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danbambridge Blog

Humanity Rests

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Over the weekend I finished the main game on The Maw. For a download title that I managed to get for free I was mightily impressed with the quality of the game. Its a very short game but then most Arcade games are and I only played it to pass the time when I wasnt playing a full game.

The premise is pretty simple your alien friend Maw has to eat creatures of varying types in order to transform into a better version of himself in order to gain a special ability to complete the level. Each level requires a different skill so every level has good variety. Maw also eats smaller creatures that increase his size so you go from small at the beginning to huge at the end.

The killer feature of the game has to be Maws animation. For an alien blob that doesnt talk hes incredibly funny and he constantly entertained me throughout the levels. The game is not overly difficult so this was a welcome addition. You cannot die in the game and its pretty obvious what you need to do the majority of the time.

I chose not to pay for the bonus levels as I dont feel they are worth it. Over £3 for three levels when I didnt have to buy the game in the first place seems like a wasted expensive. The game doesnt warrant that and thats halfway to another decent XBLA game. I gave it an 8.5 as I was never bored, it looks pretty, and made a welcome change from sports and shooter games.

I have also literally just finished Too Human which is also a game thats surprised me. All reviews and screenshots make it look like a generic fantasy combat shooter that has insignificant RPG elements. For the most part thats correct but what they dont say is how interesting the melee combat is and this was enough to keep me playing. The way the attacks are mapped to the controller was pretty good once you got used to it. Using the right analogue to choose an attach direction is actually pretty fluid given the fact your character slides towards an opponent and then slides to the next. It makes combat incredibly fluid and actually rewards you for not standing back and shooting your way through.

The game does not skimp on enemies and my final game count was close to 4000 defeated. The layout of the game is clear one area of seemingly never ending enemies and then move onto the next and so on. Death is also mostly irrelevant as when you die you get resurrected in the same place and all damage dealt to enemies remains but your armour and weapons health decline until they are unusable (at which point you can switch out for another weapon anyway). The only downside is the 15-20 second animation you cannot skip through when you die. Having died many times thats a lot of time spent waiting!

The game does a good job of constant improvement for your character as it is always offering up new weapons for you and armour parts to equip. There is a levelling system but it doesnt have much effect in my opinion.

Ive no real idea of the story but its a decent take on Norse god mythology by bringing into the current day. The cut scenes are really only there as a respite from the action but I paid no real attention to them. I also gave this an 8.5 for its sheer satisfaction of slaying hundreds of enemies without ever feeling tiresome. I hear it was originally supposed to be a three part trilogy but with it not doing so well commercially I believe this has been scrapped which is a shame. A game thats bang up to date with current graphics and animation would be pretty good. I wouldnt pay full price it for but it would definitely be worth a look.

Tunnel Vision

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With the demise of the TV.com blogs, Ive not felt it worth writing a new one since then. Ive been coming to Gamespot a lot more recently but with most of my friends from TV.com not likely to be on here, it seems as much of a ghost town as that site. Having burned through all of my remaining unwatched film collection Ive properly got back into playing video games this past couple of weeks so I thought Id do the occasional blog purely about gaming.

I recently finished off Battlefield: Bad Company 2. With all of the online focused games having an incredibly short single player, it shouldnt have taken me long. I started it back in May and have only just finished it! Shows how little Ive played over the summer. The single player game was pretty good purely because they packed a lot into a short space of time. Yes its very linear but I have no problem with that in games. Having too many choices in a level based game just makes me think Ive missed out on something but picking one option over another. The graphics were ace (bearing in mind Im a couple of years behind in gaming) and the shooting was definitely satisfying. I got the game cheap so thought Id do the single player. I havent got the time to play an older game online for any length of time.

