1000 followers


1000 followers

Wow.  Just … wow.  When starting this blog more than 10 years ago, I never really did it to have any sort of audience.  I did it more as a place to express my opinions on movies in writing and have somewhere to store my reviews.  Over the years however, I began to realise that people were enjoying and coming back regularly to my blog, so I clearly had a following, which has gradually increased month by month, year by year.  I feel as a total amateur at this, very happy and honoured to have 1000 + followers to this blog and thank each and every one of you for showing an interest.  Keep coming back and commenting, liking or simply reading my stuff and I promise to keep posting reviews and well, anything I feel I want to blog about.

Again, thank you so much for your support.  It means more than I can really express in words.

Garbage back on the road


My favourite band in the world ‘Garbage’ fronted by the enigmatic Shirley Manson, hit the road this week for their co-headline ‘Rage and Rapture’ tour with the industry-icons Blondie.  Their first stop?  The Mountain Winery, Saratoga CA.  The band seemed to be on blistering form and even dusted off a few classics they hadn’t played in a while, including their famed James Bond theme ‘The World is Not Enough’ which showcased Manson on brilliant vocal form (see below). Video courtesy of: YouTuber kyocarmesi

The tour spans various venues across the states as shown below, and I myself, as someone who can’t get to the shows themselves, am looking forward to some great footage.  From this evidence, Shirley and the boys are not going to let themselves get upstaged all that easily by Debbie Harry and her Blondie band-mates.

rage-rapture

The big e3 2017 report


Well once again the biggest date on the gaming calendar, the e3 gaming convention in Los Angeles … has come and gone, and so what have the big names had to offer us feverish gamers?  Let’s find out…

E3-2016

Sony

God of War KratosI didn’t watch the whole briefing, but have learnt they showcased several games, some of which interest me some that don’t at all (Gran Turismo Sport … yawn, I became bored of that series a while back).  I am however looking forward to God of War and the new Spider-Man game looks impressive.  Days Gone, one of the most anticipated games of last years e3 had another showing and again wowed.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see they’re going to be releasing a Shadow of the Colossus remake.  Detroit: Become Human looked interesting but I’m not sure exactly what it is still.

However there was a strong focus on VR (which I can’t say interests me at all) like they were desperate to flog this expensive and gimmicky peripheral, and some of the newest most interesting looking games were for VR which was disappointing.  They also had a large presence of third party titles like Call of Duty WWII and Destiny 2, both of which looked decent.   There seemed a serious lack of firm release dates for all these titles overall which wasn’t good.  Overall some good stuff but not a lot to really blow me away this year.

Microsoft

The Xbox guys had some new hardware to showcase, making their briefing more exciting than Sony’s from the off and the uber-powerful Xbox One X certainly looked cool.  I’m an Xbox fan first and foremost these days and I was anticipating the reveal of the previously hyped Xbox Scorpio and like the new name.  Microsoft predictably showcased Forza 7 running on it and also showed off a new game in the acclaimed Metro series as well as my personal highlight of e3; Bioware’s stunning looking Anthem.  Sea of Thieves was looking better than previous but I’m still on the fence over whether I’d enjoy it all that much myself.

Xbox One X

They also showed off a ton of indy games but not many big name exclusives to get all that excited about.  No Halo, no Gears for example which although not surprising could have really added to the whole new hardware reveal and made it all that more sexy.  It was a bit of a case of quantity over quality but games like Ori and the Will of the Wisps still looked great.  Like Sony before it though it’s hard to really be all that confident in the games from an XB1 and PS4 owner’s point of view actually looking anywhere near as good as we’ve been shown due to the new PS4 Pro and Xbox One X consoles, meaning us existing console owners potentially being left short handed in time to come, which I’d say is inevitable.

