Occupational thoughts

Covering life on the home front.

New Labour fundraising

with one comment

Yesterday I put dialogue to 2 comics, and I plan to put in the dialogue for a 3rd one this afternoon.  I’m posting one comic a day for the next three days to spread them out a bit. All these comics are on the theme of fundraising.

labourfundraisingOn a seperate path I notice that Il-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey and Arma II have quietly crept onto consoles. These are both the continuations of a 1st generation of military simulations which I bought a while ago. It seems now these simulations have moved to a console audience and although I haven’t played them, I fear they might be dumbed down to appeal to a wider audience. This is a good thing because I found the complexities of both first games frustrating.

Matthieu phoned earlier to say that Halo 3: Orbital Drop Shock Trooper comes out in about 2 weeks. This is good news:

  1. I consider Halo to be a benchmark for console shooter games with an unpredictable story, wonderful settings and lots of fun. More of the same would be much appreciated.
  2. The Halo 3 map packs come with the game.
  3. New Firefight multiplayer mode.
  4. Get to play as Sargent Johnson if you preorder.
  5. Continuation of features introduced in Halo 3 such as Theater and Forge.

The bad news is:

  1. It costs £40. This is an enormous amount of money to spend on any video game… even if it’s Halo.
  2. I have school soon. School tends to replace video games pretty dramatically.
Advertisements

Written by Pierre

September 5, 2009 at 10:33

Posted in gaming, politick

Tagged with ,

What is politics?

with one comment

First off I’d like to say that this is a really really annoying essay 1-page explanation to write, why? Well because politics broadly crosses so many other fields: Philosophy and Economics are the main ones but it spills over into numerous other areas as well.

It reminds me of an Arabian folk tale in which a crafty bread thief asks the wise judges to define “What is bread?”; the wise men each come up with contrasting definitions and the clever thief walks free. And I apologise, but I do not have a link to that story.

The most obvious place to start is to look at other people’s definitions, Wikipedia defines politics as:

A process by which groups of people make decisions.

That’s the most broad yet concise a definition I’ve found so far. In fact instead of writing all this I could easily just leave it with that definition there.

Dictionary.com defines politics as:

The science or art of political government.

Fair enough, although not as clear as Wikipedia.
And then it goes on to state that politics can also be used as a verb, used often (incorrectly) by Christine when describing the people at Blenheim palace:

French: Ils font de la politique
English translation: They do politics

Which loosely follows the definition given by Dictionary.com, that to ‘do’ politics is:

To deal with people in an opportunistic, manipulative, or devious way, as for job advancement.

So, I’m splitting up the definition of politics to mean both ‘the practice of good government’ and ‘the practice of gaining power’. These terms overlap when a politician who is good at the power-grabbing aspect of politics uses their skill to maneuver themselves into a position where they can govern. A good example of this is a member of the executive board of a company doing politics to become Chief Executive Officer. People become disillusioned in politics because they fail to see the ideological battle behind much of the scrambling for power.

Such people may even claim to be apolitical. This is false as although they may not identify with any strain of political thought, they are in fact supporting the prevailing ideas of the society that they exist in.
Politics is sometimes presented as a two dimensional tug-of-war between the left and the right. This view is also false because politics also encompasses issues other than the class struggle for example: the environment, civil liberties, the peace movement, the abolishment of copyright, ect… The way those issues are dealt with defines your government.

That’s my slightly disjointed definition, although feel free to browse the mind-map I drew on the subject:

politics mmap

Written by Pierre

September 5, 2009 at 09:28

Posted in politick, school

Hayabusa

leave a comment »

Over the past few days I’ve been systematically going through Halo 3 and looking for all the skulls. For those of you who don’t play Halo 3, the skulls are a set of game modifiers, probably better known as handicaps. The twist though is that you have to search around the maps in the game to find these skulls, sometimes you have to bring about certain conditions which make the skulls appear. Achievements and their gamerscore (10 each) are awarded for finding these skulls but the real satisfaction comes with new armour available to use online called Hayabusa armour, it looks a little like a samurai costume. It also just gives you the excuse to play the game again and watch out for the small details.
As with every other person who gets new armour on Xbox LIVE, I am incredibly proud of it as a symbol of my rank and superiority over those small people who don’t have samurai armour. Sure I won’t run around screaming “I HAS EPIC NEW ARMER FTW!!!”, but I did take some photos celebrating the occasion:

Despite this, I still hold the belief that the Mark V helmet looks better than the Hayabusa one, so I’ll revert back to that one in a few days.
There is a sword which can be gained for the Hayabusa armour by completing all the achievements in the game and getting all the available gamerscore. This task however appears far too difficult so I’ll either just not do it, or wait until I have a whole day free with nothing going on and no homework outstanding ect…

An achievement I would like to do is the Vidmaster Annual which involves getting 4 players over Xbox LIVE playing the last level of Halo 3 on legendary difficulty with the Iron skull turned on. Andriy and co. have already done it but Matthieu’s friends look set for a try, I’ll have to organise it sometime.

And should you ever want to know what each skull does, here’s a handy guide:

  • Iron skull: If you’re in co-op and one player dies, the whole party goes back to the last checkpoint, if all players die then the level is restarted.
  • Black eye skull: Your shields don’t regenerate automatically, in order to bring them back up you have to melee an enemy.
  • Tough luck skull: Enemies dodge grenades better, are more likely to go on suicide rampages towards you and never run away (normally most Grunts and Jackals will run away once they’ve lost their shields or their weapons).
  • Catch skull: Enemies throw far more grenades than usual, they drop 2 grenades when they die.
  • Fog skull: The motion tracker on your radar is disabled.
  • Famine skull: Dropped weapons only have half as much ammo as they should have.
  • Thunderstorm skull: All enemies are promoted to their maximum rank (I never really thought that the covenant forces held ranks within the member species so I don’t understand this one).
  • Tilt skull: Enemy strengths and weaknesses are amplified which forces you to chose your weapons carefully.
  • Mythic skull: All NPCs have 2x health.

