Friday, 26 August 2011

My kind of video game.

There is a reason why I'm not a prolific video gamer and that is because I'm not very good at them.

It's nothing new, as far back as space invaders when everyone else was counting shots to get the bonus on the spaceship I was still cowering behind the rock trying to get a shot off. To be honest it hasn't got better with age, my brain knows what it needs to do but there is a difficulty conveying this to my fingers and usually ends up with them mashing all the buttons on the controller. If I play a shoot 'em up with my boys I'm usually just about to lock and load as they kill all my men and capture all my weapons. FIFA is similar while I work out whether to pass or shoot they steal the ball off me and score. To be fair I can't just blame my lack of finger skills as it wasn't that long ago that I pulled a muscle in my leg trying to win in a hurdle race in Kinect Sports and couldn't walk for days.

So what would be my ideal video game? It would be pitting my wills, one on one in a gladiatorial battle to the death. It would be a game of strategy, skill, finesse and would be played at my pace. I know you are thinking there is no such game but dear reader there is. Last week I went to Gamescom and I found it hidden somewhere between tennis and golf in Kinect Sports Season 2 was DARTS.

I played darts and loved it, was good at it and never lost a game. Admittedly one game was with the nice Xbox man who probably let me win and the other was against my 8 year old who really wanted to play golf but hey I have a 100% record. I will be the first in the queue when it's released later in the year. When I get it home and step up to the virtual ocky in the immortal words of darts commentating legend Sid Waddell "the atmosphere in here will be like the Colleseum in Rome with Jews on the menu".

Let's play darts!

Friday, 19 August 2011

I'm not scared of flying part 3

Everybody is now watered, fed, toileted and a calm permeates the cabin. It's about now that I try to settle down and watch a movie knowing in my heart it isn't going to happen. My tv never works properly, either the headphones are faulty, the screen freezes or both. If I do ever get the tv to work the only choice of movie that day will be Passenger 57 or Snakes on a Plane. Neither of which will get a viewing so in the end I watch the oversized airplane on the screen showing where we are, how fast we are going and how high up we are. I can sit there and formulate this information into how fast we will hit the ground and about where we will hit if the worst happens.

Around about the time I think I'm just getting used to this flying thing the pilot,or if he is busy eating caviar from the bellybutton of a stewardess, his second in command announces that we are about to begin the descent. De scent sounds like something you would use to get rid of a smell which I suppose would be apt around about now in my case.

Descending usually stirs up the hoards and the cabin becomes a hive of activity again. Bags down, up and down again as people search for their belongings so they can escape the plane as soon as it lands. Me, I just pull my belt a little tighter and search out for hands to grab. This is not so easy this time as the recently bruised appendages are usually hidden from view so as not to have the punishment inflicted for a second time. I can generally coax them from their hiding place with confectionary which I have saved especially for this occasion. When the under carriage goes down this scares the crap out of me and my neighbours wish they weren't so bloody greedy as their fingers begin to turn an angry shade of blue.

Then we are down. I can now return the rosary beads and the lucky rabbits foot I borrowed from the air steward and let go of the hands. It is about now that the captain makes an announcement somewhere on the lines of: "ladies and gentlemen the plane has now landed. Please keep your seatbelt fastened and stay in your seat until the plane has come to a halt. Also please do not turn on your mobile phone until you are in the doors are open. Thank you for..." I never get to hear the last bit of the annoucement as everybody is unbuckling their belt, getting out of their seat and turning on their phone.

The final part of the plane journey is nearly upon us and this is departing the plane. By the time the plane has halted and the steps are attached most of the passengers have crammed their way into the aisle and are deciding which door will open first and will that be the fastest way to exit. Me I'm still to unbuckle my belt and will probably be the last off the plane.

That's it all over until the flight home!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

I'm not scared of flying part 2

So the plane reaches it's cruising height far too far from the ground and levels out. To my mind this would be an ideal opportunity to dim the lights, pipe through some whale noises and encourage the passengers to go to sleep.

But no.

Instead they decide to bring round the drinks trolley. The rowdy people who have been in the bar for the last 2 hours can now top up their alcohol level and be more rowdy and the hyperactive kids who are already over excited can drink fizzy pop then run around the plane with a sick bag on their head pretending to be a superhero. Just as the cabin crew seem to be losing control the captain decides to regain it and suddenly drops the plane by a couple of hundred feet. The fasten seatbelt sign comes on and people are ushered back in their seats and strapped in. He drops it a couple more times for effect pretending it's turbulence, I dont have to fasten my seatbelt as it's never been unfastened though i do tighten it a bit more. Everyone is strapped in now apart from one idiot who can't wait for the toilet and is arguing with the steward.

Now would be a good time for the dimming of the lights and music of the whales.

But no.

They bring round food.

