22 September 2012

Criticus - Double Dragon Neon

Whilst Samantha Fox or that poster of the female Tennis player scratching her ass were pivotal in developing my long standing affinity for the female form, Double Dragon was actually my first true love.

Set un a unnamed urban sprawl, our quiffed twin brothers punch, kick and hair grab their way through the various henchmen of the 'Black Warrior' gang to rescue their mutual love interest Marian. Setting aside that Marian has no qualms whatsoever about banging twin brothers and is a bit of a skank, this was the 80's baby and this was as good as virtual ass kickery could get.

Fast forward to 2012 and its HD remake Double Dragon Neon and all is not well with out tag team lovers.

Firstly, and most shockingly of all, you no longer get to see that white flash of Marians underwear when she's nabbed in the intro. Back then this was the nearest young Studdley had got to any action and removing this iconic scrne is downright upsetting.

Control wise our brothers have not aged well at all as signs of arthritis abound in our heroes sluggish movement. They have not really learned any new tricks either since the original outing and seem blissfully unaware of this thing called 'the internet' as co op play is local only.

You may argue that it is pretty much a visual update only and you d be right. I was hoping for a little more variety though.

In summary, I have not been this disappointed since 'The Neverending story' ended.


12 September 2012

This is ManTearZ

The names of the following persons have been changed due to ongoing legal issues.

'Did you know that printer toner is highly toxic?' The sound of rapid key taps and the distant telephones occupied the space that a follow question ought to, unconcerned Darren continued. 'Yeah the fumes each printer kicks out are lethal. The closer you are the more you breath in, this place is basically a huge gas chamber. The only reason they are still in use is because its early days and Science does not have enough conclusive proof to get toner banned. That and we’d have nothing to print stuff with…'

More rapid key presses this time accompanied by a few bored sighs. It was Tuesday, not that this day was any more significant than another, for life inside these vanilla walls was an ever repeating cycle of misery and tedium broken up only by the odd uninteresting fact and occasional Coffee spillage. There had to be more to life than Microsoft excel and health and safety emails pondered Darren absently, his daily target already surpassed some two hours ago.
'Don’t you ever want more?' he loudly asked no one in particular.

Gary, who was sat at the desk diagonal to Darren shuffled in his seat excitedly and nudged his glasses further up his nose. 'I always want more but the Mrs says she’s too sore mate'. Another chorus of bored sighs.

'I mean, success, fame, women, the works. Why not some of that for us?'

'Cuz you need a talent…or boobs' offered Joe. 'You my friend have neither'. Gary nodded in agreement, his glasses slipping down his nose again.

Darren turned his gaze back to his screen and its rapidly blinking cursor. He’d know the three blokes he sat with nearly 2 years now. Gary was a father of three, married, mortgaged and harbouring the libido of a teenager on permanent heat. Joe was a more reserved fellow, with a dry wit and a recedeing hairline. He tried hard to be the voice of reason and maturity failing miserably most of the time. Bill had remained silent during this latest meeting of minds, a deeply intelligent man he always took a measured approach to life, at least until you got him into a lap dancing club that is. He often referred to Strippers as “his Kryptonite”.

'Did I ever mention I was in a band?' chirped Joe

'What kind of band?' enquired Darren with a strained look of interest plastered expertly across his face.

'An unsucessful one' laughed Bill.

'Well, we mainly play a downtempo jazz, blues fusion with punky ska elements. And dark-core. The dark-core elements were my idea' Joe proclaimed proudly.

A scornful managers look across the bank of desk silenced Joe abruptly cutting off his impending disection of the dark-core movement. Having seen the disapproving look Darren continued

'Stokes got talent is coming up soon, why don’t we give it a go?'

Gary chewed on his pen thoughtfully.

'Doing what? 'he asked

A contemplative pause as Darren looked each of his colleagues over, the faintest sparks of an ideas flickering into his thought process.

'A boy band!' He proclaimed loudly thumping his fist down onto his desk, jolting his lukewarm coffee out of its paper cup, strike one daily highlight down.

Joes brow furrowed, It was well know amongst his friends that he considered himself something of a musical prodigy, although he only played bass guitar which Bill freqently pointed out had four strings, and could be played competantly by a retarded chimpanzee. 'Name one successful boy band that had genuine talent' he challenged.

'Boys 2 men' replied Gary without breaking stride in his typing.

'Ok, ok..apart from Boys 2 Men obviously' countered Joe annoyingly.

'Talent Joe does not matter in the realm of the boy band. "Take That" couldn’t hold a tune between them, "Westlife" barely had a grasp of the English language yet their pikey esque delivery was enough to melt underwear and sell records by the shedload!. Can't think if a successful Welsh boy band mind...'
Gary jolted himself suddenly upright,

'Underwear? I'm in'

They both turned to Joe, who had a serious look on his face and was tapping his pen fiercely against his teeth 'You are going to need someone with a musical background and an indepth knowledge of the music indust…'

'Failing that you'll do mate' Darren interjected.

Bill leaned back casually, a wry grin on his face 'Of course you are going to need a manager, and as the most senior team member here that’s going to have to be me. If you are serious of course? Oh, and I've got a big van'.

And so from small seeds doth the mighty Oak grow, and what seemed like a throw away idea at the time would take our musical heroes to far reaching places and have an everlasting impact on one of our would be stars...

4 September 2012

Paying the price

Last Summer I wrote a blog entry explaining my thoughts behind leaving a well paid but highly stressful job I was struggling in to work back within my old company. In essence I took the safe option.

Granted, the last 12 months have seen me find my feet and claw my way back to the Dan of old, I have shared quality time with my daughter, who has had the luxury of a stress free, happy daddy. Jen and I married, but at the back of my mind was the feeling that this probably wouldn’t last forever.

Today, I found out in a less than appealing manner that it’s almost certain I will be out of a job after Christmas. I will be leaving many friends behind and will face an uncertain future. Stoke on Trent is not known for its vast amount of Job opportunities, and there are going to be a lot more qualified, hard working folk competing for these few jobs than ever before.

Now I am not shy of a fight, I know I have a lot to offer any potential employer, but what weighs on me the most is the feeling I have let myself, my Wife and most importantly of all my daughter down.

True she is to young to understand, but looking at her I can’t help but feel a failure. I needed to stick out that job, to provide financially for her in order to be a good father.

I don’t know what kind of reaction this blog entry may provoke from you the reader, and I admit I am writing this while feelings are still a little raw, but I always intended my blog to be open and honest if it was not to be an entertaining entry. It’s a form of helping myself to in a sense.

So, did I make the wrong call? Yes, I feel I did. I was far to weak willed to stick it out, and now's the time to pay for that lack of fight. I’d somehow managed to convince myself things would be ok, and that my hard work and previous track record would be enough to atone for my mistake of leaving the company. Unfortunately it was not.

I feel for the rest of the contractors too, they will be losing some very good people and I wish them all the best should the likely happen.

Regarding my situation, I won’t go looking for blame, it lies with me