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Damn it. Another week has gone by and I haven’t put anything substantial (if at all) up on this blog. What used to be my favourite source of whittering is now a site falling into disrepair.

Initially I blamed the VP forums for distracting me away, now I point the finger at Facebook. Whoever introduced me to this site is evil: Mr F, I’m blaming you.

Staying put

Some of you may remember this post from back in February. It spoke happily of how Ali and I had found a new house just down the road in Nuneaton and of how we were hopefully looking at moving quite quickly to our new patch to be in by Easter. Since then, however, things have gone steadily downhill and the sale of our own house has fallen through, and in turn our proposed purchase.

It’s really demoralising, not least because it’s not down to any of our own doing; it’s all collapsed due to the incompetence of our supposed buyer who failed to even apply for a mortgage until six weeks into this farce and now due to one reason or another has pulled out altogether.

And so the process has to start again. The bunnies will be dry-cleaned, the house dusted to within an inch of its life and all those boxes that I pre-emptively packed some two months ago look like being redistributed to make things look as welcoming as possible. Somehow, though, I can’t quite see it being so frantic this time around as I don’t really have the heart for it at the moment.

As I said right at the beginning “if it is meant to be, it’ll all go smoothly”, and obviously this particular one wasn’t.

Monkeys love the trees

Last weekend, prior to the disappointment Liverpool felt this week, Ali and I were up in the city visiting some friends. We got shown around the centre itself taking in the docks, the Tate and the rest of the local culture, but by far and away the best aspect of the weekend was Go Ape.

Go Ape is basically a playground for big kids, suspended from the trees. Consisting of various rope bridges, Tarzan swings and zip lines it forms a route through the canopy and is surprisingly good fun.

I say “surprisingly” because I’m not a great fan of heights; put me on top of a tower with a handrail I’m fine, but put me up a ladder with a light breeze and I’m not so sure anymore. That being said, they break you in very gently and do their best to reassure you with a very lengthy and helpful safety talk about how your safety harnesses “love the trees”.

It may not sound like much, traversing a few dangling ropes suspended from the branches, but it was really good funwww as first I got over my fear and then I embraced the challenge. Half of the obstacles were something straight out of Gladiators with wobbly beams, stirrup walkways, and giant cargo nets.

Well worth the trip and definitely something that will wake you up early on a Sunday morning.

GAMEstation

It was a headline that filled me with dread: GAME acquires Gamestation.

A cry rang out from my mouth at the horror; my favourite shop on the highstreet (and bastion for retreat when Ali goes shopping) is being enveloped by one of my least favourite shops on the highstreet.

I have always resented buying games from GAME. Even before Christmas when they were the only place in town to have the Wii accessories I wanted, I felt dirty handing over my cash to them.

With some shops I have an irrational disdain for them, Starbucks, Costa et al, for example, just because they are always there. With GAME, however, I think they are soulless places for people who don’t know better, who get ripped off on prices and who just bend over and take it when offered a ridiculously scant trade-in price. They are the ultimate, streamlined, capitalist vision of my preferred hobby, not only that but their all-caps name grinds my gears too.

This is not to say that Gamestation is not after my money too, let’s not pretend they too aren’t driven by the mighty pound, but they go about it in such a nice manner by comparison. Their shops have character, a great range of second-hand/retro games, good trade-in value and, more importantly, their staff appear to know what they are on about. This could be just my own personal impression, but the difference between the two businesses is as night is to day.

The one glimmer of hope I cling to is that they will, as the press release says, keep the two brands separate. For those of you who remember Electronic Boutique, you may also remember that GAME assimilated them pretty sharpish after an acquisition, but hopefully the demographic who use Gamestation (as it is now) as opposed to GAME will persuade the two identities to remain.

The odd thing is, though, that as much as I hate GAME’s retail face in towns, I cannot fault their online service. Upon their website, prices can almost be considered competitive and their delivery service is exceptional; if ever I want something on the day of release this is the place I will go. Quite the opposite to Gamestation’s own web presence, in fact, and quite the Jekyll & Hyde. Who knows, they may compliment each other after all.

Pinata Hero

For those of you with Guitar Hero, did you ever think that the guitar peripheral was missing a certain something?

I did. I started sticking and just forgot to stop.