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Global_Highway_Man's Achievements

Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.18:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Lend a book to someone.

Despite the apparent generosity this achievement assumes is being performed, regrettably this is more self-centred as the novel in question was p**s-poor. It was a book by Dean Kootz called "Breathless", a piece of fiction with ratherish strong similarities with James Patterson's "When the Wind Blows", except the hunted were special animals, not special children. From what I remember, the story takes forever to build, only to end so quickly as to be severely disjointed. A bit like a kid in school who doesn't know how to end a story, so just writes "And the dragon was slain, and they all lived happily ever after". It can only be assumed Kootz had received a better deal for another saga, but the rushed finale was shockingly bad. So yeah, I couldn't wait to get rid of it!
It is now in the bookcase of the breakfast room at "The Beach Lodge" B&B, probably never to be touched again, unless by somebody so unfortunate, their bad luck could only be explained by them running under a tunnel made from ladders from Edinburgh to the South Coast, constantly having a black cat wickedly trying to trip them over at every possible opportunity.
Next time, there will be an attempt to be more generous with my giveaways, but for now I'm glad it's not hogging for position on the shelves anymore.

  • +150XP
  • CHA +6
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.17:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Explore a trail or path in your area.

Throughout the week, a lot of walking has been involved. An awfully great quantity of steps have been made, although I am not guaranteed to say it has written off the calories I've imbibed from chocolate milkshake (my delectable Kryptonite!). However, there have been many great views to be had along the Jurassic Coastline.
This was the view from the Hengistbury Head area of Old Harry's Rocks. There are a few explanations for the name. One being of a pirate called Harry Paye, who was said to hide his loot within. Another is that it is an old reference for the Devil, who slept on the jagged ledges. Nobody has given a final description. These are chalk cliffs, which formed 65 million years ago. There is a sad story too: It once had a wife! Old Harry and Old Harry's Wife stood together until 1896, when erosion claimed her existence. The elderly chap is also under threat too, and is approaching the end of it's long and historic life. Maybe in the course of my days on this planet it may too succumb to the sea, which would be a crying shame to be unable to view sites such as this.

Still, it does pose the question: If the rocks were named after Satan, does that mean he also had a spouse as well??

  • +85XP
  • ENV +2
  • STR +1
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.16:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Visit a museum.

This was on Tuesday, when my wife and I decided to visit Hengistbury Head. Despite it being not far from our B&B, we'd always neglected to explore on previous trips. It's basically a scenic walk, where a lot of excavations have been made. All those new discoveries now are housed in the site's museum.

People have lived here since 12,000 years ago, when it was possible to walk from England to France. Back then, it was woodland and plains, and an ideal place to settle as tribes followed the melting ice sheets in search of new habitation and hunting grounds. Since then, the area has been either worked or hunted on.
Items as far back as the Neolithic period, through Bronze and Iron ages, the Roman occupation, and even up to mining during the 1800's have all been collected and dated. Daggers, tools, vase and ceremonial equipment has all been excavated.

It's a small museum, and to be honest I wasn't quite with it whilst looking around, and finding it rather difficult to take it all in (I think - for once - I was actually feeling rested!), but it was free to enter, and had some good treasures on display.

  • +150XP
  • INT +8
  • CUL +8
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.15:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Tell someone an interesting story, either true or fictional.

Yesterday, my wife and I caught up with friends M. and F. , and a chance conversation about Bournemouth Air Festival reminded me of 2 years ago, where an unexpected premature end was brought to a music event at Boscombe Beach:

Back in 2016, the local radio station Wave .105 hosted "Nights at the Pier" to coincide with the Air Festival. This consisted of 3 evenings of music, with bands such as "Example" and "Kaiser Chiefs" headlining. My wife and I attended "Hits on the Beach", which had 4 acts. The first was newcomer "Imani Williams", who had the hit "Don't Need No Money" with Sigala, followed by Calum Scott who covered "Dancing On My Own", originally by Robyn. Both were alright, but nothing which stood out for me.
The penultimate act was Scottish group "Travis", who are known for hits such as "Why Does It Always Rain On Me" and "Driftwood", and have also headlined Festivals such as Glastonbury. It was also when the unusual started to happen. Through the barricades, the tide had started to roll in, and had been so since the tail end of Calum's setlist. The water was becoming more forceful, as people started to slowly drift to the left hand side. But the waves did not stop, and soon the current was half way across the site! At one point, I wondered whether Travis had experienced playing to an audience which looked like a long queue to the toilet, as everyone started squishing into each other like grapes in a wine press.
Eventually, they finished their set, and the hopeful many applauded and cheered, using up valuable oxygen. The ocean didn't care though. The Kaisers were next, but shortly after Travis left the stage, the organisers arrived to announce they would not be performing, due to safety reasons, and "unforeseen circumstances". Our confusion as to why this was not picked on before, due to the fact the tides really should have been known, did stand for a while. Some brave souls were extremely confused, clearly thinking that an audience imitating a stand-up version of "The Human Centipede" was a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy a concert. Still, for only £12.00 for the whole gig, I wouldn't say it was a loss. I think this is a very unique event, where a festival was cancelled due to an unruly tidal event - it wasn't even stormy!

