Some things I've learned....

(1) An Engineer can do with 10 cent what a fool can do with a Euro.

(2) "Puff" - unimportant; insignificant; unworthy of study by engineering students; waste of time

(3) It's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid than to open it and prove them right!

(4) Blockwork people and concrete people can never work on the same site... Apparently they don't like each other....

(5) It's official; I'm fantastic!

Tuesday 27 February 2007

Grinds My Gears!! - Issue 3

This is slightly different as I'll be bashing two different topics in this one, so we'll just take it as it comes.

Dublin Bus

This isn't so much a gripe at the company, it's more the people than anything else. What particularly annoys me is when people, with money, queue in the ticket line, and hold up everyone in the ticket line who actually has a ticket. That's part of the point of the ticket, so you can get on faster. It's invisible to the naked eye as they conceal their change in their hands, just as easily as one could conceal a ticket, and suddenly, when you're the guy behind them, they stop moving and you realise that they are waiting for a break in the other goddamn queue!!!

Another thing that I need to address is people with headphones. Now I use headphones on the bus aswell, but what I'm on about is those who have the volume up to the max, so you can hear what they are listening to and should they sit beside you, the only way you can indicate that you want to get off is by lifting your bag up off the floor and leaning to one side. God help those who have no bag.

That's another thing...bags! I carry one, sometimes two bags, depending on the day, with me on the bus. Should I be sitting down I'll rest one on my knees, the other at my feet, not like some who take up the whole seat with their bags or their change purses. Last week for instance, a woman got on with what could only be a full weeks shopping and casually occupied the whole side row on the left near the front of the bus (this was one of the older buses with two doors). Like what the fuck? That's what the baggage hold is for!

One more thing has got to be people that brings unfolded buggies onto the bus when the bus is already crammed with people like a tin of sardines. This has only become an issue since the 'buggy/wheelchair' space was introduced. Before that people had no problem folding up the buggy. But not now. By leaving the buggy open, they use up a significant portion of quality standing space. If they only folded it, and put it on the luggage rack, I'm sure someone would quite happily give up their seat for the mother/father with the child.

All of these issues depend greatly on what bus route you get and where you get it from. If you want to experience any of these problems just get one of the Lucan buses from Westmoreland Street, or if you want to experience all of these problems, try (and I mean TRY!) to get the 25A from Heuston Station.


I think the issue of MTV is one which everyone is already well aware of. Nevertheless, I shall try to construct a coherent argument on why it annoys me so much. I suppose a good place to start is in the stations name: MTV - Music Television. Music Television. Once more just in case you didn't get it: M-U-S-I-C Television. Now that that's been properly addressed I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. Remember back in the day, when we had Nirvana with the sensational "Smells Like Teen Spirit", and how it was on almost once every half hour (and before you say anything I realise I was about 4 or 5 at the time but I remember seeing the song, sure I didn't know what it was about then but I can't really say I'm any further enlightened today either!). That was when MTV played music. Now I know they try to do that now, with lame request shows and what not but seriously, the only channel you can see music on is E4, or if you are a Sky Digital fan you have an array of over 20 different pure music channels to choose from, be it the soft classics of 'Magic' or the heavy anthems of 'Kerrang!'.

So what is MTV now. Well that's hard to say really. A reality tv channel...that's fairly accurate, as I can only think of "South Park" and "Drawn Together" off the top of my head which aren't reality tv in the usual sence. I'll do my best now to list of the reality tv shows on offer courtesy of MTV: Newlyweds, MADE, Pimp My Ride (UK), Date My Mom, NeXt, Laguna Beach, Little Talent Show, The Osbournes (when it was on), The Ashely Simpson Show, Punk'd, Viva la Bam, Dismissed, Making the Band, Sweet 16, The Real World, Run's House, Meet the Barkers, Boiling Point, Wanna Come in? and so on. With the exception of maybe one or two of these programmes, the rest are pretty rubbish, taking into account the vast array of spoiled bitched we have who think they are too good for the world, the innumerable white blokes who think they're black and fail to pull it off, the bottom of the barrel celebrities (Jessica and Ashlee Simpson come to mind) and so on. MTV has come under extremely heavy criticism for the way it's now directing it's tv. To make matters worse, MTV UK then invests in the same disastrous programming such as Pimp My Ride and Date My Mom. I don't need to point out how terrible Westwood is at trying to be like X. On the point of Date My Mom, I have to say it is quite possibly the most "wrong" programme in existence. Young guys going out with older women just so they can get at their daughters.....please.

That's not to say all these programmes are bad. Boiling Points, MADE and Punk'd have their moments, though I can't say too much for others. I mean how many times to we need to see domestically challenged Jessica Simpson try to fry a piece of chicken or see some lesbian say "Next" to some other girl because she doesn't wear a bra or see two people bitchin' at each other in Laguna Beach. It's all close up there with the biggest disease of them all - Big Brother. Big Brother is like the AIDS of tv - you can't stop it, it just spreads to everyone and everywhere, with other reality tv like cancer - you can treat it with some doses of Mythbusters or American Chopper. Once you're hooked on BB there's no treatment.

If I could purge the world of these programmes I would, but sadly I'm only one man.

Who will join me?

Probably not you....

Ace Rimmer will me help me!!!


P.S. - Which of the following do you prefer as an opposite article to GMG, it'll be about things I like and things that make me happy. The choices are: "Lubs My Gears", "Tickles My Pickle" or "Flying High in the Sky"?

Sunday 25 February 2007

The Unwritten Rules of Men!!

Well...I guess they're written now. This is partly based on the one I put up on my Bebo many aeons ago, but thanks to the fine help of Mr Conway and Mr Dowdall, we have compiled a much more definitive list of The Unwritten Rules. This is also partly influenced by the fact that I see BoB every Friday night breaking some of them, and that my friends Grinds My Gears.


