Worm-like Appendages

While reports of my death may be a little premature, it would not be complete hyperbole to say that I have been fairly unwell in the last week or so. Suffice it to say that my recent blogging hiatus was not in fact due to a busy schedule or the usual bouts of extreme laziness but could be directly attributed to a not so nice condition which those in the medical fraternity term — and I must say it has a certain lilting rhythm to it — appendicitis. In my youth I theorised that the appendix, that small tube attached to the side of the small intestine and floats around the lower right side of your abdomen, may have been the primary organ involved in that mysterious ailment known as Spontaneous Human Combustion. My reasoning behind this was that no one knew what function the appendix served and no one knew what caused SHC — a strong link if ever there was one. You can imagine then my grief when I felt that tell-tale pain in the general vicinity of my appendix, after having suffered some nasty stomach cramping and red-hot fever the previous day. I am pleased to say that despite my concern I did not ignite in some towering inferno in which only my teeth, feet and hands survived and accordingly I actually still retain all of my worm-like appendages. These two truths are certainly surprising to me; it was my belief before this episode that any mention of the word appendicitis around any doctor would immediately result is some sort of intestinal excavation being conducted on the spot. This was compounded by the nature of my family GP who often walks into her surgery excitedly inquiring “Where is something I can cut?” — usually to my utter chagrin. My knowledge of medical practices must be somewhat antiquated however as I was simply issued a course of antibiotics along with a caveat that they would give me a fifty percent chance of avoiding having any of my appendices removed. My luck, for a change, has held and my current hobby is poking myself in the stomach just to revel in the delightful feeling of knowing that my appendix may continue to happily excrete its delicious fluids into my lower digestive tract. Oh yeah.

In other news, Metroid Prime was released in Australia last Thursday (although I was lucky enough to receive it on Wednesday, even while bed ridden, thanks to the efforts of a very dear friend) and I must say the wait has been well worth it. You may recall that I generated a bit of a rant on the PAL Metroid delay on these very pages not that long ago and as usual when I open my mouth, it’s usually to take my feet out. Not more than one hour after I posted the entry in question I read a news item on some website detailing the improvements that Retro Studios were making to the game for its PAL release. These improvements include:

  • More speech
  • A harder difficulty level
  • Some other bits and pieces that I fail to remember

You may show me some leniency though as these details were not exactly highlighted by an obvious source such as Nintendo of Australia’s web site but on some other rather obscure enthusiast site that I just happened upon that night.

I was particularly roused on the issue of increased difficulty in the game as I am fair and square in the middle of the camp preaching that “today’s games are too bloody easy.” There just seems to be few games lately that will take you and tell you in a shower of profanity that “I am going to make you my bitch.” I was having a minor issue with Metroid’s difficulty level. I had completed about forty percent of the game with only having witnessed the intense game over screen once in all that time — the result of taking too long to escape the first level due to being too busy gawking at the visuals rather than any lack of game playing prowess on my part. You won’t see any such words of ease now however as not more than an hour ago I had my arse handed to me, several times, by several different varieties of alien space pirate. Needless to say those bitches are going to pay a hefty toll and my craving for some measure of a challenge is being satisfied in the best possible way. Just be sure that when you remind me that Metroid features an explicit “hard” mode which you can unlock upon completion, that you have some sort of kerchief handy to wipe that drool away from the corner of my mouth.

Note to Nintendo: I never meant a word of it.

Democracy Through Cotton Wool

Oh boy. What a match! Last night was seriously the best batting display I have ever witnessed. Unfortunately, due to staying up to some ungodly hour to watch the awesome display that was the Cricket World Cup final, my brain feels like it is fully surrounded in the fluffy white stuff and will not, under any circumstances, be tempted out from hiding. As a result this post may end up reading at a level of sophistication somewhere close to that of your average kindergarten narrative. Not that this is always a bad thing. Poo poo.

