So we are at the crossroads, behind us is the year that passed, and in front of us the big unknown. Today however that description doesn’t feel worthy enough to the New Years eve feeling I have. Looking out the windows in the once snowy land of Sweden all I see is grey and rain. A land that is bare from snow, some sludge and left over icy specks here and there. And pulling up the covers and blinds from the windows is making the feeling in your heart sink. Well, for me personally it is a fitting end to a year that started out as OK, stayed OK for most part. It really never got anywhere and then took a dive from the cliffs after summer and became an all time low. I mean in a family where the son one morning states – “Mom, dad, where are MY medicines?” you feel that we are passed normal and all health issues that we have passed being a family and just a big symptom between trying to desperately getting an appointment to a doctor that cares, knows and has time enough to do something about the illness – not just the symptoms. It took me from September 31st to December 21st to get to a doctor finally that knew what he was talking about – that told me to stop eating all the penicillin and do like this, accept that I was ill and that I wouldn’t be OK for quite some time to follow. Great – two parents ill – for a long time. Great expectations to raise a boy who has all the energy in the world and wants nothing but to play and have fun. And two exhausted shell of persons hardly having energy left to stand up some days. In pain or distress that one could hardly stand the ugly person staring back from the mirror. Well, as they say – this too shall pass – and it is not without some distraught that we learned that 2012 wouldn’t go out with a bang – than it would have passed sooner rather than later.
I mean come on – haven’t you read the news? Wouldn’t it be fitting if mother earth just finally got enough and got rid of the fleas making her itch so badly? Or perhaps she is as sick as the rest of us and with treatments that only goes to effect the itch – not the things starting it – time after time. Look at the world where we read about a regime killing off its own people and thanks to Russia and China – the rest of the world is tied not to help because regimes that are undemocratic wouldn’t want people to step up and help their fellow-men to become free. Thank you Russia and China for being such enormous dicks! Well, what happens when they do get free? Well in Egypt they got free only to get under another oppression. Religion. Yeah praise god – as long as your one of the men deciding what God thinks, likes and approves off – and as long as you are a man old enough to send younger generations off to die and keep women in oppression that is. I don’t know what is the worst – that we saw this coming or that some many people still want that for a regime. Other than that – the largest and one of the most modern countries got to keep their Yes – we can man – and hopefully the yes man can actually make something happen. For being a democratic free and open loving person – he hasn’t really gotten rid of many things that speaks to the contrary. Oh and in this land of the free – it is still a right to buy and use automatic guns – with high-capacity magazines and made for military use. I mean come on – for hunting and sports I agree to gun ownership – but that would be matched by a system that checks if you’re suitable to actually own guns in the first step. Well, I guess that the right to own guns that are for military use is mor important that having a safe environment where kids dare go to school.
Well, it is of course not only guns – it is the mental state of every nation as well and speaking of mental state. The mental part of the world seems to be such a Tolkienesque part of the world. The problems don’t exist for many. We chose not to hear about depressions, suicides, discomforts far beyond that which can be overcome by a whiskey and a hug. No the mental affairs of the brain is something that we can’t easily treat, and we refuse to take seriously. Just check your country’s budget for mental and psychological help and then read up on suicides and the common anxiety and depression numbers of people. We eat ourselves to death and the doctors blame McDonald’s. Many eating disorders doesn’t have the stomach problem as much as the mental problem. It is not about moving your fat ass – it is about getting the right help – and you won’t get that unless there are experts that can actually tell what ‘s wrong with you and those experts – well here is the problematic part – won’t be of any use unless you get to actually see them.
You could think that I’m writing from some part of the world where health care is an open issue of problems – but I’m from Sweden and I’m writing of problems that exists today because here – we believe the lies and numbers that we are the greatest. Here where we try to save money on cleaning the hospitals that several of them are seen as a health hazard in its own right. We make everything a private affair – only forgetting that private affairs is all about making money in the short-term here. Quality? It was a long time since humanity could recognize quality. I think that perhaps Japan is the only country still that can openly say that it knows about quality products. France for their wines and Champagne, Austria Switzerland and some other countries perhaps with very small parts of what quality is. The rest of us are stuck in consumerism where quality doesn’t matter because as soon as one gadget breaks – it has become old news and yesterdays fab only to be scorn and a problem for garbage control. We easily mistake costly and expansive for quality and that owning these things is the true key to respect.
But the world didn’t end – so i guess that we have a new year ahead of us. more infants to this worlds hopefully means that someday someone will be born that can take us away from all this crap, enlighten us and lead us to something better.
