Which actor plays which Simpson?

I saw this the other day and as a Simpsons fan, was massively impressed. I knew there were only a few actors who do the voices but when you see it graphically presented as to which actor plays which Simpson, it’s pretty awesome. There are some annoyingly talented people out there.

Here is the picture showing who does what. I hope you have a big monitor, the main three do a lot. Now go and watch an episode.

simpsonsvo

Click to enlarge

 

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80 Days game

80-DaysDo you have a phone or tablet and an ounce of adventure in your soul? If so, you should buy the game 80 Days as it is brilliant. It is basically a superbly written text adventure based on Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days. The writer, Meg Jayanth, is deservedly up for a Writer’s Guild Award for it and quite rightly so. The game’s tagline: The Year is 1872. Welcome to the future.

80-days-screenshot-11-2048x1536As you have probably guessed, the idea is to circumnavigate the globe in 80 Days. You are Passepartout and your job is to pack and find transport for the unflappable Phileas Fogg in an alternate history that is incredibly steampunk. At each stage you find yourself in strange adventures and on bizarre but awesome modes of travel like giant metal mechanical horses or colossal metal flying birds. Every route you take and every decision made can alter everything that follows. The game makers estimate that on each circumnavigation attempt you will probably see about 3% of the total game, so its replayability is superb.

80-Days-choices-ekeusThe adventures you have are varied and frequently brilliant fun. They also adapt in line with what you are doing. For example, I bought some Katana swords in Hawaii thinking that I’d get a good price for them in San Francisco. But just after the trip began the chief engineer of our vessel was found murdered with my swords lying next to her as the murder weapon. I then had the remainder of the trip to interview all the suspects and find the murderer before we hit land. If I hadn’t bought the swords, none of that would have happened. Another adventure found me riding through India on a giant metal elephant, prisoner of a Kali death cult led by a beautiful princess. On yet another I had to break out a rebel from prison and spirit him to Shanghai. This all happened on just one trip.

2_city1I can’t recommend 80 days enough. It recaptures the wonder and adventure of the original book and is the best text adventure I have ever played. It is available on all mobile devices and I suggest you buy it now. In case you want more information, take a look at the publisher inkle studio’s website. (There are also pretty pictures.)

Here is a trailer:

 

 

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Happy New Year 2015!!!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

I would just like to wish you all a happy new year from the exciting, good looking, intelligent and international staff here at the Word of Ward. (It’s actually just me but all I just said holds true.)

I’ve had an exciting year where I changed country and job. Interestingly, the official date here in my bit of Southeast Asia is now 2558, which is pretty futuristic.

But you probably don’t care about that, so I will stop waffling and get to the point. Happy New Year and Happy 2015! I hope it finds you well.

2015 resolutions

2015 resolutions

 

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The danger of reporting next to burning drugs

reporter

This genuinely made me laugh out loud. A journalist shows the danger of reporting next to burning drugs – and the joy of it.

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Star Wars Christmas Lights

christmasYoda

Star Wars Christmas Lights. Good they are.

If you like Star Wars and you like Christmas, then you will like this. Some crazed fan of Christmas, Star Wars, John Williams, and Christmas Lights has gone all out. It is brilliantly done – although if you are a neighbour your views may differ.

If you get bored, skip ahead a bit as a medley it is. Personally, I think the guy (just a guess) could have used more Star Wars themed lights, but I guess this way he can keep his partner happy with some actual Christmas songs too.

Enjoy Star Wars Christmas Lights you might.

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Man fails to be eaten alive on “Eaten Alive”

Nibbled alive!

Nibbled alive!

You may have seen this but in case you missed it, there was a ridiculous show on Discovery the other day. Ok I will narrow it down. I used to work for Discovery and we broadcast such gems as Paralysed and Pregnant, I didn’t know I was pregnant, Too Fat for 15, a ton of stupid shows about ghosts and also shows about highly strung people looking for gold in various locales. Oh, and Honey Boo Boo.