Since then, the music event has never been held. I think the Saturday night was cancelled entirely! However, it does make for a rather interesting tale.

  • +125XP
  • TAL +2
  • CHA +5
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.14:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Travel out of the province or state.

It's holiday time! Yesterday, my wife and I embarked to the South of England to catch up with friends and explore around the Dorset coastline.
We set up base in Southbourne, at a fantastic B&B called "The Beach Lodge", and Monday was spent looking around the town (which is basically attached to Bournemouth), lazing about on the beach, and finally some time at an inn called "The Commodore", which overlooks the seafront. Thanks to the heatwave no longer gracing us with its suffocating presence, the air was fresh, sunny and breezy, sans any risk of scalding our skin towards ghoulification. I am going to be pretty hot on sun tan lotion this week, regardless - being complacent whilst outside can spring heatstroke or sunburn unceremoniously upon an unwitting individual.
This shot was taken on the walk back from the beach. From our place of rest, the sea is only 2 minutes away, such is the fortunate positioning of The Beach Lodge. We've decided that, unlike normal, we are aiming to be spontaneous and decide on what to do on the day, rather than set an itinerary. Even though ours is not rigid, this results in feeling pressurised and stressed - a big flaw for us both. Hopefully, this tactic will not only make the holiday more enjoyable, but maybe offer us tips as to how to relax back at home. Anyway, here's to a nice break!

  • +360XP
  • ENV +9
  • CUL +9
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.13:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Buy a new album.

This was a couple of weeks back, but I ordered from Amazon "Get to Heaven" by Everything Everything. They're a very unusual pop band from Manchester, who - as their moniker suggests - seem to dabble in pretty much all sorts of musical influences, and not shy of mashing styles together. This was a more cohesive effort than their first two outings, but behind the twisted pop production and catchy songs, the lyrics are far darker, dealing with terrorism, apathy, greed and a "sheep" mentality. There's not much respite during this third record, but it is such a rewarding listen! The tracks are below:

TO THE BLADE: It feels like a conversation with someone, who's son / daughter has gone to ISIS, and wondering why. The song has a punchy chorus, and interspersed with jittering, racing guitars, not dissimilar to Bloc Party.

DISTANT PAST: The first single is basically Star Trek meets blitzing drums, rapping and a very dance-influenced chorus. Very much a "get-out-your-seat-and-dance" track, and featured a video of two cavemen fighting to the death, mixed with the band doing an even more stagnant version of the video "Here Comes Your Man" by The Pixies, by just opening mouths, instead of singing.

GET TO HEAVEN: A rather joyous sounding, 80's-inspired track, taking a little out of "Club Tropicana", focuses on everyone's aim to "get to their Heaven", whether it be a nice night out, or blowing themselves up. The middle part even seems to be partially inspired by Sugar Ray, but it's again a great singalong number with a rather disturbing undertone.

REGRET: Probably the biggest song on the album, it mixes a cultish vibe with a 1960's girl band back beat, and focuses a lot on the idea of regretting the past, but looking to the future, whether the means are just or not. Feels like a sect leader addressing his masses.

SPRING / SUN / WINTER / DREAD: Like the video, the song feels like it's being hit by radiation. The guitar is almost unrecognisable. It opens with the silliest bass line I've heard, and has a subtle tropical-reggae vibe to it. Ending with a Van Halen-esque guitar solo, the song laments aging, especially when it comes to becoming jaded.

THE WHEEL (IS TURNING NOW): A cautionary song about falling for charisma over substance and ability, this incorporates elements from dubstep and traditional rock.

