Archive for February, 2005


New snowboard, bindings and boots.

First Impressions

Going Native by Descent World

The long awaited new DVD from Descent World came through the door this morning. If you’re not into your bicycles and your dirt you’re not really going to be up for this, bus as you may well be aware I’m somewhat fanatical about the things.

I’m happy to say its a pretty good video. Not quite up to the high standards of Earthed or The Collective, but pretty damn good nonetheless. There’s a little too much dirt jumping in there for my liking, but that’s offset by some lovely footage from Fort William, Innerleithen, Dunkeld and various other tracks around Europe. Its always nice ace seeing the professionals blasting down tracks and being able to say “I’ve ridden that!” in a way that you really can’t with most of the videos coming from the States and Canada. The only real problem is that its not long enough.

Luxembourg by The Bluetones

A while back, The Bluetones had the audacity to release a new album without telling me! The bastards! Still, I got a copy of it eventually, and the early signs are that its a stormer. Its edged Evil Nine out of my work PC’s CD drive for now anyway.

Its a different sound to their previous outings, this time they’ve gone a bit rocky and electro. For me that’s a good thing – it seems to work well with their dependably great lyricism. I’m not going to say any more until I’ve had a chance to listen to it a bit more, but thus far I’m enjoying it.

This evening I rediscovered Arkanoid

Not just any old Arkanoid mind. I rediscovered the best version of them all: Megaball.

Way back in the day I got my very first computer. It was an Amiga A500Plus – and it was loaded! It had 2mb RAM, the ECS chipset, AmigaOS 2.1 and (get this) a 20mb SCSI hard drive. I even got a CD-ROM drive for it. Along with some random old dot matrix printer I had for it and a copy of Wordworth I could do all of my homework on it. Deluxe Paint 3, Brilliance 2.0 and Imagine let me paint and animate all sorts of crap. But that wasn’t what it was used for 95% of the time.

Oh no. You see once upon a time, I bought myself a copy of Amiga User International magazine. And on the coverdisc was an absolutely brilliant little game: Megaball by Al and Ed Mackey.

I must have devoted whole weeks of my life destroying my own high scores. It was absolutely addictive. My mother was partial to the odd go on it too – and the only game that had interested her at all before then was the classic Digger.

Fast forward to this evening, and I was feeling a bit nostalgic. I’d been reading some forums and came across a post saying that games these days don’t really push the hardware the way they did in the old days. After putting them to rights (Half Life 2? Not pushing the hardware? Ha!) I found myself looking back at all the old games I used to love. So I went searching for Megaball.

Well I never. Al Mackey has got a website, and you’ll never guess whats on there? Megaball 4! Yay! Woo! Houpla! Only one problem: I haven’t got an Amiga anymore, and I haven’t yet got around to installing WinUAE on this machine. Back to Google we go then…


What do I find next? A Windows tribute to the mighty MegaBall – DXBall. Its brilliant – not quite as good as the original, but still very playable and really really addictive. I seem to have been playing it for hours now. In fact, I’m going to pop back in for one last game…

Flat Back Tyre

I had a fantastic ride today, except for one little thing.

I was out on the Stiffee, blasting up and down the hills of Gloucestershire. I’d climbed the fireroads, descended on some ace singletrack, blatted down roads, got chased by dogs, moo-ed at some cows, got absolutely caked in mud and generally enjoyed myself. There was huge puddles, thick mud and even patches of snow here and then. I was informed by a walker that it was complete insanity to be out there in shorts, but I was fine all the time I was moving.

I was about two thirds of the way up the final climb when I started to notice the roots and rocks a lot more through the back of the bike. That can mean only one thing. Flat back tyre. Arse. This meant stopping in the biting wind to change it.

Typical. I got the old tube out and inflated it, only to find that there was no sign of a puncture. What’s more, there’s no sign of a thorn in the tyre – I’ll just have to risk putting the new tube straight in then. I just love punctures like that. I got one last week, and I pumped up the old tube when I got home to see if I could find the puncture. Its still up now.

By the time I was done I couldn’t feel my fingers and I was shivering like a good’un. I soon warmed up once I got going again though, and the new inner tube is a gert big DH one – so hopefully it’ll be a lot harder to puncture.

