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!

Wednesday 31 October 2007

AVGN - Halloween

The follow up to the awful Texas Chainsaw Massacre view. Can the Nerd restore our faith in him with this next video???

Well in brief the game sucks, though some of the post review stuff is good like the arguing with the two kids at his door: "What's an Atari?". Though I'm slightly worried that he said "Fuck" infront of those children....

We get some bonus reviews too...

I feel the Rising Force!!!

Wednesday 24 October 2007

The Trials and Tribulations......

....of riding the bus!

Yes folks, this has been lying under my skin for some time now and I feel I must address the issue. You will recall my "Grinds My Gears!! - Issue 3":

"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."

Further issues have come to my attention since that post. For instance, have you ever gotten the bus in the morning. I mean the early morning, sunrise almost? Well I do, 3 out of 5 days in the week in fact, and what is common about all mornings? They're cold! And what are the buses like when you get on? Roasting!!!!!!! Yes we would all say that the inital transition from "freezing my balls off" cold to a nice warmth is appreciated, but this sensation is temporarily relieving at best. No sooner than you are on the bus the heat will begin to swelter. Not helped by the fact that the bus is crammed full, people standing like sardines in a tin. And do you think someone would open a window. Of course not, it's too embarrassing to open a window! The result being that the windows on the bus fog up, there's the repetitive wiping of sweat off foreheads with already sweat-drenched sleeves and tissues and people just get agitated!

A follow-up to the over crowding on buses is conversation. Fact: people are nosey. Fact: people will listen to what you have to say. Fact: having a conversation on the bus is one of the worst things you can do! It's perfectly fine to chat when the bus is sparsely full, when there's a gap of a least one empty seat between yourself and the person sitting beside you who you're talking to and the next nearest person on the bus. However, when the bus is crammed like it can be in the mornings and evenings, conversation is impossible. Once myself and a friend were making a joke about something, and the person behind laughed!!! One of the trickiest things is with earphones, people can pretend to have them on and innocent conversationalists will sit beside them thinking they can't hear what they're saying. BEWARE of these people. The same goes for talking on the phone, but it's made worse by the fact that you can't whisper because in my experience the only people who ring me whilst I'm on the bus are lacking in the acute hearing department. Talking whilst standing is worse, as more often that not there will be people literally standing either in your face or in between the person you are trying to talk to, this is irritating for both communicating parties involved.

As you can see from the previous post, I mentioned the issue of buggies. In recent weeks, I've been privy to the driver letting more than one buggy onto the bus. As I said, one buggy is bad enough, depriving us more unfortunate standing passengers to stand in a more comfortable and resulting less blocking and less getting-in-the-way-of-people-trying-to-get-off-the-bus-area. The thing is, that area is designed to function for only one! So when two are let on what happens?? The buggies have to be turned sideways meaning that they are now protruding onto the gangway thus further pissing off standing passengers.

This brings me onto the overcrowding situation on buses. Anyone who has travelled on buses during rush hours know what I'm talking about. There's a line between packed (but comfortably packed where people have adequate standing space and can still access the exit within reason) and then PACKED, spelt with a capital please-get-your-hands-off-my-ass. And that's just the problem. When the bus is literally that packed, it leaves you in very uncomfortable and somewhat embarrassing situations. It is impossible for you to keep both your hands off someone when they are packed into your sides. On several occasions I've had women's breasts literally squeezed into my back or chest just so they can get out of the way to let someone behind them out (not that I'm complaining for my sake, more for theirs), or more often than not I find my genitals crushed against the railings as I pray to high heaven that everyone will get off at Liffey Valley. In fairness some bus drivers will recognise the discomfort of their passengers and will either not stop or let people out after or before the stop they want to get off.

This brings me onto the issue of correct standing procedures:

Appropriate Standing Areas are:
  • The buggy/wheelchair zone

Oh wait...that's it!!!! Unless the bus is crammed full you should never stand anywhere else other than the buggy zone. Only today getting on the 46A did one woman get on, and then decided to stand right at the baggage railings, making it inconvenient for all incoming passengers. Furthermore, you should never stand past the back railing of the buggy zone, people need to be able to get out of their seats to get off. And stay the hell off the stairs, it gives the driver the illusion that he can fit more people on than he can, and then when people from upstairs try to get off they have to wait for all the maggots from the stairs to squeeze into any crevices that exist down below just so the people from upstairs can get off. They really need to install some kindof inflatable slide or roof accessed escape ladder in those situation.

Finally, I'd like to address the issue of student tickets. Recently I was threatened with a fine for not possessing adequate student ID when using a Student Rambler Ticket, in other words, Dublin Bus will only accept Student ID from themselves which costs money, because other colleges and Third Level Institutes cards are invalid. I cannot understand why they need to be so anal about it. Surely student ID is adequate enough to prove that you are in fact A STUDENT!

I'm lead to believe that travelling on the Luas can be equally as dangerous and life threatening, so if I could be given some insight into this I'd appreciate it. I'm also aware that chivalry on the Luas seems to be lacking somewhat more so than on the bus. LET A PREGNANT OR ELDERLY PERSON SIT THE FUCK DOWN PLEASE!!!!