The Ten Commandments:
  1. Thou shalt never kick thine buddy in the crotch.
  2. Thou shalt never hit a female companion...ever.
  3. Thou shalt let thine buddies know when you score.
  4. Thou shalt never make love in thine buddy's chamber.
  5. Thou shalt respect the lyrics of Stephen Lynch.
  6. Thou shalt never write more than Three X's at the end of a message.
  7. Thou shalt always extract sexual and/or childish meaning from a statement where possible.
  8. Thou shalt never hide your intentions from your mates in relation to your intentions over a woman.
  9. Thou shalt never aid a man who's fly is down. That is his problem, not yours.
  10. Thou shalt live by these priorities: 1) Sex, 2) Mates, 3) Sex.

The Circumstantial Rules:

  1. If it smells enough to be covered by deodrant, it's ok to wear.
  2. Never steal your buddy's lady.
  3. Never stand next to another guy at a urinal, always leave an empty one.
  4. Urinals...eyes forward...always. Staring at the ceiling or straight downwards is perfectly acceptable, as long as your vision remains in the vertical plane between you and the urinal.
  5. The question as whether to shave or not can be decided on the basis of whether you are seeing the ladyfriend that day. It is perfectly acceptable to go unshaven in male company.
  6. Leaving the toilet seat up is not an issue.
  7. When in doubt in an argument and/or you know you are defeated, storm off, preferably slamming the door and/or hitting some breakable object on the way out.
  8. Always let them think they won the argument.
  9. Your mates will always understand why you can't see the match with them using two simple words: "Can't, busy!"
  10. Acting gay with each other is only ok in a chicken style to determine the alpha male.
  11. In the unlikely event that your mate asks you: "Does my bum/ass look in big in this?", you respond truthfully in a non-homosexual way.
  12. When in an argument with female company, fellas will always stick together, regardless of whether your mate is right or wrong.
  13. Making fun of female company in a serious manner is totally unacceptable.
  14. Farting in male company is totally acceptable. Compliments regarding loudness, wetness, strength as well as resilience are mandatory. A duel may ensue.
  15. Men will only appear to be a metro-sexual on the days when seeing the ladyfriend.
  16. It is perfectly acceptable for you and your mates to stare at a woman's cleavage/ass. A universal rating is a mandatory supplement.
  17. Yes and No are adequate answers for all questions.
  18. Tipping is only ok if the waitress is exceptionally attractive and the ladyfriend is not present. If the ladyfriend is there, only a waiter may be tipped, and this is purely to look good, even if the waiter is a dumbass motherfucker who made a complete arse of your order.
  19. Only check out other women when your ladyfriend is present by use of mirrors. Use the peripherals.
  20. Never under any circumstances side with the ladyfriends' friends when they are in a disagreement with each other.
  21. The following sentence may only be used as an escape route for having ignored rule No. 19. : "Would you look at your one!! What was she thinking?"
  22. Shopping for a gift for the ladyfriend is only to be enjoyed if you love her.
  23. Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella.
  24. It is ok for a man to cry under the following circumstances: (a) When a heroic dog dies to save its master, (b) The moment Angelina Jolie starts to unbutton her blouse, (c) After wrecking your bosses car, (d) 1 hour, 27 mins and 37 seconds into "The Crying Game" and (e) When she is using her teeth.
  25. Any man who brings a camera to a bachelor party may be legally killed and have his carcass fed to the dogs.
  26. Unless he muredered someone in your family or the ladyfriend, you must bail a mate out of jail within 12 hours.
  27. If you've known a guy for over 24 hours his sister is strictly off limits, unless you marry her of course.
  28. Moaning about the brand of free beer in a mates fridge is forbidden. However, complain at will if the temperature is unsuitable.
  29. No man shall ever be required to buy a birthday present for another man. In fact, even remembering your buddy's birthday is strictly optional. Cards are allowed so long as they contain a sexual and/or childish joke.
  30. No man shall ever but an "X" on another man's card.
  31. On a road trip, the strongest bladder determines the pit stops, not the weakest.
  32. When stumbling upon other guys watching a sporting event, you may ask the score of the game in progress, but you may never ask who's playing.
  33. You may flatulate in front of a woman only after you have brought her to climax. If you trap her head under the covers for the purpose of flatulent entertainment, she's officially your girlfriend.
  34. It is permissible to drink a fruity alcohol drink only when you're sunning on a tropical beach... and it's delivered by a topless supermodel ..and it's free.
  35. Unless you're in prison, never fight naked.
  36. Friends don't let friends wear Speedos. Ever. Not negotiatable. Issue closed.
  37. Women who claim they "love to watch sports" must be treated as spies until they demonstrate knowledge of the game and the ability to drink as much as the other sports watchers.
  38. A man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must remain sober enough to fight.
  39. Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of pizza, but not both, that's just greedy.
  40. If you compliment a guy on his six-pack, you'd better be talking about his choice of beer.
  41. Never join your girlfriend or wife in discussing a friend of yours, except if she's withholding sex pending your response.
  42. Phrases that may NOT be uttered to another man while lifting weights: (a) Yeah, Baby, Push it! (b) C'mon, give me one more! Harder! (c) Another set and we can hit the showers!
  43. Never talk to a man in a bathroom unless you are on equal footing: i.e. both urinating, both waiting in line, etc. In check with rule No.4, vision must remain forward whilst in conversation. For all other situations, an almost imperceptible nod is all the conversation you need.
  44. Never allow a telephone conversation with a woman to go on longer than you are able to have sex with her. Keep a stopwatch by the phone. Hang up if necessary.
  45. The morning after you and a girl who was formerly "just a friend" have carnal drunken monkey sex, the fact that you're feeling weird and guilty is no reason for you not to nail each other again before the discussion about what a big mistake it was occurs.
  46. It is acceptable for you to drive her car. It is not acceptable for her to drive yours.
  47. A man shall not buy a car in the colors of brown, pink, lime green, orange or sky blue.
  48. The girl who replies to the question "What do you want for Christmas?" with "If you loved me, you'd know what I want!" gets an Xbox 360/Playstation 3. End of story.
  49. There is no reason for guys to watch Ice Skating or Men's Gymnastics. Ever.
  50. Slapping another guy on the ass is only allowed in good fun. Not with intention. Slapping women on the ass without permission is unacceptable. Get permission first.