So, has their been anything good this year – well consumerism has had its high and being ill – I have had plenty of time in front of the computer with the access to every shopppable item in the world at disposal at my fingertips. And yes – during my illness I have been able to work. That is the most important thing in Sweden today – not how well we can take care of you, how you feel, what you can do to enlighten the world, how you can move people, or help them but if you can be a productive little ant-shit and work your ass off and pay taxes and not being a burden on society.
Oh, I have been very good and spending my money and in the world economy and consumerist idea – that is the best you can do, so here is the 2012 in consumerism at last.
If you thought this would be a list of the latest music, the best music. Sorry, I’m closing in on 40 so I’m mid-term most things and that means I can safely pass all the hip things to the younger generations and feel a burden, a oppression, being lifted from my shoulders and relax and define more what is me – not what some highly overrated PR person on some consumer agency think I should be like. So this year 2012 has followed more closely in line of trying to reach the better audio quality and understanding of the audiophile.
Music-wise I have been collecting mostly music that I used to listened to or wondering why I’m not listening to it any-more I bought most of the Dire Straits albums, I got me a dose of Neil Young etc. On the new it was some new releases from Nick Cave with Lawless soundtrack, we have some of the off-springs from Pearl Jam with Brad and Rndm, more oldies with the latest ZZ Top and of course Soundgarden, Tenacious D, Muse, then back to ordering up all the music I could get my hands on Metallica, new release from yet another oldie Smashing Pumpkins, Norah Jones,. New entries to the music shelf this year was Neko Case, Thrice, Dropkick Murphy’s, Horrorpops, The Creepshow, Lana Del Ray, The birthday Party…
Seeing the list expanding, I have to say that 2012 was a decent year as it comes to music. Furthermore I have also delved into plenty of books with artists and bands like Slash, Guns ‘n Roses, Metallica Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy. Music has really been an important part and the crown jewels for the music has been the AKG K550 and the Q701’s. Still waiting though for my LeadAudio 100 DAC… Come on you lazy Danes and ship the new version to me now! 😉
Wow, as a not so active movie visitor, having to fix baby sitter and all… 2012 hasn’t been a very good year for movies before checking the release list. Seeing that list however, I see that there are some noteworthy releases still to catch like the Hobbit, Dredd, Django Unchained and Lawless and some more. The list of films I did see however we have Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises. The Avengers, The Expandables 2, Dark Shadows, Ice Age 4 and more. I sure did enjoy some of them. But come the day of New Years Eve and remembering that last year ended with us seeing Inception – and having the memory of Heath Ledger seeing the Dark Knight rises – 2012 didn’t really seem to have a really good release. They had a high medium it seems and many watchable and enjoyable movies – but no obvious home runs.
And that takes us to gaming. OK, there is one home run that in my mind stands out as the clearest winner all categories. It should have been X-Com or perhaps Max Payne 3, or Baldur’s Gate EE, or Syndicate, or … but no – No game really stands up to Dishonoured this year. The mechanics are the funniest to play in a long while and few games give you toys to use as often as Dishonoured does. There are balcony’s, rats, enemies, traps, loop holes, hiding places and powers and toys to enjoy them all. Whether you like to go for a clean out the house approach or Christmas nothing is stirring stealthy – this game gives you options to let you decide how to proceed and all along people are making comments on how you are as a person. No meter of light and dark, no feats for being evil, no feats for being good. Just a story that slightly changes over time.
There were some let downs as well and most noteworthy would of course be the cursed no 3’s. Diablo 3 – had what it needed to for one play through – then it ended. And the always online controversy, the consolish and over-simplified – you can’t go wrong and you won’t have to deal with your mistakes attitude only further led to the money grabbing of the item galore. Pay to win felt close at hand and a DRM to justify that everyone is in on trading inventory with each other made the story of the lone adventurer and the fallen angels feel bleak and bloated as some fantasy cliché leftovers.
Come ye ol Payne of mine. Come with your bald head, come with your pain killers come with your Hawaiian shirt – now please leave me alone. Max Payne made an intriguing jolt of story. A story that held some merit – but it became very clear that when you were back in NY – you had the time of your life diving in the snow, dodging Italian mobsters. In the sunlight, the story of the Favella became one that stepped between showing a dark dystopia scenery with glamour mixed of backstabbing and – well sorry – you got me yawning. The story was predictable and not so tight as I would have wanted it. The game play was OK for most parts. The dodging and firing had some serious issued though but it wasn’t until you hit the button Multiplayer that you got ware of just how bad this game was. The online play was consolified beyond belief and held a very tragic and over complicated multiplayer part that never felt rewarding or accurate.