Following the completion of that I moved onto a game Ive been looking forward to playing for ages Metro 2033. I love games with great settings like Dead Space and Bioshock. This looked to be on an equal footing from what Id seen of it previously. Whilst it fails to live up to either of those titles, it is by far one of the most original games Ive played in a while. The graphics do leave a lot to be desired but the dark setting and nature of the story mean this is easily overlooked. Early on the game takes a bit of getting used to as the landing shots on opponents lacks any real feeling of impact unlike AAA shooters. By the end it definitely got better with stronger weapons and just having got used to it I guess. The story was great although I think they really only scratched the surface with it. You can definitely tell this was made on a tighter budget than the games mentioned above. It sounds like it wasnt overly keen on it but theres just something about the game that appealed to me. Despite the flaws it just seemed to come together well. The claustrophobic nature of the subway system was matched perfectly by the above ground locations which had a sense of freedom to explore (although this isnt really the case at all, it just feels like you do!). Im really looking forward to the sequel as itll allow them to put that bit of extra polish on the game to make it really stand out as a great game.

As I spend my working week in my flat and the majority of my weekends back home at my parents house, I bit the bullet and bought myself a new Xbox for two reasons. I wanted one for each location and I also wanted the new, quieter one for playing DVDs on so that I didnt need to buy a DVD player as well. Im saving all my story based games and the time sucking one for my flat when I get my evenings to play them. Since I moved nearly two years ago Ive not even had time to play games at the weekends when Im at my parents but feel like I can now. Im just going to play my drop in and out games when I get chance. I didnt want anything where Id need to remember what was happening or would need lengthy sittings to make it worthwhile. Three games types spring to mind XBLA, racing, and sports games. First up is a racing game that Ive had for ages Pure. I got it as part of the double pack including Lego Batman (which I made a start on and havent gone back to yet). My first half hour on it was pretty dull and was planning just to give up in favour of a better racing game but I stuck with it and it did get better. The drip feed of achievements for each stage of the campaign means theres always one more not too far away.

Speaking of achievements, Ive all but decided to give up on my pursuit to get as many per game as possible as to me I spend more time making sure Ive not missed any as I progress, than I do actually enjoying the game. Big, open world games arent usually a problem as you can tackle them as you please, but the games where you have to do them on certain levels or miss them demand you pay attention to when you need to win them. Ive always been put off from games where the achievements look either too time consuming or unachievable without doing the game from start to finish multiple times. This is a stupid way to play as the games are probably really good! I managed fine of PS2 and older consoles so Im sure I can live without them. Ill still enjoy getting what I can but I cant see me over spending hours inching through a level to make sure I dont miss a collectable in the hunt to get them all.

My next story based game will be Too Human. I have very low expectations for this game but it was very cheap and only lasts around the 10 hour mark and Ive read it does have a couple of redeeming qualities. Whether I can force my way to the end is a different matter! It has an interesting level structure with it only have four levels but each taking a couple of hours to complete. I hope to god you can save midway through!

Ive definitely rambled on way longer than planned but future updates should be more concise than this. Its been a while since my last update! Hopefully you made it this far... :)

Over and Out

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Evening people! With the news that tv.com is shutting down the blog system, my final blog has been forced much quicker than expected...

I haven't really used the site in a fair while now but am still sorry to see the only real public interaction between friends on the site disappear from existence. I have been absent for a long time but a good few years of my life are on this site and was a great way to vent, track my life, and chat with friends. My blogs kept me very busy in the site's heyday but that hasn't been the case for ages.

I used to know this site like the back of my hand - the users, the guides, and the tricks of the trade. I put so much into it that I would think there was a time when there was nothing I didn't know about the site. The day I was asked to become a moderator was just the proof that I'd done something beneficial to the site and although it seems silly now, at the time it seemed to validate the fact I wasn't wasting my time. I used to see people leave all the time when the site was at it's prime and wonder what made them leave. I still don't know to this day as the only thing that made me spend less time here is the site was slowly becoming a new site entirely and was no longer the place I loved to spend my free time.

I recently had all of my show guides taken from me as I'd been MIA for ages. I couldn't complain as it was my own fault but it's still a bit heartbreaking to see everything taken away from me. I'll still check in the site as much as I do now. People haven't really posted blogs for a while or with the frequency that they used to so losing them altogether won't change much. It does 'scare' me a bit that people who I've become friends with on here and have followed their lives for years may no longer by reachable (apart from the clunky and often unusable PM system). A lot of people on here may not feel like they want to become public by becoming Facebook friends of follow me on Twitter.