I do believe that is quite comprehensive. If I have left any out please do leave it in the comments.


Saturday 24 February 2007


I had a recent discussion with Donal over lunch about crisp flavours. More significantly, crisp flavours and their respective packets and how they vary.

For instance, Tayto, in my opinion have the most well established crisp
fan base here in Ireland. Red for Cheese & Onion, Blue for Salt & Vinegar, Mauve for Ready Salted, Pink for Prawn Cocktail and so on. It was at this point that one Garrett Sykes made a blasphemous suggestion that Ready Salted should be the 'standard flavour'. As we ALL know, Cheese & Onion is the standard and always will be. There are other crips if you want Ready Salted, though they are not quite crisps as I'll discuss late. King follow suit with Tayto on the colour code front for the flavours. As myself and Donal both agreed, King are more of a crisp sandwich type of crisp, whereas Tayto are what you'd eat out of the packet.

The other two big boys in the crisp industry are then Hunky Dory and Walkers. Both exceptional crisps in their own rights but both have different approaches in comparison to the other two. Hunky Dory in my opinion are the best by far. Thicker, chunkier and tastier all round. Though HD don't follow the colour code, opting for green for Cheese & Onion. HD also venture into more experimental flavours such as Buffalo and Curry.

Walkers on the other hand fuck it up completely. Blue for Cheese & Onion, Red for Ready Salted, Green for Salt & Vinegar. There's nothing wrong with Walkers except for the fact that I think their flavours are too strong sometimes, particularly when their Salt & Vinegar can make my eyes water.

The other two areas are then Pringles and Doritos. Both brands use Ready Salted as their standard which is how it should be if you ask me. Those two are intended for dipping. Hence why they have no real flavoured taste, crisps have flavours so you don't need to dip them. Therefore, Ready Salted as the standard crisp flavour is just stupid. Doritos have huge fan bases in the Nacho Cheese and Chili categories. Pringles on the other hand are in my opinion the most experimental company of the lot with the widest range of flavours, listed below.
Original, Sweet Thai Chilli, Paprika, Sour Cream & Onion, Salt & Vinegar, Cheese & Onion, Hot & Spicy, Texas Barbecue Sauce, Smokin' Bacon, Cheese, Tomato & Mozzarella, Light Original, Light Sour Cream & Onion, Oranjekaas (Orange Cheese) in the Netherlands. A flavour which is mostly around during sporting events as the football World Cup and Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) and is a reference to Dutch monarchy (the House of Orange), The Gourmet range (this was advertised in the UK on 3 Oct 2006. More information to follow)
Not to mention their 'dippas' range aswell.

What was my point: Cheese & Onion are the standard crisp flavour whilst Ready Salted is the standard other flavour for Pringles and Doritos. Let it be known now and forever. We'll have no more mad suggestions about getting rid of Cheese & Onion.
Am I right? What do you think?

Maybe Smoked Kipper flavour in the morning for Breakfast!


Thursday 22 February 2007

Metric Time????

This is something which I've always thought about. Sure the Simpsons gave us a very (very!) brief idea of what metric time would be like, but I only discovered recently (thanks to Kev browsing the net during Mechanics), that real-life alternatives to our current method of measuring time actually exist. The following are extracts from different websites, as I personally don't have the time to actually postulate a viable alternative for time measurement! The following extracts are also extremely summarised, as after reading through them some of the technical details are exceptionally heavy going!

"A Guide to Metric Time" (Courtesy of

A Metric or Decimalized Time system is, like ABT, based on the solar day (i.e. one revolution of the Earth). This day is then divided into units of tenths, hundredths, thousands, etc. that are used to keep and tell time.
NOTE: Although we are defining Metric Time here based on the rotation period of the Earth, that doesn't mean that we couldn't redefine it based on something more stable (such as the radioactive decay rate of some atom,) as has been done with ABT.
Most proposed day-based decimalized time systems are basically the same in that one tenth of a day is one tenth of a day for all of them. However there are differences between systems, these mainly being the unit names, display format and how
locality and universality are handled.

Any system of measurement must have a unit that measurements are expressed in and a standard format for expressing that unit to avoid confusion. Metric Time is no different. However, there are and have been a number of units and formats proposed.

French Revolutionary Metric Time
10 metric hours in a day
100 metric minutes in a metric hour
100 metric seconds in a metric minute
10 days in a metric week (called a dekade)

The main attraction of this is that seconds and minutes are fairly close to their ABT counterparts, allowing people to continue to use expressions like "I'll be done in a few seconds" or "any minute now!" and have them mean the same thing. There are, however, two major drawbacks.
One is that using unit names that are the same as the ABT units could lead to confusion where precision is more important. This is especially problematic with the metric hour which is almost two and a half times the length of the ABT hour -- a significant period of time for a scheduling mishap. This could be solved by always saying "metric hours" and "ABT hours", but this would quickly grow tiresome.
The second drawback is that, while metric minutes and MT seconds are as convenient as their ABT counterparts, the metric hour is a bit ungainly. Blocking out the day in ABT hours is manageable, but a tenth of a day is too long a period to be useful for higher resolution mapping of the day on the scale of appointments, TV show times and such (although it would still have value as a low resolution day-overview).
The obvious solution to the latter problem is to pick a base-ten fraction that gives a more reasonable length of time and promote its use as the basic building block of the day, much as ABT hours and half-hours are used. It will be the unit that time is normally expressed in, except in technical situations. A hundredth of a day (let's call it a centiday here for brevity) is the logical choice for this unit as it is 14.4 ABT minutes. For example: a TV sitcom is 2 centidays long and a typical class session lasts 4 centidays.

