Tag Archive: blog


 

 

First things first, a mate of mine said while my last attempt at blogging sounded like me, it lacked a certain something; my personality. What he really meant was I was clearly trying to hard not to offend folks and it didn’t sound right. So, having taken that on board, I’m going to have another crack at blogging and while I’ll try to keep it up for longer than eight weeks this time, I ‘ain’t promising nowt. Don’t think, however, I’m about to start hurling abuse in every direction indiscriminately. No, no I’m not, but what I will do is to rip the piss out of idiots that either are begging for it, or are so far up their own arses that they deserve it.

#tapintoyourinnerwanker

 

What does the above hash tag mean, I hear you ask. Well, it means be true to yourself. My inner wanker loves to laugh, is sometimes cruel, often intellectual and enjoys nothing more than picking and poking fun at himself and others. Saying that I’m not a total wanker, mind you.

 

Topic for today – friendship.

 

I’m a good friend, I think. Well, I’m a good person so surely that translates into being a good mate? Fucking ought to. Oh yeah, I’ll be swearing a whole lot more this time around. So if you’re easily offended, piss off and play with your dolls somewhere else.

 

This feels good, you wankers!

 

Topic Matthew! Right, where was I? Ah yes, I’m a good friend and in the interests of impartiality I’ll beg/bribe some of me mates to pipe up and give you their opinions.

 

I recently worked with a bloke whom I became good friends with – although the prick has just left the store and is now dead to me…I’m joking, ffs. Much to my surprise and delight, he’s almost as scathing a cunt as me – which is an achievement that ought to get the both of us arrested. The point to today’s blog is when is does friendship too much like hard work.

 

Punch me in the tits and call me a pleb but shouldn’t friendships be a two way street where both parties interact on a level footing and give as much as they take? You should be nodding about now because if I’ve learnt nothing from life it’s that you look after your friends and loved ones. If you can’t do that then you are a contemptuous sack of pony shite. My brother, my wife and a few others will always be my friends. The bond is unshakable and needs no tending. 50/50 all the way in every part of the friendship/relationship. If it’s anything less, the wheels will fall off…unless of course you’re a more forgiving and kinder person than me. Did I mention I’m a wanker? Think I did. We all have good friends that can be trusted, right?

 

We all have a flaky, narcissistic friends with an outrageous sense of entitlement as well. It’s harder to drop them like a hot stone when they have admirable qualities or are part of a group of mates. Drives me mad when they can’t shake the need for petty little games. When is enough too much. How far do you bend over to except them for what they are before they end up riding you like a pit pony? (two pony references – check) That my friends is up to the individual. If they make you miserable, sponge off of you, lie or steal, then I’d suggest moving on.

 

Righto, off to read through what I just wrote and hope I’ve not just told you lot to kill all those you don’t like, or owt.

 

 

 

 

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Golden age.

evolution-of-man

While the title of this blog might have you thinking this’ll be some science fiction romp, sadly it isn’t.

Initially I intended to call this blog ‘The futility of faith’, but I decided against it. The change of mind had nothing to do with a fear of challenging religion, no, but everything to do with knowing it’d take me waaaay off topic – believe me I need no encouragement to loose focus.

Evolution has always fascinated me and after recently talking about it a great deal with a work mate, it got me thinking again. Off the back of my reignited interest, I’ve been reading and watching plenty of documentaries on the subject.

** Please note this is not a scientific piece, it’s nothing more than my ham-fisted grasp on evolution.

Golden age.

What do I mean by the golden age? I’m referring to mankind’s golden age and I’d argue we’re living it now. Does evolution stop or simply slow down when you know what to look for regarding devolve, or will not be able to see any change until long after it’s happened? Incidentally, If anyone reading this and knows of any recorded genetic variations within the our own DNA that’s considered the precursor to variation, then please tell as I’d love to read about it. Hum, that statement might be dafter than I presume given the time it takes for evolution to begin.

Told you I drift off topic, didn’t I?

I suppose some congratulations should be extended towards mankind for surviving this long and getting us where we are today. It’s all our own doing, right? Well, no, not really. I don’t think we can take too much credit for incremental variation, selection of the fittest and eventual evolution – although to do so would be ever-so human. By definition by being here then whatever changes we carry in our DNA had to have been successful? That I’m pretty sure is a loose definition of evolution?

So, I surmise that for whatever reason, biological, environmental or whatever, (I’d really love to know the key factors in what kick starts evolution) we won the evolutionary race to take over from the dominant species of the time. I’d even be so bold as to presume that mankind is likely to be the most successful species to have inhabited the earth. Kind of goes without saying given we’ve yet to unearth any evidence to the contrary.

One – nil to mankind. Get in!

So we sit atop the food chain, lords over all we perceive. 2 – nil, right? Well, maybe not. Okay, while our position of dominance is solid, given we’re adept at hunting prey and potential predators into extinction, I truly feel sure (could be wrong) that time is against us. The ‘end’ could come as an environmental disaster, meteor impact, biological super virus, or even (leaning heavily towards this option) we might mess things up ourselves. Personally I doubt it if we’re robust enough of a species to survive much of a catastrophe unscathed or otherwise. Especially given mother natures taste for brutality. If we are to survive then I imagine we’ll be taking a few steps backwards?

