That’s one hell of a playlist

We drove in to London yesterday to attend a screening of the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, The Long Haul (expect a review tomorrow or the day after). The car ride itself wasn’t particularly memorable other than the roads being more quiet than typical for a Sunday morning, but the radio provided some unexpected entertainment.

I have my car radio tuned in to Absolute Radio (Virgin Radio in old money) and they were playing their usual mixture of 90’s onward rock. This annoys my wife as I’m not down with it (her car is tuned to Radio 1) but I’m too old and too set in my ways to change.

Things took a turn for the surreal when we got to Staples Corner. I’ve always had a soft spot for Depeche Mode’s Violator album but not to the point I’ll inflict it on others, so image my surprise when Personal Jesus came on and the boy started singing along to it. By the second verse his sister had joined in. I’m struggling to think where they could have heard it before; they’ve probably heard the Johnny Cash version on his America IV album (they also love Hurt from that album too) but they nailed it pretty perfectly. View Full Post

Failing on World Free Comic Book Day

A post shared by David Pearson (@allmec) on

Saturday was, as the title suggests, free comic book day. We failed at this fairly spectacularly. The ten year old had been made aware of it by some other agency than me, so had his usual unrealistic expectations. No, you’re not going to be able to get the shops entire stock of Spider-Man comics for free, what there will be is a limited number of a few specific titles.

As it turned out, when we made it to the comic shop just after lunch, there were no comics at all. As we mooched around, several small boys came in and approached the chap behind the counter who had to tell all of them that the free comics ran out a couple of hours previously. I imagine the people queuing for the shop to open got the majority of them; free isn’t really free if you have to invest the time to queue, and we had plans first thing. View Full Post

Now it’s summer – Amazon, and a BBQ

A couple of weeks ago now I was invited to the Amazon Now It’s Summer rooftop BBQ in London. It’s taken me a couple of weeks to blog about it as I thought it would sit well with a lovely upturn in the weather but since outside is still doing it’s best impression of late Feb/early March, I’ve scrapped that idea. Ironically Amazon’s  #NowItsSummer store itself is actually weather reactive when it comes to recommendations- if it’s sheeting it down outside, you can guarantee it’s clever algorithms won’t be recommending suntan lotion; you’re much more likely to get brollies or wellies. Perhaps I can stop asking my Echo Dot what the weather is going to be like every morning and just check out the Now Its Summer Store. View Full Post

This time of year

Although we had horrible hailstorms the other day, and I’ve woken up to a ground frost outside on more than one occasion this week, I can safely say from a personal perspective I like April/May quite a lot. It’s the profusion of bank holidays that does it for me; two and Easter and two book ending May. Coupled with the clocks going forwards, and more daylight anyway, it really seems that we’ve told winter to sod off and things are getting better.

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(No) Fear of the Dark

The Fates colluded yesterday to leave me the house to myself in the evening. The lady wife was off in Birmingham at an overnight course and the kids were having a sleepover as I had been invited to Amazon’s Summer BBQ. As the hailstones fall as I’m writing this, I’m smirking at the idea of a summer BBQ but it was good fun and it’s always nice to get out occasionally.

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Marvel’s Iron Fist a Netflix Originals

Whatever Iron Fist have have had in terms of reviews, I’m loving it. I didn’t get the opportunity to binge watch it when it came out last month as I was too busy with work and external commitments (and we were watching Sleepy Hollow but sshhh, don’t tell anyone). It’s more enjoyable than both Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, and, at the moment at least as much fun as Daredevil. Danny Rand is simply a nicer person than Matt Murdoch, which makes it easier to empathise with him. I love the fact that Danny is determined to be nice to everyone, despite their intentions for him, it’s unusual to see but I suppose reflect the Buddhist teachings that sit behind Kung Fu. View Full Post

The Overwatch challenge

As I blogged the other day, I’m struggling to transition my son from my PSN profile to a family sub account I’ve set up for him. The main reason for this struggle is he has played Overwatch a lot on my profile. He’s up to level 103(?), which shows a fairly heavy time investment as generally perceived wisdom reckons it takes an hour and a half of actual play to go up a level from level 30 onwards (actual play time will be longer as you wait for games to become available, and go through menus etc).

Considering I started playing on his profile on Saturday at level one and finished yesterday on level 9, I didn’t think I was doing too badly.

If you’ve never heard of Overwatch, let me fill you in. It’s what’s called a first person shooter (FPS). That means you see the world through the characters eyes (in first person), unlike a game like Tomb Raider, where you can see the character on screen (this is called third person, it’s a bit like an out of body experience). Lots of FPS are aimed at adults, are full of blood, swearing, and overt violence. Overwatch is primarily aimed at kids (it’s certified 12), has bright colourful graphics, no blood, dismemberment or bloody corpses. The only swearing is provided by the players over voice chat, which can be hilarious as plenty of sub tens appear to play and their idea of “big manning it” seems to be calling each other silly bums. View Full Post

Not going swimming

Despite my best efforts we didn’t manage to go swimming today. We did everything right, got up, dressed, put the swimming kit in the bag and go in the car and drove to the local school where the kids have their Sunday lessons.

Unfortunately our best intentions were just that; intentions. It turns out that the lessons don’t start until next week, something I hadn’t checked because I knew that they started this week and why did I need to check?

This is symptomatic of me really. I wish I was more organised and better clued in. I know exactly where last term bill is, it’s in my sock drawer on the right hand side, just next to my bow-tie (clip on, my tie up one got borrowed by my brother about ten years ago and I’ve not seen it since).

On it’s own this wouldn’t have been too bad but coupled with the fact we spent ages looking for number one son’s mobile phone, only to find it in my rucksack, where he put it for safe keeping when we went to Wrest Park last weekend.

I give up.

Sometimes you just have to put your hands up and say yes, I am bloody hopeless. There’s nothing else for it unfortunately.

Games consoles, Overwatch, kids accounts and a meltdown

Recently we were exceptionally decadent and added a second PS4 to our house. We did this through the accumulation of Nectar Points which we used to get a decent discount at Argos on a bundle that was already reduced. Go me!

Although it seems silly, there were a couple of good reasons behind the purchase. Firstly we had pretty much been driven from the living room where MY PS4 lives by kids incessantly playing games on it. Secondly, the high functioning child gets very valuable secondary socialisation from using it. Secondary socialisation is important for people on the spectrum; it involves chatting and interacting with people whilst doing something else. Put kids together in a situation where the sole purpose is to interact and they’ll have trouble, give them something to do that leads to interaction as a secondary benefit of whatever they’re doing, and it works much better. View Full Post

When you hurt the cause you champion

Oh for a rounded world view.

The problem with ideology is that it becomes a means to an end. In the Large Hadron Collider of Life, when ideology and social interaction are hurled together at a high percentage of the speed of light, it is often the case that individual ideologues involved get so caught up in their narrative that common sense has to take a back seat.

Whether this is manifest as the devout Christian spreading what he thinks is God’s word by shambling up and down the high street with a sinners repent sandwich board and a portable megaphone, the Gamer Gate “ethics in journalism” lot automatically assuming that any woman involved in video games is there because of sexual favours offered to men, or the feminist who’s default position is any man is a woman beater, the thing they all have in common is the damage they do to their cause by their actions and behaviour. View Full Post