I'll let you read the rest there yourselves at the above link.

"Swatch Internet Time" (Courtesy of Swatch obviously)
Swatch have developed a new time system that has no geographical boundaries, and is a simple, innovative way for people around the ever-decreasing globe to keep in touch.
Called 'Internet Time', the day is divided into 1000 'beats', each equal to about a minute and a half. The designation for Internet Time is an '@' symbol before a 3-digit number, such as @593. Swatch have developed a series of Beat Watches, which display both conventional time and Internet time.
Internet Time is based upon midnight, winter time in Biel, Switzerland, home of the Swatch. At any given Beat, it is the same time all around the world.

The time now being 10:19 whilst writing this very phrase, it is now @471 beats!!!

BMT Standard Time Conversions
Designation----Conversion To----
Designation----Conversion To
1 .beat--------->0.001 day--------1 day-------->1000 .beats
1 .beat--------->0.024 hours------1 hour------->41.666 .beats
1 .beat--------->1.44 minutes-----1 minute----->0.6944 .beats
1 .beat--------->86.4 seconds-----1 second---->0.01157 .beats

I'll try to get my hands on more info about this at a later stage, and maybe a gripe about the imperial system and why its so "bastardised".


Monday 19 February 2007

Grinds My Gears!! - Issue 2

Keeping with the trend of the last issue, I'm going to continue on my slashing of bad tv with a gear grinding on new Irish dramas on RTÉ. Some of these are old-ish so I'll try my best to recall for you what they were all about.

The Big Bow Wow
This one was set in Dublin, and was mainly centered around the sex lives of several characters. One prostitute, two homosexuals, three students, a teacher having an affair with one student, two brothers sleeping with the prostitute and two particular office workers and one of their fathers. The general plot of the whole thing was pretty bogey in case you can't see that from the characters.

"The Big Bow Wow" itself was a bar, which frequently featured, hence the shows name. It's virtually impossible for me to re-call any events as the show never continued past its first series - an indication of how awful it was. I guess they figured the theme of sex would drag audiences to it. Obviously not, as one of the few episodes I actually watched had the prostitute make love to one of the brothers in the bathroom of the BBW.

Here's a link to a video review of the 3rd episode:

I think in total I watched 3 out of the 13 episodes, which were in a row, as I actually thought it might be good to watch. Thankfully no. In the 3 episodes I watched it was pretty difficult to tell where anything was going, characters were pretty lame with no real background at all.

Irish Drama Cac-rating: 6/10

Love is the Drug
This follows the BBW on so many fronts. Main theme is also love (surprise-surprise) and sex. Only in this case RTÉ must have thought that taking the action out of Dublin and to Dundalk would up the interests of the nation. No. This one is centered around a family. Father, mother, three sons. The parents are having difficulties in their sex lives and so try to spice things up with vibrators, oral sex and the likes after meeting another 'active' couple. The eldest son is getting married but is having trouble with impotence, the second has no love life at all and the youngest has a girlfriend going to college.

Once again the characters are exceptionally lame. I actually watched all of this as it preceeded whatever it was I wanted to watch on Monday nights. Like BBW, Love is the Drug lasted one series.

Irish Drama Cac-rating: 7/10

Pure Mule
Set in 'rural' Ireland - no big town or city - Pure Mule focuses on....guess what...the sex lives of two brothers. Can you see the trend in the themes of these programmes? Though not as long episode wise at the previous two, Pure Mule had generated much more hype, and actually lived up to an extent to its hype. Characters were slightly better but the recurring theme of sex in these dramas gets very old very quickly.

Irish Drama Cac-rating: 5/10

Trouble in Paradise
Where to actually begin??? After trying to watch this first episode I think it's impossible for me to put together a fair argument. I mean...what time period is it set in?? Why are there cowboys?? Why does it suck so much?? I won't go any further. If any of you have tried to watch this like I have, you can understand where I'm coming from. I do believe this is a one series deal.

Irish Drama Cac-rating: 10/10

So now you ask: "But you didn't really grind your gears over this??" Well I'm getting to that now! The real question here is why do RTÉ continue to broadcast this rubbish. The evidence that none of the above have ever attracted enough attention to merit a second series is indication enough of how terrible they are. Why should our tv schedule have to suffer on Mondays? The new series of Scrubs has been airing in the US for three months now. Why have RTÉ yet to get it here? Even a lame episode of Scrubs (of which there are very few, in fact quite possibly none) far surpasses anything that the above could produce on a "good" day. Sure there are things like Dan and Becs which are decent at best, but we really need something worth viewing. Is it a sign of how Irish writers approach modern Ireland? Is Trouble in Paradise an image of this country we want to show to the world? I think not. While it isn't totally right that we should rely on American or British dramas, instead, RTÉ needs to get the finger out and stop fucking around with these excuses for Irish drama.


More Postulations....1=2?!?!?!

So I'm not really going to answer the above question, my first blog simply stated that one and two are in fact the same thing observed from different postulated by Astemeyer.

