Life – November 2014

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The months seem to be going faster now, it seems insane to think we’re almost going into December 2014, and then rapidly into 2015 – It feels like only the other month Ian wandered off and almost died during 2013’s New Year’s party and yet now we’re 2 years on. Madness.

Was considering going skiing for the new years but after some thinking about it, decided it would be a bad idea – it’s odd, while I do have fond memories of blasting it down the slopes man-mode those few years ago, thinking back and considering going skiing again all I can think of are the few times when I almost died on the snow, Perhaps a little over-dramatic, sure, but there were definitely at least a few times when I thought I was going to break at least 1 bone;
– Plein sud, when we decided to do a blue run, and I promptly remembered that I don’t actually know how to slow down, I sped down the first area before seeing the sharp left turn ahead and fence, past that fence was a pretty huge drop, I opted to spin out on the right, turning into a ball of snow and appendages similar to that in a cartoon
– Plein sud again, my first encounter with moguls, still not knowing how to slow down, sped up and almost (or did I?) crashed into someone half way down after getting air off one of the moguls
– One of the S ramps at the end of the long run, just straight up couldn’t turn enough at the end of the second bend and went off piste and flew off the trail, thankfully landing into a huge pile of snow and not the road ahead. it was shocking enough that I felt like I was unable to move for a moment while my brain caught up to what actually just occured.
– Thinking I was a genius and following ed off piste to have some fun, and not realising that you have to shift your weight back – the front of my skis dug in, and I did a full frontflip into the snow, my head planted into the snow and acted as a pivot point for the rest of my body, I loud crack came from my neck/upper shoulders, and for a few moments after the flip, I lay in the snow wondering if I had just paralysed myself for life. Scary.

But yeah, anyway, so that’s not happening anymore. Not sure what im going to do for new years, it would be a shame to not party somewhere at least because the last few new years parties ive been to have pretty much been the entirety of my party life.
The money that I was going to use.. mmm.. not sure, i’m considering maybe a small trip to norway or denmark or something sometime, and then maybe next christmas give Germany a go? Time will tell, I don’t think my parents have planned any big trips yet, my mum did mention Vegas, South korea and Hong Kong, but no idea if any of those will come to fruition or whether or not i’ll even go.

Work has been taking up most of my time as usual, this time of year is our busy period as we try to fix everything before the christmas rushes and so on, so i’ve been doing 11 days a fortnight – with sundays usually going to the arcade to let off some steam. I did get to go to some gigs this month, of which have their own blog posts, it was fantastic to get out of the house for a while at the very least. I’d go to more gig’s but I usually don’t follow music closely enough to even know when they are on. Tomorrow I’m also heading to the london dungeon with luke, so that should be nice – despite being a Londoner i’ve never been to that, infact, most of the London thing’s ive never done, I don’t think ive been to tower bridge properly, never been into big ben, never done the London eye… but these aren’t things actual londoners do, right?

There hasn’t seemed to be any repercussions of me crashing the rental car… yet. I haven’t even heard anything from my manager about it, so presumedly i’m off the hook but I think i’ll wait another paycheck or two before relaxing. I’ve got a £500 bonus incoming for 1 year of service, which is nice – I think I might pick up a sound voltex controller  when DJ dao announces the simple7 edition. Work have also decided to suddenly throw smartphones at me after an age of waiting-  though they’ve neglected to give me a data plan to go with my work sim, so they are functionally useless. They sent me some variety of HTC to start with, the unit looks like it’s been thrown against a wall and has bleed on the screen, however they then sent me a Nokia Lumia 520, a brand new one, it’s much nicer, but I don’t understand the windows phone interface at all.

