The devil makes work for idle hands

Time remains something of an enigma.  Elusive and relative, it defies description save by great thinkers and writers and finds itself falling away in an endless dance of seasons.  Leading us each into the final, inexorable, yet magnificent pirouette, dropping from this mortal coil and into the vast infinitude.  Or, alternatively, a six foot aperture, wherein our interned husks shall dwindle to little more than dust, and nothing remains of our capacity to love or hate, for wit and humor, or kindness, cruelty and other such despicable  qualities.  It is through the river of time that, in the end, everything amounts to little.

I am reminded of the words of Henry David Thoreau, from his 1854 masterpiece Walden:
“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.”

I am cognizant that my musings surrounding Thoreau’s adage regarding time, life and death could be perceived as somewhat morbid, if not downright cynical.  However, it sprang upon my thoughts like an unseen predator overwhelming and seizing its prey just last week on the day of my 28th birthday.  I realised that very soon, I would no longer be in my 20’s and how suddenly the years are already quickly passing, and it brought upon me an expeditious ardor to seize the day while I still retain my youth!

“dum loquimur, fugerit invida aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero”
Quintus Horatius Flaccus

Which translates as:

“While we speak, envious time will have fled, seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future”

And so it was, with this particular aphorism in mind that I set about the amelioration of my circadian labours! Which led me to consider a return to the  vigor of education and the pursuit or worthy knowledge and the broadening of my horizons through art, language and music.  However, I am a firm believer that small steps should be taken to achieve personal goals and so it was, during a delightful week long sabbatical from the humdrum rat race that I set my plans in motion through careful research and preparation.  Then, finally, the pièce de résistance!  The Metal Gear Solid omnibus! Comprising of MGS, Sons of Liberty, Snake Eater and the heartbreaking finalé; Guns of The Patriots.

Action, drama, love, hate, deception, clones! Not to mention a protagonist’s voice you could gravel roads with!  This series encompasses all the qualities of astonishing narrative.  A deep twisting story with multifaceted characters, from the friendship and honor of a celebrated war hero and his desire to fulfill his mentor’s wishes, to the adventures of his clone/son, their disputes and battles with each other, other antagonists and the complex relationships they build along the way.  All resulting in an emotional final rendezvous, where they find respect and clemency in their final days. Oh, and Otacon cries.  Suspend your disbelief and conceal thy consternation at that particular fragment of information.

What elevates this harrowing tale of humanity’s folly set against a backdrop of impending nuclear disaster, and international conspiracy, over so many is the characters and depth of story.  Hideo Kojima provides a well researched military and social/political backdrop for his characters who truly come to life within the world he has created for them.  Antagonists, protagonists and the supporting cast all have carefully considered backgrounds and emotional ties to each other.  It is little wonder that having grown up with them that I, like many other gamers, developed a sentimental link with the cast.  Considering this point, it is unsurprising how these games still have a profound effect on me and why I will still return to them from time to time, continually discovering immaculate joy in its adroit brilliance. 

Like one, that on a lonesome road, Doth walk in fear and dread…of Seagulls.

Any Iron Maiden fan worth his salt will recognise the quote:

“This is what not to do if a bird s***s on you.”

Now, I wholeheartedly agree that ‘The Rime of The Ancient Mariner’ is undoubtedly a harrowing story serving as a worthy seafaring morality tale. However, I would like to impose and interject with my own two pence:

F**k you, bird. S**t on me and I will kill you and eat your children.

So there I am. A warm day in Belfast, your faithful raconteur walking to his grandparents house after disembarking from the bus. When suddenly with heavy thump, a lifeless lump, a bloody seagull shat on me. On the cheek and all. Bastard. White feathery bastard. Winged harbinger of precipitous doom. After digging deeply into my pocket, I attempted to remove the cloying, beastly mess from my despoiled jowl with aid from a slightly used Kleenex which, as it turned out, was somewhat unsuitable for the task. Thankfully, I found myself beside a shopping center with a McDonald’s. So, first stop: Pharmacy, to obtain the necessary facial wipes, then onward to contend with the tracksuited chavs, accompanied by their shrill broods, feasting on their deep fried luncheon. Finally, I found myself safely within the public W.C.

