Sunday, November 27, 2011


Totally inequipped to deal with vampires.

Last night I dreamed that I was a suspended sheriff's deputy in a small town in the Unites States. Kaki, who was still my wife in the dream worked in publishing. I found out that she had been receiving mail from a serial killer in the hope of turning it into an exclusive book and making enough money for us to leave the one-horse small town once and for all. I persuaded her that we had to go to the shitkicking sheriff, and share all our information with him. Unfortunately, it was too late. We'd attracted the attention of the serial killer, and he'd come to town to make our acquaintance. Also, turns out he's a vampire.

People started going crazy and eating one another, but I still didn't quite realise what was going on. Not until the sheriff started screaming and driving his squad car around town, sirens on. I tried to wave him off the road, but he just powered towards me. I dodged him and landed in a pile of snow, and the squadcar plunged into a frozen lake. I dived in to try and save the sheriff, but when I got him out, I looked into his face and saw that he had changed. Suddenly he leapt up and started tearing at my flesh. A bunch of other townspeople joined in and started to devour me. So, I died. Cherry-coloured blood started flowing everywhere.

Apparently, when you die in one of my dreams, you float above your body and look down, while god tells you which of the beliefs that you had in life were misheld. The only thing I can remember god telling me was "William Blake is a liar". And then I woke up.

Several disturbing things about this dream:
1) I haven't had an "everybody is turning into vampires except you" dream since I was around 11 and snuck down to watch Salem's Lot. I attribute this to the fact I recently read Salem's Lot, and also Enter, Night by Michael Rowe, which is in many ways similar.
2) In this dream, the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians is basically my wife's fault.
3) My dream is trope central. From the shitkicker sheriff, the less experienced deputy, the one literary person in town, is basically ripped off from every small-town isolation horror that has ever existed. I bet the snow was playing havoc with cellphone reception in my dream, too. I can't believe my subconscious is so unoriginal. Must do better.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture

Dear Sir,

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Nigeria intends to buy 2000 (Two- Thousand) units of Tractors.With my very good and strong contacts in the ministry, I can introduce your company to the procurement committee of the ministry for the supply. Payment is by 100% Telegraphic Transfer in advance before delivery upon contract sign. Delivery period is 9 months, where partial delivery will be allowed Therefore if you are interested and agree to pay me an agreed commission after you received your contract payment, contact me as soon as possible for further details to recommend you to the Contract Awarding Committee of the ministry to handle the supply.DIRECT RESPONSE FROM THE CEO,OWNER OR PRESIDENT OF THE COMPANY WILL BE TREATED AS SERIOUS

Danladi Mustapha
Salimu Consults
No 67 Danubi Cresent
Maitama, Abuja

Now the problem with this scam is that unless the recipient owns a company that supplies tractors, they will not respond. Does this guy think that everyone in the west owns a tractor company? Was he trying to send the email to John Deere and it got sidetracked? We will never know. To top this off, there are no bold claims or references to Jesus in this one. Must try harder.

Hopelessly flawed: 0/5

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another videogame review

Fallout 3

Yes, I'm aware that while I'm playing this you are all playing Skyrim. Most of you were finished with this game in 2009. But I spent two years in the mid-naughties as a globe-trotting transient and three after that refusing to buy an Xbox because I was only going to move to Canada and leave it. Well, I'm here now, dammit, and I'm catching up. So: Fallout 3. For a start, I love the atmosphere of the game, and the desolate Mad Max-esque environments. I have had a wonderful time building my character - who I tried to make look like me but has ended up looking almost exactly like Gordon Freeman - and going round interacting with the different NPCs, getting information on the game world etc. So far, so RPG.

Fallout 3's best point is that its a fully realised, detailed world that sucks you in. The side quests are interesting, if a little silly sometimes, and just roaming around the world discovering things is very diverting.

Then there are the bad points. The graphics are, even for a game of this vintage, a little bit basic. The models look rather cartoonish, a far cry from the realist models we're used to seeing today. This could be a symptom of "You Just Played LA Noire" syndrome, but I'm not so sure.

The AI in the game is unmistakably rubbish, with most enemies running straight towards you ready to have their heads taken off in the VATS aiming system. It's this system that actually provides most of the combat-based fun.

For instance, my character is a gun freak who specialises in rifles. My two favourite weapons are currently a backwater rifle that I stole from some hillbillies in Point Lookout, and the other is Lincoln's Repeater, which I stole from, well, Abraham Lincoln. It's a long story. The VATS targeting system allows me to deliberately shoot a slaver in the torso to see if I can make him do a backflip. If you must know, I can. The slow motion kicks in and you follow the bullet as it fires home, in a manner reminiscent of old-school Max Payne. Most of the time though, you'll just find yourself shooting people's heads off and watching them fly off with slightly confused expressions. It's great, but it doesn't stop the game feeling slightly old fashioned.

Other bad points about the game include the fact that its buggy as all hell. Frequently weird things will happen, for instance robots will spawn high up in the sky and then drop to their deaths. I have no idea why this happens. NPCs that are meant to be temporary companions will disappear for no apparent reason. And that's not to mention the fact that the game (this game only) seems to overload my TV and make it switch itself off. I have no idea why this happens. Other, more graphically intense games play fine on my system.

I have the game of the year edition, which features a bunch of DLC. I haven't played the Pitt yet, but from what I hear its a hell of a lot better than Mothership Zeta. That was a lot of dungeon crawling, with repetative enemies, for not much reward. Point Lookout, on the other hand, was much better. Interesting missions, different enemies, new weapons, a whole new map to traverse, good times. I would be hacked off if I'd shelled out money for Mothership Zeta though.

I know I'm complaining a lot, but this really is a good game. It's immersive and fun. I just wish I had played it three years ago when it first came out. In three years time, I'm sure I will enjoy Skyrim in the same way.