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Despite wanting to, i’ve found it hard to really get engaged in video games recently, I even bought Phoenix Wright Dual destinies recently but haven’t really played it still, similarly i’ve practically given up on ever finishing Alien Isolation, and I was planning on doing a review of Freedom Planet but i’m not sure I’m worthy of reviewing that game without even finishing it first, and holy shit is it long for a retro sonic style game.
I found out today that the sky3ds cards are available for about £50, i’m pretty tempted to grab one, the 3ds library is pretty small to the point where a 10 game limit doesn’t bother me too much, and at the rate i’m going, it’ll last me an absolute age to get through 10 games (I STILL havent finished Mario and Luigi dream team).

What else can I talk about… Still no gym membership, my local branch still hasn’t opened despite saying they would open in November (Or if they are open, they are doing a very shit job of marketing it), i’ve been continuing with my routines at home, but my body hasn’t changed much recently, for better or worse – though I guess im eating a lot more junk food and sweets now than I was 6 months ago.
Have finished doing a little bit of christmas shopping, hopefully my brother likes what i’ve got prepared for him, I think i’ve decided what im going to get my mum as well, but im still clueless on what to get for dad – he’s always been hard to buy for.

 

Liar Game, and the mind games genre

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So after watching this week’s episodes of Liar Game, I couldn’t help but make a blog post. It’s fairly rare that I watch live action series nowadays, mostly because they are long and time consuming, one or two episodes of Liar Game however and I couldn’t stop watching.

Liar game was originally a manga written by Shinobu Kaitani, the manga spawned 2 seasons of a japanese live action series, along with 2 films, and now finally the koreans have decided to give it a go – presumedly because their drama intake is so high that they now need to venture into other territories and remake their drama (popular Japanese drama Nodame Cantabile is also seeing a similar korean remake as ‘Tomorrows Cantabile’).
It is about a naive girl who is thrust into a gameshow where you have to outsmart and cheat your way to the end, with winners receiving massive prize money, and losers becoming bankrupt and probably sold into slavery.

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The korean version is liberal with the source material, almost to the point where they decided to only keep the best parts they liked, and then rewriting and remoulding the rest – the result however is a show that is undeniably better than the Japanese live action version, filled with additional drama and backstory, and giving characters more equal weighting so they can stand on their own rather than be completely overshadowed by the main characters. The korean version also completely changes the setting and world, introduces some interesting new games of its own, and introduces a fantastic archnemesis for our hero to wage war against.

Theres little more to say, those that want to give it a go can do so here – http://www.viki.com/videos/1053510v-liar-game-episode-1 – of which 10 out of 12 episodes have aired and been subtitled.

 

Maybe you like this genre. I sure as hell do. Here are some similar ones.

UPDATE: You will totally enjoy ‘The Genius‘ gameshow – more information on this blog post – http://www.mengsbizarreadventure.com/2015/the-genius/

Death Note – One of the most famous ‘mind games’ shows out there, a serial killer against a master detective – It became famous for a reason, it’s one of the best, spawning an anime, a bunch of films and even video games.

Kaiji – A show I recommend to everyone, Kaiji pushes a debt ridden gambler to hell and has him claw his way back against the shady organization that put him there, sure there’s money at stake, but for the most part Kaiji is winning to avoid being sold into slavery. The Espoir (Rock Paper Scissors) arc is one of the most interesting games you’ll see, and it’s the first one. Oh, and there are two seasons of it, totalling 52 episodes, so there’s plenty to watch (even if the pachinko arc drags a little.)

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One Outs – A genius baseball pitcher, unbeaten in the underground gambling game of one outs – He is put onto a professional team with the contract of ‘One out, 5 million yen, one point given and he pays 50 million yen’. After he starts winning, the team’s manager begins to conspire against him, trying to get him to give up points – and so starts the battle of minds. The writer is the same as that of Liar Game.

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Akagi – Primarily for those that at least have some knowledge of mah-jong, Akagi is written by the same guy that does Kaiji, only this one is focused on playing Mahjong for huge money, against some really dodgy characters.

