Thursday, 29 January 2015

Playing With Myself - thoughts?

Firstly, lets be topical - where's the snow?!?

Here in northern England we're supposed to have a good couple inches of snow by now, yet it's really not here.  A bit came down, but it hasn't settled, and all signs appear to be for a clear night tonight.  The Met Office continue to warn of snow, but I suspect, due it being relatively low ground where I live, that the most we'll get is a bit of rain and some ice to fall over on in the morning.  That said, they are suggesting that there might be a return of snow on Monday - we'll see what happens then.

Right then - I've been thinking.

My YouTube channel (and my blog too, for that matter) has been very quiet in the last few weeks.  I've had other things that I've needed to focus on, but also I've been struggling with ideas for videos.

Last night I had an idea for a tabletop gaming show - so basically card/board/dice games (but maybe I could include computer games too) - but the key is that I'm looking at single player games.  And I could call it "Playing With Myself".  So I could feature games like Patience and Solitaire, but I could try some other games - there are various sets of rules for playing Munchkin (one of my favourite games) solo, for example.  Or perhaps computer card games like Hearthstone, which although you play with someone else, the person is selected by the system, you don't need to have a friend available before you can play.

What do you think?  Let me know in the comments if you think it's a good idea or not, if you do like it are there any special games you think I should include.

Also, perhaps I need a better logo than this one!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Soft Play Adventures

I sometimes go to soft play centres.

Not, I hasten to say, by myself.  No, not at all, I take my son, mainly in an attempt to drain his seemingly endless levels of energy, so that perhaps later that day, for a minute or two, he might sit still instead of climbing onto my shoulders and attempting to yank my head clean off my neck.

If you haven't been to a soft play centre, it's basically a huge carpeted industrial unit full of padded scaffolding with slides and things that kids can climb up, slide down, plastic balls to throw, and essentially create various opportunities for them to hurt each other.  It's like a cheerful version of Gladiators.

Now when you get there, rule number one is SHOES ARE THE ENEMY.  No shoes.  You get in there, you pay your money, and you pin your child to the ground - who has spotted a multicoloured slide and now has a burning ambition to throw balls up it - to allow you to remove their shoes so that they can be released like a greyhound after a plastic rabbit.

You might entertain thoughts that the soft play centre could even be a place to relax.  There's a very nice cafe.  You can order sandwiches, or pizza, or cake, drinks (even beer).  Perhaps you take a newspaper in, and just glance every few seconds to see which child your child is terrorising (or to shout at any kids terrorising yours).

But no.

At some point, you will have to enter the happy scaffolding maze of doom, because your child will decide that:
a) They don't want to leave (and it's time to go),
b) They are tired and have gone to sleep somewhere in the structure, or
c) They are crying because they've been hit in the face by a swinging foam weight and need a hug.

You're acutely aware that you're too old to go in the structure. "UNDER SEVENS ONLY" the sign states and you attempt to perform various manoeuvres a gymnast would think twice about carrying out, in an effort to reach the distant location of your child.

You're probably readjusting your clothing as it rides up/down, unaccustomed to the strains that you're placing upon it.  If you're me, there's a fair chance that your socks have one, or more, unwanted holes in, clearly showing yourself to all to be an unfit parent.  And there is a significant chance that you'll get somewhere close to your child, only to discover a plastic mesh wall between you, and you have to double back to find another route.

Eventually, you get there, aching and tired - how do kids run around these things more than once? - and your son will sit up, smile at you, and run off, forcing you to go down the big slide by yourself, pretending to maintain your dignity while secretly enjoying the brief return to childhood.

And while other children throw plastic balls at you.

I love going to soft play.

PS - Thank you to everyone who has viewed this blog, we've passed the 600,000 view mark which is awesome indeed!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Things that are wrong...

How many of the items below do you agree are wrong?

1) Pizza with fruit on
2) Quiche with tuna
3) The Star Trek reboot (in particular, the destruction of Vulcan which eliminates the timeline of all of the previous Star Trek series - except Star Trek:Enterprise)
4) Bovril (non-granular)
5) Bovril (all forms, even granular)
6) People skipping forward in supermarket queues when a new till opens
7) The acting in "The Librarians"
8) The expression "YOLO!"
9) Overly gelled hair
10) Putting cushions on a bed so that when you actually want to go to bed you have to take the cushions off before you sleep in it.  And having to put them back on when making it.
11) Opening curtains in a morning in a room (such as the bedroom) that you aren't going to inhabit all day, until you return on an evening, and the first thing you do is close the curtains.

I have issues with 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, and 11.  Let me know in the comments if you agree with me, which you think are wrong, or if I've missed something obvious please let me know.

In other news, if you missed taking part in my 2015 predictions video, you have another chance to ask questions!  The Chinese New Year is on February 19th and I'll be doing more predictions with fortune cookies, so let me know your questions you would like answering then!  Get them in the comments or email me at mike dot raven at gmail dot com

Finally, I watched Into The Woods a week or so back, and did a review of it, do feel free to watch.  In short - where does it say in the trailer that it's a musical?!?  Be warned though - the video includes me singing.

I'm very sorry.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

TableTop Day 2015 is coming!

TableTop Day 2015 is coming!

As can (just about) be seen from the fairly blurry photo of my calendar, International TableTop Day is on Saturday the 11th of April 2015.  Make sure you free up the day to play games, be they board or card, with your friends and family - or perhaps go to an event at a local games shop.  Keep an eye on and remember - play more games!

I'd love to hear if you're planning to take part what games you're going to play.  On my shortlist is Cards Against Humanity and Munchkin - I have the special TableTop expansion for Cards Against Humanity in return for helping to fund season 3 of TableTop, hence:

And in other news, I made a fortune telling video of predictions for 2015 - if you'd like to see the fortune told in response to my fiancee asking "Am I going to get pregnant in 2015" skip along to 11:32. Fortunately she found it funny.
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