Christmas Letter 2009

It’s that time again folks.

Yes, it’s the time of the year when, in lieu of sending Christmas cards (Because sitting and writing someone’s name then my name then someone’s name then my name over and over and over is the kind of thing which will eventually drive me over the edge and thus cause me to go on the psychopathic rampage which the majority of you are still expecting of me), I write out a long, winding look at the year that was and what lies ahead, with characteristic sarcasm and comical faux-hipness. Because I’m “like” “with it”. Er…”dawg”!

So then…To business!

Ah what a year it has been. For me, terrific. Wonderful things have happened over and over again (Green Day – the best band in the world seriously don’t even argue, turning 18, the computer I’m writing this on, Disneyland which is like heaven for me and of course a certain Mr. Jenson Button winning the World Championship).

But as with any year, 2009 has had it’s fair share of flaws. Yes, for every Barack Obama becoming President, there has been an unfortunate but inescapable Twilight Saga release. In the future, they will look back on years like this as the beginning of the zombie apocalypse which is still speeding on its way to destroying our world as we know it, presumably within the next 5 years.

For those of you about my age over here in the UK, this year has also probably begun your association with the most unspeakably horrific torture device known to man. Yes, I speak of UCAS, which dominates your life for months at a time stressing you out about filling in a form, getting Personal Statements & References written and all this as soon as humanly possible rush rush rush. Then it immediately turns into the most insufferable waiting game ever devised – it’s like an ironic punishment in hell, it taunts you for your previous desire to slow things down by going to the other extreme.

Cruel and unusual.

If you’re like me (To those very few of you, you have my sympathy) you mostly measure a year’s worth on the quality of the entertainment put out that year. On that front, New Moon aside, 2009 is a standout success. We’ve had brilliant movies like The Hangover, Role Models & Zombieland as well as amazing TV shows making their debuts (Such as FlashForward) or re-launching (The fantastic Scrubs Season 9 (Med School)).

In more good entertainment news, word reached us this year that Channel 4 will not be buying any more seasons of Big Brother, ending its run on the channel in 2010. Every reasonable person in the country is delighted by this news. In less welcome news, ITV (Continuing its downward spiral into being the most vulgar unappealingly cheap and tacky network on Television) has ordered more seasons of The X-Factor. Which means 2010 will be another year in which the Christmas Number 1 will go largely un-contested…

Eff you ITV. You ruin everything.

In the world of video games, Killzone 2 released this year and overshadowed all other First Person Shooters. Honestly can’t think of a single other significant one. None at all. Nope. Modern What 2? Never heard of it. It’s the biggest entertainment release of all time? Oh that Modern Warfare 2. Why didn’t you say so?

In more interesting video game news, The Beatles: Rock Band released this year, broadening the appeal of Rock Band-like games as well as of The Beatles’ superb music. As if Harmonix, makers of Rock Band, hadn’t done enough to make me love them, they recently announced that next year they will release another game. Green Day: Rock Band. Thereby immortalising my two favourite bands in their own games.

Less fortunate this year were those Activision guys. Tony Hawk: Ride is the punchline to every video game joke made from now until Project Natal releases.

On a more universal note, the economy has started to recover! That’s good!

But VAT in the UK is going back up. That’s bad.

But it’s not going up to 20%! That’s good!

But the Tories will probably put it up to 21% (That’s bad) as soon as they get in (That’s bad).

Potentially far worse news from the land of politics is that the BNP got into the European Parliament. Which is both a disgrace and nonsensical. How can a party who think anything and everyone from outside the UK is sub-human represent us in Europe? It’s a logical absurdity!

And on that note, we come to “Climategate”. I’m going to put this to rest once and for all: The world is getting warmer. We’re at least partly to blame through CO2 emissions. Get over it and help us start fixing it.

Jeez, is it that hard to stop burning things left and right?