For those that do, you can find me here:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dan.bambridge
Twitter - https://twitter.com/danbambridge
You can also join the Facebook group 'Return to tv.com' where many existing and former users frequent since the site changed its focus - https://www.facebook.com/groups/197424646944967/

It's been a great run and have met some great people on here and spent many, many hours a day working to make the site better. I suppose everything has to come to an end but I've never put as much effort into anything like I did to this. Thanks to all my friends that have made this a great experience over the years. For those that are still around, I'd love to stay in touch and hopefully you'll have time to comment before the feature is taken offline.

I suppose this is the end of the road for me. It's such a shame it had to end but suppose all good things come to an end...

For those that stay in touch, I'll see you on the other side. For those that don't, it's been great to meet you and have a wonderful life.

Farewell...

Optimus

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Evening people! It's been a busy couple of weeks but the weekend is almost upon us once again...

Last weekend I finally received my Asus Transformer Prime. Considering it was only released the week before in the UK I think I did pretty well considering the wait most people in the US have had. I've been reading so much about it and seeing the bad press it got and almost cancelled my order. I decided to keep it in the end as the next one isn't out for a good 6 months. I am getting the same GPS issues that have been plaguing most others buyers but the Wifi isn't such an issue. The internet's not as quick as a PC but is still pretty quick. I've never wanted a tablet as I've always thought the only one worth buying is an iPad and as I already have an iPhone I didn't see the point. The Prime has been the first tablet worth my consideration as it's as quick (if not quicker) than an iPad and also comes with the awesome keyboard dock. Dropping £500 on a niche item like a tablet isn't so bad when it can double up as a netbook. I'm typing in the keyboard now and although it's taking ages to get used to due to the short travel distance of the keys, I think I'll get used to it.

It's also my first experience of Android although I think I'm getting Android Lite seeing as there's no 3G. I still prefer iOS but the open nature of Android is great. I can drag and drop files and copy and films onto it I like and also editing documents etc is much less hassle. I'm not finding it quite as customisable as I was expecting it to be. I think I still have a lot of tinkering to do and options to explore so I won't judge it just yet. The major problem I'm having so far is that there are very few apps that are optimized for tablets. A lot of them work fine as they scale up well but I would think the iPad has more apps for it that has been edited from the iPhone. All in all though it's a brilliant device and is a stunning piece of hardware. The screen is great and even with the keyboard dock it's incredibly thin. The ability to use it as a touchscreen laptop is such an exciting prospect that I can't wait to get to grips with it. Despite the many issues people online are finding with it I would still recommend it to first time tablet buyers. If you already own one I'd probably hold off or buy a cheaper tablet until the updated Prime comes out in the summer.

In gaming, I started playing The Saboteur which I'm really enjoying. The setting is ace and the French themed music set during the war is great. It takes a lot of ideas from other sandbox games but the combination of Assassin's Creed like climbing and guns and driving is fun. So far I've only done the main missions which were kinda mandatory at first. Now I'm spending most of my time completing the freeplay targets. Although I'm enjoying them for now I feel they will get repetitive at some point. There are literally hundreds of them to complete! I think once I complete the freeplay targets in the areas that have 'got their colour back' I'll probably move onto some story missions. I think I'll be playing this game for a fair while with the amount of things there are to complete.

I'm almost through my massive backlog of films I had to watch. I've now seen most of the major films over the past few years which was my aim. As well as my TV shows I've still been able to watch a film pretty much everyday for months. I've seen my fair share of crap films (The Green Hornet springs to mind!) but there have been a lot of good ones as well. I've come to really that Seth Rogen is my number one overrated actor as he's ruined pretty much every film I've seen him in. Some of them survive despite him but they are few and far between. On the other hand I've realised how good and versatile an actor Johnny Depp is. He just brings every character to life and can turn his hand to anything, whether it's the Mad Hatter or Sweeney Todd, to Jack Sparrow or Willy Wonka.

That's about it for this installment. This is a much quicker turnaround between blogs than last time! :)

One Man Army

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Evening people! Think tv.com gets a redesign more often than I blog these days…

I'm watching 127 hours as we speak and this is a tough film to watch. Watching a guy fight for his life for days on end only to go to the extreme measures that he does is no fun. Wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't a true story... This makes it a perfect time to blog as I can't give it my full attention otherwise I'll throw up! Have no idea what I'd do in that situation though. Definitely haven't got the balls to cut my arm off but that's speaking from never having to choose between that and death!