“Eaten Alive” was an actual LIVE Discovery special, like when then that Nik Wallenda fellow crossed the Grand Canyon on a tightrope while reciting the bible. In that show, Discovery promised that the tightrope artist would cross the canyon (who may or may not be in the grips of religious fervour). Which is what actually happened – I was in the broadcast suite when we broadcast it live and it was tremendously exciting. He could have died at any second and we were all poised to cut to an ad break so you could be watching tampon adverts before he hit the canyon floor.

So recently they came up with another live spectacular called “Eaten Alive”. Given the title of this post you have probably already guessed what happens when a man called Paul Rosolie said he was going to be eaten alive by an anaconda. Some official programme descriptions even said you would see the belly of the beast. Lots of people complained that donning a squash-proof suit and then being eaten would be kind of cruel to the anaconda – who was just doing what it does after all. So when a mere 2 hours of anaconda goading goes past and the poor snake finally starts to eat him, you can imagine how the internet reacted when Mr Rosolie decides that he he doesn’t like it when his head is in the beasty’s mouth and it is squeezing his arms.

Apparently a 25 foot anaconda can squeeze quite hard and this came as something of a shock to all invloved. What I found a bit worrisome is how they managed to pull the poor snake off the attention seeking fool in such a short time. I bet they were a bit rough and as I said, the snake didn’t really ask to have a metal-clad publicity-grabbing moron stick his head in him.

No need to worry if you feel a strong compulsion to voice an opinion on this though, as online media has already shown Mr Rosolie what it feels.

Some comments from Twitter:

 

Calling it is like having a show on the Food Network about cooking a turkey and all they do after 2 hours is preheat the oven.

@PaulRosolie didn’t need an anaconda. He’s getting quite well by the Twitter universe.

This guy had one job. Literally one fucking job to get eaten alive and he fucked it up.

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There are about a million more (sadly that’s not hyperbole), and that is just on Twitter.

Now don’t get me wrong, I actually really enjoy a lot of Discovery’s output as some of their history and science shows are brilliant. But this sort of shite is pure sensationalism and when it backfires it rightly gets crapped on by social media. I would love to say that I hope some of the viewers then went on to watch something more cerebral on Discovery but I suspect they just switched over to some show about a hillbilly family digging for gold while having emotional crises of some kind.

I’ll get off my high horse here as all I’m effectively doing publicising crap and taking easy shots at a guy for being dumb, along with the rest of the internet. But at least I’m doing what I set out to do.

In case you still care, here is the video with some footage of the inside of an anaconda’s mouth. Gripping…

 

 

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Old footage of Hong Kong from 1938

HK

Hong Kong 2014

If you have ever been to Hong Kong you will find this fascinating. It’s pretty interesting even if you haven’t. This clip shows old footage of Hong Kong from 1938. So pre WW2. It was is travel clip called Hong Kong, Gateway to China. The place has changed a lot but it seems like it was always a interesting destination where cultures meet and mix. As someone who was born there in the 70s, lived there for 21 years, and who still visits regularly – I am always shocked how much it changes year to year, let alone decade to decade. Seeing it in the 30s is awesome.

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New speed record for completing Doom 2

Doom 2: Hell on Earth

Doom 2: Hell on Earth

There are times when I despair of humanity and our pointless scrabbling around, stressing over unimportant crap. But there are other times when I rejoice at how brilliant we are. Like landing a probe on a comet, cracking the genome, and now, setting a new speed record for completing Doom 2.

Doom 2: Hell on Earth is an old game that I personally spent hours upon hours playing back in the 90s. I used to play it for so long it would fill my dreams – the sounds, the monsters, the awesome shotgun. Apparently there is still a dedicated group out there who play it a lot. Amongst this elite group of non time wasters are an even more elite group of guys (probably guys, let’s face it) who compete to complete the game the fastest.