So then, what lies ahead, in (As weirdos call it) The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Ten (Or as the hipsters call it “Twenty-Ten”)? Well how the hell should I know, I’m not psychic. I do however have some predictions for your amusement:

1) The Tories will win the General Election and ruin the country, but idiots will still claim things have improved.
2) A celebrity will die and the whole world will overreact.
3) Someone, somewhere, will have sex with somebody else. This will piss off a third party who will throw a hissy fit about it and/or go to the press.
4) A man will discover the Meaning of Life and start trying to tell people it. Nobody will listen.
5) Britain’s Got Talent will still suck.
6) The X-Factor will suck even more.
7) Twilight Saga: Eclipse will suck even more than James Cameron’s Avatar clearly does. Dan Berry will not notice due to his guy crush on Robert Pattinson/Taylor Lautner/Dan, seriously what the hell.
8) Kanye West will continue to be a douchebag.
9) Sarah Palin will, on at least 4 separate occasions in each case, fail to spell her own name or even the word “a” correctly.
10) I will write another Christmas letter.

Now, let’s see how my predictions form last year did:

1) Sky will stay blue (Correct!)
2) Music will continue to dominate culture (Correct!)
3) Economy will finally begin to rebound (Correct!)
4) Summer will be hot (Correct!)
5) Spring will suck just as much as ever (Correct!)
6) Someone, somewhere, will be inappropriately offended by something they know was not meant in that way – they will proceed to destroy someone’s career over it despite being aware they meant and caused no actual harm (At least half-correct!)

Wow! Maybe I am psychic! On that bombshell, I’m off to make a killing gambling on sporting events!

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and of course a Happy New Year!

Yours,
Paul “Jensonb” Douglas

WORLD CHAMPION

I always knew he could do it. Through all the years of uncompetitive cars, and with so many people calling it into question, I always knew, deep down, Jenson Button was born to win the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship. And so I stuck stubbornly to supporting him, even as the rest of the world seemed to write him off as a has-been.

And finally, for those of us who dared to believe, for Jenson himself, for Brawn GP (The finest team ever to field an F1 Car), for their friends and their families…It all came good. This past Sunday, Jenson stormed from 14th on the grid to a 5th place finish, clinching the 2009 Formula 1 World Champion.

Simultaneously, Jenson’s Brawn GP Team sealed the World Constructor’s Championship when Red Bull failed to score the 1-2 finish they would have needed (And that would have required Jenson and Rubens to not score – both men did).

I can’t adequately describe the enormity of the difference in my emotions from Saturday night to Sunday night. Saturday, after JB was given junk tyre pressures and went out in Qualifying 2, down at 14th on the grid, with Rubens on Pole…I was distraught. It seemed, through poor luck, JB might yet be denied the title he so deserved. Sure, Abu Dhabi was there as a safety net, but like Jenson himself, the newfound enormity of that task hit me and hit me hard.

It was so bad, I had to take part in a Halo 3 Giant Bomb Community Game Night (AKA a Bombing Run) to cheer myself up enough to sleep.

Once I got up on Sunday, I resolved myself to a positive outlook – again, like Jenson himself. I knew JB had overcome hurdles this size before and gotten decent results, I knew he’s the fastest man in racing trim and I knew he was the master overtaker.

And so it proved, and it led to me being as elated that night as I was inconsolable the previous one. It was magical, and it capped off the best week of my life – no work, 18th birthday (Hence booze amongst all the other great stuff), MacBook Pro and my driver, my team taking the World Titles.

But of course things ain’t over yet. After 4 days of school this week, I have a half day of Work Saturday, then I have the Green Day Concert in the evening. And then on Sunday it’s off to Paris – which means Disneyland on Monday and Friday.

October 2009 is the greatest month of my life.

The Month Of My Life

And so begins the month of October. Always one of my favourites – not least because my birthday happens to fall in it. There are other reasons though! I AM complex. I AM. I also enjoy the weather (It’s cool, but not yet cold), the ambience (Autumnal and airy, very relaxing). It also contains Halloween – which is always good for a laugh, candy.

So at the best of times, I think October makes all other months (Except December) its bitches. And December is at the very best October’s subordinate…Okay, it’s right-hand man. But I digress. The point is, October 2009 is even better than most Octobers. I will go so far as to predict it will be the best month of my life to date.

