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sykoticangel Blog

Forza Italia! Now Australia truly has something to be proud of.

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I'm sure you're all up to your neck in football enough as it is :) I promise I won't force-feed you much more in terms of World Cup goodness, but this closing remark on the tournament needs to be said:

Italy has done what I didn't think they could, and have walked away with a tremendous final and tournament performance to sieze the Coppa del Mondo. This World Cup saw a number of ups and downs for me: initially I was rooting for Australia who dazzled us with some brilliant games that were truly the most inspirational of the tournament. Unfortunately, the fateful draw (and my luck) pitted them against my own blood, Italy. Very tactfully (as I was going to watch the game in a crowd of 20,000 screaming, mostly intoxicated Australian fans), I decided to sport my Australia colours for that match, but my heart was divided evenly between my desire for both teams to progress.

Although the rest is history, at least Australia can stand proud now, and claim that they were only ousted by the tournament Champions themselves, to cap what has been a magnificent entry for the Socceroos. And as I stood in an equally-sized crowd last night in Melbourne's little Italy, proudly donning my Italia 2006 jersey, I had realised what would perhaps have been the best result I could hope for in this World Cup.

It's truly a marvellous day when Italy has claimed what has eluded them for 24 years, and at the same time see Australia making such a strong impression on the world stage in a sport that is largely foreign to them -- an impression that is hopefully the first of many in the World Cup limelight to come.

Viva Italia! Oi Oi Oi!

Ahhh...so THAT's what it looks like!

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Phillips-head: Check.
Earthed? Check.
Nerves? Definitely NOT in check.

Saturday ear-marked the momentous occasion when I would venture into the unknown; where no Peter has ever gone before (well not this one). I had 48 hours of non-business day period ahead of me and a hackle-raising desparation that could flay paint from walls. Yes, my hard-drive, with over 2 weeks worth of exam preparation and materials (for an open-book exam I was sitting in 2 days), was irreperably corrupted. And I had to (personally) do something about it. Ugh.

Let me just say it was not fun. And the whole time I just *knew* I was going to break something expensive.
But it was a learning experience, that's for sure. For someone who used to call up a technician if his printer wouldn't install the first time...discovering that power is in short supply (running 2 SATA hard drives really take up a lot of juice in an older machine), and that once a hard drive is corrupt you are NOT going to boot from it whatever you might think, is definitely...unique. It took me positively ages though, but I was finally able to swap the hard drive into another PC, boot it from the other HD, then recover the much-needed data from a really awesome program I managed to dig up over the Internet after much trial-and-error. It comes highly recommended, as it allowed me to backup *everything*. Here's a little plug because it saved me weeks and more than a few grey hairs. The pricing is even quite reasonable considering the intensive psychological duress I've avoided in utilising it.

Anyway, I do feel I've deceived you all somewhat and I need to rephrase a sentence above to conclude my ramblings:

For someone who *used* to call up a technician if his printer wouldn't install the first time...he'll still be doing so in the future, let's just hope the stupid machine breaks down during the week next time!

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!!!

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Oi! Oi! Oi!

I'm writing this quickly as the adrenaline is still coursing through my veins. My hands are shaking, and typing is slightly difficult-- I blame it on euphoria. It's World Cup 2006, and Australia has done what the world said they never could:

Australia has just (not 10 minutes ago) come up from what looked like a certain 1-0 loss against Japan to completely dominate the match in the last 10 minutes and score THREE goals to win 3-1. Wow, just wow! Talk about being completely juxtaposed-- not 20 minutes ago I was hurling abuse at the box as fast as my mouth could humanly hurl. Australia had dominated possession throughout the game but could NOT finish- it was painful to watch! Not only that, but they conceded a nasty goal about halfway through the first half that was CLEARLY obstruction and should have been disallowed (he pushed the goalkeeper out of the way!). Losing a goal to a referee's blunder is also *very* painful.

But Australia--oh boy, do I take it back. That was simple the most stunning finish to a game I have ever witnessed in my extremely long and involved football history. You sure showed them guys. Even if you don't like football- you can surely relate to the mixed emotions in such a short period that I just experienced: I don't know if I should laugh or cry, so I'm going to do a bit of both!

Bunnies without tails are like Quests without Dragons!

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Isn't that a fact! Last week I was mulling to ShenlongBo about what I should lighten my wallet purchasing over at EB this week. I called it my post-exam self-motivating expenditure (even though I'm only half-way through my exam period). He suggested two titles; Project Snowblind, and Project Snowblind. Okay, so maybe he was a little over-excited about Snowblind (20 minutes on the topic does start to hint at that!), but eventually we also started talking about Dragon Quest 8! A religious RPG fan, why hadn't I picked up a copy of this yet? To be rectified! So, off I went to EB that day and had premediated about $150 in gaming expenditure. Unfortunately for me (and Shen, I'm sure, would have loved to have me enthused over it), Project Snowblind is pretty much impossible to get a hold of here in Australia. EB did have Dragon Quest 8 though, and at 25% off too! So, all in all- my bank account won out at the end of the quick stock-up trip! And I won too! Well, I won't quite know that until another....60 hours at least (damn this game is long!). But I'd just like the world to know, that DQ8 is quite possibly the most addictive, complete and simply outstanding RPG I have ever played (and I've played them all). I suppose what I love most is that this game is true-to-its-roots. When I play Dragon Quest, I feel like I'm rekindling my many, many long days on the SNES playing timeless classics such as SoM and FF6; or the imported SD3. I'm not sure what it is about it, but it is positively dripping with charm and class that I wouldn't normally associate with an anime-based title. In fact, I loathe most other forms of anime, but Dragon Quest pushes all the right buttons for me. Everything from the metric-tonne of extremely well animated attacks and spells, to the armada of varied and interesting enemy encounters, right through to the downright gruelling gameplay it offers (I'm sick of games that insult my intelligence by playing easy-mode!), Dragon Quest 8 is definitely going to melt in my PS2 drive any day now from overuse....and I'll gladly buy another one to keep playing! Now the only thing to do is to work out a feasible way of locking it up where I can't get to it so that I can pump in the necessary hours studying for my exams next week...hrmmm...hrmmm...