Call it a draw? 1 – 1…ahem.

Hominids, however, have managed to survive adversity in the past. I’m pretty sure Neanderthal man lived through at least one ice age that saw an end to countless apex predators and other established species. Okay, he was way more adept at survival than we are but surely having the most sophisticated organ in the known universe (our brain) has to count for something, right?

I’d like to say yes but imagine at best we’d most certainly devolve, loose mass, reduce brain size in order to conserve energy and survive, at worst we’d perish completely.

All sound’s a bit grim, right?

While trying unsuccessfully to sleep last night I got to thinking how could we preserve our knowledge should something devastating occur. We need something permanent in which to record our discoveries, but nothing lasts forever. How then do we? Do we launch probes into space on a thousand year return cycle? Litter the planet with data bases to be plundered in the future? Truth is I don’t reliably think we could. And even if we’re able who’s to say the next species of hominid will evolve like we have? That evolutionary variant might deem eyes and ears obsolete and instead communicate via pheromones. Okay, I’m drifting again but unless the devolution was but a small step and luck was on our side then maybe we’d recover. To be honest the ‘live happily ever after’ notion belongs in Hollywood. I suppose the cold truth would be if we die out then we’ve been found wanting and a non successful species.

Failing that we could just pray, I suppose. Oh wait, I’m not religious…I’m fu**ed!

Matt..

Interstellar.

interstellar

So, I went, I watched…but was it any good?

Right, before I get going I’d like to make it clear writing movie blogs isn’t something I ordinarily do. I do, however, love movies and picking through their plots.I’ll start on the defensive by saying I’ve honestly not read anyone else’s blog or review about the film and, again if I’m honest, I kept it that way to avoid regurgitating someone else’s opinion.

Oh and…**SPOILER WARNING! SPOILER WARNING! SPOILER WARNING!**

The movie begins by thrusting the viewer into a bleak future where mankind stumbles helplessly towards extinction. With the real possibility of starvation due to a mysterious blight that’s claimed all but maze, you immediately sense things are only going to get worse.

The brooding Cooper, played by the thoroughly excellent Matthew McConaughey, to me felt like a man out-of-place. It transpires Cooper is a talented and well-educated but now redundant NASA pilot. While he cuts a disconsolate and deeply unsatisfied farmer, he has a certain charisma that leaves you in little doubt he places others needs before his own.

The slightly unorthodox relationship between Cooper and his young daughter Murph, played initially by Mackenzie Foy, was, for me, a little understated given the level of connection needed later on in the movie. I’ll explain what I mean towards the end.

One idea I enjoyed immensely was how story allowed itself to develop and didn’t force the issue. While some might argue it had the time to do so – the film was over two and a half hours – it didn’t for me drag or seem padded with irrelevance.

Another notion I loved that permeated the movie was that maybe the planet wasn’t ours and that it’d grown tired of humanity. This, for me, really caught my imagination and gave the film a gritty, realistic feel.
Just ask my friends, I love dystopian ideas.

The sub-plot that drove the film was the supposed appearance of a ghost within the Cooper household. Murph, ridiculed by Tom, her older brother, played by Timothee Chalamet, is told by Cooper to document and evaluate her ghost’s behaviour scientifically. Throughout the early part of the film you get a sense that Cooper is trying to nurture Murph’s natural curiosity and maverick intelligent and save her from the mundane that is almost certain to be her future. Tom’s path, mind you, is all but set out for him regardless of his academic achievements. After all, the belligerent Cooper is told while attending a parent-teacher meeting, ‘the world need’s farmers, not pilots.’
While there is a definite sense of favouritism within the household, Cooper understands and appreciates Tom’s burgeoning skill in farming, but even so Murph is still his focal point.

The plot speeds up considerably when Murph, having done as instructed, finds repetition within the ghost’s activities. Upon sharing her findings with Cooper, the pair soon realise the patterns Murph found in the ever-present dust on her bedroom floor are in fact map coordinates.

While I’m going to skip most of the post take off story and concentrate on the under pinning ‘feelings’ and ‘emotions’ brought to bear, I would like to say throughout the film Interstellar is visually impressive and the sound track, while rather loud, fits perfectly.

If you’ve got kids there is no way the leaving scene between Cooper and Murph couldn’t have affected you; especially when a distraught Murph, having refused to say goodbye initially, runs out only to her father driving away. I felt sorry for Cooper during long space travel to the wormhole – especially as it was only Tom who’d recorded any messages for him. While Cooper had little or no choice to leave, I couldn’t help but feel he jumped at the chance, again backing up my ‘man out of place’ theory.

Shortly before take-off is the first time you get to see the awkward and somewhat daft droids. While initially their boxy appearance had me cringing, they seriously come into their own later on. As comical as the droids looked, their dialog absolutely sparkled. The tit for tat conversations between Cooper and the droids was not only a much-needed relief valve from the heavy setting but some of the most memorable parts in the film. That is, however, not to say the film was too heavy, hell no, let’s just say in my opinion the droids complemented the story perfectly.