But naturally, you are sceptical and require me to furnish you with details. Very well! First, I get paid twice this month. Once on the 2nd, and then again on the 30th. That means I make lots moolah this month, guaranteed.

Second, I’m only working 1 and a half days this month – the 3rd and half of the 24th. Time away from work is how we as humans simultaneously stick it to the man and uncaringly kick it. As an aficionado of both sticking it to the man and kicking it, I love that.

Then, obviously, there is my Birthday. I know I mentioned that earlier, but this is my 18th birthday. That means booze and an ability to look down on people as children without the irritating sense of empathy.

There’s also a strong chance that my hero Jenson Button and my F1 Dream Team (Brawn GP) can wrap up the F1 WDC and WCC this month. Both could go to the very start of November, but I sure hope not. I’m torn between wanting JB to nab the Title at Suzuka on Sunday or Interlagos on the 18th.

On the one hand, the sooner the better. On the other hand, the 18th is a mere 5 days from my birthday, meaning it’d be sort of like a present for me! Either is pretty awesome for me though, so I’m not too fussed.

The crazy part is, that’s not even close to all.

On the 24th, after my half day at work, me and a mate are heading down to The O2 in London to see my favourite band, Green Day, live in Concert. And as we’re both 18, we can also drink alcohol whilst there. Alcohol and punk rock…I’m living the dream.

As if THAT weren’t enough to make this the best month in the history of months (Which i suppose means ever), the next day me and the folks are off to Paris.

Paris, France. France the European Country! Now Paris is pretty awesome on its own, seeing as it’s one of the world’s great cities. But it also happens to mean I finally get to go back to Europe’s largest Tourist attraction…

I’m going back to a Disney Park! Now if you think that doesn’t clearly top it off as the greatest month in the history of like ever for me, you’re either crazy or you don’t know me.

On a side note, I want my UCAS Application done this month. Wish me luck.

TOTS: On Trial Show

Back in the so-called “Golden Era” of GameSpot, Ryan MacDonald and Richardine K. E. Gallup III IV Jr. created a live weekly show called On The Spot. On The Spot was the shit. It was perhaps the only Live video game show that actually mattered (Outside of E3). Certainly, it would be uncontroversial to say that in all its forms (Except its latter days with a certain bimbo proto-feminist) it was one of the best magazine shows, or shows of any kind, about video games, delivering a heart “fuck you” to the inept management of G4TV.

After the conclusion of last year’s run of On The Spots, GameSpot made the wise decision to put the show on ice and give it a revamp. At this stage, the show had been around for a long-ass time, so it was a good idea to take a step back and re-think things. It’s standard practice in Television, you just have to make sure your shows are fresh.

Unfortunately, GameSpot had the show off the air for months. Then finally, they announced a date. Then pulled it, explaining that they essentially wanted the show to be “even more awesome than we were gonna make it”. Naturally, with all the delays and promises and teasing, the expectations of the show were high.

Perhaps too high. The show that GameSpot took half a year (Including a quarter year delay) to produce was a radical deviation from the original On The Spot. It’s not the same show. Hence, it was given a fancy (And slightly mis-leading) new monicker “Today On The Spot”. It’s no longer live. And the producers are shooting for an average run time of 20 minutes, a minimum of about 15. What they have, is a prototypical web show run time.

Web show run times are not a good thing, even on the web. Programming needs to be thought of in half hour chunks. Why? Because most shows feel rushed if not programmed for a 30 minute or longer slot. Commercial television shows run about 20-22 minutes of content per 30 minute slot, but they don’t have to rush. They’re made into clear segments and the break (Whether it actually rolls ads or is just an act break like on DVD) gives the audience time to catch their breath.

You can do a 20 minute Magazine show. But the only way to do it is to cut back on the variety of content. And I still say don’t do it, because 20 minutes of programming is an anomaly in TV Shows caused by the presence of ads. where it can be avoided, it should because it can sometimes feel insubstantial. This only applies to shows setting a standard run time. Web shows often have varying run times, and there it is okay to have some shorter episodes.

