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!

Friday 22 August 2008

The Day That Came

First single from new album and it freakin' RAWWWKKSSSSS!!!!!!!!

The Day That Never Comes:

September 12th ALMOST HERE!!!!

~The Damo

Metallica, Marlay Park, August 20th

I've been trying to come up with one word to sum up the whole thing; savage, amazing, fucking-insane, incredible, but I think my good friend Daithi summed it up best: EPIC! Of all the things I've done this year, that is most definitely number 1. Okay so we didn't get our pit bands despite being there mad early, and yes my feet were in agony from being on my feet for well over 12 hours and fine the beer was expensive but it was all worth it. The second The Ecstasy of Gold starts echoing around the place the pain disappears, the adrenaline starts running and the crowd echo the tune. You've got about 2 mins to make sure the adrenaline is going 'cause once Creeping Death starts, you don't get a single break.

Creeping Death
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Ride The Lightning
The Memory Remains
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
...And Justice For All
The Four Horsemen
Fade To Black
Master Of Puppets
Whiskey In The Jar
Nothing Else Matters
Sad But True
Enter Sandman
- - - - -
Last Caress
So What
Seek And Destroy

It's a real credit to the guys - given that they're in their mid-fortys - to be able to practically go non-stop for 2 solid hours. You could see they enjoy it though, at one point James even told the crowd that we were singing too loud. I was a satisfied customer for other reasons, mainly hearing ...And Justice For All and Cyanide live, but also because Tenacious D were animal aswell. Other defining moments were possibly when Hetfield's daughter sang the child's lyrics for Enter Sandman.

Really it's so hard to put it to words, I mean you really had to be there. The best way for me to describe it is probably what Daithi said "Best thing I've ever been at" and Daithi is a hard man to please given that he goes to practically every concert/show going anywhere, including Oxegen! I mean, even the light show and pyrotechnics were enough to keep you happy, hell they didn't need to be on stage the other bits were so good.

Now is the agonizing wait for the show to go up for download (which I pre-ordered) so I can at least in a hearing sense relive the experience over and over, and I'm also secretly looking to hear just how loud we were...

~The Damo

Saturday 16 August 2008

D News

I think my lack of posting over the last two months requires somewhat of an explanation, truth of the matter being that I’ve barely been at home. In fact, I’m writing this very post on my mam’s laptop, which I then plan to transfer to my computer within the week. As I mentioned in the last “Update” post I was on camp for a week and a bit, and most recently I was away in Germany for a wedding, which was INCREDIBLE I might add. I had considered writing a blog about it but the more I thought about it the more it seemed I was being a bit big headed about how incredible a country and experience it is.

Anyway, so what else has been going on? Well next week I’m off to Metallica in Marlay Park, then I’ve to register for 3rd year college. Actually I’m really looking forward to this year with our full year project, and it is degree year aswell!! After the 6 A+’s in summer, I reckon I got the 30% I was supposed to get for my degree contribution. I’m also interested to see if I can hold on to the scholarship I won last year.

I’ve also started pre-season back with my Under 13’s. After getting Kickstart 2 under my belt I’ve now got more advanced routines and sessions for the kids. With Division 1 the challenge facing us this year I’ve got a hell of a lot of work ahead of me. Not to mention the Under 8’s team I’m taking aswell, meaning my Saturday and Sunday mornings are going to be taken up completely, sorry ladies! (joke).
Also coming up in September will be the St. Johns’ recruitment course for this year which I’m taking again this year. I enjoyed it last year and with some of the new training material Bren has in store I’m looking forward to the new challenge.

With the Under 8’s situation it seems I’m now coming under increasing pressure to get that elusive driver’s licence and I actually think I really need to get the finger out now and just get the mother fucker.

Other than all that I don’t think there’s much else going on, last but not least a big congratulations to everyone getting their Leaving Cert results, I’ve been there – two years ago now… - and wow does it make me feel old!

Stay blogged till next time, same blog blogger, same blog site, same blog blog!!

~The Damo

Final Piece of the Puzzle!!

That’s it ladies and gentlemen, first we had the album title, followed by the track list and now the release date – can’t freakin’ wait!! What we also know now is that the first single from the new album will be The Day That Never Comes. But I now also have for you from metontour a look at the song Cyanide from the album.

Played at Ozzfest in Dallas, Texas:

Suicide, I’ve already died, it’s just the funeral I’ve been waiting for….
Cyanide, feeling dead inside, break this empty shell forever more!

~The Damo

Angry Video Game Nerd Bonanza

It’s been a long time since I posted any Nerd videos so I’ve got a bit of a kitty to post today. First up is the follow up to the last post, which was about Superman on the NES. The Nerd gave the fans what they wanted and has here a video of quite possibly the worst game ever made in the history of video games….

