Stalkers in the night

Remeber a while bach when I had this groovy fiction thing going? Ages (or so it feels now) before I even knew what surgery felt like? Remeber how I had my little clan of vampires breeding in my socks clan?

Well, it wasn't a fad, the little vamps are alive (well, undead) and well. A bit underfed, these days, and dearly needing their exercise, but otherwise alright. They might not have seen the light of day in... well, ever, but they're certainly not gone.

Just this week, I picked up Vampire, the Masquerade: Bloodlines from the bottom of my drawer. I hadn't played it in literally years, but I can scarcely name any othr game I liked as much. Of the many clans I remember having played as a Tremere male (those guys are way greater than bear infantry or bears with rifles, a Malkavian female (that was a laugh) and a Gangrel male (that wasn't as great as I had in mind... plus, by then, it would have been my third consecutive playthough of the game, not counting the halfway playthrough I did before the Tremere male, before I ran into some technical difficulties, e.i., fried RAM). A few days ago I started playing as Nosferatu male (or so the game tells me. I've seen what passes as a Nosferatu female. Could have been a different male. The game designers could have gone a few inches further, not asking for the extra mile, to differentiate the models). I had wanted to do this for a long time. And now that I brought myself to it, I took the chance and installed the unofficial patch 5.5. I digress. My point is, have I become so jaded that this doesn't seem as fun as I remembered or is Nosferatu just a really dull clan to play as? I spent a good third of the game levelling up my Obfuscate discipline (makes you invisible. When you look like a Nosferatu, you have to), and now I find out that I really need to get at least Animalism (summons animals) to par, or this isn't going to cut it. This all means that my stats and skills are absolutely tanked, my feats look like I've just started out (although Obfuscate Level 5 does give a bit of a tactical combat advantage... when you get to make use of it).

See, this is what happens when you don't sleep. You litter the internets with whimsical, pointless dross. Get some sleep, Me!

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark has been having no end of trouble sleeping. Could use a nasty cold, because then I'd be on Claridon QD, which contains high dose of anti-hystamin and a conveniently inoperative non-drowsy formula that makes me sleep like a baby.

It's happened before, you know, a nasty cold in August. See, there I go again...


This year, my just-over-slight interest in the Olympics has grown a bit, as it does every year.

A small explanation of my previous statement: I've never been much for sports. I derive little to no pleasure from practising them and the halcyon days (isn't this a lovely phrase, "halcyon days"? I really should use it more often) of my nation's Olympic prowess are long gone. However, my father is somewhat of a fan, and the Olympics are something to bond over for us. We really don't get enough of this.

Not long ago Swimming was "our" sport. Now it seems swimming has gone into the background for us, along with everything else, as no sport in particular is on the spotlight or even on the foreground, with live transmitions taking place from 3:00 AM to well into the wee hours of dawn.

So, my highlights are as follows:

Jamaican runner Usain "Lightning" Bolt has been having quite the streak, scoring nothing but first places, with the sole exception of Men's 200m Round 1 - Heat 5, where he came second only to Rondell Sorillo, and setting the World Record for the 100 metres dash.

Diving, my all-time spectacle of choice, provided a lovely entertainment for a not-as-lovely bout of insomnia with the Woman's 10 metres platform semifinal. China's Chen Roulin, who would come to take the gold, won first place over 40 points ahead of second place Mexican diver Paola Espinosa, who would see her spot taken by Canada's Emilie Heymans, retaking the spot she'd lost during the semifinal to a bit of bad luck. Not far behind her, China's Wang Xin, who had managed third place during the semifinal, improved slightly on her own performance. Both British divers, Tonia Couch and Powell Stacie qualified, but managed only 8th and 10th place respectively. Australia's Melissa Wu secured 8th place at the semifinal and went on to finish 6th at the final, performing far better than a very disappointing, albeit also Australian Alexandra Croak.

Still in the water, the Women's 10km Marathon was led most of the time by Brits Kerri-Anne Payne and Cassandra Patten. Surprisingly, right at the home stretch, Russia's Lasira Ilchenko pushed herself in a mighty sprint straight to first place. German swimmer Angela Maurer showed a hearty effort herself, but couldn't outdo the two brits.

Australia's Steve Hooker* set the Olympic Record in Men's pole vault after managing a 5.96 metres leap on his third atempt, well above Russian athlete Evgeny Lukyanenko's best result of 5.85 metres.

I've also been watching some volleyball and beach volleyball, but hardly any of it live. I'd just like to leave a bit of a recommendation to all aspiring Olympic Athletes reading this that if you have a funny name, such as, oh say, Brazillian Volleyball player Fofão (not a typo), have your jersey read either your first or your last name accordingly (I can't tell weather Fofão is a first or last name. In either case, I wouldn't have gone on in front of the world with that printed on my back). Best of luck.

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

* ArabianShark would like to remind you all the neither Olympic Medalist Steve Hooker nor his father, Eric Hooker, an athlete as well, appreciate you sniggering at their last name, so kindly show these Hookers the respect and admiration they have earned on the field.