Anyway, something I always find myself thinking about is 'existence', or more importantly my own existence. What is the purpose of our existence??? To be created, live, then die? To fulfil a purposeful and meaningful life? The latter seems more correct to me. Many would say that we exist to live God's word through the Bible.

How do we measure how purposeful and meaningful our lives are? I believe it is partly our own judgement. Only we know whether we live with purpose. Of course that is different for many different people. Each individual believes they have a different purpose, unless of course they believe that they exist to die.

Personally, I find myself tormented mentally over this concept, as I search for the answers to the question: 'Why do I exist?'. For many they believe it's money, others love, some believe it's pain. I find myself asking 'What do I have to offer anyone?' or 'offer the world'. Are we correct to judge ourselves in this manner, as some think of themselves too highly and some too little. Surely it is impossible for even ourselves to judge correctly whether we live with purpose.

And what if we conclude that we have no purpose at all other than to live and die. Is it right then for us to determine whether we should still choose to live or not? I expect that noone ever truly finds their purpose. Sure they may believe that they exist to hit the big-time or whatever, but how can one truly know their purpose.

That said, I don't know what mine is. Nor do I expect ever to find it. Ultimately, my theory is that we exist to embrace everything life has to offer, regardless of whether we believe we are capable of one thing or not. Not necessarily to grind through life, day by day and eventually pass away. For instance, over the past months I've tried things that I never ever thought I would be capable of doing. This can perhaps be influenced by different people, or recent events. Should a person make you feel happy and confident, then you may find yourself capable of doing things for that person that you would never do for anyone else. Or, should you feel upset over something, and aren't used to talking about it, and something close to you has happened that has put you in a state where you can no longer control your emotions, then you may indeed begin to talk to people about it.

Nobody exists solely to feel pain or to be unhappy. Nor does someone exist solely to have everything go their way. We have multiple purposes. We affect different people in different ways. If you think you are lost about your existence, the easiest way to answer your mind is to think of how other people depend on you or how they think of you. You can mean something to everyone you know, whether its senseless chat, or the latest scandal gossip or just giving them their cup of tea in the morning, we all exist for something no matter how meaningless or purposeless we may think it is, because at the end of the day, it means something to someone.

"Princess Bonjela - Ace Rimmer; there'll be time for explanations later, and hopefully...some sex."

- Ace after he rescues the Princess


Sunday 18 February 2007

Games Workshop and Attitudes to LotR

Long before the LoTR franchise hit the GW (Games Workshop) shelves, GW already had two main core systems and several other minor specialist games. It was a very successful company, good service, excellent monthly magazine(s) and a high standard in miniature sculpting. Since then however, things have changed drastically, and in my opinion, much of the blame falls on LoTR.

Pre-LoTR the two core systems were Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000 (both of which I will refer to later as WHFB and WH40K). In the years 1999 and 2000, GW obtained the licence to design and develop a LoTR based version of their two games in order to coincide with the release of the films. This licence held to around 2005. GW then purchased a further licence around 2004/2005 to extend the LoTR beyond the films.

So it was that the incredibly successful first film; The Fellowship of the Ring, hit our movie screens in 2001, and to accompany the release GW produced the Fellowship of the Ring box sets and blisters (small packets). I myself joined the hobby at this point as I too like so many others were bought in by the whole LoTR franchise. It didn't take long for LoTR to establish itself alongside WHFB and WH40K. The rules and gameplay were nothing special to me, as I had only started to get into the hobby. It was only after I expanded my interest that my opinion greatly changed. Cutting things short a bit GW also released miniatures for the other two films aswell, and these sets, like the Fellowship ones were equally as successful.

At the time GW had (and still has to an extent) a monthly "hobby" magazine named "White Dwarf". Now up until LoTR was introduced only the two other core games had coverage, which ultimately meant they had a lot of coverage. The arrival of LoTR into the magazine meant that the two core systems lost a third of their coverage each to the LoTR content. This was great for me as I had just started, but it became all too clear with the passing of time that this was one of the worst moves GW could make.

In comparison to WHFB and WH40K, the LoTR game sucks. There is actually no other way to draw a comparison. The stories and characters from the other games are so much more interesting and have just the right amount of depth to them. The actual gaming system is also far superior in comparison. So as you can guess LoTR became quite unpopular with the veteran gamers.

After the release of The Return of the King, many wondered what GW would do with LoTR franchise now.....given that the films were done and dusted. Many hoped they would get rid of it, though GW were very quick to put that theory to rest, and it was a this point that they told us about the extended licence bid for 2009. There is no doubt that GW profits soared through the roof during the LoTR initial period, but profit results show now that profits are down, the fall beginning to occur 2004. At this point now I was firmly playing into WHFB and slowly leaving behind my beginnings with LoTR. Then the newest supplement hit us entitled "Shadow and Flames". This was GW's first leap into LoTR beyond the films and boy was it good! It encompassed characters from Elrond's sons, to Glorfindel and Tom Bombadil. New models...great! It soon became clear that these 'supplements' were how GW were planning to expanded the LoTR. In as best order I can remember, the following supplements succeeded Shadow and Flames:

Siege of Gondor - siege weapon rules, plus new characters
Battle of Pelennor Fields - The Haradrim
Scourging of the Shire - final chapters in the Return of the King book
Shadow in the East - Easterlings and Rhun
Fall of the Necromancer - Pre Saurons invasion of Middle-earth
Ruin of Arnor - (newest one) Lands of Arnor and origins of Witch-King
Khazad Dum - next one, Dwarves

I only bought Shadow and Flame, and the others came quite quickly after one another. This presented two main problems. The other two systems had both gone under new editions at this time, so a lot of work was required to help bring existing armies into line with new rules for example. The production of all these supplements meant that all effort was not being fed into WHFB and WH40K. The second problem arose in White Dwarf. These supplements demanded lots of attention, and as such, the LoTR content of the magazine increased, hence the other two suffered.