The reason GameSpot opted for this radically curtailed run time is simple. The show is now on 3 days a week – although a casual reading of its name would cause one to believe the show was daily. Essentially, the same amount of content is produced as was before (Albeit now shot to tape and not live). On the face of it, that should be fine. But it just isn’t. Once again, the reason the run time is a problem has nothing to do with the quantity of content, and everything to do with the format.

This is a show that is fantastically well made. Production values are high and much of the talent is there (Tor Thorson, Brian Eckberg, Chris Watters and Co. do a great job “on air”). The format is the show’s elephant in the room. Despite being cut down to 20 minutes, the show is now trying to include a wider variety of content per episode – not per week, per episode. And that’s a big problem. Why? Because the show is too short for this many different things to happen. It feels breathless. Whether it’s Brian Eckberg going from receiving the throwback to throwing it out again via a mere few seconds of banter or Chris Watters flubbing a line as he speeds through a sentence, here we have a show which has no time to breathe.

And the rushed-feel of the show doesn’t just affect the hosts. It’s a tiring show to watch. The breaks between the segments aren’t long enough. It’s a subtle art, defining the different segments of a show. This is a bad example of how to get it done. The pauses and graphical splashes are short-lived and the cuts through black fast when there at all. Cuts and fades through black exist partly so the audience can catch their breath. This show is too short to waste time on filler between its already rushed segments. As a result, it comes across as way more “seat of your pants” than the old live show.

And it kinda suffers for it.

Other than the format, the other key problems with the show are the writing (Which runs the gamut from “Good” to “Corny” to “That’s so funny I forgot to laugh >_>”) and the on-screen personas of some of the talent, and how they interact. The writing is weak, and it suffers both from existing (These all seem like people who ought to just be going from an outline) and from the aforementioned pacing issues. The key to comedy is timing. We’ve already discussed how the show’s timing is screwed up, so what do you think you get when you introduce already poor comedy to poor timing?

Nothing good.

As for the talent personas and interactions, for the most part, they’re fine (If in most cases a little constrained – the show does tend to have a slightly repressed feeling, likely a result of both the fact it’s taped and it’s so short). But the real problems start when you have Chris Watters hosting, with Lark Anderson as his sidekick. These are both very obviously likable guys. But whatever chemistry they have is diminished by the shoddy writing and corny jokes, which makes it hard (As a member of the audience) to develop a rapport with them. It’s the chemistry between the talent that causes audience attachment. That’s why The HotSpot and The Bombcast worked and work.

Somebody also needs to give Lark some onscreen charisma lessons. There’s no problem when he’s talking, but when he’s sitting listening to Chris, he remains perfectly still staring semi-interestedly at Chris as the latter talks. No reaction, no animation until he is called upon. It doesn’t look so great and it makes it even harder for the audience to get in on the hosts’ chemistry.

Anyway, this is just my little critical analysis of Today On The Spot. I promised I would do one, and as you all know, media is kind of my thing. So here it is. Some of you might disagree, that’s cool. Explain why on the Twitters @Jensonb. Or whatever. But for me, this is a show which needs to be aiming for 30 minutes minimum, even with the same amount of content, before I could call myself a fan.

This Blog Post originally appeared on Giant Bomb (dot) Com

Christmas Letter 2008

Oh, I guess it’s that time of year again.

You probably think I mean Christmas, but in fact you are but half-correct, half I say! I am referring to the (As of this year) annual custom where I waste the time of my friends and family with a pointlessly and arguably too-long letter reflecting on the past year, which this year means we have a lot to cover, and with any luck we’ll get some hilarious snarky comments in along the way.

Huzzah!

Ah, but what is it about this year that is most memorable? After all, so much has hap…Yeah, alright, the economy went down the proverbial crapper, nay the literary crapper. And that’s kind of a bummer. Money’s, like, useful. It can be exchanged for goods and services. And I don’t know about you, but I for one like goods and services. They’re great! But you know…Whatever. There’s more than one way to have a party!

