What I’ve Done This Week – 22/05/15

  • This what you’re reading. (Hello!)
  • Went work, obviously.
  • Choir twice, the lucky things.
  • Finished off season 2 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..It’s the TV spin-off about the anonymous people in Helicarriers and offices that turn up in Marvel movies sometimes, and led by one of the few they bothered to name. I like the show, but I find it hard to recommend. Marvel-wise, there’s not much incentive to stray beyond the movies to here unless you have lots of free time or are a trainspotter like me. As a Whedon project, it does share a lineage with Buffy, but the show to compare it to would be the short-lived Dollhouse, since both writers and actors have turned up in MAoS. Dollhouse was about people who got their personality wiped from their minds and stored on file, so that their body could be rented out with an artificial one in place that could do the tasks the clients wanted. Dollhouse was great when it was a dark, twisted exploration of what humans do to each other, and when it was a full-on action apocalyptic thrill-ride. Dollhouse was dull at the beginning of each season when the show felt it had to be a mild flashy action show where attractive people in smart clothing hit each other for Reasons. Even though the stories are different, MAoS is the same sort of show. The flashy action is much better and much more diverting, and the end-of-season-everything-is-going-to-pot thing definitely works, particularly now they do it mid-season as well. The problem with MAoS is that it’s not really able to explore relationships properly. Rather than being the espionage show it acts like it is, where a character’s moral compass is defined by the jobs they are willing to undertake, or a Fortean Times-style “the freaky things the government don’t want you to know about” show like Fringe, it is in fact a simplistic superhero show. The goodies are good, and they might do bad things, but they’re usually doing them because they’re the best of the bad choices. And, of course, the baddies are bad, even the ones that used to be goodies – they’re the worst of all. This fits with the Marvel mythos, because Black Widow and Hawkeye are spies, and they’re definitely goodies, and Nick Fury is a spy, but he’s clearly got the best intentions at heart when he lies to your face. And Hydra is a Nazi organisation, and it would be pretty bold to portray that as anything other than a bad bunch of people to socialise with. But it means the show doesn’t really have anywhere to go. It always boils down to the white hats vs the black hats, and the black hats win. Even when it’s white hats vs white hats, it’s either a silly misunderstanding which ends with hugs and cake, or the white hats were really black hats in disguise. I have no problem with this formula when it’s men in tights, because their whole point is that they’re other than human. But when it’s a show about a bunch of people who work for a secret organisation with suspect jurisdiction, it’s a shame that they’re all such lovely people. Oh well, it’s entertaining.
  • Spent too much money on and too much time playing computer games. I blame the Humble Store sale. Particular favourites include Audiosurf (cruise along a track generated by your tunes! Also match-3 puzzling), Towerfall Ascension (there is still no weapon cooler than a bow and arrow) and VVVVVV (winner of the Tucker Award for Swearing at a Game, May ’15). Bastion is pretty fun too, if you need a bit of lawnmowering your enemies to relax. And I will have to get back to Crusader Kings II and Cities: Skylines in particular, once I get over how badly I sucked at them. At least with the impossibly difficult VVVVVV you know what you need to do, it’s just that your ability to move a character is poor. Sims and strategy games require actual forethought and planning, and I am short on that at the moment.
  • Read a lot of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, and some old Eurogamer reviews. I probably enjoy games criticism more than games, and I know that is weird but sue me.
  • Costed a new proper gaming PC, figured it’d be around £900, cried. A £600 PC is easily justified, because that’s the cost of a budget laptop such as the dying one I’m using now plus the cost of a PS4/XBone, but more than that and I’m made sad. Plus, I can’t even afford that PC at the moment. A proper desktop powerhouse would be a 5-year investment, but I’ll need to save up to make it. ADULTHOOD.
  • Finished the lyrics off on two songs. My creative output remains minimal, but that’s better than non-exist it. I like to believe I’m mostly doing R&D rather than real work at the moment, but that is of course bollocks. I am just lazy/paralysed by insecurity.
  • Made a lovely lamb rogan josh curry and froze the excess, which spread the joy throughout the week.
  • Ate all of my peanuts and cashews because I have no self-control and buying them was a bad idea in the first place.
  • Ran thrice, poorly. My current playlist, however, is my hand-picked best thirty early (pre-Revolver) songs of The Beatles. I find I can only be inspired to move by damn good pop music, and I’m doing a band at a time. Previous artists have been The Beach Boys and The Four Seasons, mulling over the next choice.
  • Went to Find the Right Words. Accidentally signed up to do a poem next month, instantly regretted it.
  • Next week: off home for bank holiday weekend. Some writing at some point hopefully. I’ll definitely need to sort out a poem. Also, there are people I haven’t seen in weeks, and I should probably let them know I’m alive. Laters!
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