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A new home.

5 Apr

Yes. Again.

You can find my latest incoherent ramblings here: http://howigotsobitter.com/

A post about web design (and my stupidity)

4 Apr

This post is a webdesign-y, so apologies if you find it dull/nonsensical.

Something good happened today, that was rather unexpected; I woke up much later than I wanted to, spent an hour or so feeling restless and edgy, so decided to do some work.

It was only last week that I’d decided I needed to get this particular site done, so I thought I’d get on with coding the pages I needed to finish before starting on the fun of modifying it for WordPress. But then I remembered getting an email a while back about making some fairly big changes to a site that’s already live, so I decided to do that first – “it won’t take long,” I thought, “just a bit of copying and pasting, with a few changes here and there”. I was wrong. Very wrong.

You don’t have to know much about web design to know that struggling to understand your own code is not a good thing. The HTML was fine – the classes and IDs were named well enough – but the the CSS was a shambles. For some reason, when I was making the site I decided that the layout code and the code for the typography for individual bits of the site didn’t need to be near each other, so trying to find something specific related one page of the site, for example, took me about 5 minutes.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t even the stupidest thing I did. After building the site in HTML/CSS last time, having got everything looking the way I wanted, I started the move to WordPress. It was about this time that I decided some things could look better, so I started making a few little changes here and there; this may not be so obvious to someone who doesn’t know anything about web design, so to be clear, it’s not a good thing; it’s a very stupid thing. The version I have on my hard drive looks worryingly different to the one that is live and visible on the website now, so there’s a good chance that any improvements I make on the local version will make a complete mess of/break the website that is currently up. So the decision had kind of been made for me; I was rebuilding it from scratch.

I realise that most of what I’ve mentioned so far hasn’t really been good, like I said earlier, but in a way it sort of was; this site was going to be vastly improved by this and since I can be judged on it by potential clients, it should look good. Mostly, though, it’s because I started working on the site (with I’m Alan Partridge on in the background, naturally) and I kind of switched off. I’m not entirely sure what time I’d started working on it, but I was definitely working on it 1pm – it was 7:30pm when I next recall checking the time. I had worked for 6 and a half hours without even realising it – I’d actually quite enjoyed it. A good thing, I’d say.

Molly: Portrait of a dog

3 Apr

I’m fending it genuinely difficult to write here lately, it’s mostly during my days off, so I suspect it’s a combination of laziness and a lack of engaging my brain. Today is not exception, I’m afraid, so because I got see her today and because I’ve just looked and my phone and seen them, here are some videos of Molly, my Mum and Dad’s adorable dog.

I’ve been laughing at this first video for about 10 minutes now, mainly because of the noise she makes when she turns her head at the start.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter may recognize the curtain attacking Molly as the bed that my Mum didn’t buy her last week:

The next video mainly makes me smile because Molly only really barks when she either really needs to go out, or when you bark at her. This is the latter.

And finally, a picture I completely forgot I took. Molly as Elvis:

I would apologise to those of you who don’t like dogs, but, well, you’re monsters. She’s only been gone a week and I miss the little sod like crazy. Still, she’s coming to say next weekend again. You might want to avoid this site for a while if you didn’t like this entry.

Blur: A review

2 Apr

I’ve been meaning to write this for ages; since I wrote my (very) quick review, in fact. If you read that, you’ll know that I was enjoying it, or at least I was having difficulty turning it off. I took that as a good thing, but I thought I’d give it a reappraisal now that I’ve had it a little longer.

I haven’t changed my mind; I still think it’s good, and I still think it’s addictive. Well, that’s the review sorted….wait, this is supposed to be longer, isn’t it? Ok. If you haven’t heard of it before, and frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised, Blur is a racing game, but one of those “vehicular combat” racing games. i.e. “Cars with guns and stuff.”

The single player mode consists of a few different types of events – Normal races, checkpoint races, and destruction events; Normal races are exactly that, checkpoint races are a race against the clock, and destruction events are also against the clock, but the extra time is earned for destroying other cars instead of passing checkpoints. In each section of the career mode, you’re given certain “demands” from rival drivers that you need to beat in order to race against them in their “one to one” race. It’s very basic stuff, and thankfully, there’s very little story. Intentional or not, the single-player mode actually serves as a great warm-up for playing online.

