Thing of the Month October 2013

Latimer and ridley

We are fan-girls – we get obsessed about anything and everything, very quickly… it’s a curse and gift (sort’a!) that we both share!

When we find something we love, we stand up on virtual rooftops and scream – “watch this! go here! eat this! love this! listen to this! read this!”

We have so many obsessions, big, small, wonderful, weird,… weirder. We accumulate new ones by the month! Like hoarders.

We give an RSA (Ridley Stamp of Approval) or an LSA (Latimer Stamp of Approval) to the things we like best – if one of us gives one, then the other knows it’s something is good!

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One of us will ask; “Ah, but does it have an R/LSA?” 🙂

We’ve decided to share one of our R/LSA’s each and every month!

Yes, welcome to *drum roll* —- THING OF THE MONTH! (*boom*)

Latimer’s LSA: For me, it’s a book series!

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You know how it goes; you find a series of books you love and you just devour it like it’s chocolate – you ride the book high. And you feel awesome! (that was me, I found a series that had me riding that high!).

That series is The Seven Realms by Cinda Chima Williams (4 books total – I like a good sized series me!). It was recommended by mseregon (who mentioned it on deviantart)!

The Seven Realms series - soooo pretty, neh?

The Seven Realms series – soooo pretty, neh?

I’d never heard of it before! So I owe mseregon so much!

The Seven Realms is a good old-fashioned pure fantasy series. It has been a while for me, a long while, since I stepped back into that world!

It made me want to seek out the Belgariad series (by David Eddings)!

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I read it so long ago, I hardly remember it – but I remember that I loved it (if that makes any sense!). It’s in my attic somewhere – I went looking, but I had to fight a bird and a massive spider up there, so I got freaked out and ran away screaming!

Anyways, The Seven Realms is a great fun, high-fantasy series, with magic, adventure, romance and mystery! Ah, but beware, with great joy comes sadness – when it ends… argh, you hit the book-low!

WHAT NOW!? ARGH

WHAT NOW!? ARGH

Yep, you know the feeling, the ‘what now?!’.

 It’s chasing the dragon and getting burned.

Hopefully, by sharing this series, someone will recommend me a new one! But please, chase this dragon… it’s worth the burn!

Ridley’s RSA: My thing of the month isn’t as impressive as Lat’s, I didn’t have a dragon chasing experience, though I plan on it soon as she passes on that series she’s just finished (I know they’ve been bagged up and they’re just now waiting for my grubby hands to get on them, haha).ID-10071274

It has a serious LSA attached, so I’m really looking forward to delving deep and not coming up for air until I’ve devoured each book and have slumped over in a fit of depression where I fully believe that nothing else will ever top them. You know how it is. 🙂

20131017_104627This month I started a new comic book series, Fables. It was not in any way what I expected. Basically all the well known characters from our fairy tales (Snow White, Prince Charming, Red Riding Hood etc) have all been driven out of their magical lands and they’re currently etching out a life in New York city. As you’re a child when you read these stories, I came to the series (without realising I was doing this though) expecting it to be a little like the fairy tales of old, I thought it would be quite light-hearted, little childish, maybe just a new take on the old stories. I was quite wrong. It’s very much for adults, where in the opening pages there is an apartment trashed and covered in blood, then there’s Prince Charming seducing a waitress into paying for his restaurant bill and bringing her home for the night and the Big Bad wolf is an old school smoking Columbo like detective who has a serious crush on Snow White (can you tell I’m already rooting for them to get together?? 😀 ).Columbo

It’s an absolutely massive series with something like 133 issues, which is both fantastic – knowing I’ve so much I can work through – but daunting at the same time.FABL_Cv133_previews_qopkm6dkvn_

My one gripe with this new reading genre that Latimer and I are trying to break into (she’s doing such a better job of it than I am too!) would be how quickly you go through a comic, I read volume one of Fables in one sitting, so then you’re left sitting there wanting more. With a book you can just sink your teeth into it, and then when you’re left waiting for a sequel you know when you get it, it’s going to be enough to slake your thirst, you’ll get to find out what happens to the characters. Though I suppose the exact same could be said for manga and I still love those too!