Before the launch a mysterious ‘they’ are mentioned. It’s presumed ‘they’ are the creators of not only the wormhole but the gravitational quirks on earth and for some unknown reason looking out for mankind.

**Interlude** Well done and give yourselves a pat on the back for getting this far without falling into a comma, or stumbling over a full stop. See what I did there?

Ahem…I’ll continue.

Up until the point where the crew of the Endurance travel through the wormhole, the film has been mostly about survival of the species and endeavour in the face of adversity, etc, etc. While that might sound somewhat over powering, it certainly didn’t feel that way. I suppose the perfect antidote to all the go-getting was the subsequent betrayals that lent a little darkness to the mix. There had to be a little backstabbing, I suppose…after all we are human and skullduggery is in our nature.

Things become more desperate when the crew travel to one of twelve pre-selected planets. Each of these planets was visited by a single manned vessel in order to ascertain its capability of sustaining human life. These Lazarus missions called for extreme sacrifice on the part of the voyagers, for the secondary vessel would only be able to visit the three standout locations.

Upon reaching the first site it becomes immediately apparent that although the planet appears to be suitable, it is (hope I remember this bit correctly) caught in the gravitational pull of Gargantua, a nearby black hole and thus time moves more slowly on its surface.

It’s at this point crew member Brand, played by the lovely Anne Hathaway, questions Cooper’s time saving motives. Naturally Cooper is concerned with the planets time distorting effects and how he now runs the risk of breaking the promise he made to Murph when he left. He, disregarding the advice of his father in law (John Lithgow) to not promise something he couldn’t achieve, told Murph when he gets back they might be of the same age. Despite his fears, Cooper cooperates and fly’s them to the surface.

Having narrowly avoided complete disaster, the remaining crew are forced to move on to the next site. It is at this point that the notion of love rears its normally unwelcome head. I say that because once love infects a sci-fi or fantasy story, the wheels soon fall off and becomes mushy claptrap. I am glad, however, to say that this wasn’t the case with Interstellar. I suppose the camaraderie and backs to the wall setting is really just remanded affection? Yeah, I suppose loves always there, right? You know, lurking in the back ground like some soppy-sneak-thief looking to pluck…RIGHT, enough of that nonsense!

Ohhhhh, I’d better pull my finger out. I have to pick the kids up from school in an hour…and have yet to shower or get dressed. Currently I’m sitting here in my Liverpool FC dressing gown writing this.

Concentrate Thomas!!

Right…Brand is now at odds with Cooper as to their next destination. She chooses what seems to be the next most suitable location and intends to take the expedition there. However, it hadn’t escaped Cooper’s hawk like attention that Brand might have feelings for the pilot of that particular vessel and thus compromising her choice. If I’m not mistaken there are doubts as to whether both remaining sites can be visited due to fuel consumption being higher than anticipated. I’m not sure to be honest but Cooper overrules Brand by drawing upon something she’d said earlier in the film to the effect Dr. Mann, one of the two remaining sites, is the ‘best of us’.

They head to Dr. Mann

The fact that Brand’s loved one will surely die and Cooper’s continued sacrifice struck a powerful chord in me. I felt it helped personalise the movie and while that might, and most likely is, an obvious and a daft thing to say, it strengthened the films ‘feel’.

Fast forward>>>

Following more betrayal and a bold a piloting manoeuvre by Cooper, the mission is back on track – albeit it just about.

With the last just one site left to explore and not enough fuel, Cooper estimates if they sling shot the gravitation pull of the Gargantua that they can catapult Brand onward to the last destination. TARS, the main droid, sacrifices itself (don’t get mushy, it has no choice) to shove both Cooper and Brand free.
And off they go, right? Wrong. Cooper also follows TARS in to the black hole in an attempt to undo the lie perpetuated by Dr. Brand, played by Michael Cane. Yep you guessed it, DR. Brand is Brand’s father.
Dr. Brand’s deceit lay in his claimed he’d be able to conquer earth’s gravity by the time the team find a suitable home and thus save those on earth by propelling them to safety.

Murph, having caught Cooper up in age due to Gargantua’s time altering effects, has become Doctor Brand’s confidant. Thing’s change dramatically when the now dying Dr. admits to Murph his life’s work was a sham and not only is there no plan B.
Plan A was to find a home for the millions of fertilised human eggs upon the Endurance, whereas plan B involved cheating gravity and saving the rest of mankind. However, Dr. Brand used the theory as a ploy to keep people working and focused, even though he would never have been able to crack the gravity enigma due to insufficient data.

After the Dr’s death, Murph, distraught at the notion her father lied and never intended to come home, communicates with Brand upon the Endurance. Cooper over hears the message and if I’m not mistaken either Murph tells Brand that the only way to solve the Dr’s riddle is by recording data from within a black hole, or that Cooper deduces that himself. I can’t recall but either way that’s exactly what Cooper does.

With the spacefaring Brand now set free of Gargantua’s pull, Cooper detaches follows TARS into the abyss.