FORTUNE 500: Perhaps the darkest track, this pulses and throbs with an almost ministerial vocal and "Depeche Mode" a la "Music for the Masses" era. The song depicts an assassination of the Queen by someone who is driven to do it by others, yet not understanding why. The refrain of "I've won. They told me that I've won" illustrates the uncertainty of purpose as the guy blows up the palace. Very dark lyrically.

BLAST DOORS: The angriest track on the album. Mixing drum n' bass with a chorus which reminds me of looking over an Aztec empire(?), this is a hateful attack on humanity (the singer says this also was aimed at himself) for just sitting back and doing nothing, whilst all this s**t is happening around us. It also seeks to separate the apathy of technology-trapped people from their "beast hearts" of what they can be.

ZERO PHAROAH: The idea of absolute power corrupts is prominent here. The hip-hip inspired rhythm carries the song to a thumping conclusion, whilst the strange computer-jarring noise which backs up the cool vibe. Again, this seems reminiscent of late 80's / early 90's, where a fair bit of their sound seems based within.

NO REPTILES: My personal favourite. The fast-paced falsetto vocals and tapped rhythm which just seems to hover gradually evolves into an amazingly beautiful and passionate crescendo. The song goes against the conspiracy of a reptilian race as world leaders, and instead sees it more frightening that those leaders are just useless "soft boiled eggs in shirts and ties". The final epic seems to have the narrator accepting he feels useless, but it's alright, and maybe there can be one night where he "might be on the right path" and do something.

WARM HEALER: Creating a funk rhythm, making it as non-funky as possible by making it mathematical, yet still remaining funky, is one heck of an achievement! This song is like a warm hug, almost as if all the vitriol has been spat out, and maybe things can become better.

On the record sleeves, the pamphlet opens with the phrase "Do you have any idea", and at the end "Do you have any ideas". This follows the trail left by the album, questioning the listener as to how aware they are of all the horror around, but ending with offering to help. The album, to me, is amazing. Worth checking out on Spotify.

  • +70XP
  • CUL +1
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.12:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Dress nicer than you typically do.

I do have an eclectic mix of clothing to choose from, and I'm not sure whether it's because of my OCD or the eccentricity I inherited from father, but I tend to wear different apparel in a set order as they appear in my wardrobe, in some rotation only I appear to be aware of. I even - much to my wife's bemusement and frustration - organise which order to wear my pants and socks, so they are all worn evenly. Yes, it sounds very anal, but I cannot seem to breach the habit! On the plus side, nobody knows what I'm going to bear from one minute to the next, and work often is left guessing!
This week, the circumvolution resulted in the first time I got to wear a V-necked waistcoat pullover that I bought from Edinburgh Woollen Mill. That shop does aim towards older gentlemen, maybe in their mid-forties onwards, and I have a bit to go before I reach that, but I do seem oddly attracted to that fashion sometimes, so I selected to dress up smarter than normal, as per the pic.
My colleagues sometimes speculate what I'll slip into, but when I arrived today they said that I always dress smart! I'm not always aware of this. I like chequered shirts, chinos, jeans, t-shirts and rugby tops, so maybe it's a tad preppy, but I didn't think I always spruced up elegantly. I certainly don't go around in a shirt and tie whilst supplying personal care, yet variety is the spice of life, and all that cobblers :D.
Before this, I did go in a suit once, but partially as a joke as I had a monthly meeting with my boss, who usually comes in looking somewhat bedraggled in t-shirt and loosely fit jeans. Even he puzzled about who was conducting the review … well, not in those exact words, but the gist was identical. I guess the main thing is, so long as you feel comfortable in what your array, it really shouldn't matter to express yourself as you see fit. Makes life that little bit more colourful, y'know?

  • +125XP
  • CHA +5
  • CUL +2
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.11:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Read at least one chapter of a book.

Previously, I had been leafing through "The Stonehenge Prophecy", but after weeks of on-and-off reading, I just could not get into it. That story felt like a rejected adventure movie script from the 1990's, and the characters were ridiculously stereotypical. It could not hold my interest, so I've decided to scrap that and start a new novel.
So, I am now beginning "The Pact" by Jodi Picoult, and am pleased to say this is way more engrossing. The basic premise is: two seemingly happy families find their worlds turned upside-down, when both their children are rushed to hospital as a result of a presumed suicide pact. One lives, and with them a whole host of dark material is set to follow. It explores the coming to terms of the passing of a child, and what could possibly push two teenagers, who apparently have both had fantastic lives, to allegedly try to take their own.
So far, my initial idea is that they may be related, due to seedier things happening between both clans. It doesn't seem so from the onset, but it's very early days, and I think there's room to change the whole picture on its head. However, the writing is far superior to the previous book, so I reckon that I'll complete this one. I would like to read a lot more than I do.