We’d love to hear your Thing of the Month, here in the comments, or if you want to post one to your blog – maybe we could make a chain of fan-girls sharing fandoms!

As hoarders we love to collect new obsessions! Hopefully we’ve given you some fun things to check out too! 😀 

Silhouette against the Stars

ID-1009962Ridley: So, for those of you who were knocking around here this time last year, you know we created a stop motion silhouette trailer for our book, Legend Unleashed.

Now I don’t know where the year has gone (it seems to have flown by on turbo wings), but we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck into creating another video for book 2, which will be the sequel to Legend Unleashed. Hopefully this time around we’re a little older and wiser, and better able to not get accidentally stabbed by the Stanley knife, meaning we won’t repeat old mistakes, but we reserve the right to make new ones! So, as part of my “research” (read, procrastination) I decided to look up some of the latest (and some classics) of stop motion silhouettes and I said I’d share some of them here. 

An absolute classic here from Lotte Reiniger, who was basically a founder of this style really. This was made in 1922, making something like this for that time, it must have blown away audiences. Look at the intricate, detailed work on the various ‘sets’ and characters, the fact he was able to easily portray a feather in a cap, or a sweeping dress in this medium is very impressive.

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This I like as it’s quite quirky. I loved the addition of the colours in the girl’s hair and dress, and the bell style with the design in the middle of the skirt is just lovely. Also, the transitions between the different scenes, say where she’s floating up to the guy in the hot air balloon, were really well done.

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The style in this is really different to anything I would have tried in the past, there’s way more colour in it for a start. I loved the changing background of the different newspapers, it does have me wondering how it was done as that was impressive, and the moon rising up was beautiful!

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Another very different style, but still really pretty and some fantastic skilled work gone into its creation. Plus I quite like the song!

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Here’s a music video, I think it was stop motion, though it looks so perfectly done, I’m sure there was some computer polishing at some point. The vibrant colours in this are just fantastic in it though, wish I could make something like this. Reach for the stars, eh? 🙂

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Now technically this one doesn’t count, as it’s all done on computer and there’s not actually any stop motion involved, just the silhouettes, but it’s so beautifully done I just had to include it!

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Lastly, here’s one of my favourite silhouette illustrators, Jan Pienkowski, his art is just so amazing.spread01_w400

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Manga and Me

I'm a manga nut and I'm okay!!

I’m a manga nut and I’m okay!!

Latimer: I’m a bit of a manga nut.

I really adore them. They are also the means through which I’ve developed, rightly or wrongly, my view of Japanese, and to some degree Korean, culture!

I’m a fangirl, so I love shoujo – the girly manga! I love the ones set in schools; the drama between the school president and the yankee, or the shy girl and the cool guy.

In Korean ‘shoujo’ manhwa there’s always (ALWAYS) a jjang (leader of the gang), in the story. Sometimes it’s the girl, and sometimes it’s the boy. So again, I know I’m misguided, but I just assume in every Korean high-school there are warring factions of gangs, and everyone can fight and kick-ass! And everyone is angry… so angry!

I wouldn’t be able to hide my disappointment if I turned up (very randomly) at a Korean high-school and I wasn’t caught in a show-down between two rival gangs from opposing schools. Even though I don’t speak the language, I’d know… I’d just know what was going on. I’d know the first jjang had kissed the other jjang’s sister, or belittled her… and I’d stand there fists waving in the air screaming.

“Oh it’s on! FIGHTING”

Then if I ended up at a Japanese high-school, I’d be looking for the yankee (the bad boy, delinquent) and the bookish girl – or the tsundere (initially cold character who shows their good side in time – a staple of the shoujo!) school president and the silly, but kind-hearted girl… and I’d be chuckling to myself thinking; “Oh how is this going to turn out!”