From what little I know about black holes, I presumed they’d either have been torn apart earlier or frazzled by radiation. However, they must have had some shielding or some über gizmo to protect them. However, the story speed bump was yet to come…

Basically when Cooper travels into Gargantua he finds himself trapped within a strange construct composed entirely of memories based around Murph and her room. Although this idea was a little trippy, I did like it.
Quickly Cooper ‘deduces’ he’s caught in what he believes to be a wormhole created by ‘them’ and by ‘them’ I mean a future version of humanity. While this did initially strike me as a bit of a ‘leap’, it does make sense. Here’s why. Cooper was privy to many of the happenstance going on in Murph’s room and now seeing them from this skewed perspective – the other side of the book shelf – he realises the anomalies weren’t a ghost trying to communicating with Murph, it was himself from the future.

It’s at that point that Cooper picks up a communication from TARS and instructs the droid to beam its sensory findings back to earth. TARS, however, is unable to do so due to interference, etc. Wracking his brains, Cooper understands that when he moves around the construct he is able to manipulate moments in which he can surreptitiously communicate with his daughter. Unable to beam the data to mankind, Cooper instructs TARS to relay the data to him so that he might be able to convert it into Morse code and program the watch he gave Murph that lays upon her book shelf.
Simultaneously (relatively) the older Murph has travelled back to her old bedroom for she has a feeling something there will help her crack gravity.

And here comes the story speed bump. Basically Murph picks up her watch only to see the second-hand flicking erratically back and forth. Within moments she realises the ghost was in fact her father and that he’s programmed something (the thing she needed) in to the watch.

Yay, mankind is saved! Wasn’t that easy really? Game over!

Okay, joke as I might, I found that part disrupted the otherwise smooth flow of the film and kind of left me feeling cheated. Is cheated too strong? No, I don’t think it is. Seeing as this twist was semi out of the blue, it felt cheap and half-baked. Up until that part I was hooked, and enjoying everything on offer.

The reason I’m writing this is because it took me a further few days to forgive the movie for the story blip and enjoy it for what it was, which was an excellent film.

Here, however, here is a simple suggestion that might have eased the twist upon the viewers.

Idea# How about the notion Cooper and Murph somehow share a level of mental connection beyond the norm and one not already indicated in the movie? While I’m not talking mind bullets or ESP, the idea they share a rare mental bond would have made the twist not seem so unlikely.

Regardless I loved the movie and I will keep my eye out for more from Mr. Nolan; especially as I loved Inception beyond words.

Regards, Matt..

Ps…I have another idea. I grant you this one is a little more sci-fi and maybe not in keeping with the theme, but I feel with a little tinkering it would fit seamlessly…ish.

Idea2# The world is rapidly falling down around our ears, we know that already. Surely the stain of would affect to other parts of society, making us less productive or tolerant, etc?
We know that Murph’s mother died sometime in the past but exactly when we’re not sure. Maybe she died before Murph was born and in a desperate bid to save his daughter Cooper, being the most compatible, donated himself as a surrogate body. While I’m not talking a pregnant man, maybe Cooper spent several months connected to an artificial womb?
Who knows, maybe this unorthodox and desperate connection could be the reason why the two might share feelings, thoughts or mannerisms? Surely that would have made Murph’s Morse code assumption easier to manage?
Okay, now I write it I see it is pretty far-fetched, but then again, so is worm-holing our way across solar systems looking for a new home.

I’m done now and well done if you stayed with me.

Simplified Sci-Fi…

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Right, I’ll kick this chapter off by saying sorry. Sorry? What on earth have I to be sorry about? Believe me, you have NO idea… However, I’d like to take the time to assure you it has nothing to do with: excessive flatulence (I’m gluten intolerant, I tell you!!), cow tipping (The fuzz dusted that bovine for prints but no evidence was found – result!!), purple Hermans (It’s an extreme nipple twister.), laziness (Okay, maybe sometimes.), playing TOO many video games like world of tanks, Dayz standalone and Dayz Epoch mod (Okay…ALL the time.), my staggering levels of childishness (Bottom…) or even my frequent and often profane outbursts (Bull s**t. Like f**k do I swear that much, you P*i*ks.)

 

Nope, it’s none of those.

 

***Honesty leak alert!***

Okay, okay, I am extremely childish and sometimes prone to being bone idle but what can you do when you look this good with Speedos on your head? That, mind you, is another (fictional) story for another time.

 

No, what I’m sorry about is the inevitable typos and other f**k ups are sure to happen. We’ve all been their and know the score. Yes, we’ve all sent a garbled, completely incomprehensible text message that appeared to have been typed with ones forehead. Yep, you guessed it, this blog comes via my mobile.

 

Right, now the dumb f**k disclaimer has been posted, I can continue.

 

The purpose of this blog is to bring to light what I see as sci-fi being stripped of all complexity in order the crayon eating masses don’t burst a vein trying to figure out what they just saw. I believe it’s devaluing the genre.

 

In one corner you have Blade Runner. This didn’t need CGI, hell no, why would it when the plot and performances within this masterpiece make this, for me, an classic and the pinnacle of sci-fi film production. Blade Runner is without doubt my favorite film of all time.

 

 

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Following Blade Runner I submit the original Alien film. Mother of god that was a good movie; hell, it still is. Can you remember the feeling of complete claustrophobia Diddly Squat (Ridley Scott) created? It was terrifyingly awesome. Okay this was a later film and owed a great deal of its success to special effects but the effects didn’t undermine and over power the story.