Work has been pretty good of late. My once divided team has more or less come together. Nothing will ever be perfect but it's at a level where team meetings and the like are no longer awkward. I'm getting to a point now where I've mastered most of what I think I will in my job. I've worked on all the major work streams we deal with and I'm competent in them all. I'll most likely spend the next year or so doing what I do to get a better understanding of the overall picture. Now I've mastered the work I can spend less time wondering how to do it and can more or less put it to one side to focus on things to progress to the next tier of the food chain within the company.

Now that I've been living on my own for a year I'm starting to re-evaluate my living situation and what I can do to either save money or start to invest in a house. The place I'm renting is pretty expensive and isn't going to get any cheaper. It's got all the convenience I could ask for but that may not be enough going forward. I'm always looking for somewhere else but now I'm seriously making note of places. I'm either looking for somewhere newer to rent or somewhere further out of the city centre to buy. I'm a bit cautious about buying as I'm not overly tied down to Coventry and if the right job came up I'd have nothing to keep me from moving to a new city or back in the direction of where I moved from as I think I'd like to be closer to home and more back to my old life. I'd never move back to my parents as long as I'm earning enough money to live on my own. I really like my independence but being closer to home wouldn't make it such a journey to head back as often as I do.

Quick summary of my summer tennis season – won my mixed team's league for the second time in three years. I'm very pleased be back up in the division above ready for next summer. Our men's team won the first division for what we believe is around the first time in almost 20 years. Being part of that was great! For my other club down in Coventry (well Warwick), we finished second in the league which although doesn't get me a trophy, does mean we still gained promotion! The current winter season has now taken a break until early February which is a well-earned break. We're now undefeated in about two years and although we've got our toughest matches to come, fingers crossed we're looking good for a third successive title.

The winter TV break has given me chance to get back into gaming and my massive pile of un-played games, all of which have been gathering dust for about a year now. I've eased myself in gently with a linear game with relatively easy achievement in Fracture. It's probably the most run of the mill shooter you'll find as it does everything averagely but nothing too badly. The game's 'feature' as such is the ability to adapt the landscape by either raising or lowering the ground. In terms of using it in the game though it amounts to nothing more than using it to reach higher platforms or lowering the coincidentally placed mounds of dirt that seem to have built up over the majority of tunnels etc that you need to progress. So far the achievements have drip fed through so I haven't got too bored as yet. I'm most of the way through Act 1 or which there are 3 so I'm progressing quick enough. Act 1 also has the most levels so I'm hoping that's a sign I'm at least halfway through. I'm counting on this to get me back into gaming on a more regular basis as I do miss it!

TV.com seems to have undergone another redesign, this time one for the better if you ask me. Haven't dug too much into how it's broken the site for the people that actually contribute to it but visually I think it's a vast improvement.

I haven't started any new shows from this Fall season. I've still struggling with my crazy 2009/10 season where I was watching every show going. I really need a few to be cancelled so I can give them up without feeling guilty! I've got a couple of easy weeks now so I'm going to need a couple of shows to watch (both comedies and dramas). I've started watching The Class which I've had for ages now but despite having an awesome cast, it's a pretty lame show. There aren't that many actual funny lines and I've been spoilt in the years since it aired with the like of The Big Bang Theory, Community, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

The last couple of months I've really got into watching films again. I've always hated the start/.stop nature of films and you can never get engrossed because it's done and dusted in a couple of hours. I've always preferred the story progression nature of TV shows. I watched a couple of films and properly got into them and have watched one most nights for a couple of months now. Finally getting round to the Harry Potter films was a highlight although they are nowhere near as good as the books. Having not seen any films for years I'm a bit behind so have been trying to catch up with what I'd call the popular films. Generally the blockbuster types whether they are better than lesser known films or not. I want to have seen all the films people talk about just so I know the references people make in pop culture that I've never understood!

Thanks all for reading. Although my blog never gets the attention it once did, it's still nice to get it all off my chest every once in a while.