It's Yank-mee!! Nani TEME!!

It’s Yank-mee!! Nani TEME!!

Ah, manga (and manhwa), you really distort reality for me (but in a way that makes me so happy)! Reading them is a roller-coaster ride of emotions!

Pandora Hearts, confuses me, makes me gasp in awe, then confuses me again…

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Naruto always makes me emotional – it’s the best manga for making you empathize with the baddies, because they were good once… or they have these tear-inducing back-stories…

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Kamisama Hajimemashita makes my fangirl squee – such a lovely romance story! 

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Tomoe is a Kitsune (fox) demon – not a vampire (though it looks that way here!) …. Anyway, I’m off on Cloud Squee!

Anything by Minami Maki will make me laugh and wait desperately for the next chapter; her stories and artwork are sweet and cute and hilarious…

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Then, recently (and as it’s a week for pets!), I came across this webcomic (they seem to be v.popular in Korean – at least to my untrained eye). It’s called My Young Cat and My Old Dog (by Cho) and it is… wonderful…

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If you have a pet, it will make you cry.

At times the issue/episode/chapter is about the young playful pet and all the silly things they do. Then at times it’s about the old pet, who isn’t quite as fast as they used to be, or sleeps more than they used to. It’s those one’s that grab your heart and squeeze the feels out, leaving you gasping and in tears (I am an emotional being!).

I'm 16 years old 1 im 16 I'm 16 years old 2I have an old, old dog, and those episodes make me pause and think of him 😦

Well, but there’s lots of joy to be had in the series too, things that make you remember how wonderful your pet is. How selfless and how they love you unconditionally; they love you for you, no other reason and we love them too..

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Ah, manga and manhwa, you give me so many different feelings – and I love you for it 🙂

Animal-napping

ID-100194768Ridley: I love animals. I always have, even as a child I used to spend half my time animal-napping other people’s pets. One of the days, when I was seven, I remember grabbing a full packet of ham and laying a meaty trail in through our front gate for this gorgeous basset hound I’d spotted on the street.basset_hound

The minute he’d ambled into our garden, I leapt forward, slamming the gate closed while laughing, ‘He’s mine now!’. Mind, he was quite clearly someone elses, with his lovely new collar and name tag (complete with address and all on the back) but I cheerfully ignored all these obvious signs of people ownership as I hugged him and he became mine for all of half an hour until my mother released him. *sigh* I even tried to adopt a skunk once, not really understanding that they weren’t fluffy cats with large white stripes (all those episodes with Pepé le Pew tricked me!).download

That aborted animal stealing event ended with me being scrubbed in the bath with tomato juice. It was shortly after this that my parents eventually relented and got me a white kitten, which I called Precious (no, I didn’t really think that name through too well, that or I was already showing Gollum-like tendencies, ‘My Presciousssss’)images

Since then, we’ve had numerous beloved, and not forgotten, animals. Not least of which are the ones at home at the moment.

We have three dogs, which are known as the twins (two cairn terriers – Ernie and Daisy) and the big ‘un (Raffles, half dalmatian, half cocker spaniel).

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Back Camera

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There’s also our cat Pigeon, who is basically the princess in the house, we (okay, I) spoil her rotten (little treats of tuna, special Whiskas milk) and she now expects it. I am convinced all cats remember the time when they were once worshipped in ancient Egypt; Pigeon in particular must have been some high priestess or something, as she gets annoyed if she’s given normal cat food.20130405_24820130405_265

I swear the four of them think they’re humans, or at least they act like it. And yes, I’m sure you noticed that I called my cat after a bird, I really wanted to call her something like Cleopatra (she would have been Cleo for short, I had it all planned out) or Crookshanks, but the family vetoed all of my well thought out (and pilfered from various movies/books) names, so eventually I said, ‘she’s grey, we’re calling her Pigeon’, of course everyone protested, telling me I couldn’t call a cat after a bird. Ha, watch me. (Latimer wanted me to call her Dobby, but I didn’t think she had big enough eyes)