Superman 64:

After that the Nerd began a build up to the release of The Dark Knight with a two-parter review of several Batman games on numerous systems. I think these two videos are some of his best yet, well worth a watch. How will the Batnerd escape this one?????

Part 1:

Part 2:

I have to tell the blog I’m Batman before I publish it…

“I’m Batmaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnn”

~The Damo

PS3 Momentum

Some time back I wrote a blog about the ever increasing success of the PS3. I use the word “success” as an expression of improvement, as with 14.4 million sales the PS3 is far from a “success” with the Xbox 360 at 20 million and the Wii at 30.

However, from where the PS3 started November 2006, vast improvements have been made. The phrase “Sony have finally gotten the finger out” is probably the most suitable one for this situation.

When launched, the PS3 faced much criticism; high price tag, no rumble, lack of games, PSN not as good as Xbox Live to name but a few. Now finally, after 2 years later (based on US release dates) these issues have been addressed if not solved completely. The expression most commonly used when describing the PS3 is that it was “over-engineered”. It did a hell of a lot of stuff, most notably being a Blu-Ray player. Upon its release that didn’t really matter as there was also the HD-DVD format. Since the “format war” is now over, Blu-Ray is king, and the PS3 is undisputedly the best Blu-Ray player on the market. Score number 1.

I recently got hold of a Dualshock 3, prior to release of MGS4, and my god thank Jesus H. Christ rumble is back. Playing games on PS3 used to feel very like there was something missing. And it was rumble. After getting hold of the DS3 my first game Resistance: Fall of Man felt like a whole new game, it was incredible. Really it actually was. Rumble gave R:FOM that edge it was missing, firing a gun felt right. And now that the DS3 is available all games now come with it featured as standard, and older games have since implemented it via an update.

It is also a strange history with the Playstations regarding games. When they first launch they always face criticism, and generally don’t have the greatest games in its first year. And then something happens. A Metal Gear Solid is released. MGS did it for the PS1, MGS2 did it for the PS2 and MGS4 has certainly done it for the PS3. The release of a new Metal Gear seems to kickstart not only sales of Sony’s consoles, but also the number of quality games that follow it. Already in the next 3 months there are 4 guaranteed quality games coming out, the latter 3 being Playstation 3 exclusive: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (September), LittleBigPlanet and Bioshock (October) and Resistance 2 (November). There are others of course like Motorstorm but I don’t plan buying it simply because it doesn't interest me. The idea that the PS3 had no games was more of an argument used by people who were too embarrassed to say “I can’t afford it, it’s too expensive”, and the masses have spoken…

Already, since last October, the PS3 has been outselling the Xbox 360 month by month, with some experts expecting the PS3 to overtake the 360 by next summer. Many people wonder why console sales matter, and it’s that the more sales, the larger the install base, therefore the more likely a company is to make a (good) game for that system. Is it any wonder why the PS2 is the unchallenged greatest console of all time?? 140 million sales to date = lots of $$$ = lots of quality games. Perfectly balanced.

With the success of more sales Sony has finally given people what they want. I wrote a blog earlier in the year about Firmware 2.40 which gave access to the XMB in game. Most recently Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was patched with trophy support and I believe by the time this blog is posted, Warhawk will also have received its trophy patch. Trophy hunting is quite addictive and has added a great amount of replay value to Uncharted. With Sony saying that ALL previous PS3 games will be patched and all new games coming with trophies as standard, the difference between PSN and Xbox Live has been 90% eradicated, with the last 10% (i.e. game invites and chat) set to be eradicated with the release of Playstation Home which may in fact create a new gap between the two with the PSN out in front. And the great thing about PSN is……’s FREE!!! Microsoft’s justification for charging $50 for Live a year is coming under increasing scrutiny when PSN can do it for free and offer no lag for online games.

Actually I think I’ll take this moment to have a dig at some of the dickheads at Microsoft…

At E3, Microsoft claimed that both Sony and Nintendo were slacking off, whilst they were the only company innovating. The irony there possibly being that the only stuff they showed off was 1. a blatant copy of Nintendo Mii’s, 2. a 99.9% rip off of Singstar and 3. games which use a camera which seems remarkably like Playstation Eye. More recently, Cliffy B has come out saying that in comparison to Gears of War 2 – his game – Resistance 2 on PS3 simply falls short. That’s great how he knows a game that doesn’t come out till November is worse than his. What makes his dickheadedness even better is that when the CEO of Insomniac (the people who make Resistance 2), Ted Price, was asked the same question, he said “I couldn’t tell you, but what I do know is that if you own both an Xbox 360 and a PS3, you’re going to have a great Christmas”. Ten points for who can guess who the gentlemen is!