  • +70XP
  • INT +2
  • CUL +2
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.11:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Play a board or card game.

Earlier this week, I went fishing for new apps to trial, mainly for improving brain function. I'm trying to become more acute and healthier, so have been recommended to search for some challenging games to try. I came across this online version of scrabble called "Classic Words Free". I'm certain I don't have to explain the rules of this. :p.
Since I acquired it, I've only ever played against the computer. Previous encounters with humans often result in them logging out before victory can be achieved, which frustrates the crap out of me. But thus far I've only lost one game out of the several I've played, and my scores appear to be progressing in the right direction. This screenshot was from my first win, which I had to take since I made the word "MOLE! appear! Not that I'm obsessed with those vermin or anything. However, they do get a really crap press. It helped me become the victor on this occasion.
It's a good, free app to have. Challenging, and useful for strengthening those mind muscles. I've also downloaded an endless quiz app, as well as a fitness 101 app, which I intend on starting soon after my holiday. I ought to get back into shape, yet at least this is a good way to motivated myself towards a positive outcome.

  • +70XP
  • INT +1
  • TAL +1
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.09:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Cook a meal for your parents or other family members.

Admittedly, this was done last weekend, but my confidence in my Yorkshire Pudding abilities was still high, so I decided to top my existing triumph with a larger (& hopefully tastier) mix.
My wife was quite pleased to have another Sunday without needing to cook, which is a shame since she didn't realise how messy I can get, and as a household where one prepares the other washes, she did get a nasty surprise >:).
So, in the evening, I made Toad-in-the-Hole, which is Yorkshire Pudding with sausages, basically! I managed to make a dense, well-risen product, that even my spouse admitted she was annoyed that, for all the times she's concocted this before, she never made one as nice as this. I'll take that as a huge compliment, even though I am certain she has produced better. She is a far superior cook than I.
The odd bit was the mound in the centre. Normally, a Yorkshire is taller at the edge, but in this case the middle stuck out like a dumpy, tasty pyramid. I love making these!

  • +125XP
  • TAL +7
  • CHA +5
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.08:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Watch a documentary.

One evening at home, my wife and I came across a "Stacey Dooley Investigates" episode called "Second Chance Sex Offenders". I'd seen this journalist on an NHS TV show, where she worked with four other celebrities on the front line. I had not heard of her beforehand, but she has been working since 2009, when she shed light on child labour in developing countries with regards to fashion. Stacey has made a lot of documentaries focusing on subjects such as migration, drugs, exploitation, brainwashing and domestic violence, amongst other topics. Certainly someone who does not stand for injustice.
This episode focused in an area called "Miracle Village", where sex offenders are banished to, in the state of Florida, where they are punished almost indefinitely. Amongst some of the transgressors was one man who at the age of 18 dated a 14 year old, but states he did not know she was 14 until three months later. He now dates a lady his age, who knows of his past crime. On the other end, there was an older individual who claimed he was helping rehabilitate paedophiles, although it turned out his claim of a discretion with one 16 year old turned out to be much worse, and the discovery of 2 children he keeps in the same house who are - in his words - "adopted" proved more sinister than could be possible.
Other people are interviewed throughout, but it was a docudrama that was compelling and eye-opening, with the very troubling question of whether the laws were there to give sanctuary to the public, or protect the image of the establishment. Some of the ways, the charter set doesn't always seem to protect children, and really to get a good idea of what is happening, watching the show - as difficult as it may be to view in places - is worth it. I'm going to be watching out for more of her broadcasts. Stacey Dooley has even been referred to the millennial Louis Theroux!

  • +70XP
  • INT +2
  • CUL +2
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.08:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Spend some time in a local park or beach.

At the weekend, a couple of colleagues and myself were taking a woodland walk through Stevenage and came across a park called "Peartree Park". It appears to be a large expanse of land, next to a school, with a small children's play area tucked away in the corner.
Peartree is 18 acres of grassland, and consists of sport pitches (mainly football) and a skate park. There's also a pavilion with shower facilities. Stevenage seems chocked full of green land, so even though the city centre is unexciting and offers nothing of interest, the recreational areas dotted around show what could become of this place, should the right planning be organised.
It was a pleasant traipse around the area, although the heat did start to eat away at us towards the end. However, the cooler temperatures are upon us, so I think people will be able to breathe again!