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Pigeon also has the three dogs wrapped around her little paw. If she’s ever in a fight with another cat, she races down the wall, happily leading her would-be attacker into the back garden. Then she hops down right into the centre of the three dogs. Who see another cat chasing their special Pigeon and they rear up barking. All the while, behind them is Pigeon, with a smug little expression staring up at her shell shocked enemy who turns tail and flees in horror. Ingenious really, and kinda evil, is it little wonder she’s my cat…haha

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Anyone else have crazy cats and dotty dogs? What would you do without them, eh? 😀

Avatar: Rise of the Naughties Cartoon

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Latimer: As a nineties kid, I always felt like we had the best cartoons – all the Marvel cartoons, Gargoyles, Animals of Farthing Wood, Mummy’s Alive, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Batman… the list goes on!

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Those cartoons had proper, involved story-lines.

But somewhere in the late nineties cartoons got fixed on this one episode, one story, structure, that I never liked. I always missed the ‘larger picture’, the big story arcs.

Then, around this time, I more or less stopped watching cartoons – so they remained, in my mind, fixed in that ‘one episode, one unconnected story’ structure.

In slightly later life, I swapped Western cartoons for Eastern ones. This would be around the time my obsession with anime kicked in. In anime, big story-lines never went out of style!!

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I noticed early in the naughties Western cartoons started to taken on this East-meets-West style; an almost ‘anime but not quite, style’. I think it was due to the popularity of anime at the time.

That was probably what brought me slightly back to Western cartoons.

I think out of all those new ‘East-meets-West’ cartoon series, Avatar, has got to be one of the best.

NICKELODEON THE LAST AIRBENDER

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Forget that terrible movie version. The cartoon is where it’s at!

Avatar is a great show. I was late to the game – I haven’t seen all of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but am a pretty big follower of Avatar: Legend of Korra.

I love the style, music and feel of Avatar… It’s a well-thought out story-line, with interesting characters, with interesting ethnic backgrounds. Basically the story is focused on a world where people have the power of controlling (bending) elements; water, fire, earth and air. The avatar is the one person in the world that can do all four and is sort of the, near as I can tell, spiritual and bending guide of the people. A big figure-head basically.

 

When the avatar dies, the next avatar is born and so on….

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So, when the new Avatar Korra takes centre-stage, you know that the previous Avatar, Aang, is dead.

Which is pretty sad actually, given that the last time we see him is as this chipper 12 year old kid who saved the world. We don’t really get time to grieve over that, we just have to accept it, which is… yeah kind of rough!

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But there’s lots of cool, funny characters in Legend of Korra too (and Korra is a very strong female lead, so that’s pretty cool!)

My favourite characters are Bolin and his little red panda Pabu – Bolin is just brilliant…

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Okay, so maybe the best cartoons didn’t end with the 90s, maybe there are lots more to come! 🙂

TED Talk Round up

Ridley: I love TED talks, I find I learn loads from them, so here are some of the ones I’ve enjoyed over the last few months!

If you ever get a chance to go to one of these events, do! I went to TEDx Dublin last year and it was absolutely brilliant. I missed out on buying the tickets for this year though, it sold out too quickly! I’ll have to try catch it next year!

“Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.” So make sure you take a power pose now and then when no one’s looking!

“Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.”

Love the idea of an elusive creative genius, sitting on your shoulder, whispering ideas in your ear like some Golem or Dobby like creature, only prettier possibly.

“Why do people succeed? Is it because they’re smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of success.”

“Dan Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.”

 

Quite Interesting

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Latimer: Lately I’ve been trying to get my ‘reading groove’ back on. Yup, it was gone for a while.