Ignoring the fact that I had no idea where I was going with that metaphor when I wrote it, I shall move onto some good news. Bush is gone in a month. Obama is in in a month. For us Brits, that means we can finally stop hating the country which gives us such wonderful gifts as The Simpsons, Heroes, The Killers and Katy Perry.

Oh hey, speaking of music, Axl Rose (We get it Axl, it’s an anagram of an impure act. It’s not funny any more dude, get a real name) finally got around to releasing his album “Chinese Democracy”, the most expensive and also inappropriately attributed album ever recorded. I mean, honestly, “Guns ‘n’ Roses”? There’s more members of Guns ‘n’ Roses in Velvet Revolver! Perhaps Mr. Rose has difficulty moving on. So while your enjoying your wonderful Christmas, shed a tear for a washed-up old rock star whose latest record is rubbish and who can’t seem to move on I mean seriously what the hell get over it.

Ahem. Got a bit carried away there. Anywho, in other entertainment news, The Dark Knight came out, meaning we have been given something unheard of since before Tim Burton got kicked off the project: A good Batman sequel. If you don’t know what I’m getting at, go watch Batman & Robin, a movie so bad its star will personally reimburse you the cost of admission on request.

So I guess, actually, don’t watch it.

Now then, let us not forget that we almost did not get to see this Christmas. It seems a group of friendly nutcases near Geneva decided to build and activate the first Halo ri…I mean, the Large Hadron Collider. A device with potentially catastrophic consequences. Yes, our friends in Switzerland chose to risk sucking us all into a Black Hole. But the risk of being condensed to a singularity isn’t even the worst bit. We’d have had to die in Switzerland…That’s so boring! They’re neutrals! It’s neither a hateable place or one you’d love! Never mind though, because we seem to have escaped the worst of it.

Huzzah!

In fact, some people are trying to save the world to make up for it! That and, you know, white liberal guilt. Yes, Bill Gates has decided to dedicate himself to philanthropy. Damn does that man want a Nobel or what? Well whatever, good luck to him. Lot these days makes you think the world’s headed downhill, good work should be applauded. So, uh, yeah. Woo for the world’s charity even in what’s tastefully not being called a Depression.

But it is.

But we don’t call it that.

Cos it seems less dramatic if we call it a “Crunch”.

Or a “downturn”.

It’s like how we don’t call it Global Warming or the Melting of the Polar Ice Caps, we call it “Climate Change”.

But I digress. Man has it been a fast year or what? I swear it was only a matter of weeks ago I was gearing up for GCSE exams, and yet it was many months ago. I’ve long since passed and joined the madhouse that is Sixth Form and yet, it still seems like no time has passed at all. Nevertheless, so much has happened it’s hard to remember most of it.

Hmm…Oh, I got a Mac. Which is nice…Let’s see…Important things we haven’t covered yet…Um…I hear Canadia has had its government shut down by their Prime Minister. Something about protecting his job and right-wing policies from the left-wing will of the people. So, uh, sucks to be them I s’pose…Oh, speaking of Governance, Mr. Brown saw fit to drop our VAT! Yes, I know it’s only till the end of 2009, still nice though. Bloody Tories inflated it so much. Honestly. Anywho, props to Mr. Brown for that. He is good godammit. Stop reading the Red Tops! These are the same journalists who tell you which public figure is involved in which sex scandal!

I mean, what the heck kind of political knowledge can they have if that is what became of their lives.

Oh, hang on though, speaking of sex scandals, Screws of the World totally got Max Mosley. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke.

Hmm, I was just looking over the list of Christmas Number One contenders…I mean…Wow. It’s like actual musicians don’t even I want to beat X Factor phonies any more. Where are the proper Christmas-themed songs? I mean, there’s a few there, but they’re mostly covers and/or likely to be the same dreary pseudo-joyous “Christmas” junk we’ve had to make do with for nearly two decades now!

Someone release a new Merry Xmas Everybody, please! A proper, 21st Century Christmas rocker.