  • +85XP
  • ENV +2
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.07:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Put something nice on the wall in your home.

My wife and I bought this a while back in Cambridge from a 6 month rental shop in the Grafton Centre. It deals with local artists and comic canvasses, and this one caught our eye, especially since our landing and hallway are themed after beach imagery. I like to have our home have rooms of different nature-based leitmotifs.
Despite having a picture of the artist and a signature, we couldn't find any information on this individual. We even tried downloading apps with facial or art recognition, but nothing picked her up. My only presumption is maybe she's a student, who donated her work to this shop, but isn't recognised in artistic circles as yet. The autograph looked like it spelt "S. Harris", and her portrait was black and white. When searching, the apps returned lots of black and white photos, but nothing identical to her face.
It was a little struggle getting it even, but it's up there now, above our stairway, and a welcome addition to our home.

  • +150XP
  • ENV +6
  • CUL +6
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.06:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Take some photos of interesting architecture.

Last Wednesday we took clients out to London, and visited Westfield Shopping Centre, which is just off Wood Lane tube, and is neighbouring the old BBC headquarters.
The mall itself is ginormous! And throughout, the roof has been designed like waves lapping above. The total floor spacing covers thirty football pitches, and was the second largest commercial centre behind Newcastle's MetroCentre, until March, when an extension made it the biggest of its kind, not only in the UK but also Europe.
We had a lot of fun exploring, and also I was working with J., who is on a similar wavelength to me in search of knowledge of practically anything, so we had plenty to discuss! Whilst eating at Five Guys (which was brave of her, since she's a vegetarian), we actually questioned how likely would people remain carnivorous if they had to kill and butcher their own prey, rather than purchase the food in neat, convenient packaging. Pontificating about it, I'd probably become pescatarian. It does leave room for thought, but also other factors need to be taken into account, such as how scarce food is, or what the conditions are. Suddenly, I felt like catching up on "The Walking Dead"!
Ultimately, this edifice is an amazing shopping complex, and anyone who wishes to visit London may want to add this to their itinerary. The size of the framework, alongside the famous BBC Centre superstructure, means this wouldn't be a wasted visit!

  • +70XP
  • TAL +2
  • ENV +2
  • CUL +2
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.05:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Graduate from school.

My old school was based in Northamptonshire, and my wife often refers to it as "Hogwarts". Basically, it drapes over the town, with buildings that housed different subjects scattered about. The main section was next to the market square.
There were a lot of characters I still remember back then. From the English teacher who was so much into the military that he dressed in camouflage and even wore face paint to hide in bushes to catch students staying up past curfew (one friend of mine was caught snogging her boyfriend, and didn't know whether it was worse being caught, or the fact she was being viewed by someone in disguise); to a Physics lecturer who had so little control over his class that we could actually watch "Rugrats" during the lesson whilst he pretended nothing was going on; to the English coach who looked like death and was an avid "The Smiths" fan; and even my first school crush - the German instructor who did belly dancing!
As a pupil, I had my fair share of excitement from beating the bully of our class; gassing out the science lab that we had to all evacuate; getting lost on every single exchange trip and receiving a final warning for suspension for streaking around a hotel. Plenty of other tales, but I don't fancy splattering all of what happened on here. It was bittersweet, but I guess looking back now I can see the fun I did have. I still have two very good friends from the faculty, and also family relations with a teacher from Junior School. However, the transition from school to university was far more enjoyable. I think I've had a full childhood. :)

  • +1375XP
  • INT +33
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.03:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Make something.

I've been labouring at this on and off since I bought the kit in Hull over a month ago. It's unusual for me, since often I would leave projects incomplete, should I become distracted, but I kept working on it and finally finished the picture approximately two days ago.
I wanted to try and get back into a more creative mindset. Although I believe my strength is in words, I really do envy those who can create other pieces of art with such finesse. This was a basics kits, which gave me the picture, and I was to replicate via engraving using different techniques.
This sort of past time I would definitely like to do again! Such as the colouring books for adults, this is rather peaceful and therapeutic to do, and I'd certainly recommend it.

  • +85XP
  • TAL +2
  • CUL +2
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.02:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Play a board or card game.