For me, the serious ‘groove’ comes on a little randomly – the urge to read more and more and MORE books!

My problem is, I buy too many books, then don’t get around to reading them. I have a serious backlog of books.

There are more.... there's always more; like Highlander

There are more…. there’s always more; like Highlander

Like you would not believe – and yes, I have since ordered more! I don’t learn, but I have decided that I will stop buying and clear the backlog in the lead up to Christmas.

(she says, but this turned up on her doorstep today!)

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His name is Clod Iremonger, and he is an Iremonger… HOW CAN I NOT READ THIS? I’m so intrigued…. I have a problem!

Ridley, I know, has a similar reading backlog, which I aim to make worse for her, because I have a bag of seven books for her (that she must read)! Ha 🙂

Now though, I am accountable, because I’ve put this in writing – ‘I will clear my reading backlog!’ – I will succeed! If you have a backlog, join me in my crusade of reading-before-buying-more! How is this going to end for me? Not well I don’t think.

But seriously, I have started to make an… effort.

Like I finally finished Qi: The Book of the Dead by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson (and it was brilliant)

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and I’m going to finish Bill Bryson’s At Home, which I have been reading on and off again for too long! (Bill Bryson’s books are fantastic really, but take forever to read!)

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I vow to finish this one before the end of October (oh, what have I done!).

When I finished The Book of the Dead a dam broke inside me and I felt inspired to get out and read all my poor abandoned books, because they’re all full of interesting things 🙂

The Book of the Dead is a book filled with brief stories about lots of different people, people you know like Thomas Edison and Casanova, to people you don’t like, Moll Cutpurse, a bear-baiting cross-dressing pickpocket and James Barry, a famous doctor in the early 1800s, who gave Florence Nightingale the worst dressing-down of her life, and … oh yea and he was actually a woman (though no one found out until she died!).

It has to be one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while.

I got emotionally caught up in peoples stories; like Nikola Tesla.

“If-you-wish-to-understand-the-Universe-think-of-energy-frequency-and-vibration.”-Nikola-Tesla

He invented the radio (although Marconi was awarded the honour and won a Nobel Prize for it).

Tesla was known as the ‘Father of the 20th Century’ and the master of electricity (more so than Edison). He was inventing things that were light-years ahead of his time; he even foresaw/wanted to make the internet – the man was a genius.

And he died in debt with no money, living with crippling OCD, though he should have been a millionaire.

But I came to realise that for some people, it isn’t about what their knowledge can give them, what monetary rewards, some people are just driven to answer questions and solve problems, because that’s where they get their joy.

Tesla’s business partner George Westinghouse was in financial ruin after a stock market crash, so Tesla dissolved the contract between them that was costing Westinghouse so much. He said;

‘You have been my friend, you believed in me when others had no faith; you were brave enough to go ahead… when others lacked courage; you supported me when even your own engineers lacked vision… you have stood by me as a friend… Here is your contract, and here is my contract. I will tear both of them to pieces, and you will no longer have any troubles from my royalties. Is that sufficient?’

It’s pretty special, and wonderful, that a person, who stood to gain 12 million dollars from those royalties, which would have made him one of the richest men in the world at that time, would do something so noble as to brush it all aside to help a friend.

Imagine that. It makes me feel pretty good about the world; we can be so good to one another sometimes.  

The book also taught me that real genius is a rare and beautiful thing; and if you haven’t shown a spark by the age of 10, kiss the notion goodbye! Ha. Reading the stories, I’d have to pause and stare into the distance thinking; ‘yup, that ship’s sailed!’

Dr John Dee, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s most trusted advisors, would spend 18 hours studying everyday; 4 hours sleeping and 2 hours were set aside for meals. I can’t do that!

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He was the original 007 too. He used to sign his letters to the queen ‘007’; it was a symbol that meant he was the Queen’s eyes, or that the letter was for her eyes only.

That's Dee, Mr Dee... Mystery? Ha.