And speaking of more old friends that didn’t deliver we can take the return of X-COM that has by many been heralded as the second coming. Well, the second coming of a stomach on too much penicillin in my opinion. Yet again the multi platform development is obvious. The “care of PC controls” that were stated is either such an empty lie to ensure sells or they just put the worst piece of crappers ever on the details. The camera has 4 fixed camera angles – in a turn based strategic and tactical game. The free rotated camera to see exactly where you should go would have been the least I would have expected. The original isometric no other views but designed to be understandable would have been preferable. The levels in height seriously had some game engine coders puzzled since you couldn’t move safely inside the ships or tall buildings without risking having your crew run up and down the levels because the view was severally hindered and the auto focusing overriding just made shit of every strategic move indoors. Not to say the least coming to the always aware enemies, the lack lustre research facilities, the scramble ship from one location even though you had several sub bases with fighters to scramble. The always loosing game no matter what. Poor implemented mechanics to make the game distressing? Not to mention that game play always had you at disadvantage because someone thought their cut scenes of surprised aliens were Oscar material made – the not so surprised aliens always taking advantageous positions before you could engage them. Stealth, tactics, strategy? Hell no. You couldn’t really blind fire any longer unless with some weapons.
A comeback that however felt nice was the Indie developed Gianna Sisters. A plat-former I could play with my son so he could have game to ease him in on the console controller. Hopefully he won’t be as handicapped as his father 😉 Nothing much to add, jump, spin, bust and figure your way out of this game is a delight.
Some other noteworthy games are Krater, Warlock – master of the Arcane, Torchlight 2 – that made everything Diablo 3 should have done par the graphics, Borderlands 2 and Team Fortress sailing back as the most fun to play online shooter.
Books have unfortunately taken a back seat this year. The mood to sit down and relax with good books have been a passing feeling and while I have read some more books by George R.R Martin, Charles Stross and Butcher have been the ones giving me the most fun to read this year. No, that wasn’t true. Ozzy Osbourne’s self titled memoirs was the most fun I have read in ages. The music books have been the flavour of 2012. Most have so far been good or at least OK. At some points you are very much moved and the realisations make the music become more richer, more painful or sometimes more stupid, fun or even gross. The albums that were good sometimes changes to become great for an entire different reason. Metallica’s Dyers Eve have become my favourite song for this year. The anger and sorrow and dispar reflects my mood like no other. The words of a book really changes a lot for you and looking at my bookshelf right next to the shelf overfilled with CD’s, I can only wish for 2013 to become a calmer year with less Skyrim and more in the mood to read up on the stacks of books I have acquired and still haven’t gotten to.
TOYS AND COMPUTERS
Well, I do love toys and gadgets. A new computer this year. Nothing much to add, it is a custom PC with a GeForce 660TI OC graphics card, a brand new top-tier I5 processor and RAM enough to swallow my first computers entire storage capacity a SSD boot disc. If anything – this SSD really changed my look on my computer. It boots quicker than anything at home. Tablets, smartphones etc – they are all left behind.
The year started out in the mechanical steps of keyboard, it ended with me going very much to basic after trying out some top-notch programmable and over the top option filled mice to settle with a mice that had an optical sensor, 3 switched – predetermined settings, making it slow, medium and fast. No drivers, no problems with Win7 finding the damned USB gadgets. So the set-up now is pretty low tech all of a sudden. But it works, much better than I had wanted to. It leaves me playing games the way I always tend to play anyway. Not using at all the many settings and switches and profiles. Better to have the one thing they should do the best way possible. Left on my list to try is the brown mx switches and I feel that a back-lit Ducky Shine 2 will be the best of two worlds. My MX Blue keyboard is really nice to type on, but the Red MX tenkeyless is better for gaming. Not that much better though. The ergonomics with ten-keyless is the thing though. I would really love to make a switched keyboard where one could place the ten keys to the left of the keyboard instead of as today’s to the right. Another thing with many keyboard manufacturers is that they keep stubbornly to place headphone jacks, USB and whatnot on the right SIDE of the keyboard. Their top of the line GAMING KEYBOARD. Now, perhaps that is just me as a right-handed person that thinks this is the top of stupidity and fail in design? Put the plugs on the back of the keyboard for the sake of sanity!
So to end the year, I will give you a quote of mine, it doesn’t sum up 2012 or anything, but in the political climate we have here in Sweden were argumentation and discussion seems to become an increasingly rare sport…
“Silence is the idiots best camouflage, but rarely are idiots clever enough to use it.
Keep the debate going and the idiot will soon give his position away.
And never to forget, we are all idiots in someone’s opinion.” ~Foolwolf