Friday, 19 April 2013

Finito

Well this is it!

Two years after the first TheMindWordsOfDarren comes the final instalment.

Hhmmm, what to say, what to say...?

Blogs themselves are a funny old thing as a medium.  Given that Blogs are basically diaries much of the time, it's encouraging to see that all the technology we have at our disposal hasn't caused everyone to develop the attention span of a pitbull being taught algebra in a playground full of shrieking children.

Commenting on stuff, the sharing of opinions/wisdom/recipes; it's all out there in the Blogosphere and whether badly written, eye-searingly gaudy or wilfully antagonising, they provide another level of insight into a time when never has so much information been recorded or available.

So yeah, keep it up, don't stop tapping away but remember to leave the keyboard once in a while or you might end up with nothing to say...

Sunday, 10 March 2013

It's All Geek To Me!

Geeks, nerds, dorks, bookworms:- Whatever they're called these days, people who are engaged in perfectly harmless activities are often labelled something along these lines.  But what is a geek?  One on line dictionary describes them thusly:-

geek [geek] Show IPA
noun Slang.
1.
a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
2.
a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
3.
a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.
Origin:
 1915- 20; probably variant of geck  (mainly Scots ) fool < Dutch  or Low German gek

geek·y, adjective
 
Let's break it down shall we?
 
Explanation 1 seems to imply that geekdom is entirely made up of those with any level of interest in the use of their PC.  This seems more than a little out of date.  Given that government stats (in the UK at least) state that around 75% of homes has a computer in the place somewhere and so this means that personal computer ownership is no longer geeky or that most western countries are in need of a name change.  If this is the case, I want to 'bagsy' Norbertland for Britain.
 
I haven't seen anyone referred to as a nerd solely for owning or even knowing about computers during my time so I'm going to have to assume that oddly, the meaning lifted here from the on line dictionary actually pre-dates the Internet.
 
Meaning 2 goes for the throat a bit by declaring the as yet undefinable geek as a 'dislikable person'.  Well, that's quite the declaration!  Sure, geek is still a term that can be use derogatorily but I've never personally known someone be declared unlikeable because they're a nerd.  Besides, this is also a meaning that seems to take the point of view of someone who might have a dislike of lack of understanding of said computer enthusiasts comings-and-goings.  Very curious as I'm quite sure this definition would be the completer opposite of someone who actively calls themselves a geek, therefore lending itself to be somewhat biased but why?
 
Also, overly intellectual?  Can one be such a thing?  That's like saying - out of context - too rich or too funny.  How can there be a ceiling on cleverness?
 
Okay so meaning 3 is where the dictionary editor here totally looses it.  Apparently the nerd is
a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.
 
Let us, at this point, decide what the term means today.  Though hardly the most reliable source of information, Wikipedia (at the time of writing) informs us that there is no one catch-all figure of Poindexterism any more, stating that there are:-

Science geeks, Math geeks, Computer geeks, History geeks, Sci-Fi geeks, Fantasy geeks, Comic Book geeks, Video Game geeks, Board Game geeks, Music geeks, and even Sports geeks.
 
That's right y'all; sports geeks.
 
I would your honour, suggest that football fans fit very nicely into the notion of the geek being a person that escapes into their subject matter at the expense of their 'real life'.

Perhaps these days geekdom is relative, sometimes in direct opposition to the subject of their derision yet often quite closely linked.  Lager drinkers might think real ale supporters are geeks; On line and tabletop role play gamers might look down on their live action counterparts; soccer fans label anyone that owns a book as 'one of them there readers.'
 
The conclusion?
 
We're all geeks then.  Anyone who likes anything does so to a more or lesser degree than someone who likes another.  Better that than be the poor sod that can't find value in anything at all.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Kommons Kombat

Politics eh?

It's often cited as one of the things one shouldn't bring up in casual conversation for fear of upsetting a potential friendship, relatives wedding or meeting of the local coven, depending on whether or not you're from the Lancashire.

I confess to being a latecomer to the table, generally hiding my lack of interest behind the gossamer thin excuse that there's nowt you can do about 'em anyroad.