Last week, a few of us sat around to play some more card games - and by that, I mean more Rummy and "S******d". There was only one word I could use to describe my success rate: Dire. For some reason, I was completely off my normal abilities, and ended up floundering far behind the rest, to the point even D. was wondering what had gone wrong! It was a terrible showing!
In fairness, I was doubtlessly confused by everyone again. S. was her typical mad self, A. was like me in trying to hold S. together, but gave up when she stopped putting words in the right order. E. was high on life, or something - perhaps her chicken pesto (she's an amazing cook!). Not often do I get someone run up to me with a random piece of cutlery and shout "I'm gonna spoon you!". I replied "At least you didn't say you would fork me!". Sometimes, I actually wonder what strange parallel universe I have stumbled upon, but in fairness my absurdist sense of humour undoubtedly fits in well here.
In the end, we decided to try out hi-fiving each other with our eyes closed, as you do. I ended up somehow performing a Paso Doble with E., and whilst nobody (miraculously) ended up with black eyes, we all decided maybe this was a challenge not to be returned to. Still, another fun card session!

  • +70XP
  • INT +1
  • TAL +1
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.02:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Spend some time outdoors.

This was at home, earlier in the week, when we started to get the first rain we'd seen in weeks! That morning, there was thunder, lightning and torrents of rain coming down. The day before, there was a small shower, but if anything, all it did was to add to the humidity. Plumes of steam floated over the roads like a thin mist, making the conditions less bearable!
But the following day we had a far better downpour. So, I decided to venture into the back garden in the rain and just walk around for 15 minutes or so, enjoying the sensation of water on my skin, and the coolness of the wind wrap around me. It was delicious! I took a couple of pictures whilst outside too, and whilst my phone camera is not the greatest at taking photos, I hope this still caught the feeling.
On a separate note, I noted two gardens' down from us, a large Maple Leaf flag flapping from a pole. I didn't know we had Canadian residents! Then again, out street largely keeps to itself, except our next door neighbours who love to share their domestics with the close! Troll - I mean the mother - certainly likes the sound of her own voice, even when she's on the cusp of a breakdown with the kids!

  • +70XP
  • ENV +3
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.08.01:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Read an article on something you don't know much about.

I've always been an enormous endorser of the "Silent Hill" series. I discovered the game by accident at university, and since then I have completed nearly every addition. One sticks out as incomplete though: "Silent Hill 4: The Room".
When I attempted this years ago, I never completed it because of the atmosphere being the most unsettling I have experienced before or since. Even with new technology, the most recent horror games have not surpassed the cursed feel of this experience for me. So it's been left behind in my memory. This sits amongst my other PS2 discs.
I came across an article which caught my attention very recently: "Silent Hill: The Room is the Most Terrifying Game in the Series" on www.tor.com by Peter Tieryas. This write-up re-evaluated the game, which faced stiff criticism when it was released, and actually reviews the entry in a whole new light. It features the idea of a "blank protagonist" as a good thing; the intimacy of the apartment Henry Townsend lived in; the consistent disorientation of the gameplay style, whether it being controls, familiar-yet-unfamiliar levels, mechanics and characters; the voyeurism; the story built up in a disjointed fashion; disassociation and approaching topics no other game dared. The world lives and breathes as a bad dream, and forces you into the body of Henry who - unlike the previous protagonists - did nothing worse than make a bad moving decision.
It's a really interesting review of a heavily underrated game, and has actually made me want to dust off the PS2 and get stuck in to finally defeat it! Even today, my colleague J. (who's a big gamer, especially with shooters like Far Cry) was talking about what horrors she might try, and I discussed this with her. Even showed her the oddball, unnerving trailer (she didn't like "Twin" charging at the screen with it's horrific, childlike screeches!). She now is waiting for the Xbox One to release the Collection, so she can give it a go. J. has seen the first movie, but that's it. However, she did say she found the film one of the very few she couldn't watch due to the atmosphere.
So, I do think I will be revisiting South Ashfield, although I do hope the PS2 still works! The link for the article is as follows:

https://www.tor.com/2015/10/22/silent-hill-4-the-room-is-the-most-terrifying-game-in-the-series/

  • +85XP
  • INT +2
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.07.31:
Global_Highway_Man

Global_Highway_Man leveled up to lvl 9!

Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.07.31:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 9

Donate, give away or sell items you don't need.