 

Alien-Prequel-Script-Leaks-Online-2

Lastly on the winners podium I give you…Inception!!! Smash my face in and call me Janet, this was a staggeringly good film. Leonardo Dicaprio might for some reason annoy the crap out of me but by god he’s is a fantastic actor.

 

atlinceptiontop

 

The depth of story is most evident in Blade Runner and Inception but all three films allow the viewer to somewhat make up their minds on how it ‘ended’. True enough their is only one correct ending  but I love the process of getting to that conclusion. I see it as a challenge to my intelligence and my creative mind. ***STOP*** A challenge to my intelligence and creative mind! What the f**k. I sound like a complete knob. Oh well, it’s true, I love my imagination to be taxed and tested. As my friends, I always find imaginative ways to f**k things up and new insults to hurl at them.

 

So, what is watering down Sci-fi, I hear you cry aloud? Well, here is a list of while not entirely bad films but films that make you go ‘hummmpf’ once it’s finished tying up all the loose plot lines so you don’t have to think anymore.

 

Oblivion…this wasn’t such a bad film and Morgan Freeman played his typically strong suit as a supporting actor. I liked the premise and the idea was sound but when it finished I was completely underwhelmed.

 

Oblivion2013Poster

 

Next comes…Edge of Tomorrow. Again this wasn’t bad but it wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination good. Their was sooooooo much more they could have done with the film. When will those that stump up the cash for these films realize CGI effects can’t engage like a well written plot can/does/will. Again the premise of the film (although it was thin in places) wasn’t bad and the concept was sound, it left me feeling unsatisfied.

 

hr_Edge_of_Tomorrow_8

 

 

Okay, time out! Before all you Scientologist mentalists start hating me, I’m not simply bashing good old Tom for the sake of it. Honestly I loved minority Report. True it was because I spotted it was a Philip K Dick story a mile off rather than Tom’s acting, although he was pretty good in it. Hang on a second! Is Scientologist word/real religion? Hell, is it even a religion or a simply a mindset? Wait, maybe I should have looked this up bef…ahhhh f**k it, no one reads this s**t anyway.

 

Christ, it’s not like I said the movie After earth, staring another famous American scientologist, was so bad I contemplated wrapping my belt around my testicles until I passed out, is it? But After Earth was complete s**t, mind.

 

after_earth_movie_2013-1920x1200

 

To finish to my mind a great story or brilliant acting is far more memorable than any special effects. No one will ever quote a computer generated image as readily as they would a stellar acting performance. I wait patently for the day where a director marries a great story with the best actors and uses (sparingly) the most cutting edge technology. Wow, imagine that…it would be frigging awesome!

 

Lastly… I’ve a bath to get into and I could rant and rave but to what end? Films are subjective and we all have different tastes. Despite that if you don’t like Blade Runner (David Lee Stone!!) then you’re a silly sausage who spends too much time clapping to himself while wearing his pants on the outside and whooping like a peacock.

 

Peace, my minions.

 

Matt..

 

 

Weaponise my little darlings? What in the name of Crom is he wibbling about!?!

Well, my avid readers ever eager for my worldly wisdom and lashings of tomfoolery, what am I talking about? I’m talking about the scourge of humanity, the end of days and the hammer of damnation; I’m referring to the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!!!

Are you safe? Do you think you’re ready, do you?? Well, we at the Thomas foundation are…ish.

Okay, some of you might now be thinking I’ve misplaced my keen sense of reality, but no!! I have proof the undead are set to rise from their graves and suck the brains through your nose!! Am I mad? No, not at all. After all the medication following the accident has all but stopped the twitching episodes g@F:Freggggggg..fg,.s’GSD..fg… Well, almost.

Watch this dude on YouTube. Not only is he really entertaining, but he is while I’m typing he’s developing weapons with which to counter the legions of undead!!

https://www.youtube.com/user/JoergSprave

Another defensive stalwart is this next guy. While he might only be honing his zombie take down on line, at least he’s preparing. I urge you to watch this guy as he is really amusing and who knows, you might learn something that may save your life.

https://www.youtube.com/user/FRANKIEonPCin1080p

If you’re still with me this far then I know what you’re thinking, but you’d be wrong. I’ve not been at the cat litter again (it gets stuck in my teeth) and I packed up drinking along time ago when I got married; obviously…

 

My contribution to the cause is that of chief weapon smith – I made all the swords, etc – and have taken it upon myself to temper my prodginy! Currently I have both my kids on a grueling close combat training regime designed to maximize both body count and survive-ability come judgement day. It makes Krav Maga training look like a toe nail painting seminar.

 

Firstly I burred them without food or water for three days and nights in the back garden. While they ‘endured’, I made them eat all their vegetables and flogged them with the socks, pants and other items of clothing they constantly leave strewn about their bedrooms.  While this might sound barbaric to some, I needed to know if they have the metal to complete the training. You’ll be happy to know they both passed with flying colours!

 

Subject: Lilly Thomas. Code name ‘The pink bulldozer’.

 

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Lilly in mid attack. The training dummy didn’t stand a chance.