Oh, and don't forget the breast feeding story:

" Wolfy - "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."

~The Damo

Saturday 20 October 2007

Lightning Strikes Twice

Rumour has it that lightning never strikes twice because Chuck Norris is looking for it, and Chuck Norris always finds what he's looking for the second time. I guess now lightning must indeed be destroyed forever, as lightning struck twice in Croke Park on Wednesday.....

Those of you who remember the blog I wrote about our underfiring team will know that I didn't hold them in very high regard, and after Wednesday I am positively and totally flabbergasted by Wednesday's display. We were promised a better performance on all fronts after the last time we met Cyprus in that Game-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. Sadly, the package wasn't delivered.

After the draw against Germany the previous Saturday, I was moderately optimistic that we would win at the very least. This opinion soon changed 10mins after kick off. Never before have I been at any match that was so boring. Really, one would think that any sporting competition would be exciting to watch, regardless, but words cannot describe how bad this game was. No conviction, no effort, no motivation, nothing. Pathetic is one word which could describe the display on show. The bloody band that was playing down at the bottom of the stands behind the goal could not have been more annoying. I myself like to enjoy a match in a kindof silent anxiousness, though I would regularly contribute to any anthem that the crowd started singing. But this band doesn't shut up, you have no time to think or nothing as they try to get "Stand Up for the Boys in Green" going. And rest assured there was no hope in hell that we were going to stand up for the boys with the way they were playing, and thankfully the whole crowd seemed to agree as none of their melodies got going!

There's two times when a Mexican Wave should get going in a match, when you're winning, and when it's boring. On Saturday, we weren't winning, and on Wednesday the crowd wasn't even in the mood. Half time was a sigh of relief with the 6-a-side youth game across the pitch. Believe or believe it not that was more interesting.

The second half was no better than the first and matters only got worse once Cyprus scored. Loads of people left at this point, and I was on the verge of leaving just as Ireland scored their undeserved equaliser.

In hindsight, it would have been better that we lost, as then there was no excuse to keep Stan the Man in the job. Some of his decisions on positions and substitutions boggle my mind, and why Robbie Keane is still captain of the squad is beyond me. I would gladly recommend Richard Dunne for the captaincy anyday, and if Robbie was a real captain he'd stand up and admit he's not good enough. What we need is a foreign manager who will come in with no bias for any players and will get down to business. Not to mention someone who has been a manager before!

As it looks the FAI have finally copped on and realise their mistake with Stan. But who can replace him? And what can we do about our rag-a-muffin players who don't look like they're arsed. From what I can see, Stan has let down two keys players: Given and Finnan, and both O'Shea and Keane have let Stan down.

It's some relief that I don't have to watch them play now for nearly another year, and I can safely say that there is no hope of me watching the game in Cardiff next month. A big question though is who would want to manage Ireland given the current shambles of players? Odds on favourite is David O'Leary, which I'm not overly impressed with but can't be any worse than Stan. Paul Jewell is another candidate who could do great things. Or even better Jose Mourinho.....but let's not get our hopes up......

Come on Poland!!!! They are our second national team afterall....

~The Damo

Thursday 18 October 2007

Top 10 Games Coming Soon!!

With so many hot releases on the way over the next six months, I thought I'd write up a brief summary of the Top 10 games you should be looking into on the 3 main consoles!

10. Half Life 2: The Orange Box

Whilst the PS3 wasn't around for the initial forray of Half Life titles and expansions, Sony now have on the way the entire Half Life back catalog all on one glorious Blu-Ray disc!!! JOYGASM!!! Oh yeah and Microsoft has it too....but what's the point when they've had to buy each one seperate up till now?

9. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

Who ever thought Lego and Star Wars would be such a success? The Complete Saga combines both the Original Trilogy and the Prequel Trilogy games into one, expanding the gameplay in the Prequel game aswell as adding tonnes of new characters! With them comes new improved graphics with a shinier gloss and Indiana Jones as a secret promotional character for Lego: Indiana Jones.
8. Mario Kart Wii

*edit: there WAS a picture for this but it won't load anymore and I'm not arsed to look for another!*
What could be better than playing Mario Kart on the old Nintendo 64??? Why playing a whole new Mario Kart on the Wii with a new specially designed steering wheel of course!!!! Vrooooooooooommmmmmmm!

7. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Lucasarts have created a brand spanking new phyiscs engine for the most revolutionary Star Wars game to date. Players will control Darth Vader's secret apprentice and fight on planets all over the galaxy utilising the force in ways only previously dreampt of by gamers.....let me see, I'll pick up that stormtrooper there and fling him into the other one at the side of the ledge...then pick them both up and crush their skulls......

6. Smackdown Vs Raw 2008

Although I had left the wrestling fanbase for a few years, my welcoming return was gifted with the chance to play SVsR 2007, and what a game it was. With 2008, the game expands and updates the rosters of both Smackdown and Raw as well as ECW for the first time ever. With even more new features and enhanced gameplay, and exclusive content for both the PS3 and Xbox360, WWE look like they're about to deliver another big one to the gaming world!