As I most definitely won't be blogging in next few weeks, I'll say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all! :)

On The Throne

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Evening people! It's time to pop out of the woodwork again although the sheer number of comments on my last blog hardly makes me want to do another one…

I've had a good couple of months since my last blog. I've finally managed to break through the all work and no play balance as I've been doing a lot more lately. Me and my boss are getting on well outside of work and he's been my real source of out of work activity. I've never been much of drinker or one for going down the pub but he's turning me into an alcoholic one pint at a time! :P For now I still decline at least once or twice a week. I'm still not entirely sure how people consume so much alcohol on a regular basis!

With it being summer, it has naturally meant tennis season has picked up for me and with my new location, it means I'm driving all over the country to play matches for my various clubs. It's been a good start so far and hopefully that'll go on through the summer. A couple of weeks back we played against Cambridge University's third team. I was very disappointed with their lack of ability as you'd assume for one of the most prestigious universities in the country, they'd have a pretty strong range of tennis players. One of my guys has played twice in 6 months and was still better than them. I've also been playing a bit more football. We have a 5-a-side football next week with 10 teams from our building so we've been doing a bit of practicing for that. I don't fancy our chances but we have a couple of decent players so you never know!

Last week I turned my Xbox on for the first time in a few months. I just don't have time with all the sport and TV I've been watching/playing lately. I'm really looking forward to the end of the TV season as the sheer amount of new episodes a week mean I have to keep on top of them and don't do a lot else! I have so many games gathering dust that I'd love to play so the sooner the end of the month comes around the better.

As for TV, I've made a point not to take on any new shows but with the hype Game of Thrones got I couldn't help but give it a go. I've been pretty impressed so far although taking in all the characters, locations, and how they all link together is a bit tough to follow. I ran out of comedy shows so started watching Arrested Development. Watching an old show means I can watch it at my own pace and I already know it's good rather than waiting to see if it gets cancelled (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour and Breaking In come to mind). It's definitely not the best comedy as some people would suggest. It's a clever comedy rather than a laugh out loud comedy but shows like Community beat it in every department.

Lastly, I'd like to mention the new tv.com away from tv.com over on Facebook – 'Return to tv.com'. It's a great place to meet all the people you used to know on here and is a great and easy way to talk about TV.

The Greek System

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Evening people! It's been a long while since my last blog which is mainly down to the fact that my life is just ticking along at the minute. I'm all settled in here at my new flat and work is going well. My new job just gets better by the day as I learn more and more and become competent in what I'm doing. Unlike my old job where I don't think I was even replaced, I'm pretty much indispensible where I am now. Sure, they could eventually replace me but I am by far the hardest worker and actually care about what I do. If I have to work overtime I just do it no questions asked. Before at my old job, I used to be out the door at 5pm on the dot. Next week I have my one-to-one review which will most likely double up at my three month review. My boss has just had a pay rise which I like to think is partly down to me making his department look in a much healthier position that six months ago. I think it would be a bit over optimistic to think I'll get a pay rise after such a short period but I can but hope. I'm going to make it clear to them that when my six months renting is up I'll re-evaluate my finances/living situation as I can't live on breaking even forever. At least that will give them chance to decide whether I'm worth keeping for a couple of grand a year extra or not.

Outside of work I've yet to really get up to much. Last week I went back to the tennis club I played at a month or so ago but I'm still not convinced. It appears that they already have pairings for all the matches until the end of summer and without competitive tennis they have no chance of me joining. One of my friends from back home is at uni here so he's going to get my in at his club which appears to be a lot cheaper than everywhere else despite being called Warwick Boat Club which you'd assume would be far too expensive for someone like me! Also last week I had a game of squash with my boss and I had no problem handing him a massive beating. We played 7 games and I beat him 7-0! He got his revenge on me afterwards though as he took me into the gym to do some weights which made me ache for days after! That was my first experience in a gym and I wasn't a fan. It just seemed to me to be a lot of vain people staring at themselves in the mirror as they worked out.

As for TV, I just finished the series finale of Greek which I hadn't realised it was until halfway through. It's such a shame that it had to end but at least they didn't try to craft stories out of characters that are rapidly getting too old for the show. When I found out of the cast is in her 30s I knew it was about time to come to an end. Still, it ranks up there with the few shows I can remember that never had a bad episode. Along with The OC are two of the greatest teen dramas there have ever been. The OC has always been top of my list but Greek gives it a very strong run for its money. Ending on 'Forever Young' is a winner in my eyes and I'm not afraid to admit it made me a bit sad towards the end! At least things went out on a high but unlike The OC I don't think the show was ever mainstream enough to make a lasting impression.