To make matters worse, GW has decided over the last two years to RE-RELEASE the Fellowship of the Rings and The Two Towers ranges, with the Return of the King being re-released this year. It is very clear from being in the stores that people are not buying into LoTR, especially given that the film hype is over. Only recently have the heads at GW admitted to leaving behind the core market gamers. Hopefully, and many vets will agree with me, that GW will not buy in another licence, as we've all had enough of this messin around. If all goes well, we only need endure it for another two years......

All that said, I DO like the LoTR greatly, I just don't like the attitude GW has to it.


Friday 16 February 2007

Grinds My Gears!! - Special

This is a special issue of Grinds My Gears, I'll be doing these usually based on particular events that have effected me over the week(s). The regular issue of Grinds My Gears as you have no doubt realised by now is a gear grinding on a more public issue/event.

I'll start on a positive note first about the week in general.

My "Week" Rating: 8/10 - overall a good week for me, though I did feel it was going to be kinda depressing, Valentines Day mostly, I did actually feel good on the day that my package (thankfully) was delivered. Though I did hear of some other events relating to the Assumption and 'packages'. Managed to get someone talking online for nearly an hour. College was the usual cafuffle, sit in a lecture, crack jokes, slag the professor, eat food etc. The only downside, which is why I gave it a score of 8 was my phone has started glitching up and I need a new one. The biggest loss is the several quality games I have on it which I can't transfer over to a new phone.

Tell me your "Week" rating and why you gave it that in the comments!

Okay, that done and dusted, down to the ironworks. In case you aren't aware, I am having great difficulty in finding any remote interest in the "Mechanics for Engineers" lectures. This is a universal opinion shared amongst all first year engineers. I'll do my best to give you the blog reader an explanation for this skull drilling class.

Number 1 - The Material: Ignoring the fact that we did vectors for both Physics 1 and Maths 2 last semester, initially having to sit through the same crap is bad enough. What makes Mechanics particularly worse than the previous modules is that it takes vectors and everything about them to a whole new level. The concept of vectors is quite simple, that's not the issue here, it's the way the material is presented to us that is the problem. Overly complicated solutions and lack of the lecturer actually doing the questions is a good place to start.

Number 2 - The Lecturer: I couldn't tell you here name like I could anyone else. Why? Well, she mentioned it only once at the very start and hasn't mentioned it since. Now most of the time that isn't an issue, as the lecturer will have his/her name on the slides on the screen....but no...not her....want to know why? Well for a start they're not even her f****n notes!! Yes, believe it or believe it not I was oblivious to this fact until I printed off the notes and looked at them. Granted I was confused as to why the lb's (pounds) and inches were being used at the start but it was only on discovering that the notes are written by a 'Ferdinand P. Beer' from Texas University that it all made sense. What makes the whole experience worse is the fact that she learns the slides off my heart and never deviates from the slide material, not even to explain how to break down components and the likes. (I won't bore you with Mechanics details). The lack of particularly good English doesn't help much either, as she kept refering to a 'graph' in a previous slide, which we all looked back on to check only to find no such 'graph'. She was in fact talking about a 'picture'. Along with the exact re-iteration of the contents of the notes, the monotone voice hardly helps the matter. Needless to say, if she put in any kind of effort into making her own notes and using the blackboard once or twice, she might have more respect from us.

Number 3 - The Tutorials: Regretfully I have to say that this is the best part of Mechanics. Undoubtedly the assistants were not lectured by her and have a good working knowledge of the subject. They can do the question very clearly and I actually now have a much better grasp on the whole moments and lines of action of a force.

What can be done? I don't know. At one point in the lecture I said to myself: "Surely it must be over by now!", only to find that 20 minutes had passed. Master Sykes actually admitted to having dosed off, and if it wasn't for Kev having his laptop certain days I would surely grab a drill and drive it through my skull. We thought Maths for Engineers 1 was boring because the lecturer was boring and we thought Chemistry was just boring in general, but Vector Mechanics for Engineers is a combination of the two, an unstoppanle tidal wave of boredom, reeking of uninteresting rubbish.

The last thing I need to mention is a particular event which occured on the bus the other day. Breast-feeding in public. I'll take this opportunity to quote one Alan Byrne's (Wolfy's) blog on this matter from his Bebo page:

"You know what really grinds my gears (thanx damo, lol) Breast feeding in public. It's just not right. If i got half naked in public I think a few people would have a problem with it. So far I've heard maybe one or two really shit points in favour of it. First: "But it's a beautiful thing." Hell i agree with that one. It is a beautiful thing, but I don't wanna see a fuckin baby attached to it. Second: "But it's natural" Yeah so is taking a shit but I don't think I'd be allowed to drop my cacks in the middle of a shopping centre and take a dump. Erm that's all I got right now. But you get the point. It's just not on."

In my case, I was sitting on the inside seat on the left hand side facing the forward direction of the bus. Two Eastern European women got on and one sat beside me, the other in front of me. Both were carrying young children. At a particular point the child beside me started crying, and what did the mother do to shut him up??? She plopped out here left breast (the one nearest me of course) and started feeding the child. She didn't even try to conceal it through her jacket, instead right out in front of me. To make matters worse the woman in front seemed to think it was feeding time aswell! No doubt the person beside her felt just as uncomfortable as I did. The icing on the cake was that my stop was coming up in a few minutes!! I kept thinking about how I was going to get her to move. But thankfully the child had enough just in time and I was able to escape.

Wolfy couldn't have put it any simpler: "It's just not on!"

I'll be back for Breakfast!


