Feeling rubbish.

Everyone knows what to eat and drink when ill. The default drink is honey and lemon. When I had a cold I used up half a tin of honey in a weekend. I’m going to start drinking them regularly, they taste fantastic and it should serve as a preventative measure. Against what I don’t know, having honey go past it’s sell by date perhaps. The default food is Chicken soup. I’ve had two tins of it today alone. The first was Heinz and the second wasn’t. The second was disappointing. Despite the cliché, yes, Heinz just is better than all the other soups.

The part I’m struggling with though is what to do with my time. Being ill like I am is a matter of waiting and being incapable of higher brain functions. I just want to sit, be excessively warm, and idle my brain for hours. I have a steam account full of PC games to play, and a vast back catalogue, but I can’t find one to satisfy me when I am most in need of it. This is irksome.

The trouble is, I just want to sit and build something for ages, but everything has a little flaw. Minecraft is great, but gets tedious. Theres only so much clicking on dirt you can handle. I want one of the old fashion dungeon building games, to while away the hours, but they are all flawed:

  • The classic “Dungeon Keeper [2]” should be satisfactory, but it wont work on any of my PCs. I’ve also played it to death, (quite literally given it’s setting) and it runs out of ideas. It’s fun to build up and watch things interact for a while. But you can place your buildings any way you want and things don’t change. The end result of all your building is to have a load of creatures to do battle with. But all you can do then is win the mission. There is nothing left to do. It all feels a bit pointless.
  • Evil genius had the good grace of making your base feel important. Trap setups were always fun to do, and the layout of your base mattered. However, it was really fucking difficult. It wasn’t a challenge, a challenge can be fun. Evil genius was almost spitefully difficult. You could never sit and focus on the layout of the base because you constantly needed to manually tag the intruders into your base, flick to an entirely different screen in order to check that your agents weren’t randomly killed. There was no thinking in this, the response to events was entirely binary, you became a cog in the machine, rather than the commander of the machine. I still sometimes fire it up, with all the cheats to full, and craft out a base. But that is all the fun I can extract from it, because the game itself decided to get in the way. It’s one of the tragedies of gaming.
  • Dungeons.  I think everyone wanted it to be a prettier, working, dungeon keeper. It changes the formula a bit, it’s an interesting concept. But sadly it ruined the concept by being just too damn fiddle. It’s the same problem evil genius had, you could never relax and just plan out a bit of your base, because it demanded that you personally see to the resource collecting. Okay, the resource collecting was a fight, but a particularly boring one. You just right-click the enemy and wait a bit. The whole thing felt a bit hollow. Things were just as effective lumped together haphazardly than with any sort of planning. Another disappointment.

I ended up mashing through an entire Civilization 5 game instead. Just quietly researching and managing my way through, was relaxing. But now I’ve done that, all the rest of my games are too fast paced and require far too much thought. I have nothing left to while away the time with. Except writing this blog post. But even that has now ended.


So, where were you yesterday?

For those that want to know, and for those that asked, here’s what happened to me this Wednesday.

I had a wonderful, busy Tuesday. Got home at about 12pm from an enjoyable MathsJam, where over the 4 hours I drank just 2 pints of Guiness, (the first time I’d had a drink since 2 months ago, at a previous MathsJam). I then set about trying to get something to eat, quickly catching up on twitter, and then getting stuff ready for tomorrow morning. I had a 9am start, which involves me waking up at about 7:30 and rushing to hopefully catch a bus that will hopefully be there in time. I set two alarms, one for 6:30 to boost me awake, and the next for 7:30. I climbed in to bed at quarter to 1, and manged to get to sleep at 1:30, which wasn’t bad for me. I knew I would be very tired in the morning, but I was optimistic about getting in on time.

What actually happened was that I slept through both, all the way to 11:30. I had missed all the lectures, but I could still make the tutorial, and maybe see friends. But for the life of me, I could barely move. Not only was I still incredibly tired, I could hardly move a muscle, it was as if I was frozen in place. It took me ages to try to haul myself to sit upright and try to get dressed. But then I stood up to find some jeans to wear, and then I just collapsed. My legs just seemed to give up, and I dropped to the floor and ended up in an uncomfortable position that I just didn’t have the energy to do anything about. It was already 12, and was sat that till about 12:30, where I tried to move, and fell forwards onto the pile of clothes on the floor. I just lay there for half an hour. Totally exhausted. I eventually moved, and crawled back into bed. I woke up sometime later, my body still almost immovable. I looked at the time; 19:00. I was amazed. I’d slept for about 16 hours in total then, and was still ruined. I’ve spent the rest of the day exhausted, I sat on twitter for a while, and did practically nothing except eat a takeout. I just didn’t have the energy for anything else.

The worrying part is that this sort of thing happens to me a lot, seemingly at random. It happened last monday and last saturday, and I think for many years previously. It just seems to have become more frequent recently. I have no idea what is going on, but the following is some tedious speculation on my part.

I tried searching through symptoms, but the internet is hardly the best source. And nothing quite seems to fit. I suppose I should go to a doctor, but I don’t know who or where one is. And to be honest, I’m nervous going to places at the best of times. I’m definitely nervous about going to a doctor to explain that I am, what “Tired and exhausted”? I hardly feel justified in that, when there are probably people with more important issues, where they at least have an idea what is wrong with them.