At home, we have a box or two of unwanted items which were just gathering dust, waiting for the opportunity to be given a new home. These belongings included a couple of old shirts which are now too small for me to wear. In particular, a fetching, blue top which was great for my clubbing days, but now not so flattering. There were also some books I've read and never been able to sell on or give away. So, along with some of my wife's goods, we packed them into a bag and set off to Ely for an afternoon of pootling and shopping, with the intention of giving away our collection of odds and ends.
I chose to donate the items to "Scope". They're a pan-disability charity, which believes the barriers those with disabilities face are social and not a result of their impairment. It was originally set up in the 1950's by a group of parents and social workers, wanting to ensure the rights for their disabled children's education. I'm also very much of the belief that people should have the right to find out their ambitions, abilities and limitations, rather than someone telling another person they don't believe they can do it. Being discriminated against myself, I do empathise with the plight, so this was a charity I chose to contribute to. I like to hand out to a charity which resonates, rather than being the most convenient to pop into.
Of course, Ely wasn't all about that. We had a nice meal, bought some things and ended up at a pub called "The Cutter Inn", on the edge of the River Ouse. A nice public house to have a drink or two, whilst unwinding during the evening!

  • +300XP
  • ENV +8
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.07.30:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 8

Learn a new word a day for a week.

I thought I'd give this a go, so here are my findings:

1. CULLION: A word originating from the 1300s, as a description of a vile version. Its literal meaning is "testicle".
2. BALMY: Temperate to summery humidity.
3. SEXTANT: Nautical tool used to confirm the right direction.
4. DECOKED: To clean something out.
5. HYPNOPEDIA: Sleep learning.
6. HYPERKULTUREMIA: Another word for "Stendhal Syndrome".
7. PANOPTICON: A building which allows all inmates to be viewed by a single watchman.

The picture is from the game "Silent Hill 4: The Room", which features a Panopticon as one of the levels you have to survive through.

  • +450XP
  • INT +10
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.07.30:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 8

Accept one of your faults and work to improve it.

This refers back to an earlier achievement, where I went above my station to threaten a smoking ban on the household, because of the persistent collection of butts littered across the back garden of the clients.
I still maintain I am right to feel frustrated. I am also inclined to speak on behalf of those who don't have a voice. But what I foolishly did was to act like a manager, when I am no higher role than my colleagues. It was pulling rank, without actually having the sufficient status to do it. My anger rarely batters through my logic, but on this occasion I acted without thinking it through, mainly because I was exhausted by the ongoing problem raising it's ugly head time and time again.
I took responsibility for my forth righteousness, and apologised to other members of staff who do smoke. In fairness to them, they did admit I had come across as perhaps being a bit more aggressive than I ought to have been, but also agreed that I was completely right in wanting to keep the yard clean for the clients. Then they apologised because they hadn't thought to say why it was happening. They stated the tin used to keep the ends in blows over some mornings, and they ultimately have to gather all the butts and put them back in. A couple may get missed as a result. We agreed to find a much larger container - preferably something like a bucket full of sand - to drop them in and resolve the concern. They did say that if they had mentioned it sooner, maybe this whole debacle would've been averted. But either way, I need to keep emotions in check.
I would prefer not make up pretexts for how I acted though. Excuses merely act as a way of disowning ones own actions. Only by facing them can someone accept the fault and labour on it. This is probably why, as a rule of thumb, I am reserved in my feelings. Even when I had a few months at the start of the year where I lived a very healthy lifestyle, I stopped because I did not like how my confidence was coming through. I'm guessing my EQ is not very high at all.

  • +550XP
  • INT +5
  • CHA +5
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.07.29:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 8

Have a night out with friends.

On Wednesday evening, my wife and I drove to Cambridge to meet up with a couple of friends for a meal at a buffet place called "Nines", situated in the leisure park complex, near the train station.
The restaurant was much smaller than "Wings" in Hull, and admittedly the reaction to the food was mixed amongst our table. Two of them considered it was okay, whilst the rest (me included) thought it really wasn't anything special. The lemon chicken didn't reveal any citric taste, although maybe I should have known better, seeing a pot of lemon sauce right next to it. The food wasn't the most delicious, and the seaweed was bland. I chose some dim sum dumplings next, and again they were banal and uninspiring. I added some chili and only received heat for my troubles. The desserts were an improvement, but it wasn't enough to alter my opinion. Then again, others enjoyed it! I guess that might make me fussy?
Catching up with my pals was a lot of fun though! At the end, we offered T. a lift home (as his flat is on the road we take), but he said not to worry this time as he wanted to go off and trap some Pokémon. Fair enough! So, off he jogged on his exploration. It wasn't until the next morning that my wife was checking her Facebook and exclaimed: "You'll never guess where T. is! He's gone to France!!". Surely not for the sake of a flipping Pokémon, I pondered. How wrong I was! Apparently, a rare one was discovered in the north of France somewhere, so as he was on holiday, and has no other commitments, he decided to take the ferry across to nab it. Does he get paid for finding the scarce ones? I hope it was worth the ticket!
The picture is of the leisure complex in Cambridge.