 

Judging by the unbridled savagery in Lilly’s eyes, it seems my draconian methods worked. Biting, of which she as taken to, isn’t allowed. During the last two weeks of boot-camp, I’d like a pound for every time she’s sunk her teeth into me. My fingers, arms, face and back are a patchwork testament to not only Lilly’s jaw strength but her inability to follow simple instructions! She is whirling dervish and thus a work in progress.

 

Subject: Luke Thomas. Code name ”Hair helmet”.

 

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Luke, being gentler by nature, was harder to train I struggled for days trying to find his inner ungowa! Who’d have thought a child with no volume control would take to espionage like a window licker to a green-house! Once he mastered the art of camouflage their was no stopping him!! Now I dare not wander the house at anytime without the means to protect myself for fear he’ll strike with blinding speed and deadly accuracy.

So, The Thomas foundation are ready. Are you?

 

Matt..

 

 

PS, next project…home made ballistic weapons!!

My first Kindle post…

In the next few days or weeks I hope to post my first short story on Kindle. Will it do well? Who knows. To be honest I hope so but I’d settle for it reading well and entertaining a few people. The setting is high fantasy with lashings of magic, invention and intrigue. 

 

Here is a snap shot of the first of many short stories I intend to post.

 

Maeordan.

 

Within minutes a crowd had gathered in the town square. Foss, woken by the chapel bell, followed them a good distance behind.

In the short time he’d been in Hallshad, he’d heard the bell rung four times. Each one was to signify the loss of a life.

Hidden beneath the blacksmiths awning, Foss watched the crowd. The men stood straight backed and silent, while the women and children whispered prayers.

A pained scream split the stillness and in unison everyone turned to see a haggard woman running barefoot down the frozen road. Without warning she slipped on the snow covered cobbles and fell heavily.

“Have you found him? Have you found my son,” she pleaded, struggling to her knees. The crowd shifted away from her as if buffeted by an unseen gust. No one moved to help. Instinctively mother’s scooped their children into their arms and enveloped them beneath thick winter cloaks.  

The townsfolk of Hallshad were as generous as they were superstitious. Foss had seen the look upon their faces countless times. They feared the wrath of the gods should they help the beleaguered woman. Parents taught their children to fear and revere the gods from an early age and with good reason.

At the end of the war, Foss witnessed friends turn on one- another over a loaf of bread. He’d been present when the order was given to burn the captured city of Sortune. Thousands of people both infected or otherwise, were burnt alive to stop the plague.

 

Foss spat. Where were the gods and their miracles then?

 

As Foss moved from his hiding place to help stricken woman, a man, a head shorter than the rest with blond not black hair, appeared from the front of the crowd. As he strode towards her he slipped his once plush cloak from his shoulders.

 

“Khelen, please, take my cloak. You must be—“

 

“My son, you’ve murdered him.” She screamed, lashing out at him. “Ever since you came the gods have abandoned us.”

A murmur rippled the crowd.

 

Matt..

The news, I refuse to muse…

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I no longer read the or watch the news. Why? Well, it’s obvious isn’t it? Doom, doom, doom and gloom. That’s all the tabloids and beyond care about. Bum on seats –  or readers/viewers in this case. Am I alone in thinking the only way something positive ever gets aired is to act as a mental break before the carnage continues?

 

Okay, granted this point of view could seem a little on the narrow side but I bet I’m not alone. Growing up as a child in the late 70’s and 80’s all I ever heard was IRA this, explosion that. It was grim. I attribute the siege mentality the press threw up – and rightly so when things were bad – as to part of the reason why I’m so ferociously patriotic. I’m not the type to wave a flag or don a t-shirt when England are doing well. Hell no. As much as I despair at times with the levels violence and other mindless acts my country folk carry out at home and abroad, I’m English and grateful to be an Anglo-Saxon.

 

I can clearly remember as a small boy thinking why are British soldiers getting shot and bombed by Irishmen? Are the Irish our enemy? I thought to myself while watching the news where some reporter was holed up behind a barricade or a couple of hundred policemen, ‘They have to have a reason for being so angry towards us.’

 

Right – I’m getting twitchy writing this as the last thing I want to do is mortally offend some poor soul, etc, with my fact-less ramblings. So in order to continue I’d like to state this is only how I choose to view the world and isn’t a fix or the definitive opinion.

 

Where was I… To put this simply I quickly understood that no right minded person willingly looks to hurt another without a bloody good reason. To my mind then and now I feel the press too often look to exploit situations without caring a jot how those effected might feel.

Are the Irish out to get us? Some might still have a grudge but those I know – half my family are from Dublin – are all warm, welcoming and extremely supportive. Without the Irish I’d not have my kids and my kids mean everything to me.

 

The Irish are really our friends – TICK!

 

Maybe I should watch the news on the odd occasion as I had no idea those poor souls on that plane went missing. Maybe more worryingly I also had no idea the Russians have moved into the Ukraine.

 

 

To finish up, to my mind almost everything the press touch they manipulate. I’m talking national nor regional press, of course. I mean what on earth would the point be in falsifying the winner of Kent’s flattest lawn of the year (does it such a competition exist? And if it does and has been ‘fixed’ by the press, it had nowt to do with me.)