Some would undoubtedly argue that when one spends at least 15 minutes washing and wiping one’s violated cheek, it could be considered ridiculously excessive. To these vulgarian philistines I say NAY! It’s never too much!

Water, water, everywhere, and bird poo in the sink.
Water, water, everywhere, I need a bloody drink.

Anyway enough of this tomfoolery.

With the references to Iron Maiden and, notably, the work of Samuel Coleridge, I’d wager that you’re expecting the obvious Maiden song to accompany this particular rant. But no, i’m sticking with Oaf. Fuck off, seagull.

On a serious note, I took a moment to see how many vistors I’ve had since this blog began. Wow. That’s a lot more than the number I was expecting. Which was none! Thank you! I’ll be back with a slightly more serious minded article soon. I’ve been rather busy lately with wizardly things. Hah, I cannot lie… frankly I’ve been inappropriately lazy! Anyway, stay tuned.

Supermarket Etiquette – A Discourse on Desired Public Behavior

The supermarket!  The magical brick and steel maze wherein we wander and ponder amid the buzz of fellow clients and the calming glow of florescent light, as we pick and choose the myriad items and foodstuffs through which we fill our larders and empty our bank accounts. However, confusion strikes! Conundrum of conundrums for the unwitting shopper unenlightened in the ways of Supermarket Etiquette.  How should One act when caught in the headlights of rampant consumerism?  Fear not intrepid prospective patron of the bazaar, for all answers lie here in this Discourse of Desired Public Behavior!

Image1) The Proper Treatment of The Help

Upon your many journeys through the supermarket you will notice the various members of the assiduous cadre.  There to answer queries and to act as eager guides, should you find yourself waylaid in the hunt for especially rare products that allude your keen shoppers eye.  When approaching these mysterious keepers of market lore, one should be cautious.  Helpful as they can be, dealing with these unusual fellows can be tricky. Be mindful of their chicanery.  Be sure to approach them pugnaciously, asserting your dominance with appropriate snobbish demeanor.  The abruptness in attitude with a well placed word of aggression will quickly win their respect and admiration. After this initial furtiveness,  the will of this adjutant is bound to you and their desire to do your bidding will become palpable.  Remember, the only thing that pleases these public servants more than the flowing riches their masters bestow upon them for their drudgery, is outright debasement.

2) Acquainting Oneself with Your Consumer Rights

Be cautious, for surely your local shop is fraught with hidden traps and conspiracies in abundance to beguile and rob many an unwary individual of their precious coin.  Each and every one of these pitfalls planned by masters of connivance.  From the wickedness of incorrect pricing to the sheer gall of shelves that occasionally bear only poor quality fruit or the scant remains of a once bountiful supply of the desired alcoholic beverage you so wished to purchase.  All trials are purposely inflicted upon you, but what recourse do you have?  Seek you the unwritten ‘Tome of My Rights.’  Whatever mild grievances may hinder your arduous trek through the supermarket, the answer is always simple.  Bear in mind the aforementioned treatment of the staff and all will become clear.  Remain indignant and in a loud, clear and imperious tone; inform the nearest store colleague that You Know Your Rights.  Coupling this brave action with threats and detrimental comparisons to the emporium’s competitor’s will once again win you their respect and desire to appease your wrath, for they know full well that their deception is uncovered and you are wise to their nefarious wiles!  Keep close the knowledge that human error never occurs in the bustle of the market place, drown out staff protestations of innocent mistakes with your powerful anger and the outcome shall favor you!