And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of the X Factor. The era of manufactured music must end! Open your ey…EARS people!

Erm, excuse me. Got a bit carried away there. So, what will the new year bring us? Well, if I knew that, I would be aiming to make a killing at the Bookies and on the Stock Market (They’re having their 35 Years-ly Blowout Sale by the way!). So since I have no idea, I can but guess…Let’s see…Predictions and aims for the new year…2009…Two Thousand and Nine…Hmmm…

Sky will stay blue; music will continue to dominate culture; the economy will finally begin to rebound; summer will be hot; spring will suck just as much as ever and someone, somewhere, will be inappropriately offended by something they know was not meant in that way – they will proceed to destroy someone’s career over it despite being aware they meant and caused no actual harm.

Yeah, I guess most of those are cop outs, the summer one’s just wishful thinking. Yes, you read that right. So then, aims…

Hmm…Seems like I should be more decisive and also stop, you know, thinking in text…I mean, it’s text. If I need to think of something why don’t I just stop writing until I have? I mean, the way I’m doing it’s just weird, right? Well, anyway, those and probably something about expressing love. That sort of thing always goes down well. So, yeah. Hmm, actually that reminds me of something…

Yes, I’ve checked. Mistletoe’s white things are, indeed, berries. Also it’s a poisonous parasite.

We humans chose some odd symbols for love.

Anyway, I’ve kept you long enough. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

Yours,
Paul “Jensonb” Douglas

PS: I just noticed this letter’s almost twice as long as the first one.

PPS: I want to make it clear, that I think that is all the way awesome.

PPPS: So there.

Out Of Many, One

On November the 4th, the United States of America will be electing a new President. They will be deciding who controls the House of Representatives and who controls the Senate. All of these are important decisions, but the former is even more important as it is not just important for the American people, but for the world.

For 8 years, America has been ruled by George W. Bush. And for 8 years, the world has grown steadily more out of love with the USA. From the heady days of Clinton, still the most popular President amongst non-Americans, to the single least popular President (At home or abroad) in history, it’s quite a come down.

Non-Americans never liked Bush. Europeans dislike him because he’s too right wing for instance. The man didn’t even win the election fair and square, it’s very likely Al Gore (Who was certainly the more qualified candidate) had enough votes to win. But life’s not simple, so he went home a loser (Before bouncing back as an environmental icon unlike any other in history).

He swept through the 2004 election on a Magic Carpet of American prejudice (Colourfully called “values”) and War on Terror-themed propaganda, shamelessly attacking his (Admittedly) weak opponent John Kerry. Kerry may have been a weak Democrat, but he would have been twice the President Bush has been and the cheek a draft-dodger like Bush has questioning Mr. Kerry’s political record is simply indescribable.

2 years ago, the Democrats got back in the game. They swept to power in the House and the Senate on a tidal wave of anti-Bush backlash. And who can blame the Americans for regretting their choice of leader? Bush has spent 4 years killing the economy, eroding civil liberties and ignoring national crises. He’s embarrassed the entire country, reducing what should be the greatest democracy in the world to an international punch-line.

Well, on November 4th, the American people have a final decision to make. They have a choice between two things. One the one hand, they can finish what they started 2 years ago, fix their problems at home and restore their standing on the world stage. On the other hand, they can finish President Bush’s hack-job.

The first choice, the only choice, is Barack Obama. Mr. Obama represents all that America pertains to stand for. He is inclusionary, smart & likable, he lived the “American Dream”. His popularity on the world stage rivals Clinton, rivals Kennedy. He gets it. Mr. Obama has shown he knows what’s ailing the US at home, and he’s shown he knows what must be done to restore America’s popularity in the world.

The bottom of the Democratic ticket too is a strong, good choice. Joe Biden is truly in tune with the “working man” of America. He’s a nice guy and he knows his stuff. More importantly, he is fit to lead should the unthinkable happen. Joe Biden is one of the smartest VP picks in a long time.