5. Haze
Set to be Playstation's answer to the incredible Halo 3 online gameplay, Haze looks to be all that it promises in a futuristic Earth governed by PMC's with fast paced gameplay and a multitude of online gameplay modes and features.

4. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Quoted as the best game to buy after Halo3, COD developers took the age old World War 2 first person shooter and decided to do something totally different. A MODERN war, more accurately set in the Middle East. With the reams of WWII games out there, practically every aspect of the conflict has been covered and it is a breath of fresh air to finally play something different with a whole arsenal of modern (and realistic) weaponry!

3. Super Mario Galaxy

Coming soon to the Wii, Galaxy has been cited by the top guns at Nintendo to be a worthy sequel to Super Mario 64! With hugely inventive level design and creative gameplay, Nintendo once again looks set to deliver a lasting classic!

2. Grand Theft Auto 4

What could be better than a next generation console version of the worlds favourite 18's violent crime game? Set in Liberty City once again and with a hole heap of new controls abilities and elements of realism only better by the MGS Series, GTAIV is poised to set new free-roam gaming standards for years to come!
1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Those of you keeping with my blog are surely aware of all the posts I've made about this game, so you can look back on them for videos and stuff. This is set to be the game of all games ever since video games were first created like Pong. Seriously, if there was an award ceremony like the Oscars for games....this would win them all. What's better...oh yeah, there's a demo on the way before Christmas...and once again...its PLAYSTATION ONLY!!!!!!!
In fact, here's the HD Gameplay Video, take a looksie!

~The Damo

Thursday 11 October 2007

Holy Wars......

Some time ago, Mr. Conway revealed the startling news to me that the Megadeth song "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" actually relates to the Troubles in Northern Ireland!! I had always assumed it dealt with the Middle-East!

Turns out I was wrong. The song was inspired after Megadeth performed both in Dublin and in Belfast. In Dublin, Dave Mustaine made a remark about a united Ireland, and the crowd went wild, the mistake however was to mention the same idea in the North. The end result was the band being escorted away in armoured vehicles amongst incredible violence.

Here's the lyrics for you to examine. Anything in italics is my interpretation of the line, though not all of them:

Holy Wars...The Punishment Due

Brother will kill brother (This line being obvious)
Spilling blood across the land
Killing for religion (Again, quite obvious)
Something I don't understand (Dave, being an American, didn't have to face Religious conflicts like the North in the States in any regard!)

Fools like me, who cross the sea (Possibly a reference to his foolish suggestion of a United Ireland, the cross the sea being his American heritage)
And come to foreign lands
Ask the sheep, for their beliefs
Do you kill on God's command? (Again the idea of fighting each other over a religion, each side claiming to be in the right)

A country that's divided (The North's mix of both Catholics and Protestants)
Surely will not stand (How such a divide could actually function as a society)
My past erased, no more disgrace
No foolish naive stand (Mustaine admitting that he is now fully aware of the situation, regretting his previous comments)
The end is near, it's crystal clear
Part of the master plan
Don't look now to Israel
It might be in your homelands (The explanation that he isn't talking about the Middle-East, it's another holy war)

Holy wars......

Upon my podium, as the
Know it all scholar
Down in my seat of judgement
Gavel's bang, uphold the law
Up on my soapbox, a leader
Out to change the world
Down in my pulpit as the holier
Than-thou-could-be-messenger of God (This whole thing could be him talking about himself on stage at the shows talking about the United Ireland, as the messenger of God, that God wants peace in this conflict. The "Know it all Scholar" is likely sarcasm. "Out to Change the World" being an obvious indication of an attempt to resolve the fighting)

Wage the war on organized crime
Sneak attacks, repel down the rocks
Behind the lines (These three lines describing the type of warfare)
Some people risk to employ me
Some people live to destroy me
Either way they die. (This could be suggesting that Republicans "employ" him because the idea of United Ireland appealed to them, the latter being Unionists who sought to kill him)

They killed my wife, and my baby
With hopes to enslave me (Could be a suggestion that as further atrocities affect families, the victims are then dragged into the conflict)
First mistake...last mistake!
Paid by the alliance, to slay all the giants
Next more mistakes!

Fill the cracks in, with judicial granite
Because I don't say it, don't mean I ain't thinking it
Next thing you know, they'll take my thoughts away
I know what I said, now I must scream of the overdose
And the lack of mercy killings.

The song makes so much more sense now....

~The Damo

Grinds My Gears!! - Issue 12

The results of the poll are in and the Leaving Cert takes the 1st place just ahead of a certain someone for the point of interest of this the latest issue of GMG.

Ah the Leaving Cert. The bane of secondary school boys and girls everywhere....unless you dropped out of course. Every civilised nation in the world has some form of 2nd level education exam, and by right they should have it, but there's several things about our hallowed Leaving Cert that pains and pisses off so many young people in Ireland.

Having gone through the whole process and now having sat an array of college exams, I can confirm what many teachers say and that is "YES, The Leaving Cert is most definitely the most stressful and painful examination experience you will ever face!"...for real.