Lego Movies

We were discussing in college before a lecture the other day about the lego 'robotics' kits, because some of the lads are doing it as a module. Kev recommended a particular video on youtube of one such robot in action.

It was then that I recalled a stop-motion Lego video of a bank robbery. Several things impressed me about it greatly, predominantly the stop motion takes and the actual Lego sets he constructed to make the film. Sadly when I suggested the video, I couldn't find it, but we did find two others in particular that were extremely impressive. Links below. Don't let the amateur sound effects in the first one put you off, the other effects definitely make up for it.

"Fast Forward" -

"Fast Forward II" -

Personally I think the sets (more so the second one) are very impressive, and in particular the use of cotton wool and coloured paper for the effects of an explosion. With Lego videos in my mind I started browsing all over Youtube for different videos. There's too many to recall, one Star Trek one, far too many Star Wars ones, plenty of amateur ones (and I mean AM-AT-EUR), and the odd professional one. The best one by far is linked below.

Part 1 -
Part 2 -
Part 3 -

It's about rival clans in 'Lego City' or something like that. Like Fast Forward the sets are impressive, but in this series I particularly like the choice of music, as it fits the atmosphere correctly and in addition, the gore and bloodshed adds to the Tarantino-esque Kill Bill style of the series.

Tell me what you think of them.

Lastly, the most professional jobs done here are those by the Lego Company themselves. You'll have no bother finding them: The Star Wars Symphony (computer animated), Spiderman (Lego figures) and on the Lego website the stop motion videos can be found if you look.

Smoke me a kipper!


Thursday 15 February 2007

Grinds My Gears!! - Issue 1.5

Okay so this is a continuation of my the previous Issue, as I needed to retire to lub up my gears for this next one before any damage was done....

Celebrity Love Island & I'm a Celebrity Get Me Outta Here

I've decided that I would group these two together, not because they both suck ass from a straw, but because of one simple reason that is given away in their titles. Can you see it? A nine letter word, starts with 'C' and ends with 'y'....yes my friends that famous word - CELEBRITY.

This ain't a grinding on celebrities, as we all know that would take too long, even for me. This is about the fact that both shows depend on celebrities for their popularity and success (not that I recognise the success of these fact using the word 'success' is a contradiction in that context....nevermind). I guess the main problem would be that without celebs, the show would be too much like Big Brother, and God knows how the sane people of this nation do NOT want another one of those. In my opinion, a show doesn't need to have celebs to be famous. I'll take two example of reality tv where this is the case: Mythbusters and American Chopper.

Before you say it I am well aware that the people on the these two shows are celebrities now, but when their respective shows started they were only well known amongst their trade. The Teutals were a well established bike-building family long before they were approached by Discovery Channel and both Mythbusters (Adam and Jamie) were experts in the special effects industry. In the case of the Love Island and I'm a Celebrity, the show depends on already well established celebs (and I once again use the words lightly). Now the whole thing behind the two shows shadows Big Brother in many aspects, I don't need to go into them, the only exception being that in I'm a Celeb they lack the type of furnishings that the others enjoy. The same argument can be made as to why this merits as good tv, and it's a sign of the Irish tv industry when TV3 broadcasts BOTH shows. Like BB, people actually follow these things closely, the only comfort is that neither of these two are like BB in the sense that they clog the airwaves with their putrid 24-7 coverage, and there is slightly less gossip in the tabloids about so-and-so's boob job, or someone else had a sex change or whatever.

We all know RTÉ's failed attempt at reality tv in the form of 'Cabin Fever', again the same rubbish only this time we had ourselves to blame.

To put it briefly, and in case you haven't got the point yet: I depise reality tv with a vengence. I do like good reality tv, namely anything on Discovery Channel. I should think most of you would agree???

Super Sweet 16

I do apologise for the lack of a picture, but I was unable to get one. This one falls into a very unique category, "the MTV attempted good tv" one. There's no point in me going into the fact that MTV rarely shows music anymore, but we are all fully aware of the vast array of other tv programmes on offer to us, Sweet 16 being one branch of the rubbish tree.

I'm going to start with the bit that gives my gears the most grinding. The spoiled little bitches (or maybe brats is the appropriate word here as some of them act like children) that feature in it. To quote the Angry Video Game Nerd (James Rolfe): "It brings my piss to the boil!". I find there to be something very (very) wrong with these girls (alleged young women). Being spoiled comes top of the list, namely the fact that 'Daddy' buys their princesses a car or two for there birthday even though they don't have their licence yet. (The age is 16 for a licence in the States). If you just witnessed the clips of them buying the cars, they must have one that matched their shoes, or this one is too small or one such case that the car wasn't expensive enough!

The parties themselves are extravagant enough, I admit to taking extreme pleasure in the following cases in different parties: the cake was destroyed, a couple were having sex on the dance floor, a group of alleged losers crashed the party, the music stopped playing, the wrong act was hired and so on. Just to see the little bitches throw a tantrum was satisfaction defined, which got even better when their parents had a go at them for bitchin in the first place.

Another aspect which I find quite annoying is how they believe they are above everyone else, that they must throw the best party, that they deserve the best. These bitches have never worked for anything in their lives, and will live off Daddy forever. In one case, the girl was going to inherit a French estate, and idolizes Paris Hilton - honestly, that thing...the sex video queen. I don't particularly like the way the invites are distributed, in front of everyone, some not being invited (the nerds like me or whatever), only the popular kids are allowed. In some cases, people get invites who don't even know the girl. I do realise at this point that a few fellas have appeared on the show and all that, but I can't begin to tell you how sad that is.