That’s Dee, Mr Dee… Mystery? Ha.

Dee was known for his mysticism but actually he was a man of science too (though the word ‘science’ didn’t exist at the time and was essentially known as witchcraft). He used geometry to successfully map the globe and was the greatest book-collector of his day (with books on mathematics, earthquakes, dreams, women, Islam, games, botany, pharmacology and veterinary science, to name a few).

By the end of his life, plague had stolen almost all of his family away from him and he lived in desperate poverty (he fell out of favour with the Queen), with his daughter Katherine, having to sell his books one at a time so he could eat (he was 82 years old).

Now that really breaks my heart.

But the beautiful thing is, a girl who lived in the area described him as…

‘He was a great peacemaker; if any of the neighbours fell out, he would never let them alone till he had made them friends. A mighty good man he was.’

Again the survival of a few kind words about a good person, from a good person, it makes you feel pretty good again.

There’s something really up-lifting about this book. It does make you feel like you haven’t had much of an adventure yet, or you’re not very smart and never will be, but it also makes you feel like isn’t it great how many weird and wonderful people there have been in the world?

We’re silly and vain, stupid and clever, wacky and weird, and we always have been, and that’s pretty great 🙂

Behind the Masses

breaking-bad-logoRidley: I’m so behind!! Everyone has been facebooking, tweeting, blogging and talking about the end of Breaking Bad, and where am I? I’ve just started season 2, having stayed put at around episode 5 in season 1 for weeks and weeks.images It’s not like I didn’t know it was good, it’s been recommended to me over and over by various people since around season two/three, but I was watching other programmes like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.house-of-cards Now I feel like I’ve missed out and it’s going to take me months to catch up, by that time even the hard core Breaking Bad people will have gotten over their withdrawal symptoms and found something else to obsess over. That something else will become big, then I’ll end up being behind in that too, with more sprinting to catch up, it’s like a never ending, vicious – rather pathetic, have I nothing else to worry about- circle!! Haha.

Usually, I love giving recommendations to my friends and family if I find something good to read or watch, but I’ve been perpetually disappointed the last few months when every single person I’ve spoken to has either gone ‘I’ve seen that’ or ‘oh yeah I heard about that’ (hear the escaping wind as Ridley deflates in disappointment). Damn you internet and your wise, Ridley stealing, recommendations. I don’t think I’ve been ahead of the posse in anything since I was 12, where I predicted sticker collecting and the Power Rangers were going to be big, low and behold they were. (Latimer has heard this story at least a dozen times)

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Well, stickers were massive in my school anyway, I don’t know about nationwide or anything.puff

Oh and pogs, remember those? I knew people would love them, mainly cause I did, they were so much fun! Ah the 90s were great. I wonder where all my pogs are now…hmm…

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There was a time (we all know this isn’t true but I’ve convinced myself otherwise) that I had my finger on the pulse of what was cool and up-and-coming. Now I’ve to go cap in hand to my younger brother and see if he’ll throw me a few recommendation crumbs before the masses catch on. When I ask him how he knows, he just shrugs, ‘sure everyone knows that’s a good show’. Fine, keep your mysterious sources.*jealous glare*

I’m just living in hope that one day my predicting skills return, so far I remain predictionless, and so behind my television watching! First world problems, eh? ;D

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(also considering my last post was about reality television, I’m pretty sure people now think I’m like Jabba the Hutt vegetating on the couch watching endless episodes of Breaking Bad, Duck Dynasty, and all the rest…of course, you’d be right! Haha. No not really…)

Game Watchers

Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt... ho-yah!

Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt… ho-yah!

Latimer: I used to be a recreational gamer.

I wouldn’t say I was a real gamer, because I know what it is to be obsessed about stuff and I didn’t qualify for this one!

I do have a bit of a history with gaming though.

We used to have an Amstrad in our house, when I was young. I say we, but that’s a lie, my big brother owned it and it got passed down to us young’ens over time.