And of course there are a few other skulls which don’t gain gamerscore and don’t have such a wide impact on gameplay but are still needed for the Hayabusa helmet:

  • Blind skull: I got this one in Halo 2 as well, it turns off your HUD and makes your weapon invisible.
  • Grunt birthday party skull: When a grunt is shot in the head it explodes into showers of confetti.
  • Cowbell skull: All explosions have a larger blast radius and inflict more damage on everyone. I’ve found this to be fantastically useful with frag grenades.
  • I Would Have Been Your Daddy skull:  Did this one yesterday and it’s quite hard to get, it unlocks large amounts of extra dialogue.

Written by Pierre

September 4, 2009 at 08:26

Posted in gaming

Tagged with

Photo dump #3

leave a comment »

Yesterday I think I complained that my desk was getting messy, well here’s what it looked like last night:

messydesk

And I also said that I have lots of unfinished books:

readinglist

The sketch I made on the drive back from the YCL camp was scanned in and coloured:
For comparison the original scan is here.
3youngcommunists

Anthony came up with the line ‘British courage comes in the form of beer’, this was my revised sketch of him on scout camp:

britishcourage
I sort of messed up with the feet but it doesn’t matter.

And lastly this is a comic which I sketched on paper yesterday but went over this morning and added dialogue:

breakfastable

I still have a few more scanned drawings and dialogue hanging around and I’ll have a crack at colouring some more tomorrow.
On a slight tangent I’m not sure if it’s just me but I have a habit of putting my line drawings and the colouring on different layers. It gives greater flexibility and room for error but probably takes longer. As a result I’ve learnt a few of the keyboard shortcuts on Paint.NET to navigate quicker.

Written by Pierre

September 3, 2009 at 10:18

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

the Personal Touch

leave a comment »

I stayed up last night watching ‘The Revolution Will not be Televised‘. It’s a fantastic film because it’s really simple, all it is is a camera crew who just happened to be in Caracas at the time of the coup against Chavez and they filmed loads and loads of footage. Instead of featuring interviews or  narration, it shows what would be known as ‘the view from the street’. John Pilger’s Documentary ‘the War on Democracy‘ does expose the takeover in Venezuela, but it’s easily beaten in terms of detail by amateur footage of the events taking place minute-by-minute.

Nevertheless, this post was not supposed to be a gushing stream of praise for a really quite obscure film. This post is highlighting examples of how adding a personal touch to business makes me very happy.

Yesterday morning as I went to get the paper the shopkeeper (a fat, irritated-looking man) told me that he had received a letter saying that the Guardian would cost £1 instead of the habitual 90p. We both agreed that this was an unwise move and I bought the Independent in protest.

When I received the book ‘White niggers of America’ from Amazon, inside was slipped a printed out order page and on the bottom was handwritten in biro the word ‘Enjoy!’.

The bank cashier had memorized my name and when I walked in he said ‘Hello Pierre’. I didn’t remember if his name was David or Daniel so I just said hi.

A bookkeeper introduced himself as Jeff and addressed me as ‘Man’ or ‘Dude’, he described his job as ‘A really nice gig’ and explained to me how the books in the shop are so cheap because the guy who owns the shop also owns a wholesale warehouse. The background music in the shop was Pink Floyd and I was beginning to think that he wasn’t a real bookkeeper at all; bookkeepers have glasses and cardigans and talk quietly, he couldn’t have looked more out of place.

All of these things pretty much made my day a lot better.

Written by Pierre

September 3, 2009 at 09:37

Posted in life

leave a comment »

This morning I tried uploading some HL2 Ep2 gameplay footage to Facebook, miscalculating the transfer rate the app calculated that it would take over 6 days to upload my video:

videouploadmadness

And I found an odd scribbling on my profile wall:

lottiedrunk

Written by Pierre

September 2, 2009 at 06:29

For the abolishment of the monarchy.

leave a comment »

I’m typing up the speech I wrote at the YCL camp, there isn’t yet a video of my delivering it on YouTube so I might come back to it later as a vlog, we’ll see. Until then here’s the text:

Today Britain is hailed as a steady democratic society, other nations look to it as an ideal. This goes even to the point that Britain feels itself righteous enough to be able to criticize others: the military states, dictatorships and oppressive regimes.
What is forgotten is that we too belong to this group. When the other nations revolted and grew into republics, Britain was held back, our civil war was lost and monarchial rule maintained.
Today the aristocrats which we fought long ago are still living in their huge estates. They are still granted titles by birthright; and they still exist in an elitist bubble. They are still fuelled by archaic traditions such as fox hunting which are mistakenly preserved as “national heritage”.
The Queen herself is praised for bringing in tourist revenue.
At school, were we not taught that all humans are equal? Why then must we lower ourselves in forced respect for the enemies of a republic?
Not only does the feudal system preserve unjust laws, it facilitates the creation of new ones. Elizabeth Windsor still has a role in approving laws. This unelected head of state also poses as a figurehead for our nation.
Think of the other members of the commonwealth who are also meant to suffer the rule of a foreign snob.
Refuse to let taxpayer’s money support the exorbitant expenses of the nobility.
Refuse to let the Queen undermine the elected government.
Refuse to bow in humility before this ancient inbred family.

Abolish them!!

abolishqueen

I also downloaded a film called ‘The Revolution will not be Televised’ from the Pirate Bay. I hope to watch it and seed it for the next week-or-so.

Written by Pierre

September 1, 2009 at 16:56

Posted in politick