The cars in the game are all placed into categories ranging from “Very Grippy” to “Very Drifty”, which is refreshingly simple for a racing game, and, as you’d expect from a Bizarre Creations game, the handling is wonderful and nicely varied between the car classes, which are pretty much entirely down to personal preference – no one’s forcing you to drive in a certain way, which is another welcome change.

There are only a handful of power-ups – eight, to be exact – but they’re brilliantly balanced, so none are too powerful and end up dominating. Thankfully, because of this, the game manages to reduce what I like to call “the Mario Kart effect*”. That’s not to say to it doesn’t happen at all, but it’s quite rare, which is unusual for this sort of game.

The game originally got my attention when I noticed the multiplayer beta (or “demo” as we used to call them) was available for download. I’d heard about it a bit, but as a new franchise in a genre I didn’t really pay much attention to, I wasn’t particularly interested. I gave the beta a go anyway though, and ended up loving it. Now, I don’t play games online very much, but it worked really well – in no small part down to the previously mentioned power-up balancing – it was fun, it was challenging, and, most importantly, it was very rarely frustrating. In a shock turn of events, the multiplayer mode on the finished game is somewhat similar to the beta (read: exactly the same) i.e. very good.

I feel a bit guilty about not actually buying the game now, since, sadly, Bizarre Creations are no more; Had I bought it, I could have talked down to anyone who didn’t buy it when they expressed how sad they were at the demise of a great English game studio, and isn’t that the important thing?

In summary, my first impressions of Blur were that it was very good and a lot of fun, and not much changed. There were a few occasions where I got bored quite quickly, but there were many more where it got under my skin and I couldn’t turn it off for hours. It’s brilliance is often in it’s simplicity; it doesn’t have the biggest list of features or game modes for this type of game, but it does everything very well, while looking absolutely beautiful.

Don’t feel guilty about not buying it based on this review though, it’s too late. Bizarre Creations are gone for good, and it’s all your fault. You make me sick.

* If it isn’t already an established phenomena, it should be. The Mario Kart effect is when you get every car on the game attacking you at once, or when you lead the race by a comfortable margin and end up finishing last because every car on the game attacks you at once. It causes screaming. Screaming and anger.

How’s this for a slice of fried gold?

1 Apr

It doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, Spaced still continues to make me laugh like it’s the first time I’ve seen it, which is a lot. There are many, many reasons for this, most of which I can’t be bothered to explain now, although I might write an entry on it another time. For now, though, I’m going to post a few clips that you’ve all already seen because you’ve all seen it and love it.

And:

Perfick.

Distracted again

31 Mar

I’ve struggled to write something here for the last couple of days, but I’d like to think it’s because I’ve spent the time away from the computer for once. For that reason, I don’t really feel like I should be annoyed or apologetic that the entries have been shit, it’s been because I’ve had a few days off and I wanted to use them wisely, or have a few drinks in tonight’s case. Shut up, that’s definitely a good use of day off.

I’m feeling a bit of geek excitement at the moment because I’ve finally gotten around to pre-ordering Portal 2. I introduced my girlfriend to Portal a while back, and, like all normal humans with a brain, she loved it, so I’ve had to order it on Xbox, against my better judgement.

Gah. I really don’t know where I’m going with any of this entry, partly because I’m a bit drunk, and partly because I can’t be bothered. Here, have a look at this, I’ve just spent 20 minutes distracted by it: http://www.pica-pic.com/

Now leave me alone, you.

It’s been a busy day…

30 Mar

…so I’ve not even had time to think about what to write here, let alone actually write something.

It’s been a satisfying kind of busy at least; We were both off work, so we’ve been tearing the house to pieces and tidying it again, albeit in a very haphazard, disorganised kind of way. I also fixed the the shitty plastic drumstick holders in the Guitar Hero drums, which I’m sure you’ll agree is the very definition of a productive day.

The highly intelligent amongst you (also, those of you with eyes) will have noticed that I’m clearly just trying to bump up the world count on this entry, so I’m going to give up now. Happy? Good.

Look, it’s a couple of kittens in mugs!