Trying hard not to laugh

First, the setup:

You can click this piece of text to be taken to another webpage!

Yes, I know, I can embed YouTube videos but I won't embed this.

Now, I could, of course, quote any number of actual scientific rebutals for this, or even argue something of my own, such as "Why, then, would Catholicism have us believe that God created the Earth in seven days about six thousand years ago?", this gets most of them every time, but, again, I won't.

I'll just draw your attention to the description to the left (click "More Info"). Now does that sound like someone is desperate or what? What's more, all of that verborhea can be found in comments, marked as spam. Interestingly enough, only one outdated, praising comment remains, whereas comments are now disabled (one can only imagine how many were deleted and guess what they said), as are ratings. And defending God with the word "logic" is about as coherent as offering hamburgers to promote vegetarianism, as is proving God by limited science knowledge and dubious assumptions, such as the use of the word "before" in a context where time itself is non-existant or that whatever smidgeons of order that can be found in the Universe have always been so and have been set so from the get-go by some intilligence.

If you can believe it, I worked my way into this by watching related videos, stemming from this. So, as you can see, I've had my share of laughter for the day... Oh, but is it ever enough?

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark has found a much more interesting way to drop weight than sweating my buttocks off at the gym: laughing my buttocks off. My gut might follow suit.

Ah, the Joys of Multiplayer

So, as announced before, I am now having a bit of fun with Red Alert 3 Beta. A few things have taken me by surprise about it:

First, the graphics resemble those of Red Alert 2 much more than they do the more recent Command & Conquer 3. Not so much the graphics quality as much as the style, but still, a bit disappointing.

Second, this game takes a leaf out of the outcast Command & Conquer: Generals and allows players to choose from different powers which they may acquire with some manner of "Honour Points" they earn from building their edifices and demolishing other's edifices and such. The main difference is now the player isn't restricted to a maximum of being a Five Star General, and may purchase the whole tech tree of powers, if the game runs long enough.

Third, similarly to Melbourn House's KKND, Ore isn't available in fields but in pre-placed mines, which, unlike KKND's Oil Puddles, don't really become exhausted, as they keep replenishing, like Ore fields, and at an equally slow rate.

Not surprisingly, water dwelling units are back, as are the series's staple Tesla Coil weapons and Time Rift utilities.

So the Beta is restricted to multiplayer. Not my cup of tea, but still, rather OK. So I've played a few matches and gotten a feel for the game. Wins some, lose some, all good sport. Now, just now, something funny happened: My opponent, who was playing with the Soviet Faction, hurled a satelite at my camp. Taken by surprise, I jokingly asked "What was that, the Mir?". My until then silent opponent, became much more vocal, starting with "YES". Now, I don't mind trash talking - actually, I do, just a little, hardly worth noticing - but would you please have the decency of trash talk with propper spelling? Being trash talked to is one thing, but knowing that you're being trash taked to - trash yelled to, in fact, as ALL CAPS SEEM TO BE THE FASHION - and not even understanding it is a bit more than I'm willing to endure for my defeat. Now I remember why I like single player so much.

I wonder if I should tell EA something about it. You know, as positive feedback, suggest that they implement a filter of sorts.

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark would like to end this entry by making a point that he was no ill will against deliberately cronically poor spellers, trash taklers and people who are yet to know moderation for the rather wider key to the right of the 'A' key on any standard qwerty keyboard for as long as they keep well away from me; otherwise I have a bit of a will to carve slits every half inch going all around their bodies from head to toe with a dull, kinky-edged knife and dipping them in molten lead... slowly. I'm a terrible human being

Red Alert!

Welcome, Comerades, to blog of ArabianShark. Our forces are even now siezing control of this beacon of communication for to bring it towards the Soviet dominion. Soon we will be... *fizz* *fizz* *garble* *crackle*


Alright, that would have been the sound of a rubber chicken, wielded by a knight in a full suit of armour, being knocked upside the head of a very silly Soviet General. His efforts might have succeded too, if the whole process wasn't so damn slow.

I mean, five bleeding hours just to download the installer? Granted, its over 740 MB, but, geez, EA, it's not like you couldn't have hosted it yourself, did you really have to outsource to FilePlanet to host them for you, you cheapskates? And, though by no means your fault, Firefox crashed on me once, squandering a couple of hours worth of download and lost connection to the file altogether at some point, throwing away even more hours of download. Then, by the time I had managed to download the installer and run the thing (pretty. Well done, lads!), it tells me it needs an update? Bloody hell, the installer file was updated yesterday, says so on your file host, FilePlanet. After more than eleven hours you'd think I could wait another 20+ minutes, but I don't bloody want to! Give me my rightfully purchased Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Beta NOW!

It's not done yet. It seems I need to type slower when I'm procrastinating or ranting to make a download seem to go by faster more efficientely, which might sound a bit contradictory, oddly enough.

Right, then, I'll bother my cat for the next 15+ minutes until you're done.

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark will play RA3 beefore the night is done, rest assured. Jealous? Don't be...