 

So my Yoda like nugget of wisdom is NEVER, EVER wash your hair with washing up liquid (my brother and I had to when the miners strike was on in the 80’s. We both looked a right state and it’s a miracle we ever got hitched up with anyone.) and try to keep an open mind and look objectively at situations in life. After all, reading between the lines will almost always lead to mistakes being made.

 

Don’t trust everything you read! Including this – TICK!!

 

Matt..

 

 

 

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Dayz, what’s that then? I hear you ask. The short answer is it’s a first person shooter game. The long answer is a long one, so here goes.

 

I’d seen Dayz advertised dozens of times whilst browsing through Steam and although it interested me enough to update my payment details, I never felt hooked enough to completed the purchase. That changed when a mate took the plunge and tried convincing me to join in. So, still undecided, I thought to look on YouTube to see if I could find anything.

Anything? How about EVERYTHING. Their are possibly thousands of user video blogs about Dayz on YouTube but the blogs that stood out the most were by a guy called FRANKIEonPCin1080p.

 

Here is a link to his YouTube page http://www.youtube.com/user/FRANKIEonPCin1080p. Feel free to browse, I’m sure he’ll not mind.

 

Honestly this guy had me laughing along with him throughout all his daft episodes. One that springs to mind was when he helped a player who thought he was Morgan Freeman. It was Frankie’s sense of humor and enjoyment that sold the game to me.

 

So I decided to purchased the game… While being no pro player, I’m also no uber noob when it comes to adrenaline pumping first person shooters, so, foolishly, I thought I knew what was to come. However, I was wrong, really, really wrong.

For those unknowing types out there, Dayz is a game based upon the popular Arma format and shares, so I’m told, many of its quirks and oddities. Arma, although I’ve never played it, I believe is considered a more realistic FPS and I suppose lends itself to Dayz reality based experience perfectly.

 

Incidentally, if you’re considering buying Dayz standalone then don’t be put off by the naysayers moaning about its bugs, etc. Okay it really gets tedious falling off ladders or moon walking backwards from the top of a building but give the game a little room as it’s still only in alpha testing and is bound to be somewhat rough around the edges. Personally I believe if you persevere with it and you’ll find it rewarding…mostly.

 

Game play –

 

You start life as a beleaguered survivor stranded on a Russian beach dressed only in basic clothing. Yep, that’s right, no gun, no nade, no stabby/bashy weapon and most definitely no air support. Bummer. If that isn’t bad enough your character Immediately tells you you’re both hungry and thirsty. Get use to it; life’s hard surviving in a post zombie apocalypse!

Unsure what to do I wandered off the beach and towards what looked like a road away in the distance. Scanning the horizon to get a better idea of what to do next, I noticed in the distance a blurry silhouette moving rapidly towards me.

I’d picked up enough from the clips to know Dayz is an mmo of sorts but being greener than grass, I thought I’d made game content contact already. Job done, now you may lead me to our destination and to food. Also, where’s my map? However, it wasn’t a player or an NPC coming to lead me by the hand, fuck no. I quickly realized by the inhuman wailing and the bandy legged run that it was a zombie. Without waiting I decided to try and out run it. I’ve seen enough zombie films to know talking to them most often leads to you having your brain sucked out through your eye socked. And with no weapon to protect myself panic set in and I sped off down the road. I felt somewhat happier thinking the road might lad me to safety and having the zombie trailing in my slip stream. As I continued to run the total lack of human presence became extremely eerie. Everywhere I looked were signs of past existence but nothing present. A undecipherable, weather worn road sign here, a burnt out car an over turned trash can there, but nothing that had me thinking I was in anything other than a wasteland. With the growing sense of isolation almost complete another zombie burst from the bushes and chased me down the road. The constant threat of zombie attacks coupled with my bleak surroundings strengthened my sense of helplessness and complete isolation. Here I was in an unrecognizable land with no map, no food and no clue what to do next. Shit.

 

First contact – (In truth this next bit wasn’t my first spawn, it was my second. I chose this for obvious reasons especially as falling off a ladder only to break both legs and get eaten by zombies isn’t very rock and roll, is it?)

 

Although, like I’ve already said, I’d watched a few Dayz YouTube clips but hadn’t yet go around to the ones telling you what to do should you meet other players. My bad…

Upon reaching a generic looking building I saw three figures quickly making their way towards me. I guessed they had to be players because they didn’t move like zombies. As soon as one of the guys came close enough he began communicate through proximity chat. First he asked if I was new and did I need any food or water. For a moment I though. ‘Wow, what luck, these guys are pretty cool…’

While distracted one of the three walked around me and slapped on a pair of cuffs. Once done he joined in the discussion by asking, ‘Yeah, you need anything, like a key.’

The bastard cuffed me! Why? I had nothing worth stealing. Now I could see they were well tooled up dressed in camo gear, back packs, webbing and rifles on there backs. Not sure what was coming next I responded with something like, ‘Yeah, real funny. Can I go now.’ There response was  brutal but not entirely unexpected; as the game plunges you into a lawless situation where you choose how to survive. Both guys in front of me proceeded to yell abuse at me while beating seven shades of crapola out of me with baseball bats. Still at that point I honestly thought they’d uncuff me and let me go. That was until the player with a deep southern American accent began shouting so excitedly down the mic that he became completely incomprehensible. It ended as quickly as it started with a shot to the back of my head.