I wonder if I am too desperate to seek a medical justification for this, at least so that I have an answer to questions that isn’t just “I don’t know! I just miss whole days randomly.” A nice simple disease, or an ailment would be nice, one that’s easily curable or at least easily pronounceable. But I fear the answer won’t be as easy as that. I currently worry that I’m just burning myself out with University work, and then on certain days my mind can’t think any more and just crashes. But I don’t know about that, it seems to paint me as a hardworking person, and I know for a fact that I can be a lazy git. Other people seem to manage this easily. I know plenty of people, all of whom have the same, or more, work that I have. And they seem to manage to do it all, and go out at night, without collapsing to a heap. So, why can’t I?

I really hope this isn’t something I just have to learn to live with, or I’m screwed.

Things that cheer me up. Part 1

A few things that made me smile in the last few days.


Malukah, (real name, Judith de Los Santos). I recommended her music on twitter, but i’ll put it here again, because it’s just great. She recently covered “Age of Oppression”, which is good even if you’ve never played, or even heard of, Skyrim.

http://soundcloud.com/malukah/sets/singer-songwriter/ – A few songs from the album “All of the Above”, which you should probably buy if you liked those.

On an entirely different note. Orks in pirate hats.

An Ork Warboss in a Pirate Hat.

A friend recently grabbed Dawn of War 2: Retribution in the steam sale, and it instantly brought back a surge of hilarious memories from when I last played it. The Ork campaign is just mad and silly, with very little trace of the “Grim Dark Future” it’s meant to be set in. The ork above speaks in a wonderful kind of Jamaican – Irish, which just has me in fits of laughter no matter what he says. But aside from that, you can upgrade your heroes with sillier and siller abilities, and even the ones that sound “boring but useful” end up hilarious in practice.

For example, one of the items you loot allows the ork who equips it to explode on demand and be propelled skywards. The ork in question can survive, but most of what is around him doesn’t. You can then give this frankly awesome piece of kit to the stealth commando Ork. I hope you can see what happens next.

That is why I like games, it’s not so much the violence or the explosions, I could easily watch a film, or stay out late in Manchester for that. For me, it’s about seeing the systems in place, and then spotting a way that they can all come together to make something happen. I study physics for much the same reasons. It’s a wonderful mix of logic and creativity, and I love doing it.

I like that the odds are good that I will be able to enjoy both Physics and Gaming for a long time. Part of me cannot wait to grow old and retire from whatever it is I’d be doing. Just so I could have whole days to sit around, read books, play games and think. It’s something I have to look forward to, rather than worry about, and that is a nice feeling.

I seem to be an incredibly uninteresting man

I seem to study physics, play games, and read what other, far more interesting, people say on twitter. That and sleep sums up my life at the moment. And it has started to bother me that my interests are predictably dull. At the end of last year I had to write a mock CV, and nothing makes you realise how unskilled and uninteresting you are like trying desperately to find something that will pad out a CV to a page. I’ve shied away from doing anything out of a fear of failure, instilled into me from my primary school years, and now I’m regretting that. Not least because it means I have zero conversation options. I can merely listen to what other people do and make the occasional weak joke, which is rather limiting.

So basically, I’m looking for something to do so that I have something to talk about. Any ideas?

I would like to know how people motivate themselves to do those things, and how they get over the fear of not being good enough, or not enjoying it. Because the general advice is usually “Just give it a go, What’s the worst that could happen?” Those are the words of someone with no sense that time is limited, and/or a very poor imagination. I can probably think of at least 10 ways baking a cake can go horribly wrong, so uttering those words after a suggestion usually results in a far away gaze as I try to decide which of the many ways it could go wrong is the worst. This is usually followed by a look of fear, sometimes accompanied with a scream.

I’m not going to get many suggestions am I?


So yeah, I’ve been single now for….. ever.

I often hear or read people say “I’m fine on my own.” and I wonder what they mean. Do they mean it in a literal: “I am capable of sustaining my existence without another person helping me”, because I would fit into that definition (for about 2 weeks before the diet of take outs took its toll) but people never use it in that context. So my next thought is that they mean they are fine with not being in love. And then I puzzle over how they manage to keep themselves that heavily distracted all of the time. Because I always get the pangs of loneliness every so often, and what has been nice is finding out, via twitter, that other people feel like that too. Those feelings of loneliness and pining for love are peculiar for me, meant to be miserable, but I kind of like them. I could say that is because, in the words of Bill Bailey: “I am British, and as such I crave disappointment”. But the less vacuous reason is that I look on it as something I’d love to change, but isn’t actually a ‘problem’ for me. Perhaps this is what people really mean by “I’m fine on my own”.

I find being lonely an interesting state to be in, neither strictly bad or good. It stops me being lulled into thinking that I’ve done the main bits of my life now, and all that is left to do is continue them on and just tweak. It feels like having a house with all blank walls and some empty rooms. Perfectly fine to live with, there is nothing technically wrong with it, yet you know there is something missing. It’s something that you would plan to sort out at some point, but you can’t plan for love (or I least I wouldn’t), and it would be nearly impossible for me to find someone, due to a crushing cycle of a lack of confidence coming from a lack of experience. However, I still say nearly impossible, I like that small glint of hope, it keeps me going, knowing that if nothing happens I’ll still be fine, but if something ever does, then there is a whole other world to experience.

My Life and Deus Ex

This post is the last you will hear from me for a few days. For at the moment this post is published, Deus Ex: Human Revolution will have been released, and will have unlocked on my steam account. I hope the ambiguous title will have drawn in the latin-loving non-gamers I know to read this post. For I am going to attempt to explain why I am so excited about a mere game, to the kind of people who when I say ‘game’, think of Angry Birds. (Feel the barely concealed hate in that sentence, like a Godfather fanatic when confronted with someone who has only watched Time Cop.)

Continue reading “My Life and Deus Ex”