No Game No Life – Sitting way over on the other side of serious, NGNL has the same element of mind games but in a more relaxing and brightly coloured fantasy world – far away from the gangsters and serious life or death tone that these sort of shows usually possess. It’s nowhere near as serious or hardcore as the others, and arguably the mind games sections are spread pretty thin on the whole, but it may be worth a watch if you fancy something lighter.

 

Perfume World Tour 3rd London @ Hammersmith Apollo

posted in: blog, music | 4

The first and hopefully last seated gig I will ever go to.

The girls came back! This time with less talk of fish and chips but more lasers and a bigger more impressive stage to play with.

World Tour 3rd in London was held at the Eventim Apollo, probably better known by locals as the Hammersmith Apollo, it was an allocated seating gig, which at first I was very apprehensive of, but decided to take the plunge anyway on the basis of ‘how often do they come to the UK’ – and well.. the show played out more or less exactly as I imagined it would in my head.

Perfume London 2014 WT3

The preshow was the usual, a huge queue outside the door even though we all have allocated seating, an even bigger queue for the merch shop – with people literally running up the stairs to the secondary shop when it was announced on the intercom (Myself included), and some fairly extortionately priced beer. After buying my tour shirt I went to find my seat, Row W on the ground floor, walking out into the hall I was shocked at how much closer everything was to how I envisioned it, the overhead map of the seating really pins everything After row J or so to be trash so I was expecting to be pretty far back, but honestly my view was great. I met a few friendly people around me, and got ignored by some less friendly people and we spent the 45mins or so chatting while the hall filled out.

 

The lights dimmed at 8:30, to a 3d projected map and 30 second countdown on the translucent stage curtain, the final 10 seconds or so produced a sonar effect letting us see through the curtain to the group, and then Enter the Sphere started playing and the rest is history.
Perfume were amazing, from start to finish they gave us it all, a fantastic setlist (nee, glitter, party maker, hold my hand, cling cling, seventh heaven…) , fancy lighting, lasers a plenty, a new remix of spending all my time for the interlude (which was SERIOUSLY heavy club/dance style and fucking amazing), a brief singalong to ‘Let it go’ from Frozen (?!), Handyman as the goddamn encore song (best song.) and some hilarious storytelling from A-chan.

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The only thing that really set it back was the audience and venue, world tour 2nd was ridiculously packed at the front of the stage but if the crowd were jumping – so were you, it was involuntary. On the flipside, at the Hammersmith Apollo, if you jump – odds are you’re jumping alone. The problem with allocated seating is it doesn’t allow the fans to separate from one another, what I mean by that is naturally in a crowd you will have the party makers, the ones that jump and scream, then you have the other fans who stand further back, and are happy to just watch the show play out without contributing much themselves – these groups in any other gig will separate out into the front and back of the crowd respectively. It showed! There were clear pockets of fans raving to the music, and other areas which were practically dead. The man next to me looked to be in his 40’s, of course he wasn’t going to bop to ‘Spending all my time’ but after the show was over he turned over to me and said “that was fantastic!”.
It’s also worth pointing out and shaming ‘Maeda-san’ (前田?) who took on the role of translating for the girls this time round, he was absolutely useless, I think I could have done a better job, A-chan eventually started breaking into charades trying to tell her story because he was so bad.

For him: まえだーさん、次回手お上げないでください。

So that was my experience with this show, it had it’s ups and downs, i’m glad I went, but next time I think it’s standing gig or nothing. I’ve never seen an artist so clearly at a gig before, yet I think I would rather hardly see them at all and be shoved around in a moshpit ala saturday’s gig.

ps. I took my 3DS, this is what the pedometer looked like after. https://twitter.com/mengplex/status/532685378642518016

Babymetal gig at the UK O2 Academy Brixton

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Tickets were a bit expensive, but oh well – how often do Babymetal come to the UK right? Maybe the money will help put them through school or pay for their driving lessons or something.