If you have ever played Doom 2, then the new record speed of 23 minutes and 25 seconds is probably going to floor you. It was set by someone called Zero Master and he has clearly played it a couple of times before. I spent weeks of my life to achieve what he does in 23:25, but to be fair, I probably enjoyed the experience more. If you want to see how it was done, well, here the the actual attempt in real time achieved by Zero Master. I doubt anyone would watch it in its entirety (apart from the aforementioned elite groups) but for old fans of the game, it brings back a nostalgic tear and a certain amount of awe.

Here you go:

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The Killing Floor by Lee Child

Lee-Child-Killing-FloorI don’t normally read thrillers and apart from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, I probably haven’t read one in a decade. But someone recommended The Killing Floor,  and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series generally, so I thought I would give it a go. This is the first Jack Reacher book and I have to say, I mostly loved it. I will probably read more.

A quick premise of the plot: Jack Reacher is a double hard bastard who is framed for a murder in a small town in America. I can’t really say much more without giving away a ton of plot. Needless to say there is a lot of action, a shed load of twists, turns and revelations, a hot woman and lashings of violence. There is also a fair amount of cliche and some massive coincidences that may stretch feasibility at times, but with a book this exciting, who cares?

I have read a few complaints about the way Lee Child writes and I suppose they have a point. He frequently writes short sentences. Quite a lot in fact. A bit like I am now. Some find it annoying. I got used to it. Read a bit. See what you think.

I will keep this review short and sweet. I thoroughly enjoyed The Killing Floor by Lee Child and will probably read a few more of his books. I am now going to watch the film with Tom Cruise and bitch about it.

You can get The Killing Floor by Lee Child by clicking this handy link:

 

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Megabots Kickstarter

Megabots Kickstarter

Megabots Kickstarter

A load of engineers, mechanics, scientists, artists and other robot-obsessed types have got together for an exciting, if slightly geeky, Kickstarter project. They have decided to make giant robot mechanoids, piloted by humans, fighting in a massive arena, a real thing. Their dream is to have a tournament where these metallic behemoths battle is out in large arenas while overweight nerds bay for the sight of leaking oil. Here is what the team has to say on their Megabots Kickstarter page.

The mad scientists at MegaBots, Inc. have been zealously working on the prototypes and final design of 15-foot-tall, 15,000-pound, walking humanoid combat robots with giant, modular pneumatic cannons for arms. A driver-and-gunner team pilot each MegaBot in a battle against other MegaBots, vehicles, and a variety of other defenses and obstacles in live-action combat – the likes of which the world has only dreamed of through video games and movies.”

While I am down with most things that fascinate geeks, I never really got into mechanoids/megabots/transformers or whatever. I just thought I would help publicise this because I think a world with a giant fighting robot league is better that one without. To see the Megabots Kickstarter page click on this link now. For $999,999 you can have your very own Megabot with seat warmers and a cup-holder. What a bargain.

Here is a video:

 

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Australia, Morocco, Thailand – Three True Travel Stories

I haven’t done this in a while, so please show some support. I have just moved back to Bangkok and need some Somtam money so thought I would plug my travel book: Australia, Morocco, Thailand – Three True Travel Stories. I have a few reviews on the Amazon UK site but only one on the Amazon US site. You can buy it by clicking this link here that you are looking at now.

Fortunately the lovely lady who wrote the US review was very nice about it. So instead of my usual blurb, I will just post her 5 star review. My dearest American buddies, a few more reviews would make my day. Thanking you in advance. Here is the review of Australia, Morocco, and Thailand. Three True Travel Stories:

A belly laugh from start to finish!

Some young folks hit the backpacker trail to gain self-enlightenment and seek spiritual awareness and save the world. With admirable honesty, the author admits that (at twenty-one) he was looking for fun, with the emphasis on avoiding boredom, staying drunk, and getting laid. Not surprisingly, he had more luck in the first two areas than in the third.