New Perspective

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Evening people!

Considering this is a TV website I very rarely talk about TV anymore! Since I moved I've not had a lot to do in the evenings so have spent most of my time catching up on entire seasons of shows that I had been glossing over until a time such as this. Having watched a lot of these shows whilst working I found most of them dull and boring which is why I had left them in favour of other shows. The only exception to this was Dexter which I had been saving until I had the whole season. Thankfully it didn't disappoint and I think it was actually my favourite season out of all of them. The other shows I had left included The Good Wife and Spooks which still didn't really become favourites of mine and although were tolerable I am still not desperate for the next episode.

The shows that did surprise me though were Sons of Anarchy and Parenthood. Both shows could barely be polar opposites if they tried! Sons of Anarchy is probably now up there with my shows to look out for! I wasn't so keen on the Irish storyline they branched out with but all in all it ended well. Parenthood is very much a perfect cross between teen dramas and Brothers & Sisters. It's got a pretty good cast although there far too many people in it to properly keep track. I've got two shows left on myepisodes.com that I've started watching that I've got the current season still to watch. Mad Men and The Vampire Diaries both of which I have been very critical of in the past but now I'll give them my full attention who knows.

In gaming I've been very neglectful of all consoles as usual. I'm kinda holding off now until I get my broadband in February and once I get everything else in order and up to date. Now that I have my Xbox in the flat and my Wii at home, I decided I'd need to invest in some new games for the Wii. It's pretty slim pickings for games that I actually wanted to get for it and the ones I did are just too expensive to justify paying full price. I always search eBay and see what I can find. Those games are much cheaper on there and I usually get my money back when I sell so I don't mind paying a lot as I know someone else will think the same and buy it in the future.

The only games I've ever really owned for it are Super Mario Galaxy and Zelda: Twilight Princess. For me the two games couldn't be more different as Mario's outing was one of my favourite and most innovative games in a long while whereas Zelda's felt like too much effort for a game I could play with a controller much better. With my good experience with the first Galaxy game I decided to purchase Super Mario Galaxy 2 which is supposed to be more of the same which is fine by me. I was also intrigued by Mad World with its black and white visuals and high levels of violence. The third game was more luck than anything as a listing for Red Steel was ending soon and it was only a few pounds so put a half hearted bid in for it and got it. It doesn't look to be overly good but was one of the original Wii games that was supposed to showcase the fact it could be a serious console as well so it's worth a go.

Imparting Wisdom

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Evening people! Lots to say today so sit tight...

This week sees things all change at my new workplace. Between me and one other guy we look after all the new water connections/mains for new housing and commercial developments across the entire Severn Trent region. As you can see from the map, after Anglian it is one of the largest regions in the country. Not only that but the other guy is far more experienced and is therefore pulled onto so many other tasks that it's basically down to me at the minute. At times it can be a bit tough but I'm working on getting everything up to date so that we can be more pro-active rather than reacting when customers chase us for quotations.

The problem we have now is the other guy is moving onto a new role in the coming weeks so that would leave just me. Now I'm quite happy to deal with it myself for now but I don't think the company are too keen on relying on one person. Even though I don't intend on going anywhere, if I'm off sick (something I haven't done in about 8 years) or for whatever reason I'm not at work then things would grind to a halt. That means I've got to put my current work on hold to train up a couple of other people which is no fun. Being quite young I've always been at the bottom of the pile so whilst it's nice to actually have some knowledge that I can actually impart on others, I'm not so keen on splitting my workload. Although less work is good, I like knowing every project that goes through the system and have managed to keep good records of everything which might not happen if I don't deal with everything that's coming through. I'm sure it will all work out but times are changing and I've only been in the job officially for two weeks!