The second choice? Not a choice at all. A dangerous and damaging option, is Republican ticket McCain/Palin. John McCain has betrayed everything he has ever stood for. He used to be a passably acceptable moderate Republican, but has sold his soul to become…Another Bush.

The Republican party may wish to continue on the dark path set up by Reagan all those years ago, but Reagan was of his time. Things have changed, and we do not need another Bush. McCain has demonstrated he will continue the failed social and economic policies of George Bush. he has demonstrated he will use the same foreign policy as George W. Bush. he has pent 2 years distancing himself from George W. Bush. But throughout that time, he has shown he is now a veritable Bush clone.

And the kicker? He agreed with Bush more than 90% of the time, including on all the issues that really matter.

Perhaps worse, is Sarah Palin. Palin is a fool. She is, in fact, worse than that. She has every capacity to be incredibly intelligent. She simply chooses not to be. She represents Bushism at its worst. She is a divisive, arrogant liar and unfit to lead a dance recital.

Why is a Governor of Alaska who has supported the treasonous secessionism rampant in that state being allowed to run for Vice President of the United States? The RNC has decided their slogans are “Country First” and “The Change you deserve”.

Palin is married to a former member of the Alaskan Secessionist Party. Palin warmly welcomed that party to their conference this year. Their slogan is “Alaska First, Alaska Always”. Which is it Sarah? America or Alaska? VP or Secessionist?

Palin and McCain are Bush and Cheney warmed over. Apparently the RNC thinks it’s funny. “The Change America Deserves” is, apparently, no change at all. Once again, the Republicans have anointed themselves America’s only valid opinion and decided to try and convince everyone else it’s their opinion too.

Well I sense the Change we Need. Hope.

Barack Obama represents and embodies the ideals and aspirations of so many people like nobody has in a long time.

E pluribus unum. Out of Many, One.

I love America. I love what it stands for and I love much of what it produces. I love the way its government is structured, even the way its road signs look. It’s not that I dislike the UK, and more that the US represents so many of my beliefs. Like in true freedom. The American Dream. And so much more.

It’s been painful to watch what became of the country under Bush. And I confess, he had me fooled too. At first. But as I watched, the more I realised he was wrong. His is not an America I can get behind.

And then, from nowhere, Blessing. Barack. Obama represents the kind of aspirational leader I feared I would never live to see. He appeals to me in the same way Kennedy does. And his policies, his attitude, his ideals…He represents all that I love about America.

And so whilst it may seem to you like I have no stake in this election, you’re wrong. And in case you hadn’t guessed…

No way. No how. No McCain.
I support Barack Obama for President.

Anthem To My Era

So, normally, I don’t pre-order things that much. I usually just pre-order the things I want the most. Well there’s a lot of stuff I’m wanting a lot lately cos I have 3 pending pre-orders and I suspect I might have to make another one soon.

You probably guessed from that image (And know if you follow me on Twitter) that one of those things is a White DSi. I went for a GAME bundle with a 1GB SD Card for £159.99 – one of the reasons I want it is DSiWare, so I might as well make sure I have some storage for it from the word go, right?

Some people have been asking why I want one so much, so to answer I point out I have a DS Phat. Plus, I’m a sucker for swiss army knives. I also happen to think it’s hot, but that’s neither here nor there.

The other big recent pre-order? 21st Century Breakdown. The new Green Day album is coming at last! I’ve been waiting for years, but finally my favourite band is following up the epic American Idiot. From what I’ve heard, it’s worth the wait – 21st Century Breakdown sounds like it’s about all the same things playing on my mind lately.

And the title track is an anthem to our era – something I didn’t realise I was looking for until I found out there was one. It’s gonna be awesome!

Green Day also announced a World Tour to go along with the album. Having narrowly missed out on the last one by virtue of becoming a fan about a month too late for tickets (Irony) I’m hoping to head to a gig in this one.

As for the third pre-order? That’s Killzone 2. I’ve said enough on that to fill a book (Well, not, you know, really). Looks awesome, I’ll leave it at that.

Anyway, this is shaping up to be a better year than I thought!