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It was a clunky, beautiful beast.

Games came on cassettes and you had to wait for it to ‘load’ whereby the title image would appear on the screen, one painful, pixelated line at a time.

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Games took a very, very, long time to load. I remember we had a game called ‘Run the Gauntlet’ that was a series of different races; boats, cars and a final cross-country level – that was impossible to pass!

I always wondered what came after that, as the computer AI’s whizzed past my character… I would sigh, thinking, ‘I’ll never know’. And I never did. The joy of being denied content because you have no talent for gaming – that was my lot!

I used to beg my parents to buy me a console.

A Sega Mega Drive?

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NO!

A Dreamcast (what happened to them!?)?

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NO!

A Playstation –

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No – look how are you not getting this by now? Stop asking!

Sometimes we would rent consoles from the video shop (I wonder do people do that at all anymore?) – it was about 10 pounds (back before the euro!) a night, and you’d get a game. Usually the console was a Sega. And it would be the best night ever and I’d wake up early the next day to get all the enjoyment I could before the console was pried away from me, never to be touched by my crappy, but loving, gaming hands again.

My brother somehow managed to wrangle a Gameboy out of my parents one year.

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That was brilliant… that’s when I met Kirby, in Kirby’s Dream Land. Oh what a game! The premise – you are Kirby, loveable vacuum-powered ball of joy, protecting his homeland from an evil dragon-creature.

Sssss... POW evil tree!

Sssss… POW evil tree!

This was one of the few I cleared and I still take it as a badge of pride. Ridley has this honour too I believe!

We did have games for the PC though. That’s where I met Lara Croft and I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist – ah, yeah, I was easily swayed!

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When my sister got a real job, she bought herself a Playstation and that was my first look into having a games console on demand. She bought Kingdom Hearts and to this day I will say that it’s my favourite game to play.

I'm a Keyblade Master!! I AM!!!!

I’m a Keyblade Master!! I AM!!!!

Here’s the thing, the ending made me cry and the whole game made me love Disney again. Yup, that’s the power of Kingdom Hearts – I won’t have a bad word said about Sora and the boys (Donald Duck and Goofy)!

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If I still had my young heart today, I would buy a console; a Playstation 3 or 4… or 5,000 – whatever it is now. But, truth is, being denied the content of a story because I couldn’t figure out the puzzle or beat the boss (which would be inevitable) would kill me. I remember telling Ridley once (as I was playing Kingdom Hearts 2) that I got a stabbing pain in my eye and had to lie down, because I couldn’t beat a boss (the one with the water guitar – ARGH!) – I got so frustrated I literately had to go lie down and sleep away the anger.

So I know that I couldn’t handle the stress.

That’s why today, I don’t play games. I’ve moved from recreational gamer, to avid games watcher. You see I love watching games trailers and game cutscenes.

That might seem weird, but computer games combine two of my loves, art and story-telling. Games are beautiful pieces of art and they’re getting smarter and bigger all the time – and this means the stories can get more complex and involved too. Games are like books; they draw you in.

Because I don’t play, I like watching people like Pewdiepie playing for me – because it’s fun to have the shock moments during the game and Pewds is fun!

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The new games today are amazing feats of world-building.

Bioshock Infinite had this massively involved story set in this epic world. It was a stunning place – a city in the clouds.

My ultimate favourite game to watch though is the Uncharted series! Oh how brilliant are they! It’s basically modern-day Indiana Jones treasure hunting.

Damn it's hot out in the desert...

Damn it’s hot out in the desert…

Uncharted 2 is a major reason for me wanting to go visit Nepal! I want to stand on a mountain surrounded by temples and prayer-wheels and flags… one day…one day!

I often wonder if there are other people out there who love to watch games as much as I do – other games watchers.

We should come up with a name for ourselves – unless it exists already, in which case… what are we? 🙂