In gaming, I just can't get back into it like I once did. I think it has something to do with the fact that catching up with my TV shows is far more important at the minute. I don't like how I've started picking the order I play my games collection based on achievements. I know that even though achievements aren't that important to me, I'll get annoyed if I can't at least get a respectable score off the game. Last night I made an attempt to play a proper game (rather than just another session on Pro Evo) so started Lego Batman. A game I understand to have relatively simple achievements don't seem to be as easy as first though. They seem to rely on multiple plays with different characters and also they don't all seem to work. On the very first level the achievement for smashing all the streetlights just doesn't work which annoyed me so I have yet to go back to my Xbox to have another go.

As for TV, I'm doing my absolute best to get caught up on all the shows that I've put on the back burner since the start of the Fall season. Over the previous few months I'd been able to watch so many series and get them up to date that there ended up being far too many new episodes a week to physically have time to watch them. Over Christmas I managed to get a few out of the way but now I have my evenings free from driving for hours, I'm making a more concerted effort now. I've also noticed that now I'm not working whilst watching, some of the shows I previously watched and thought were boring are now much better as I'm giving them my full attention. Most notable is The Good Wife which I thought was awful in the first season as it was dull, has now become one of my favourite shows thanks to the great writing and its ability to keep me hooked without the need for action or comedy. I'm wondering if this will work with a couple of other shows I've neglected since the Fall. Sons of Anarchy I've always wanted to love but never quite got hooked in and then Mad Men which I think is a lost cause for me. The next one for me will be season 4 and I think it's too far in for me to change my mind on it now.

Getting Sorted

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Evening people!

Monday night was the start of something new for me as I moved out of my parent's house and into my own flat. I've never had a problem living with them so moving out didn't give me the liberating feeling that I know a lot of people have when they move out on their own. So far things seem to be going well. I've never been very self sufficient but I've managed to keep myself fed well enough even if I am living off paste and noodles! I've pretty much moved all my stuff in that I'm going to need to as I'm still going home at weekends so a lot of stuff is staying there for now. I've not had to replace as much of their stuff as I'd expected to. With all new furniture in the lounge and the rest of the flat being given a good clean over, coming fully furnished has actually been beneficial. We gave it our own clean when we got there which was probably a bit more thorough.

More importantly my evening's entertainment is now all set and ready to go. I bought myself a new 40" Samsung LED TV. Unlike my old TV it's full HD and has far more connection options than my old one. My 32" LCD one is staying at home/my parents' and will be used with my Wii which has been long neglected. I hadn't been on my Xbox for over a month so now only having a Wii at home I'll probably go on even less. I'm going to buy Super Mario Galaxy 2 as the original was the only game I ever enjoyed on the console and is one of the few console specific games I wish was on the 360. I'm hoping now I've got more free time in the evenings thanks to a shorter journey to work (I'm saving an hour and a half each way!) I'll be able to get back to some serious gaming. God knows I've got enough games backed up and I think I actually have enough to virtually see me through until the summer if not longer. I added one more game to my collection which was Battlefied: Bad Company 2 and also the two Alan Wake DLCs thanks to jekyll's tip.

The only really important thing I have yet to sort out is home broadband. I had planned on having it in and going within two weeks but it looks like my plans are scuppered. I thought I had a phone line installed because I have the BT phone points but after a call to O2 (who I want to provide my broadband), they tell me that it's been disconnected and I need an engineer out. That is going to take around 4 weeks and £85 of my money. Luckily I've had a mobile broadband dongle for the past couple of years so can use that for the time being. Ever since I bought it I've wanted to get rid of it as I've not got much joy out of the signal. Unfortunately I would've had to pay out my contract to get rid of it so there wasn't any point in getting rid of it. I've got a 3gb a month limit on it so as long as I don't go crazy I should be ok. As soon as I've got really broadband I shall take great pleasure in finally getting rid of it.

Lastly, my TV viewing was always the most important point when deciding on a TV and entertainment set up. I had some deliberation as to what to use to play my TV episodes knowing that now it would be worth getting the HD versions of episodes. With some help from DJ as always I deliberated over getting a HD media player which I assumed would play most files and also a mini PC which DJ suggested. In the end I didn't take my desktop PC (at least for now) so I trialled my laptop instead of the mini PC. In the end though it turns out that I can play practically anything off of a regular external direct through a USB port which has saved me the trouble of deciding and also a lot of cash! I can't yet decide whether to spend the money on a new Xbox 360 slim or whether it's not worth upgrading?