To sum it up, forget what I said last time about “then” being the best time to own/buy a PS3, NOW is! So go on, get out there now, they’re only €350. Go on, what are you reading this line for? GO NOW!!!!

~The Damo

Super Stardust HD - Review

Super Stardust HD (SSHD) is special for me not only because it was the first PSN game I downloaded from the PS Store, but it also the first game I’ve played that has “Playstation Trophies”. Certainly when I set out to download SSHD it wasn’t because I had heard it was a great game, it was simply to get my hands on trophies as – at the time of buying it – it was the only game supporting trophies. And boy was I happy with my purchase!

SSHD is an arcade style game. You can play it at certain difficulties gaining higher scores with the more enemies you kill, the longer you stay alive and what not. My top score which is ~72,000,000 lies about 87XX in the world rankings. At my last check the highest score is 228 million! Little was I to know when I first downloaded it that I would playing possibly the most addicting game I’ve played since Pokemon.

The game’s premise is very simple – you control a spaceship which flies above planets clearing them of asteroids and enemies to save the planet below. Your ship has 3 weapons; a green rock crusher, a red gold melter and a blue ice breaker. As you can imagine those descriptions tell you what each weapon is best suited at. Enemies will somewhere on them have a colour, indicating the best suited weapon for them. By blowing up asteroids and enemies you gain points. You steer your ship with the left analogue stick and fire your weapon with the right. L1 and R1 change between weapons. The more things you obliterate without dying the higher your multiplier goes (a 10X multiplier actually unlocks a Gold Trophy), thus creating an intrinsic challenge of obtaining a higher multiplier aswell as a higher score. When you blow up larger asteroids, they may contain glowing green rocks, which when destroyed release white point tokens or colour coded tokens for each of your weapons. The more of these you collect the more effective your weapons become. Picking up an upgrade after reaching 100% with any weapon sends it into “overdrive” firing faster and dishing out more damage for a fixed period of time.

Along with your three weapons you have bombs triggered by R2. These can be picked up by destroying special carrier crafts which are found on certain levels. When fired a bomb will destroy all targets in a certain area or at the very least weaken larger ones. You also have a boost activated by pressing L2 which thrusts you in a direction determined by the left stick destroying anything in your path. Unlike the bombs which you need to collect, the boost regenerates over time, so using it appropriately is an acquired skill (a silver trophy is unlocked for not using a boost during a single planet). The other two power-ups available are a shield (purple) and an extra ship (or life) which is yellow. Picking up subsequent “shields” whilst already equipped with a shield has the same effect as firing a bomb, only your total number of bombs is not depleted.

The game’s basic mode is arcade, which sees you blasting away over 5 different planets. Each planet consists of 5 phases, with increasing difficulties and the 5th and final phase consists of a boss battle. Alternatively you can play all these missions co-operatively with a friend.

Released after the main game was the Solo-add on, which I have only recently downloaded. This mode offers new gameplay in the form of “Endless”, “Survivor” and “Bomber”. Endless sees you fighting hoards of enemies, Survivor leaves you with one life and bomber disables everything except bombs. I can’t comment any further on these as I really haven’t played them enough. The most recent add-on was the Team Add on which I believe allows for split screen co-op.

In conclusion, SSHD is a highly addictive experience, with impressive colourful visuals, a rockin’ soundtrack, and the addition of Trophies makes it a must own for any PS3 owner.

Graphics: 8
Gameplay: 9
Sound: 9
Longevity: 10
Presentation: 8

Overall: 8.8

~The Damo

The Art of Shaving

The perfect shave. That is what all men strive for. In my 5-6 years of having to shave frequently I’ve tried many a technique and apparatus to try and achieve the closest shave (like the Gillette ads always say) to make my face feel as smooth as a baby’s bottom – not that I’d know what that feels like. The idea of the perfect shave has also gained added value for me, since I am now sporting a perfectly cultivated goatee. A goatee which has been in the works for almost a year now I might add.

Obviously the angle of this blog reflects on the male perspective of shaving, since I am fortunate enough only to have to shave above my neck so sorry to anyone who thought I was giving tips on shaving anywhere else.

So what is it that I think is essential for the perfect shave? Well ignoring a brand of shaving foam – which are generally the same anyway except for smell – both a good razor and aftershave are required to give the overall perfect sensation. Shaving foam, whilst essential for raising the hairs to ensure the blade removes as much hair as possible, should really only be used in my opinion to gauge your progress as you carefully make your way around and across your face.

Any aftershave is suitable, again the main difference being smell (of which I go for the nicer smelling ones) but I myself prepare to go for balms. It is essential to make sure that when applying the balm you cover everywhere you have shaved, otherwise it can be apparent to others that you don’t value nor do you care about the way you shave.