3) The Correct Placement of Products and The Lack of Desirable Items

It is important to remember that just because you have considered purchasing a chosen item, does not mean you are required to do so, no contract has been struck.  Many a time your faithful author has returned a product to the shelves after reconsidering my prior decision to part with my hard  earned capital in order to aquire it.  If you find yourself struck by such a moments uncertainty, have no second thoughts when banishing said item from your trolley/basket.  Truly, do not concern yourself with simple matters of cross contamination as you discard the raw meat into a crate of apples.  Don’t think twice as you leave the expensive bag of frozen iced treats to melt among the cosmetics.  Moreover, when you diligently hunt for the elusive loose oranges or individual bottles of cider only to find them swiped by fellow shoppers and only the expensive multipacks remain, your choice is clear.  Remember Your Rights!  Tear those packets open, taking what you need before discarding the rest as the useless husk it is!  After all, you must maintain your dominance over the lesser mortals of the store hierarchy, who bathe in the riches they draw in daily and shan’t miss that money they have lost on that which you have taken.  Rest easy for victory is surely yours.

4) The Shop and Your Offspring

Many consumers will dive into their weekly quest to replenish their food supplies with progeny in tow.  If you find your child in the midst of a rampant tantrum, or running amok in a moment of childhood impishness, always remember that the supermarket is a haven for such behaviors.  The dulcet tones of the screaming anklebiter is the sweetest music to the ears of staff, so never correct their behavior.  In addition to this, allowances must always be made on allowing them to run wild amid the aisles of fragile goods.  After all, you are busy with your task and accidents never happen.  Furthermore, should an unhappy occurrence play out in the vein of child meets floor via tripping, resulting in a minor injury, remember that You Know Your Rights.  This is clearly the fault of the devilish ancilla of the store and you can always claim compensation if you remember to once again raise the cry of defiance against the supermarket shysters!

There you have it my friends,  a complete guide to the appropriate behavior to bring into play when next you find yourself visiting the supermarket!  

The Wonderful Wizard of Whine 

An open letter to Silent Hill

As a long time visitor to your somewhat foggy town, i feel it is important to bestow upon you all, certain uncanny hints and tips which, if properly discussed at a town meeting, may help recover your failing tourist trade and population.

*Firstly, stop religious fanatics burning small bastard children for being evil. This clearly has not worked too well in your favour so far and has clearly had an overall impact on both the violent crime rate and aesthetic qualities of the town. Very important in regards to drawing both tourists and prospective new townsfolk

*Secondly, although i feel it is somewhat connected to the first point outlined above, i feel it is important that you all seriously consider recruiting new law enforcement officers to deal with a growing problem of inhuman beasties bent on destroying all and sundry. No fellow, who may be out for a brisk walk of a fine summer eve along one of your many fine country roads, should find creatures composed entirely of mannequin legs launched/ catapulted from various bushes and trees into his oncoming path. The effect of which, i do humbly assure you, is at the very least, mildly disturbing in the undergarment meets excrement fashion. A steady and devoted police force may do much to remedy this!

*Thirdly; Gun/Medical control. Many times while walking along your fine town i have stumbled across poorly stored medical supplies and various armaments and munitions. Perhaps proper training and regulation in regards to each should be taken under advisement. When one happens upon such items, shockingly placed in such easy to reach and unexpected areas, one tends to begin questioning the underlying sanity of both townsfolk and its elected officials. Bringing me to my fourth and final point

*Psychiatric treatment for all locals. Every person i have encountered in my time in your happy little township i have met with a hearty hail and a merry wish. The usual response from the aforementioned ranges from inane gibberish to outright violent baldurdash. I suggest a round of psychiatric evaluations all round. 

You’re all a pack of mad bastards
Yours in sincere hope for a better future

The Wonderful Wizard of Whine

Concerning Umbrella Corporation…

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After a lengthy perusal of many of your organisation’s facilities, I feel it is my duty to inform and underline what I perceive to be myriad grievous error’s both in management and in regard to foolhardy business decisions. It is my firm belief that these flaws, if left unchecked, may very well spell disaster of the most cataclysmic proportions for your company.