Sony's Network Service Shenanigans

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OK, so after my little rant last week on the bane of PC gaming I've recently experienced- it's time to shift my piercing, ill-tempered and outright frustrated consumer's gaze onto the network gaming world of Sony. And as I bore a hole into the various customer support reps (poor souls) that have had to deal with the above-mentioned gaze of customer anguish, I reflect back on the little incident that sparked the furore... ...It started with the release of a very slim-lined Playstation 2, aptly dubbable as "the slimmed-down console that rules them all"...including it's previous iterations. You see, I'm one of those (un)fortunate individuals that have had the Playstation 2 for quite some time; as such, I've got one of those fat monstrosities (ahem, keep your mind on the console!) that newbie PS2 owners of today only scoff at. As you may know, it doesn't come with built-in network support either. So when I finally had an excuse (SOCOM 3) to rewire my house (regardless of what the folks say, it HAD to be done) to support a few extra CAT32 cables in my wall, I am confronted by a brick-wall that is the underhanded marketing-ploy heralding the introduction of the PS2 slim-console; they've stopped making network adapters for the 5000 series, haven't they? Argh!! "Fret not though", I thought to myself that fine autumn morning. E-Bay has trustworthy retailers a-plenty that have new, unopened stock pre-dating the Stone Age! I was not mistaken in this respect, and was soon tearing open the bundle of joy that I should have pre-emptively purchased months ago. I wired 'er up, jumped straight into the registration software and was ready to discover the secrets that online consoles have kept from me for so long.....EXCEPT...my *sob*...ACCESS KEY IS IN USE! Oh, my dear lord in heaven above. What is wrong with Sony NOW!? After a solid week of research that would have been better spent studying for my upcoming exams, I discovered the answer to that question: a horrid publishing error where many Access Keys were printed on the back of other access key fliers (Read: early-bird buyers would have been wringing their sweaty palms in lucrid joy of being the benefactors of TWO potential sets of accounts!). That's right- Sony didn't even wait for the paint to dry before jamming this shoddy practice down the throat of their consumers! As of today, I've faxed through the Tax Invoice (for proof of purchase) and am, rather skeptically, awaiting their response. No doubt it'll be a few days away, and in that short time it appears that Sony will have (with my luck) completely abolished their online networking system to save expenses better spent on mind-control and hypnotising marketing techniques. After-all, these are essential to forcing the masses into purchasing their latest incarnation of draconian console shenanigans, the behometh(ly priced)- Playstation 3. Don't worry Sony, I'll still buy it- eventually. But that's a tear better shed another day.

PC Gaming- the Mack-Truck heavyweight of a balanced lifestyle.

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That. It. Is. And it's something that struck me quite suddenly last Sunday. I was at a friend's place going through my pre-exam period studying-nightmare-fest, and she pulls out one of these nifty little devices. It's shaped almost like a briefcase, but slimmer. No strings attached either. Have you guessed what I'm talking about yet? No? Well let me give you a few more clues. It has no games on it. It doesn't take up your entire desk-space. When you move your legs under the table it's on, you don't trip over, or rip a power-supply out of the wall and burn down the next room. It also can be carried around rather comfortably, and it's rather nifty for doing about anything else that my PC can do sans the gaming-factor. It's a laptop. And I want one. Let me establish a preface to this sudden urge that overcame me that day. Over the past few weeks, when I *should* have been doing extensive studying for a few particularly difficult topics that we don't get a revision break for, I found myself somewhere between Anvil and Chorrol in Oblivion. Occassionally I would also wonder between Shinjea Monastery and the Jade Sea in Guild Wars Factions too. And I'd be doing this for hours. Currently I'm going through a stage in my life where it's all about balance. Balanced diet, balanced study/work schedule, balancing cardio and strength build-up. However, the beast that I'm on now is starting (indeed has been for quite a while) to tip the scales somewhat dramatically. It just takes too much time to play these games. It's nothing like my PS2, which I can turn on, have a 15 minute game of Fifa06, then feel like I've had a decent feed. Heck, I can't even ride on the Shadowmere - the fastest horse in Oblivion for freaks sake- between Anvil and Skingrad in that time! And the towns are right next to each other! Would you believe that once-apon-a-time in the not-too-distant past, I played the demon-spawned game that is World of Warcraft? Oh yes. Yes I did. For 6 months flat after its release. I even had a "guild". Want to know the secret to how I stopped? So do I! It took three exorcisms, a full blood-coffee transfusion and a visit from the angel Gabriel himself to get me to cancel my subscription!! Ugh! I thought I had a little more self-discipline than that! So, in considering the drastic measures required to remedy the source of this most unfortunate and bewildering situation, I am presently uninstalling Oblivion, and seriously considering abandoning my Guild Wars guild of nearly a year. I'm also researching a decent price for a non-gaming laptop, and am praying to the lord above that the PS2 is going to be able to satiate my gaming lust enough so that I can achieve my balance in life, because I am currently spending FAR too long playing games on this damned machine. I wonder how much this thing's worth, anyway? Unleash the hounds. Say what you will!