The most important element of the trio is no doubt the blade, which is the binding element in ensuring the closest shave. I began my shaving career with a Mach 3, which for many years was the shaving razor for men, the Coca-Cola of razor blades if you will. There were two further iterations of the Mach 3 in its lifespan, Mach 3 Turbo and Mach 3 Nitro, all of which added to the better shave. I myself have now upgraded to Gillette Fusion and since then Fusion Power and Fusion Power Stealth have hit the market.

The technique (and secret) of a good shave is this: the blade is a car, and you are driving it across your face. Why do you think the previous ones had “Turbo” and “Nitro” in the names? Those words are associated with automobiles. In fact it’s practically mandatory to make the “Vrrroooommmm” noise in your head as the blade glides across your face. Not only that but the Turbo was a sporty-red colour and the Nitro was a popping crystal-green. Those colours just scream speed! Now with Stealth they’re upgrading the speed of shaving to a Stealth Bomber, i.e. you should imagine a bomber flying across your face eliminating the hairy targets below. We can make shaving a game like that, and the game ain’t over till every last hair is eliminated. Fusion and Fusion Power added variety to the shaving experience by adding in the single blade on the back to account for those hard-to-reach places. I have personally found great use in them when precision shaving is needed to keep the shape of my goatee consistent. If you are completely clean shaven, then it is essential to begin your shave at the sides, ensuring you get clear uninterrupted sweeps to the chin allowing for maximum velocity of the blade. From there you can tidy up above the lip and then begin the back strokes from the neck upwards. If however you are of the bearded variety like me, I recommend starting above the lip, then a quick tidy around the bearded area before beginning the long strokes. Ultimately, if your initial strokes are unsuccessful in removing all traces of hair, there is nothing to stop you from making a second lap or second bombardment of the difficult areas.

Post shave you should be able to move the tips of your fingers around your face, feeling nothing but smooth skin. Once you can do that you can park your razor in its garage/hanger/case for the next time…

~The Damo

The Butter Debate

What is the best butter? Or is the best butter not a true butter afterall? For some time the issue of which brand/style of butter is the best has been rumbling around the nerve centre of magic that is my brain and now I feel it is an appropriate time to start the debate.

For as long as I can remember, the brand of butter that has been used in my house up until recently has been Dairygold. I don’t think many can deny that Dairygold has a superb taste. Indeed, Dairygold is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of “butter”. However, I was not privy to a flaw in Dairygold until a few years ago. As you can imagine, for a period in my life my mother buttered my bread for me. But when I began to butter bread for myself, it became quite clear to me that Dairygold does not spread all that well. It has a tendency to rip the bread it is buttered on. Of course this isn’t an issue on toast, where the butter is melted, but on a perfectly fresh slice of bread, perfection becomes catastrophe. I found that the only way to truly spread Dairygold properly was to leave it out to “warm up” or only use it exclusively on toast. Even the solid brown bread doesn’t hold up well to the un-spreadable Dairygold. I realise of course that this is entirely from my experience, but that is the angle I’m discussing this issue on.

In my grandparents house in Palmerstown, they have been a fan of Kerrymaid. Like all butters, the advertisements on TV would have you believe that their butter is the best. From my experience, Kerrymaid spreads easier than Dairygold, but is still what I would regard as a “solid” butter. Its taste was also quite unique in the sense that I found it to be – what I can only describe as – sweeter. Ultimately Kerrymaid never took off with me, and it was an experience I could only examine when in Palmerstown.

In my grandmothers’ house in Walkinstown, she was a fan of Utterly Butterly. Whether this was a decision on her part I cannot say, as she wasn’t physically able to go to the shops herself, so the choice of Utterly Butterly may well have been the decision of the person that regularly went to the shops for her. The only times I can recall using the butter in that house were for crackers or for potatoes and each time I was reasonably satisfied. However there was something about it that I just couldn’t see myself wanting to have it at home.

Then, the butter of butters and myself collided in what only could be an act of fate. Low Low. I can’t remember exactly why I bought Low Low, or for that matter where I bought it, all I can remember nowadays is that it was just there, in the fridge. Popping the lid open and bealing back the aluminium cover, I can remember the sense of amazement at how easily the knife glided through the butter and then delicately spread an even layer of the golden yellow substance on my fresh slice of bread. Not only did it spread well, but it tasted just as good. A worthy rival to the superb taste of Dairygold! Toast, toasted sandwiches, you name it, it was superb. It was so superb that I even managed to convince my parents – the very people who had been buying Dairygold for the last 16 odd years – to start buying it.

In conclusion, I recommend Low Low as the champion of butters. Obviously none of these types of butters have anything on REAL butter, which I would only use exclusively for cooking.

Oh, and one final thing. No butter and I mean NO butter spreads in that curly shape with ripples like the TV ads would lead you to believe. I’m looking at you Kerrymaid, especially you!

~The Damo