  • +85XP
  • CHA +2
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.07.29:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 8

Spend the day with friends or family.

As part of an ever-expanding collection of trips to nearby habitations, which may not be the immediate first choice of destination for everyone, S. tried to top the previous trip of Harlow by going to Luton, albeit this was suggested by a client. On Wednesday morning, we ventured south towards the large town.
In fairness, it was nowhere near the bumfluff of Harlow. The shopping area was fine, and although it's not exactly the prettiest of towns, it perhaps wasn't the horror some people portray it as. My wife did say later on she was surprised I didn't get stabbed, which filled me with confidence. The picture is of the Town Hall, which was built in 1936. The original was burnt down in the ironically-titled "Peace Day Riots" of 1919.
Anyway, it was an okay visit. Taking the bus down and back allowed S. to divulge in palmistry - something she recently got into. I'm not so much a devotee, but I don't knock other people's beliefs. It was fun to do though. Apparently, I don't find true love until I'm in my 50s, and I'll have 5 kids. Considering the fact I have none so far, I must really go for it soon! Also, not sure my wife is especially pleased with the "true love" bit. Alongside that, S. came up with the classic comment about churches, when pointing one out: "Do you think that's Catholic or Christian?". I lost it, and started choking on in laughter! I did apologise, saying that maybe I was a bit too boisterous and mocking, but she seemed far more pleased in getting me to laugh that hard, which she happily kept bringing up during the day.
Going back to divination, I also "discovered" I have an extremely efficient immune system, and shall live a long life. With the amount of chocolate milkshakes I consume, I'd honestly be surprised if I make it to 50! And how the heck am I gonna get 5 sprogs in that time too?? It's thrown more questions at me than answers, to be honest.

  • +100XP
  • CHA +4
Global_Highway_Man completed on 2018.07.28:
Global_Highway_ManLVL 8

Play a game with friends.

I've been dabbling in darts, chess and cards throughout this week! So, I am believing that this achievement has been done several times over, but I can't imagine how dull the timeline would look when I go back on myself!
With the darts, I played with J. a bit. We didn't take it very seriously. However, in six darts I actually managed to hit the bullseye (or at least the 25 point mark) three times. I'm not a natural at darts. I'm okay, but nothing special, so I had to take this picture for prosperity. For a fleeting moment, I felt like Deadshot or the Green Arrow. It's nice to fantasise, y'know?
Chess was played online with Chromesthesia. Again, some good battles there, but I managed to wrestle the edge on it. I'm practicing to play a bit more aggressive like Chromesthesia, rather than tactical, which is my usual modus operandi.
Then there was cards. As well as the traditional "S******d", we also played a game called Speed, with 2 packs. It was as if the table was laced with explosives to propel the cards sky high, such was the aggression! The best moments were the banter though. In particular, a debate with S. that people were injecting HIV into grapefruit and bananas.
Just to set the scene, S. mentioned she would not have grapefruit, because you cannot see the HIV blood inside. After taking in the bizarre nature of this comment, I replied in the only way I could: "What?". She continued, saying it also occurs with bananas, which prompted me to question her: "Are you telling me in every Tesco stockroom, there is a guy - let's call him Kevin - hiding away with a dirty syringe, injecting all the fruit whilst unsuspected by the manager, and nobody questioning his whereabouts?". After this went on a bit, she said she had proof! She showed me a picture of a banana with red colouration inside it, with the title saying something along the lines of "HIV found in bananas". I took the mobile; image searched it; and found the same photo, which was actually related to an article about a species of fungus that feeds on bananas. Even after showing her this, and despite her stuttering many, many times, she thinly held on to the notion it still might be a possibility. At least she now believes that the big supermarket chains are not trying to attack the masses with subtle STI transmission techniques!
Lesson of the day: Research what you read. Never trust in a single source.

  • +125XP
  • TAL +2
  • CHA +5