Generally speaking the idea that you do 7 or 8 subjects and you're overall points is calculated from your top 6 is a good one, as is the idea that you earn points for which course you apply to go on, because we all know that the points system - whilst very challenging and stressful - is in fact the fairest way to allocate places. It's anonymous, represents you're academic ability and eliminates any nepotism or alteration of marks and results.

The problem however is that you have to do 7 or 8 subjects!! Take England for example. In the A-Levels, you study 4 subjects (for the equivalent of 5th year) and then drop 1 to mean you are examined in a grand total of 3 subjects in final year (though you may continue the 4th if you wish). Not only that, but to achieve an A Grade, you just need to pass the A Grade Paper! If you want a B, pass the B Grade Paper and so on. So the Highest score someone could get in the A Levels would be A-A-A-A.

The workload of 7 subjects is incredible, especially should you get to college and see that 6 subjects is far more managable. I could go into 8 subjects but really, you don't want to know what that's like!!!! Not only that, but the exam levels are unreal. There is NO comparison between higher and ordinary level in ANY regard. Yes the points of obtained represent this but it means that ordinary level is mostly opted for because it is the easy way out and students who are too lazy to make the effort at Higher Level just drop, not necessarily because they are genuinely finding it difficult, though that does actually happen. There are far too many courses which are concerned only on getting the points and not caring about how you obtained the points. Thankfully, I can say that Engineering DOES in fact require Higher Level Maths, why, because you need a good work ethic to be an engineer and higher level maths is a true test of work ethic.

There was a time when Ordinary Level was only allowed for students with an actual mental disability, and Higher Level was mandatory for everyone else.

Like I said, most courses don't care how you got the points, and I feel this is an unfair representation of someones ability. For example, if you want to do an Engineering course anywhere, you should (along with the 3 core subjects) have to do 4 of the following: Physics, Chemistry, Applied Maths, Technology, Tech Drawing or the self-entitled course Engineering.

Why? Because these are the essentials of Engineering and hence have you well prepared for whichever college course you undertake. Getting there by doing Home Ec, any of the Business subjects or History and Geography isn't a just method. I'm not saying that those subjects are easy under any regard but you get the idea. If you want to do arts then do History, Geography etc, there's no value in you doing one of the sciences!

The fact that we have 7 subjects also introduces another problem. It allows students to "lie back" on one of the subjects, i.e. not bother working at it. I've heard this too many times and on an equal number of times I've seen those same students face the realistation that one of the subjects they were "banking on" didn't go as planned, and so instead of having 6 really strong subjects with 1 left to the side, they are left with 5 subjects and 2 that look bad. And it could be worse, no one knows what way the papers will go on the day! How do we solve this problem, do we drop the maximum number of subjects to 6, thus allowing the students to focus directly on the task at hand and then also free up their timetable for more classes or more study periods? It would certainly reduce the workload, thus allowing more study time and less stress.

Speaking once more of stress, the actual exam days are a nightmare. Now I'm not talking about whether you've adequately prepared or not, I'm talking about the physical strain on both body and mind. 7 and a half hours of English (of all things) on Day 1 is too much. And it means that you spend more time preparing for English than you do for Maths and Irish on the following days. Thankfully the Minister has said that English will now be sat a month before the actual Leaving Cert exams, but what's the result of that? That teachers now have to finish the course earlier in preparation for that earlier exam!

All said and done, once you've finished you'll never have to experience the likes again, but serious change needs to be undertaken to reduce the temporary mental and physical damage this unloads onto people!

~The Damo

Wednesday 10 October 2007

AVGN - Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Nerd returns with a look at a game that will make you want to gut yourself with a chainsaw. Its opening is a little different from previous vids (as is the rest of it), you'll have to watch it to see what I mean....


Texas Chainsaw Massacre:

His cause of death.....High Speed on Burnt Ice!!!!

~The Damo

Postulations - Nerds √16 Ever????

I did mention in a previous post that this would be one of my typical postulations which can boggle the mind, but in actual fact, it's much more simple.

"Why do we call things what we do????"

Really, when you think about it, why do we call certain every day things what we call them.....

  1. An Orange - how can orange be a colour, fruit, smell and taste. Should a banana not be called a yellow or a pear a green???

  2. Apartments - how can they be called that when they're stuck together!

  3. Driveway - when we PARK our cars there!

  4. A Watch - you don't WATCH a watch, you LOOK at it, so it should really be called a look!

  5. Magazine - how could it mean something you read and something that holds bullets!

  6. Mankind - firstly we're not all men, and secondly, we're not all kind!

  7. Tank - the military doesn't hold anything!

  8. Boot of a car - you certainly don't kick it and it can hold more than just boots

  9. B***J*b - when you don't blow at all!

  10. Ass - what's wrong with donkey!

  11. Punch - I can't imagine how you justify a drink being called that

There's likely more, please add to the list!