While you are here I would like to direct your valuable thoughts towards an article of merit that I happened upon in Thursday’s edition ofThe Newcastle Herald. In particular, Jeff Corbett’s often polemic editorial attracted my attention as it addressed a point of view which I had myself been churning around in my brain; possibly somewhere close to my lower cerebellum. In his editorial, Corbett discusses an interesting viewpoint towards the efforts of the “Coalition of the Willing” to liberate the people of Iraq and install that pinnacle of Western institutions: the democracy. Basically the premise of the editorial is about whether it is worthwhile for an external power to come in and effectively give the Iraqi’s a democratic government. Surely something given has no value. He argues that if the Iraqi’s are so oppressed and mistreated there would have been some sort of uprising or gradual force evolve in that country which would usurp Saddam and implement a system of government more to the benefit of the common people. Corbett also does not understand why his sons (metaphorical I assume) should risk their lives to provide an alien society with the governing system that we enjoy in our own country.

While Corbett looks at the issue from the selfish view point of personal sacrifice (I use the term selfish here in a neutral, non-emotive way) I tend to look at it more from a longevity and value angle. If Western powers install a democracy in a country whose constituents have not had to fight for it (although undoubtedly they will have paid a heavy but passive toll) what is to stop them from installing a new government just as insidious as the last? Or having another dictator emerge? Will the Iraqi people genuinely appreciate a system of government provided by the blood of soldiers from a foreign, fundamentally different society? These are questions for which I have no answers and I realise that I have taken a hopelessly narrow view of an incredibly volatile and complex situation; I am also the first to admit that my political knowledge in general is very limited. However I feel that these are questions which deserve to be considered, lest the inevitable death toll at the end of this insane conflict result in a situation which is no better than the one which preceded it.

My opinions concerning the current war have ebbed and flowed from the shoals of opposition to the high water mark of agreement. In the end I have decided that the world would most certainly be a better place without Saddam; a popular view I am sure despite all of the anti-war protests occurring lately. What I am not so certain about, however, is the manner in which this is being attempted. Do not ask me how it should be done though; in this regard I am overwhelmingly naive.

I just hope that those who are in positions of power are not like me.

We Don’t Like Cricket

Due to the absolute batting lesson we are dishing out to India in the Cricket World Cup final at this very moment, I am afraid I am going to be a bit tardy on today’s wisdom. It’s good to know that there is more than one extraordinary event transpiring on the face of this sorry ball of rock at the present time. Now for some very bad grammer: Go you Aussies!

The Present Time

First things first: I have found my dream job.

Now imagine you and I are playing a computer game together. This game involves diplomacy; perhaps like Civilization. Now let us imagine that I click on an action which lets me establish a diplomatic exchange between us. At the top of this dialogue is an area reserved for communicating to me what your general posture towards me is as a fully fledged diplomatic entity. If the words displayed here are akin to “magnanimous”, “benevolent” or perhaps even a non-violent form of ambivalence, you may just have the right type of sentiment to acquire one of these for someone as esteemed as myself. If you on the other hand were to attempt to query my mood in this game I can guarantee you that the word “strange” or some other synonym would greet your glittering eyes.

While I am here I might just quickly mention that I am considering updating my contract with you, my dear readers, to read something along the lines of:

Christopher will update this page every Sunday. This does not include Thursday. (This is a minimum figure and the oystaFarm cannot make any assurances that something won’t be posted at any point of time before this designated delivery date).

It is fair to say that I have been fairly ambitious with my agreed posting schedule as I have just discovered that I can use this newly discovered lode of pure, vacant time to clear out a massive back log of electronic entertainment I have acquired over the last few years; none of which comes from Fyshwick. One of my objectives in maintaining this web log was to give me the opportunity to flex my literary muscle which I have found, sadly, has atrophied over my recent five year university stint; computer science courses are not renowned for producing Hemmingways. Currently I have found that trying to make two posts a week has resulted in me posting commentaries which I feel have not been as well refined as I would have liked. I will just remind you now that I do have an insidious streak of perfectionism running through me — I suspect somewhere between my left shoulder and right nipple. This perfectionism is, naturally, measured against my own standards and not yours. This protects me from criticism quite well. In the end, if you don’t see a post here on Thursdays, do not be alarmed; I am in all likelihood enjoying a long overdue visit and delicious gorging in Nintendo-land — a very pleasant place indeed. Of course while I am in this fabled country I will be dreaming up all kinds of stuff to write about here on the Sunday. I apologise for any disappointment, including myself. This extra time may even allow me to replace this ghastly HTML template I have selected from Blogger; abuse of the table tag makes baby Jesus cry and there is nothing I enjoy more than looking at a good piece of prime, well-formed, semantic XHTML. Yum.

Now weren’t you going to get me something?