To begin with, I shall illustrate problems of a practical nature concerning the physical layout and general day-to-day operations in your various facilities. With grandiose art deco design in a repetitive renaissance theme, one can’t help but wonder what impact this must have on annual overheads and outgoing costs. Surely, this must undermine the corporation’s profitability and i urge that a passing glance at an annual profit and loss statement would highlight this point. I would humbly suggest toning down the lavish expenditure on interior design in order to bolster profitability. Moreover, when design and aesthetic begins to impact on day-to-day activities then surely there is a clear and present problem. Consider if you will, that Workers should not be over an hour late for work because they forgot to track down the dog with the special collar that’s actually a false key, required to get the real key from a medieval dungeon of randomly swinging blades, after placing the special stone tablet in the proper receptacle in order to place the broken sword in the right hilt on the other side of the complex just because they do not wish to be crushed too death while making their coffee and cereal each morning. 

Nor should it take an employee several days to hand in reports and important data simply because the appropriate key to access each office requires travelling around the complex solving chess and card game related puzzles to obtain coloured gems which in turn are used to unlock treasure chests that contain crystal wings which attach to a model of a demon which then balances a weight on a statue that has the desired key safely locked within. This clearly underlines a serious issue regarding the efficient and effective management of each facility. However, I am not a man who will not give credit where it is due. Your head of security is clearly very intelligent and creative. I would perhaps suggest a career change, clearly s/he has pursued the incorrect calling in life. 

However, in regard to dealing with industrial accidents related to the chemicals and B.O.W’s, the aforementioned layout design flaws regularly lead to an atrocious execution of evacuation and clean up procedures. Small changes would help reduce the organisation’s staff turnover. In addition to this, I would perhaps suggest that a frank re-consideration of the company’s business goals. Every facility and town in which your business is firmly based and developed has been destroyed with a 99% mortality rate among staff. 

I regret that i have also witness gross mismanagement in regard to the company’s various resources. Medical and military grade supplies are abundant to the point of mind bogglery. Also, these items are not strictly controlled as befits their dangerous nature. I dread to think of what could happen in the worst care scenario. However, i do feel that this lack of management may stem from a deep rooted narcotics problem among staff, with an obscene collection of “weeds” growing in pots all over each and every facility I have visited. I fear this long term narcotic abuse may have had a greater impact on staff than you may realise. With catastrophic disasters being a commonplace occurrence at every lab and facility under the Umbrella banner. Not too mention the obvious tell tale signs of drug abuse being prevalent among senior management and staff. Of course, I am referring to their violent, angry dispositions coupled with paranoia an inexplicable need to hate the world around them.

it is then with regret that i suggest stringent psychological evaluation of all staff. Undesirable elements must be removed in order to maintain a high standard of safety, efficiency, effective management and profitability. For example, it should not be considered standard practice to eradicate an entire city and it’s population in order to obtain test data. You cannot sell weapons if you wipe out the planet during the testing phase. While I admire your enthusiasm on constructing the best bio-weaponry, perhaps remembering that the apocalypse would bring about a further noticeable drop in annual profits. 

It seems apparent that the pursuit of Chemical, and Biological weaponry is simply not Umbrella’s forté. Perhaps baking, or the creation of wonderful chocolate based desserts and confectionery would be a worthier and increasingly profitable venture, not to mention the dramatic decrease in work related fatalities and the day-to-day risks.

Yours with deep concern
The Wonderful Wizard of Whine

The Beginning of The Endemic Rantings

It would be fair to say that I am not exactly a man of few words.

Indeed, if that was true then there would be little point to the creation of this blog.

I will endeavor to provide many a fist shaking ranting and raving.  Sometimes for my own benefit and sometimes to enlighten whatever audience happens to stumble across my humble scribblings.

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 A comedic glance at future musings

So what shall be the underlying purpose of my poorly directed anger?  Mostly, I will talk about the World, Games, Movies and Music.  Far from reviewing such things I will instead post brash commentary and satire appropriate to my own particular idiom.

May an appropriately powerful deity of your choice have mercy on you all.