Like really, when you actually think about it, who gives names for things. How the hell did some word originate. When they thought up Google, did they think to call the website Goggle but instead some dope spelt it wrong and came up with Google, and by the time the site was up and running they just said "Fuck It". Tennis doesn't have anything to do with the number 10 in any way shape or form, scores are in 15's and sets never reach double figures! How did the word "boob" come to stand for breast, how did the word "joke" come about, was it like google where an accident occured where somebody said "He said some joke" when they actually meant to say "He said some yoke".

I could easily make up words for anything, like "Frolo", a game of polo played on skateboards using french baguettes!

Someone, somewhere, came up with each and every word that graces the English language. I was actually amused by the story which tells the origins of the word "Fuck". In World War One, the German planes were called Fökker's, where the "ö" is prounounced as a "u" and the British and French troops would shout "Here come the Fökkers!!".

That's not to say that words in the English language don't have meaning or anything, I'm just trying to illustrate some of those things which boggle my mind!

If the tone of this blog is a little strange please understand that I actually started writing it very late a few nights ago and only now am realising how stupid some of it actually is!

~The Damo

Sunday 7 October 2007

First Real Design

It's amazing where inspiration can come from....

If it wasn't for a can of Pepsi sitting on the desk in front of me I'd likely never have gotten this idea for a building. The simple shape of the cylinder provides the basis of this structure. As you can see from the picture below, I toyed around with the cylindrical shape for some time. I always had in my mind that it would be 4 buildings, but initially I figured they'd all be the same size.
*You're looking at the sketches on the left, that other crap on the right is just history of architecture*

Eventually I got the idea to vary the height, initially evenly, before I decided on 4 different heights. I was also playing with the idea of having some kindof of focal point at the very top, like a sphere or something, but as the design evolved this looked both stupid and unfeasable. So instead, I moved the sphere down to the very bottom, and acts as a focal point for the base. I would imagine it could be some kindof glass globe or something.

After thinking about it for a while, I felt that the upright linear verticality of the buildings looked rather plain, so I started to remove conical wedges from each one as shown.

At the moment I currently have an AutoCAD template of the basic wire frame. I'm having trouble rendering the image at the moment.

I just figured I'd put this out there for the moment. Obviously I've a lot more elaboration to do like whether it'll all be suited for commercial use, or some residential or base itself on the new Hyper-City designs.
Either way, expect more to come as I develop the idea further.

~The Damo

Friday 5 October 2007

Oh Those Dreary Days

The struggle to coach 12 hyper 12 year olds on Wednesday and the stress of taking home a little sister and a younger brother on the bus home yesterday has left me somewhat worse for the wear. Barely able to speak (I can manage the odd croak) and a bleedin' cold have me down in the dumps. Not even the great news from earlier in the week could pick me up now.

First class today - Fluid Mechanics....boooooorrrrrring as ever. I wanted to do some last minute revision for my Environmental Engineering test at 11.00am but with that guy there was no chance of me getting a look in.

Maths - didn't have the foggiest idea what the hell was going all in fact. Enough said.

The test, not a disaster, but could have been a bit better so we'll just see. Coming up is Building Construction (hopefully the results of our project) and then another Environmental lecture :(

On the plus side I met Brendan Kelly today for this first time in ages, just coming out of his lecture as I was heading in. And tomorrow I start my grinds with an enforced rate of €20 per hour....the mother said that, not me, I was happy with €10!!! If I end up with grinds with another girl and maybe another bloke across the road...time will tell...then I'll be absolutely raking it in on Saturdays!

After flicking through the papers today and from what I read online, I'm pretty pissed off at the latest story from Madeleine McCann's parents, where Kate describes how she spends everyday crying. Seriously, I could go on for ages over that alone, not something which would make me feel any better. There was the usual bull about Britney Spears and other celeb gossip. Probably the thing I enjoyed reading most was about The Playboy of the Western World in the Abbey, definitely going to try and see that next Saturday.

Other than that there isn't much else to say, so I thought I'd give you's an idea of what blogs are on the way:

"What I'm Looking Forward To" A kindof synopsis of stuff I plan to buy/do/see between now and Christmas

"Grinds My Gears!! - Issue 12" The Leaving Cert, there's a lot to go on so at the moment I'm just trying to work out what direction I'm going to go with it

"More Postulations" Just like all the previous blogs, those kindof things which boggle the mind

What's the point in raising the shields when the ship is already docked in starbase????

~The Damo

Thursday 4 October 2007

The English Class???? Eh.....

Those of you who have followed my blog from Day 1, will know that I'm rarely impressed by RTE drama, ala Grinds My Gears Issue 2:

When I saw the ads for "The English Class", I'll admit I was excited. Comedy-based drama, I figured it would be pretty decent. Sadly, I was mistaken.....

The English Class is a 6 part drama, focusing on a group of immigrants attending a late night english class in "Dublin City College", actually filmed in Ballyfermot College of Further Education. The class is trying to get to grips with the language after recently arriving to the country. The thing is however, that Myles (their teacher played by William Morgan) is more focussed on the members of the class filling in gaps in his life rather than teaching them the language.