Taking a different point of view, I'll take a moment to examine the females in question themselves. Now in most cases they are turning 16 years old, sometimes 18, depending on whether or not they had a sweet 16. Leaving aside the 18 year olds, there is something repetitive about the 16ers. Guys and Gurls who've watched the show no doubt know what I'm getting at. Are these girls actually 16?!?!?! I have my doubts. I'll leave it for you to decide, just watch the show.

So I think that's enough for today, expect a Special Issue of Grinds My Gears within the next two or three days, as recent events merit it.

Smoke me a kipper!


I do apologise to anyone (particularly the female friends) if you are offended by my use of the word 'bitch' when describing the girls in Sweet 16, I just can't think of any better word. My apologies.

Wednesday 14 February 2007

Grinds My Gears!! - Issue 1

I plan to write one of these 'Grinds My Gears' blogs at least once a week, and if not, then every fortnight. For this one, I'm gonna tackle retarded and lame TV programmes...reality TV beware....

Deal or No Deal?

I suppose the question here should be: "'Are you serious' or 'No Really, Are you serious'". I'm gonna have to be critical here, this is quite possibly one of the worst programmes I have ever had the misfortune to watch. Now it certainly doesn't fit into the category of a 'Quiz Show', because the contestants knowledge is never tested, nor does it fall into the 'Skill' category either as no skill is required to play. Yes, in case you haven't watched this disasterpiece, no skill of any sort is required to play, the most brain power required is to make sure you can (a) answer a simple question (Deal or no Deal?...duh!), (b) make sure you have perfect hand-eye coordination when you take a sip of water, and (c) make sure you have perfect balance so you can sit on your chair without falling off.

Given that the aim of the game is to pick boxes, I guess most contestants should be required to be able to recognise the numbers on the boxes. Whichever box they choose, the value of money inside the box is eliminated and cannot be won. Money ranges from 1p-£250,000....yes....a quarter of a million can be one in a game that requires no skill or intelligence. I was privy to watching one episode where the contestant actually won a penny. And, the person who rang up the show (which takes place at the end of each show - the person has a choice of 3 boxes, with cash prizes in them) actually won £2,000. I guess the person who rang up deserved the money, as he/she was required to dial in the correct digits after remembering them from the TV.

There is also another aspect to show in the form of 'The Banker', who offers the contestant a certain amount of money, based on the the amounts eliminated from the previous round and those that are still hidden in the boxes. There is an illusion that the contestant is in a psychological battle with the aforementioned Banker, who wants the contestant to leave with nothing. People on this show have CRIED!

With all the bad-mouthing done and dusted, I do have to confess that Noel Edmonds is a great host, he plays the part well, sympathising with contestants, playing on the Banker's taunts, etc. He even gives the contestant the choice to call an ad-break! The show would be nothing without him...whatever the show has in the first place....

Big Brother

Oh yes, this one is going to get it. This programme, without a doubt, ranks in an uncontested first place for the worst TV programme ever to plague the airwaves. In my opinion, there is so much wrong with this programme that I'm not even sure I could make a coherent argument detailing why it's so wrong. Please forgive me if I trail off on a rant, as I try to touch each aspect of the show I may get pulled to a complete other thing in my rage.

Now, I will confess that I did watch the first EVER Big Brother. Why? Because it was different and new, and this was a time when everyone watched it. It was like any other TV fad, such as Pokémon or Power Rangers (back in the day), everyone our age watched it. But my first problem with this programme is "why" it had to continue for so many times, tossed between normal people (and I use the phrase lightly) and celebrities.

Anytime Big Brother is on the air, its featured in every tabloid, and sometimes even the news (the proper one that is). Why someone would care whether so-and-so had a bitch fight with someone else and had to read it in the news is simply beyond me. It's featured on the radio, and at a battle of the bands I was at last year, they kept people up to date with the eviction results after each act. While I understand that it is reality tv, I must ask does it need to be on 24-7! Those who have Sky Digital or NTL can look at the programme schedule for E4 and will see "Big Brother, Live!" 80% of the time, and the other 20% filled with Big Brother's other programmes, where they discuss recent events in the house, as if it hadn't been discussed enough already on every other form of the media.

The housemates merit enough insult by themselves, more so the celebrities. All we've heard in the last few weeks is how Jade Goody's career is over. I ask you: "What career?". People become famous on this programme who don't deserve to be famous. Take one of the last "famous" Irish people on it: Spiral. First of all, I wouldn't call someone Spiral even if I knew the guy well. Secondly, I'm embarrassed to say that he's Irish, God knows what type of image he presents to the world of the Irish Nation. There have been a host of wasters and weirdos on this programme, all of whom do nothing for their own self image. When you agree to go on this programme, you agree to end your career (if you have one) and make a fool of yourself to the world.

I'm not even going to go into the recent racism argument, but those who said what they said know what they said and meant to say it, claiming they're not a racist now is pointless, they are racists, period.

I don't see what possible entertainment value the show presents, I can't claim to have any interest in watching a bunch of freaks bitch at each other, insult each other and watch them sleep. I'm going to have to end this blog here as my gears have been grinded to the point where they'll suffer from irreparable stress damage. Can anyone recommend a good lubricant for me?


Next Issue: I'm a Celebrity, Celebrity Love Island, Sweet 16

Tuesday 13 February 2007

Everything is Poppycock!

Assuming of course that we're not dealing with 5 dimensional objects in a basic Euclidean geometric universe and given the essential premise that all geo mathematics is based on the hideously limiting notation that one plus one equals two, and not as Astemeyer correctly postulates that one and two are in fact the same thing, the theoretical shape described by Siddus must therefore be: a poly-dri-doc-deca-wee-hedron-a-hexa-sexa-hedro-adicon-a-di-bi-dolly-he-deca-dodron. Everything else is poppycock, don't you think?