 

Still reeling I re-spawned back on the beach. It was only they I realized my heart rate had gone through the roof. I could hear my pulse hammering away in my throat. Believe me I’m not lying when I say the game can be that intense. Okay so after 80+ hours the intensity level does drop a touch but remains tangible. When you’ve just spent 5 to 10 hours getting equipped the last thing you want is to happen is to be killed for what you’ve salvaged. Since I’ve been playing I’ve been killed over a dozen times when trying to offer a hand of friendship towards strangers in the game. So, I guess, some of the bandits out there can be forgiven somewhat for simply loosing their nerve and shooting first. Don’t get me wrong, mind, their are plenty of player killers that take way too much pleasure in running down a new spawn of mobbing a solo operators. The three shining examples of camaraderie I’ve personally witnessed tend to stay with you more than the treachery. Some Russian lads gave me a scope for my rifle when I approached them, weapon down. I’ve tagged along on two separate clans and been kindly shown the ropes. The first was an English based clan and were really cool. The second, the one I join mostly, are made up mainly of Brits, Norwegians and a nutty Dane. It’s these small successes that keep you coming back. Sure fire fights over territory and in self-defense are great fun but all said everything that happens in the game empowers it.

 

Here is a link to our Dayz server – https://www.gametracker.com/server_info/80.243.125.54:2302/

 

Summery – I’m really enjoying Dayz at the moment. Okay it can get bloody annoying when a glitch kills you, or some stranger wipes you out for no reason and the lack of map does get right on my tits, but I try not to let these get me down for long. Dayz is brutal and unforgiving. I’m kind of bored of games with armies of npcs designed to walk you through the plot or those that dish up wave after wave of AI bots for you to waste. Dayz isn’t a mmo social raiding club, nor is it a full throttle first person shooter. No, it’s all of the above but one where you choose how best to survive. You can either play by eking out a meager existence and avoiding busy servers, band up with friendlies and dole out a help and death in equal measure or, should you want, you could always choose to be a man hunter and kill indiscriminately. Either way works as the game’s got room for everyone.

Dayz is gritty, harsh but rewarding if you play it well.

 

Anyway, I feel better for playing Dayz as now I have a far better zombie apocalypse contingency plan…

 

Matt..

 

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This being my first post it seems only fitting I dedicate it to my munchkins. After all they my best buddies. Both saboteurs are masters in the art  making mess and do it breathtakingly quickly. Incidentally the picture above was taken in Dublin high street last Christmas.

Hum… I’m struggling to conger up anything super interesting to say. Maybe its first post nerves? I know, I’ll work on what to say while I go make my lovely wife a cuppa…brb.

I’m back. I just made two and a half cups of Yorkshire’s finest. One for Catherine, one for myself and half for Luke. Currently Luke is snuggled up next to his mum watching Transformers – the revenge of the over used cgi effects engine… Oh, one thing you’ll notice is I wander from topic to topic allot.

Moments matter, don’t they? The reason I just made Luke half a cuppa is so he can cuddle up with mum and can spend time together. I do love letting Luke and Lilly have little liberties in the hope the memories will stick with them and when they’ve got kids of their own they’ll cast their minds back and think their old man wasn’t all that bad.

Lilly Thomas. She is imaginative, creative and head strong. She has a cheeky way about her than endears her to everyone. She is my beautiful little pickle or little P. She loves cuddling up in bed with me and watching TV, or having Sunday morning pancakes. I want her to cherish those moments and all the others we’re going to share.

 

Luke Thomas. I know I’m one eyed and bias but I have never met a kinder little sausage than Luke. If you give him anything, he’ll share it all with everyone. Okay, maybe not the Xbox… He is super bright and loves to laugh and play fight so much. He does relish the idea of going on adventures with me after cricket or playing Xbox games together. My kids are everything to me.

 

HALT!!!! Mother of god!! Catherine is ‘unloading’ the dishwasher as noisily as possible. Doesn’t she know I’m being profound?!?

 

Anyway… There is no possible way I can convey how much my kids mean to me ( all you parents can vouch for that). No matter what forfeit I’d need to complete to keep them safe I’d do it with the widest smile that you’d never be able to remove.

Over the next weeks and months I intend to post once a week about random stuff that interests, intrigues or infuriates me (like noise when trying…to…concentrate…)

Lastly…if you could do an immaculate impersonation of someone/thing, who would it be?

Also, I’m rather excited about co-writing a short story with a mate of mine. Take a bow Mr. David Lee Stone. If you read (I’m presuming you can?) then why not have a look at Dave’s blog yourself… (click here) http://blokecalleddave.wordpress.com/

Over and out, Matt..

PS, Catherine is about to check the lottery to see if we’re the British winner of one hundred and seven million pounds. If so it was nice talking to you and that’ll be all from me. If not, ah, you know the score. Oh yeah, before I go. I’d love to do a Wookie! When I say ‘do a Wookie’, that isn’t any reflection on my wife or devient sexual desires…just my yearning to sound like one – see earlier impersonation question