Nintendo

Super Mario OdysseyNintendo’s segment was initially short and to the point, showcasing only a handful of titles but with some exciting announcements.  The biggest surprise here was Metroid Prime 4, an game I’ve personally been hoping for, and despite no actual footage, it’s got me feeling happy I own a Nintendo Switch.  To further cement this feeling we had reveals of new Kirby and Yoshi platformers which both looked great as well as further details on Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and especially Super Mario Odyssey.  The Tree House segment that ran over three days and was broadcast live on YouTube also showed longer gameplay of some of the aforementioned titles like Yoshi and Mario Odyssey and well, I was left drooling.

There was something immediately alluring about Nintendo’s games … they all looked a ton of fun, and well, fun is something that has gradually been getting replaced in the games industry for a while now, in place of realism – which it has to be said can make a game feel more like work than leisure.  Third-party support still seems Nintendo’s Achilles heel, and well there was Fifa and Rocket League announced which I suppose is a start.

There were absences of expected or hoped for titles to be mentioned for all three companies’ machines with no Animal Crossing or Virtual Console talk from Nintendo, no Halo, Gears or much in the way of big name exclusives from Microsoft and well, where was PS4 exclusives Hellblade or the Final Fantasy VII remake this year?  Overall each company had something to offer and as someone with all three consoles, there was certainly something to play on each machine for the foreseeable future, which can’t be a bad thing.

Small changes and self-therapy


I was recently watching a YouTube video on a particular method of over-coming or lowering the effects of depression by female journalist, gamer and games-journalist Julia Hardy; someone I’ve enjoyed the videos of and also feel talks a lot of sense.  You can find the actual video I watched below:

It got me thinking about some of the things I do in life that don’t exactly enhance or better how I felt about myself and my life as whole but are simply addictions or habits I’ve fallen into just because it’s the society norm to do so.  One such thing is ‘social media’ and platforms like Twitter and Facebook.  Both have their uses and places in our modern society, but are also places that can paint a very artificial and heightened version of reality that isn’t entirely ‘real’ and can create images of other people’s lives that can be detrimental to how I might view my own, be it on a conscious or sub-conscious level.  So I took the advise of this video and chose to stay away from all forms of social media for 24 hours.  The results?  It felt a little cold-turkey, as I still wanted to check my phone but struggled (yet succeeded) in not doing so.  Finding more interest in other activities like watching a movie or playing a video game and being able to focus better on said activities whereas normally I’d be checking my Facebook or Twitter every couple of minutes.  I had previously realised but more so with this little experiment that I had become rather obsessed with checking these apps even when there was nothing new to look at.  Browsing through them with little or no interest in what I was looking at, but having to look at it any way.  So I’m going to attempt to take longer breaks between looking at social media…posting far less on them or interacting with them.  Enjoying what they have to offer in a more controlled, less addicted way.  Well that’s at least the theory.

I’ve said before on this blog that I do to an extent suffer from depression.  It’s been hard to really understand myself but a general feeling of ‘disconnect’ and feeling ‘lost’ amongst the people around me is a contributing factor, unable to always ‘engage’ or feeling like I’m putting an ‘act’ on sometimes.  I thoroughly enjoy my job, my friends, work colleagues and family, but also sometimes feel completely out of place.  It’s a very inward feeling and has little to do with anyone in particular.  That might be a common theme amongst those with anxiety and depression, even though I’ve never been officially diagnosed (for me that would make it too much of a ‘thing’).  Sometime last year I realised that the only way to feel happy is to take more control of my life, not be afraid to do things (although I’m still like that) and motivate myself to buy that thing, go to that place and enjoy that activity, even if it’s by myself.  I realise I do a great deal of the things I enjoy solitary, and that can get me down but it’s also a frame of mind and trying to accept that and enjoy one’s solidarity can be liberating, whilst also probably realising that joining in and being a part of someone else’s activity is just as important.  One of the reasons I tend to involve myself in work’s nights outs or activities with friends, as infrequently as these things crop up – I feel it’s something I need to do otherwise it’s always just me.

I’ll continue to watch videos like the one above for some self-help and hope to experience a different, less introverted way of thinking.  It’s probably always going to be an on-going issue for me, but one I’m determined to explore more and understand.

Craig.