Whilst there has only been one episode broadcast so far, I can already draw some unfortunate conclusions. The series features an ensemble cast from Poland, Russia, Spain and China. Myles Brennan, is a tragic soul, and his part-time teaching job in a night school quite literally is his life. He is completely oblivious to his student's frustration towards his haphazard teaching style, as he is far too self-absorbed in the misery of his own life to even notice. At the beginning of the episode, we see him sending in a request form to work permanently as a teacher.

In the first episode we meet Myles and get our introduction to his class. A new student arrives this evening, but the Belarusian is feeling like a fish out of water. To help her settle in, Myles encourages her to tell her story so the class can get to know her a bit better - the 'Myles Brennan Method' of teaching in action.

It's quite hard to describe the style of this programme unless you've seen it, but for a "comedy-based" drama, I could find no evidence of anything worthy of a laugh, not even a "heh". As far as I was concerned, there was nothing funny at all. I guess some people could laugh at both Myles' tragic existence and the dissatisfaction of the class....but even then you're struggling.

For what it's worth, Morgan's performance is really the driving force, as the cast representing the class have little or nothing to say at any time. Morgan plays the part to perfection though I must say. He really puts out the image of a helpless and lonely man who almost hears only what he wants to hear. Again, the rest of the class are ok, they don't play their parts wrong, but I think the failure of the show must come from the writing. The characters are ok again, and the cast seems to be well suited to their characters....but they just need more and funnier things to say if this programme is intended to survive as a comedy!

There's really nothing more to be said. To be frank, I only really watched it because The Panel was on afterwards. I did have fairly high expectations, and perhaps that's why I'm so disappointed with it now. But to be fair it was the first episode, so maybe its successors will be more impressive. Should things develop, I'll post another blog.

The English Class - Mondays, RTE 2, 9.30pm

The English Class.....more like Mechanics Class...aka BOR-ING

~The Damo

Top Sport 2007

One could criticise me for making these two lists at this time of the year but as far as most sport is concerned, the calendar for 2007 is over. So from that I've decided to compile the Best and the Worst sporting moments of 2007!

Worst Moments

10. GPA grants argument

9. Both All-Ireland Finals

8. Formula 1 Espionage involving McLaren

7. Dublin Vs Kerry

6. Tour de France drug abuse

5. Lewis Hamilton's Formula One Championship win (ok he hasn't won yet but it's as good as)

4. The tragic passing away of Colin McRae

3. Jose Mourinho's exit from the Premiership

2. Ireland's Soccer Performance (Czech Republic and Slovakia)

1. Irelands Rugby World Cup Performance

Best Moments

10. Ireland 4 - 0 Denmark

9. Dublin U21's winning Leinster Hurling Title

8. Roy Keane's first successful season in charge of Sunderland

7. Roger Federer's 5th Successive Wimbledon

6. Ireland's Cricket Team Performance in the World Cup

5. Man Utd 7 - 1 Roma

4. Dublin's 3rd Successive Leinster Title

3. Ireland's Six Nations Rugby Performance

2. Padraig Harrington winning the British Open

1. Manchester United winning the Premiership after three years!

Next blog: RTE's "The English Class"

~The Damo

Tuesday 2 October 2007

Heavenly Sword - Uh-rawh!!!

Nariko from Heavenly Sword with her sexy physique does for swords what Lara Croft and her gigantic gazoombas did for guns. The eagerly awaited Heavenly Sword for PS3 has finally arrived and hell yes I bought it! At a regular retail price of €76, I got mine at a complete bargain for a mere €59.99 in Smyths on the Fonthill Road!

Truly if there was any game to date that showed the real power and potential of the PS3, then Heavenly Sword is most certainly it. Not since the PS3 release date and the release of Resistance: Fall of Man have PS3 fans had something to get wet over that Microsoft and the 360 can only dream of. The visuals in HS are stunning to stay the least. The vast landscapes are beautifully rendered and will keep you interested when you're not cleaving your way through hordes of enemy soldiers. The cut-scenes are so well done, and boast both voice acting and facial expressions that can only be rivalled by the Metal Gear Solid series.

To give you an idea of just how good the cutscenes are, I started the game and watched the intro cutscene. A vast army of soldiers awaits on a large plain, similar to the Helms Deep opening from LoTR. The camera pans behind your character - Nariko - and seems poised to dazzle us with a spectacular display of slashing swords, dynamic jumps and blood splattered bodies. There I was all set to play, and next thing I know the game has started. The transition from cutscene to gameplay is so perfect that it was only when I realised that Nariko was just standing there as hundreds of enemies charged toward her that I was actually in control.

Speaking briefly about load times; HS adopts a system where the only actual load times are those when you put the disc into the console. When you switch it on for the very first time, the game takes about two minutes to create a save file....and why wouldn't it, the file is over 2GB in size!! It is this sole fact that means you don't have to wait on another single load time in the whole game! Once you finish a level, you start straight away into the next, no pause, no momentary dark screen, nothing! Perfect transition, and this goes the same for cutscenes going to gameplay as I explained earlier.