The thing of it is that as I get older, I'm actually finding politics and the world of the MP more and more interesting.  From the utter disbelief and exasperation at seeing my first House of Commons debate to the almost daily bunglings of the various MP's as they fall foul of zip wires, bigoted northern pensioners and their own expense receipts.

The trouble of course is that a bunch or grey men in grey suits are, on the surface of it, all too forgettable.

Of course all political parties employ 'spin' but the greatest example of this may well be unintentional.  When, to pick an example entirely at random, an MP hits the headlines because he may or may not have called a bobby a filthy plebeian, many people will be encountering this character for the first time - or at least think they are.  They may also come to realise that they don't even know which party said MP is presently in the employ of.

Sure they sometimes wear a coloured tie for the less discerning amongst us to work out who the goodies and baddies are (or baddies and less baddies for a more accurate picture) but I say lets go a step further.

Organisations such as Marvel, the WWE and them what make Mortal Kombat know the power of the easily discernible character.  Imagine how many more might tune in if a roided out Ed Milliband came to the commons debate to try to slam a servo-assisted mechsuit wearing David Cameron through a big pasting table whilst his back benchers held up placards with questions on them.

Voter apathy could easily be combated at the next election by a series of increasingly powerful politicians in brightly coloured costumes engaging in battles near the London Eye or outside Windsor Castle.

Having to bulk up, create special weaponry or seek out irradiated animals to get bitten by might stop these little scamps getting themselves into trouble and would also force the broadsheets to look a lot more like my beloved comics.

In fact, if this doesn't happen, I might go back to being an ignoramus.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Hey, You In The Future

Well then.  That was the year that was eh?
 
Him off that film did that thing.  That royal upset that ambassador by saying what he did said.  That sports guy was in court for...oh it's time to 'fess up.


I wrote this 'blog' over a year ago.  Yes back in the halcyon days of talk about dozenth dip recessions and riots I wonder what the world of the future will be like.  I imagine very, very similar to the one we inhabit now.  Lets face it, you're either reading this on an incrementally improved piece of technology or on a piece of Earth, blown out into space because Tesco and Sainsbury's finally decided to settle who is most dominant utilizing price-cutting and thermo-nuclear warheads.

For my part I must apologize if the writing style of this entry is jarringly different to what you have become accustomed to this last year.  I have either improved drastically or have finally become the drunken bum I always suspected I would.  It is quite possible that by the time this post goes out, I have made several rambling early morning entries about whatever is causing my inebriated self to be ageaved before selling my internets and what-not for a brand of cider with the word 'White' in it.

I wonder if the previously aired topic of population is more of a prevalent issue at the end of 2012.  If so 'hello, person 43,465,968,164!

No doubt if everyone isn't a sex-slave on Targon-6 by now, being felt up by a many-tentacled-thing a lot of people will be awaiting the yearly ear/taste-bashing inanity of X-Factor:- Unless of course shop-keepers decided to take to the streets this summer and ransack the homes of chavs, denying them their 'hooman rites' to text vote for their favourite karaoke singer whilst the as-yet undeclared winner of this years show lies forgotten in the gutter or worse, on an Iceland ad.

Anyhoo, that's me, from the past.  Don't forget to save me some moon soup and space pie!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

One Of Our Halloween's Is Missing

Well here we are again.

There's been attempts at terror, explosions and burning effigies.  No, I'm not talking about the Middle-East but Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night here in good old Blighty.

The former there was a bit of let-down I thought.  Halloween would clearly do well to avoid falling on a Wednesday again as this seems to have affected the festivities.  The weekends on either side of Samhain were mostly bereft of costumed parties and on the day itself the only dark and disconcerting haunts I saw were the empty local boozers in my region, spookily empty and not in a good way.

Still, Bonfire Night proved slightly more robust with tyres and old pallets being wilfully destroyed for days on end this year, the UK especially gleefully sticking the V's up to Mother Nature and the Kyoto Protocol in order to celebrate the state sanctioned execution of some chaps over four hundred years ago.

Still, next year good old All Hallows' Evening falls on a Thursday.  This combined with the lack of 'owt down this year and the year being that of 2013 might ensure a decent night of ghost, goblins, witches, vampires and the like next time around.

If we survive that is.  More on that, next blog...