I don't have any problem with airplane food, I actualy quite like it but is there any real need for it on a short haul flight? Especially as one of the options is going to be curry and the plane already stinks of feet and farts. Having said that I like eating the food there are a few things that I would like to point out at this stage. The portions are perfect, that is if you come from Lilliput and aren't Gulliver. The meal is always heated to the temperature of molten lava. You get two sachets of pepper and no salt. And then there is the roll. The rolls you get on the plane are unique to airlines. It's always a small but perfectly formed roll with a crust that is impossible to break with your hands so you have to use the plastic knife. After sawing with the knife for the best part of an hour you penetrate the crust to reveal the soft centre onto which you try to spread the butter. The butter is as hard as the centre of the roll is soft and no matter how long you keep it under your armpit it doesn't get any softer. Eventually you get fed up with it, shove it in the roll then chuck it at the idiot in front who has finished his food and drops his chair back in your lap closely followed by everything left on your tray.

So now when they have cleared away the debris of the meal they dim the lights with a distinct lack of whale music and expect everyone to go to sleep. What everyone wants to do now is use the toilet, two of which are already blocked up and there are queues snaking around the plane.

I try and avoid the toilet as long as possible, being crammed into the plane is bad enough but being crammed into a tiny box on the plane that is very noisy and stinks is even worse. If anyone reading this has had sex in a airplane toilet can you please let me know in the comment box how and why? I should imagine that you would be quite easy to spot as half your body must get covered in blue stain as you'd never be able go avoid dipping into the toilet water. My big mistake is not using the toilet when I first get on the plane as I presume then it's clean and smells reasonable but due to a small bladder and a touch of IBS this never quite works out. By the time I come to use it the toilet resembles a festival portaloo on the final day which has been turned upside down and shaken vigorously. I usually get in there just after someone with an upset stomach who has obviously read the signs wrong and has filled the toilet up with paper and has tried to shit in the bin and as soon as I shut the door the pilot drops down a couple of hundred feet and the fasten seatbelt sing comes on.

To be cont...

Monday, 8 August 2011

I'm not scared of flying part 1

I'm not scared of flying, it's the crashing and dying in a ball of flames that scares the crap out of me. We are going away next week so now I have to start coming to terms with the fact that I will be crammed into that metal box held together with a few rivets and the sweat of my fear then propelled unceremoniously into space.

It's not natural.

Don't get me wrong, I love to travel it's just the getting there that I don't like. It also doesn't like me. Let's forget about the travelling to the airport for the moment or the time at the terminal (great choice of name by the way) and concentrate on the flight.

Firstly you have to board the plane. Now this would seem a simple task as everybody has a designated seat, the boarding is done in blocks of seat numbers and the plane is not going to leave without you unless you are still in the bar next to the sock shop. So why, when the official looking person behind the boarding desk, starts to make an announcement on the tannoy do half the passengers run towards the gate? The plane won't leave any earlier if you are the first person in your seat, you won't get a sticker but you will be sat down longer than everyone else. That is unless you are one of the annoying twats who won't sit down until the very last moment and everybody else has to squeeze past you.

Next you have to stow your carry on. Now it can either go by your feet so your stuff is easily accessible and you won't have to get up seventy four times during the flight to get a tissue or a jelly baby. Or you can stow it precariously in the overhead compartment from where it can drip orange juice on my head all journey or fall out and break my toe when I open the door.

Now that you've found a way to annoy me with your carry on luggage you have to take your seat. Now I'm six feet three inches tall and weigh the wrong side of fifteen stones so fitting into one of those seats is a feat in itself, so being a fat magnet really doesn't help. What is a fat magnet you may be asking. Well as soon as I sit down the biggest, fattest person on the plane will sit directly in front of me then tip his fucking chair back.

I don't want to tip my chair back because I want to be ready when the plastic mask drops from the ceiling so I can put it on before I help younger children. Then be able to get my life jacket on the right way, know how to inflate it and how to blow the whistle. Also which emergancy exits are the most suitable for me and when I can unbuckle my seat belt. Most of you won't know what the hell I'm talking about now because as the flight attendant is going through his/her talk you are going through the seat compartment looking for boiled sweets or seeing if the duty free whisky you just bought would've been cheaper on the flight.

Not that I'm paranoid about it crashing but next time you get on the plane have a look at the exterior and see how much gaffer tape they use. Once someone told me that I had more chance of getting a deep vein thrombosis than the plane had of crashing. Great, now I can worry about crashing and/or getting a DVT.

So now we have stowed our bags, are strapped in the seat, have avoided the safety talk and are ready to take off. I put a boiled sweet in my mouth and grab hold of the hands of the passengers either side of me whether they want to hold hands or not and we taxi up to the runway then stop.

We always stop.

I finish my sweet and my hands are all clammy, I can't let go and put another sweet in so I sit and imagine why we have stopped. It's not always good thoughts.

Then we start again.

Are we starting because it's safe or because the pilot has a death wish? We start moving faster and I shut my eyes and there is a scream. I'm not really sure it's not me until it goes again and I realise it's the person next to me and I'm crushing their hand. Tough shit! The whole thing is vibrating and the gaffer tape is peeling off the wing and my ears are popping, then we are up. The seatbelt light goes out, the plane is levelling out and I let go of my neighbours.

To be cont...