I'll briefly mention the story or plot, with no real spoilers at all other than the very obvious one that your character Nariko wields the Heavenly Sword, which has always been in the protection of her father Shen's clan. Nariko is entrusted with protecting the sword when King Bohan's (voiced by Andy Serkis) forces attack, seeking the sword. Nariko is then forced to use the sword in order to battle Bohan's forces which surrender, and thus the main plot of the game begins from there. The person who wields the Heavenly Sword is slowly killed by the blade, as to use the blade costs you your life energy.

Taking a look at controls, HS is the first game I have for the PS3 that really explores the potential of the SIXAXIS. The back buttons L2 and R2 can pan the camera left and right respectively, L1 and R1 engage different combat modes (which I'll discuss shortly) and then the face buttons involve your two styles of attack (Square and Triangle) whilst X and Circle govern picking up items. The first new trick you learn from the SIXAXIS is that when you are knocked back by an enemy, you can flick the controller upwards before you hit the ground. Doing this means Nariko will perform a counter-KO attack, usually resulting in you facing the back of the enemy, and as you get better this attack will affect multiple opponents. The other main thing the SIXAXIS uses is an effect called "Aftertouch" and this perhaps is the best example of motion sensitive technology. Where the Wii forces players to depend on motion sensitivity, the SIXAXIS allows players to add an extra element to the gameplay that they can choose to use or not. The aftertouch allows you to direct an arrow bolt or other projectile after you've fired it using the directions of motion built into the controller. This took a little time to get used to, but once you get the hang of it it can be quite enjoyable. What's better is that if you don't like using the SIXAXIS, you can switch it off in the Options menu!

Now we get to the best bit, the gameplay. There is no doubt that the fighting here is HS's finest strong point. It's fast, dazzling, free flowing and really shines the PS3's processing power and speed. Generally speaking you will fight enemies in a closed area, and won't be able to proceed until you've killed them all. This is probably the only criticism I have of the game, as I prefer much more dynamic and non-static-area-related-fighting. Nevertheless, that sole reason is not enough to spoil the game in any regard. The environments are failry destructable, usually allowing you to pick up bits of debris and fling them at enemies aswell.

Once you begin to use the Heavenly Sword, you have a choice of three attack stances: Speed (which is default), Ranged (triggered by L1) and Powerful (by R1). Heavenly Speed Stance attacks are blue, do moderate damage and are reasonably fast. If Nariko is standing still in Speed stance and an enemy uses a speed stance attack against her (blue colour), she will automatically block it. While using Speed stance, she cannot block powerful attacks (orange) or ranged projectiles. Similarly the range and powerful stances allow you to block ranged and powerful attacks respectively but nothing else. This encourages the player to be conscious of the types of attacks enemies are making and at the same time let's you know what types of attack the enemies are unable to block!
Weapon combos are made from combinations of the Square and Triangle buttons. At points the game becomes a bit of a button basher, but it fails to matter as the moves performed by Nariko are so dazzling and spectacular that you really don't care so long as you can see her sword sliding through the air and followed through with an appropriate blood spray. Naturally there are combos for all three stances. Personally I love the Triangle x3 combo in ranged stance, as Nariko swings the blades at the end of the chains in a cyclonic manner, whipping up debris on the floor which hits enemies, as well as the actual blades hitting the enemies too. More combos are unlocked by how well you play the game, how good your style is. A little bar and hit count appears at the bottom of the screen when you start landing hits. The more you make in succession without being hit yourself, the greater the chance of you unlocking more stuff.
Nariko's adopted sister Kai is controlled for some portions of the game aswell. She is armed with a crossbow, and her missions usually revolve around sniping and sneaking. Unlike Nariko who is a close combat warrior, Kai is more nimble, so she can stun enemies and hop over terrain instead.

The other beautiful part of the game is the special attacks and dynamic touch-button fight sequences. There are several times in the game where you will be forced to engage in a much more dynamic form of gameplay, where the camera angle will change drastically and the visuals of the game come to fruition. One good example is when you have to run down about a 1/4 mile length of rope to the top of a natural pillar. The guards see you approaching and so they cut the rope. You need to tap the X button rapidly when prompted so Nariko will have a good running jump, and then move the analog stick as prompted so she can jump to an adjacent rope. If you wait too long she'll miss the jump and die. Another is in one of the boss fights, where after pressing circle, you become engaged in a button sensitive combat. Whether its to move the analog stick or tap X, Square or Triangle, your speed is essential. Should you take too long the move fails and the Boss recovers 50% health and you must try again. It's moments like these that allow the programmers to really show what they can do!

In conclusion, HS offers you a fast paced action packed beat 'em up game with incredible visuals and jawdropping action scenes. Definitely a keeper! What's more is the Ninja Theory have said they have a trilogy in store for the series, which means there's more lovely goodies to come!

Overall: 8/10

~The Damo

Monday 1 October 2007

Comedians - Funny/Unfunny Hup!

For some reason I felt as though I needed to address this issue; Good and Bad Comedians and the rare accounts of those who seem to suit everyone. So I figured I'd make a list of particular comedians I know and why I do or don't like them....

I'm well aware that many of you will both agree and disagree with me on these topics but so what!