Arrived in Brixton a few hours before the doors opened, met up with luke and basically just walked around and explored Brixton a little – there wasn’t a whole lot to see, but there were some interesting looking hipster restaurants, one of which we would end up eating at. We ended up at ‘Bukowski’ who specialize in burgers, and though there was a little bit of a wait… yeah.. it was a pretty damn good burger, i got one with candied bacon, jalapeno mayo, cheese, onions, etc etc. Still not quite as good as patty and bun, but I did have to think about it for a little.

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Onward to the gig, the rain was coming down pretty hard, we walked over to the o2 academy to find queues spewing from each side of the venue, with the actual queue for people who have tickets so long that the line started from the right hand side of the building and went literally around the block til it was starting to flow onto the left side of the venue – at one point there venue actually had a circular queue around it, and people couldn’t even work out where the join, that’s how bad the situation was. We would be left standing in the rain for way too long, maybe an hour and a half, until my hoodie had completely soaked through, I think i’ll bring something more waterproof for the next gig. Once finally inside, we would play the waiting game again, standing around for approximately another hour or so until everyone finally got their asses into the building.

The crowd was shockingly more ‘metal’ than I anticipated, weebs literally nowhere to be found, only rockers decked out in babymetal T-shirts and the occasional fox mask – all the stereotypes were there: punk rocker, 30something bald guy that probably rode in on a motorcycle, skinny white guy with long hair and goatee, fat goth chick with choker around her gigantic neck… There were hardly any japanese people around either, if not for the shirts one would easily be fooled into thinking this crowd were waiting to see metallica or similar.

The lights finally dimmed, and we were presented with a fake starwars sequence filling us in on what I can only assume is the lore or plot of the Babymetal tour, something about saving the world using true metal, with aid from the fox god – ridiculous, but then we were a bunch of twentysomethings about to mosh to a trio of japanese school kids who average age 15, so I guess the lore being presented is the tip of the iceberg.

After possibly an eternity, the band appeared, clad in white outfits and with faces not dissimilar to that seen in Detroit Metal City, a barrage of drums and riffs and the girls emerged from the floor to a rabid crowd. The next 80 minutes are a blur, they basically played their entire album, with a few extras worked in here and there both to let the crowd and girls take a breather, and for the band to have some fun. Highlights of course were Ii ne, Gimme choko, onedari daisakusen, dokidoki morning, ukiuki midnight…. the whole thing was good okay.
There was fire effects, fireworks, dramatic lighting, strobes, girls waving flags, capes…
The crowd was loving it, with a majority singing along to at least the chorus of most of the songs, and there was certainly no shortage of fox hands, jumping and traditional push shovery.

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As expected, there was an encore after the show, for which the girls played Headbanger, then just when we though it was all over, another video began to play, documenting the success of phase 2 or some shit… the video would continue to play, finally ending by signalling the start of phase 3 (presumedly 3rd world tour) and announcing a new song called ‘the one’, get hype. The song itself was pretty good, with some catchy bits for the audience to sing along to, but I suspect the entire audience was just exhausted by the relentless shoving, jumping and mosh pits that had occurred over the last hour or so (I personally thought I was going to pass out at one point after throwing myself into the pit).

Overall, great show, shame about the 3 hours of waiting for it to start but that’s more the event organization than any fault of the girls themselves.

I think my skin receptors are broken?

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I’ve noticed it for a month or two now, but I think something has happened to the way I ‘feel’ things? At first I suspected i was losing feeling in my fingertips, but more recently im not so sure.

When I touch my own skin it feels like… almost a midway state after pins and needles? Like when your skin is just coming out of the numbing phase, and you can sort of feel things but it feels different. That. But everywhere on my body.

I can’t tell if its maybe a blood pressure issue, or some sort of nerve issue, but I hope it doesn’t get any worse.
(and hey, if I die sometime in the next year, maybe you guys will have a hint in how to proceed with the autopsy)

Fingers crossed.