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

New Tech, Old Hat

Here in good old Blighty we have a comic that goes under the title of The Dandy.  Pre-dating the official sequel to 'The Great war', The Dandy was very much a magazine of its time.  Aimed at children it largely features several strips per issue including over the years the lakes of Bananaman, Desperate Dan and Korky the Cat.

The reason this is being told at you is that this year supposedly sees the end of the distributing of hard copy versions of the magazine seeing The Dandy become an on-line digital publication only.

 What new challenges might Dan face?

This seems to have been met with derision by old readers of the comic though I can't entirely fathom why.

It's true that I myself tend to lean towards having a preference for my sequential art in a form I can hold/lend/use as lining for the bird-cage should it happen to have been drawn by Rob Liefeld.  I do however understand that this decision will not have been taken lightly, after all, The Dandy is one of the three longest running comics of all time.

Truth be told, I never really liked The Dandy as a kid.  I seem to recall reading a few annuals of it and The Beano - Dandy's 'sister' comic - and finding them oddly depressing:- make of that what you will.  I also imagine that when told The Dandy was being taken off the shelves many people on your typical high street would say things like, 'I didn't know that was still going'; 'What the f**k are you on bout mate?; or indeed 'Nie rozumiem'.

I guess my point is it is always nice to have choice in these matters - as mentioned I am a thing made of things and like to have my things made of things I can...erm...see? - but I might also proffer the idea that given said periodical's decidedly antiquated/cosy take on the world, the complainers ought to consider themselves lucky that The Dandy is continuing in any format at all.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Darren Not Versus The Olympics

Soooooooo, The Olympics is on...

For anyone following 'the games' you may have noticed some of the odder events that make up the proceedings.  Of course 'odder' is subjective but come on; Handball?

Don't we have that already but with...you know...feet?

I don't actually know if this is a new sport or why I haven't spotted any curling yet.  Could curling have been part of them there winter Olympics?

It strikes me that the events are generally in two camps.  The ones where you either do something or you don't and the winner is clear to all and sundry; or the games where the entrants do stuff and some people at a nearby table tell them whether they did it right/better than the others/made a right tit of themselves.

The former camp would include givin' it legs (running), putting a heavy thing somewhere put returning it whence it came (weight lifting) and barely disguised specialist material for onanists without Internet access (beach volley ball).

The latter camp contains prodding folk a bit (fencing), grabbing someone else's jymjams (judo) and fallin' (diving).

It seems to be the first set of activities that garner the most following (beach volley ball excepted) because it's just easier isn't it?  Not for the athletes per-se (diving excepted here) but for the viewer.  Sit next to your average pub drunk and aside from having to listen to the list of unlikely reasons he's not 'on there, doing that'* and it becomes obvious that if there are simple numbers and targets involved people are fine.  However ask Average Joe or Johnny Six-Pack to declare whether or not a back-flip passed muster and there's absolutely no reason for him to be able to give a sound, cohesive opinion.

Anyways, I'm not actually here to 'diss' the event.  Tto be honest the opening went much better than any armchair cynic expected it to and whilst I feel the same creeping lack of interest as many others with mild, self-diagnosed A.D.D. (or whatever the radicalised term for 'can't be botheredness' is these days) because this thing runs for about three weeks or summat, that's not to say that the Olympics does go on a bit

In fairness, that's fine.  The run-time is completely off-set by other factors such as A) The Olympics comes around only every four years whereas football is FOREVER AND BLOODY WELL ALWAYS! B) There are a variety of sports (Handball yet anyone?  Anyone?!) so there may be something to catch the eye of most people and C) Don't worry if it got in the way of your actual life - as in the case of most Londoners it seems - because we won't host it again for the best part of a century at least!

The truth is whilst I can generally take it or leave it, the Olympics is actually quite well suited to today's telly watching public.  The events are short, simple and if you don't like one, there'll be something else along soon enough.

And if you REALLY don't like the Olympics well let's face it.  Here in good old Greenwich Meantime, unless something is on slap-bang in the middle of good old Blighty, we'll all be asleep when the next one is one anyways!

*The reason it turns out is not because he was a fifty-odd year old soak who's only running experience comes from getting to the dole office on time; nor was it because he isn't and never was a small Chinese girl with years of training behind him;  It was simply that he 'just wouldn't fancy doing that'.