Jimmy Carr - It's something about deadpan comedy and me that I just don't like. And the fact that he specialises in deadpan comedy should give you a hint about my attitudes to this guy. Bottom line, I don't like him, and it's for the simple reason that he relies on the deadpan tempo that I feel he gets his laughs. I think the fact that a lot of people think he's so funny that I dislike him even more, some people quoting him as the funniest man ever. I just don't see it and part of me feels that deadpan comics lack humourous talent for the simple reason that most of their laughs are based on how they are saying it more so than what they're saying.

Des Bishop - Definitely like this guy. Yeah he swears and it does get the laughs, but it was thanks to his two shows on RTE "Des Bishop Work Experience" and "Joy in the Hood" that you see the genius behind his act. Like a lot of comedians, he makes fun of everyday habits of our culture and all that, but he gives it that little extra by invigourating his performance to the point where it becomes really intense but he still manages to get the joke across by what he's saying. It's also a sign of a decent worker when he decides to spend his summer learning the Irish language so he can legitimately have the opportunity to make fun of it later on!

Dara O'Briain - I used to like this guy a lot until one particular episode of The Panel. Ed Byrne made some joke (it was so long ago I forget what it was), and then Dara re-used the joke moments later and kept referring back to it and I kept thinking to myself "Ok, get on with it, it wasn't your joke to begin with". I slowly realised that he was doing it more often and gradually I grew to dislike him simply over that. The point was further pressed when Colin Murphy took over the host seat and realised just how unfunny I found Dara to be.

Tommy Tiernan - I'm undecided over this man. The problem I tend to have with him is that I feel people are laughing more at his intense performance than they are at what he's saying. The difference between himself and Jimmy Carr is that the things he says are actually quite good, but because of his performance people tend to overlook it. It is almost a style unique to him that I have rarely seen it used by others. Des Bishop perhaps coming close.

Ruben - I wish I knew more about this guy cause he is just a class act. He does kindof silent skits, his two most known ones being "The Stag Night" and "The Hitchhiker". There's just something about it that's so true and so entertaining.

Jason Byrne - In some regards he's better known for a more silly kindof comedy, but at the same time he does come out with some top notch jokes, namely "The Power of the Hand" from his DVD. People have often said that they expected more from him or something but really, the guy does little wrong and generally appeals to most Irish people.

Colin Murphy - Since the Blizzard of Odd I've been a huge fan of this guy and his performances on the Panel further this appeal. He works his jokes well, both the build-up kind and the instantaneous one and rarely fails to get a laugh with what he says. All round thumbs-up!

Karl Spain - I still dislike this guy despite his impressive performances on the Panel for the simple reason that I really...REALLY didn't like the "Karl Spain Wants A Woman" programme....'nuf said!

Andrew Maxwell - I don't think anyone has made me laugh as hard as Maxwell has. Whether it's his bad language or his general dirty kindof attitude this guy just never fails to get a laugh.

Trevor McDonald - This guy is the best, 10/10, funny, always and everywhere. If you haven't watched News Knight I suggest you stop reading this right now and go watch it. Seriously. Go! Now! Fuck off!

Neil Delamere - He just never goes wrong. He's always funny and can usually get a good laugh out of some story he makes into a completely and totally improbable situation.

Finally, there's one final issue I need to address here. Female Comedians. I don't find them funny...any of them, and I'll explain why. The only places I've ever seen female comics is on "The Liffey Laugh", "Just for Laughs" and Paramount Comedy. Out of those, all of them have been deadpan-esque, and as I explained with Jimmy Carr, that doesn't cut it for me. Secondly, the nature of the jokes on these shows has always been around sex with their husbands or lack thereof, or sex with strangers or something along those lines. One particular woman really annoyed me. For her act, she first removed her underwear. Then inserted one of those things that make those duck noises (can't think of the word) into her "forbidden fruits"...or so the audience was led to believe anyway. She then lowered the mic and started to play. People laughed. Then she inserted another into her ass, and played again, and people laughed again. Then she put one in her mouth and played and the audience was in fits. I don't find any of that funny whatsoever. I couldn't understand what the joke was meant to be, was it (a) the joke that she's apparently blowing wind to play all those instruments (fart jokes are never funny...ever), (b) that she likes to have all her 'holes' filled, or was it (c) that women will put anything up there. Not actually being the comedian I wouldn't know, but I thought it seemed pretty offensive towards women, and worse, there were women in the audience laughing.....IT'S NOT FUNNY!!! The other was some joke made about breast milk. Breasts-related jokes are rarely..and I mean rarely funny. The word "boob" is often used in a childish manner and "tit" is often used in an aggressive sense and I cannot stand when comedians refer to breasts jokes. The only time I can recall a decent one was from Father Ted where Mary says to John "You've a face like a pair of tits!", to which he replies "Yeah, well at least that's one pair between us!".

I've probably left out loads of comedians there, but I just couldn't think. I also feel the end turned into a bit of GMG. And with the exception of Des Bishop, I really don't find any American comedians that funny at all, because we all know that Americans laugh at shit...literally!

~The Damo