time.

He just never mentioned how much money we’d be spending on this new-found spare time. He also never mentioned that money would be in such scarce supply.

leisure world luton
leisure world luton (Photo credit: osde8info)