I really don’t get out and ride cross-country often enough. Its great – like a little adventure every time I go out. I always forget just how much fun it is going out in horrible conditions, so when I get up in the morning (or more likely, the afternoon) I can’t bring myself to get out there unless its sunny. But going out today in the wind and rain was ace! What’s more it seemed like I was the only rider out there. I descended a trail, and then rode back up it a couple of hours later – and the only tyre marks I saw were my own.

I got back and got in the shower and got that mad “I-was-cold-just-now-and-now-i’m-boiling” tingly itching thing all over. Bweeeuurrrh.

Evil Nine: You Can Be Special Too

A while back I bought Adam Freeland’s album and visited the record label website on a whim. There I discovered Evil Nine, a couple of breakbeat djs who were working on an album. Unfortunately, the record label went bankrupt (apparently through no fault of their own).

Then a while back, Marine Parade records popped back up onto the scene – complete with Evil Nine and their fantastic single Crooked. The album “You Can Be Special Too” seemed to be available but I couldn’t find it and I forgot about it for a while. A couple of weeks ago I spotted it on Amazon, and ordered it.

I can’t be bothered to write a review – there’s plenty of others being complimentary about it (AllMusicGuide, PlayLouder, HKClubbing, InTheMix) and others who aren’t (

Suffice it to say that I’ve been listening to it pretty much ever since. The new Chemical Brothers album that I bought at the same time hasn’t even been played all the way through yet!


« Loud Rumbling Noise »

I can see the dust cloud he’s kicking up behind him as he motors across the desert. He’s not seen me yet either. God knows how he’s missed me, I’m in a huge BMP – 2 Battle Tank! Maybe he’s ignoring me in the hope that I won’t unleash my mightly machine gun of fury upon him?

Sod that, I’ve got a missile launcher on here too! Right, trace him across the desert, put the crosshair right in front of his tank, right-click…


DIRECT HIT! Ace! How satisfying is that!?

Ooops, there’s a helicopter. Oh crap, its one of theirs and they’ve spotted me. Best try to do something about it then. Crosshair, angle up…



Oh crap, there’s another one! Oh crappety crap crap, Brett’s flying it. I’m a dead man.


BBBEEEAAATTTCCHHH! Damn it, come on respawn, respawn. I’m gonna take you down!!!

Low Flying Pixels

I’ve just gone and got myself a new graphics card and monitor for my PC. I thought relying on seven year old technology was perhaps leaving me behind the times a little, so I purchased an Sapphire 9800 Pro graphics card (in a fetching red colour) and a nice LG 17″ TFT monitor (cheers for the reccommendation Simon).

The monitor is an absolute revelation. I knew the old one was on the way out, but I hadn’t realised just how far it had gone. All of a sudden white shows up as white, and I get a full set of greyscales without fading down to black about two thirds of the way down the scale. The colours are pretty damn good too, at least to my untrained eyes.

The video card is pretty sweet too. Its really rather quick (unlike its Catalyst control software, which feels like its running through thick, gloopy treacle) and is happy to go up to ludicrous resolutions should I feel the need to. Maybe its the retrogeek in me, but it seems faintly ridiculous that I should have 128mb RAM on my graphics card. The old one had a grand total of 4mb – and that seemed like absolutely loads at the time.

Now with all this stuff, I thought I’d give online gaming another go. So I fired up Unreal Tournament. Frustrating is the only real word that I can use to describe it. There are now so many new levels, skins, sounds, weapons and other mods out there that you spend more time downloading and installing them than you do actually playing. Then when you do you come up against players who have been practising for far far too long. I think I managed about fifteen seconds without getting killed once.

Sod that then, lets give Battlefield 1942 and Desert Combat a go. That’s more like it. I can play for whole minutes at a time without being killed. Again, people are just far far too good at it, especially those of them who can strafe the Apache gunships quite so well. More practise needed there too methinks. Its ace fun playing it cooperatively though. Myself and my housemate log onto the same server, get onto the same team and then attempt to use teamwork to capture the bases and so on. It rarely works out but its great fun and very rewarding when it does.

So, online gaming exhausted, I thought I’d fire up Photoshop. Huh? What’s this? You mean I’ve got space to have all of the palettes on screen and see all of the image? With only one monitor? Wow.

I’d best quit that before I start getting creative or something.

Untitled Playlist

In no particular order (the player will be in shuffle mode anyway)…