Don’t make the mistake of dismissing this as a stoned-and-stupid Spring Break saga. This man is a professional writer and a damned good one, and he knows how to tell a story. He also has a keen eye for the absurd, even when he’s looking in the mirror. The first (and longest) section recounts an adventure in Australia when he and three friends try to earn traveling money picking pears. Unfortunately, the beautiful farm of his imagination (think A TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL) turns out to be an “outback gulag” and the friendly, generous rural inhabitants consist of a hostile, dishonest farm owner and a pair of hard-working (and hard-drinking) Albanians.

The second story involves getting stranded in the Atlas Mountains during rainy season and taking a hair-raising ride back to civilization (or closer, anyway) in a van packed with Berber tribesmen. Why are the windows covered? “Il est preferable de ne pas regarder.” (It’s better not to look.) The third finds our hero living in Bangkok with his American-educated Thai fiancee Nim where he experiences a strange (typically Thai) overthrow of the government. The Prime Minister is unpopular, so the military steps in, sends the police home, the King okays the deal, and Happy Hour goes on. (That was in 2006 and the former PM is still in exile, but his sister is now PM!)

My only complaint about the book is that it is far too short and I wasn’t ready for it to end. The author writes science fiction, but I sincerely hope he will take a break soon and give us some more non-fiction. I also think that a snappier title and more interesting cover art would keep this very good book from being overlooked.

Just on the off chance I haven’t linked to my wonderful little book enough here you go:


 

 

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Time lapse video of Earth from space

The Earth. From Space.

The Earth. From Space.

If you are a regular reader you may be aware that I occasionally use the odd superlative, too many swearwords, and am guilty of overusing the phrase ‘awesome’. Well, thanks to a Spanish filmmaker called Fede Castro, you are going to see me massively revert to type. This time lapse video of Earth from space is fucking awesomely brilliant. It uses footage released by NASA’s Johnson Space Center and makes the Earth look ever so pretty.

There are times when I despair about humans (usually religion related) and there are times when I think we are an incredible species striving for knowledge and achieving amazing things (usually science or creativity related). This clip makes me think the latter. Go science.

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Meet Ed.

You know how graphics are getting better and more realistic all the time but people’s faces still look weird? Well, here is how good computer graphics are getting. This is Ed and he will show you how we are progressing with that.

Freaky gifs from Hayden Zezula

I saw these the other day and they were weird enough for me want to share. A graphic artist called Hayden Zezula created these eternal looping bursts of oddness and put them out on twitter. And possibly elsewhere. If you like a weird gif featuring babies and limbs (who doesn’t right?) then you have come to the right place. More can be found on Hayden Zezula’s twitter page (@zolloc).
cdkt2

cdktq

cdkue

cdkus

If you want to see more, Hayden Zezula (@Zolloc) can be found on twitter here:
https://twitter.com/Zolloc?original_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fio9.com%2Fdont-look-at-these-gifs-unless-you-want-nightmares-abou-1637395461&tw_i=503802792461361153&tw_p=tweetembed

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Real life Japanese Batman – Chibatman

Chibatman!

Chibatman!

Japan has its very own real life Batman – Chibatman. As you can see he looks just like Batman. Sadly he doesn’t solve crimes, he just kind of rides around and cheers people up. His identity is a secret though. Well, except for the fact that he is a 41 year old welder. Also, the police know who he is. Oh, and the video below seems to show his house. Other that, this mysterious crusader patrols the streets of Chiba in Japan (hence Chibatman) exactly like the real Batman. You know what I mean. Here is a hard hitting report from the BBC:

 

 

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Apple releases some stuff!

Iphone 6 and Apple Watch

Iphone 6 and Apple Watch

The 9th of September 2014 was a big day if you are geek like myself. A day I’d been waiting for, for quite a while. Something that promised to be something of a ‘game changer’. That’s right, the $500 million game Destiny was coming out. Happy times. Oh, and Apple released some similar looking phones and a watch.

I did actually follow the Apple release on twitter and Mashable’s live commentary, because it had been so damned hyped. I had read it was going to be a colossal leap forward akin to the invention of TV or spaceflight or even the iPad. As it was, it was all pretty damned predictable. The main thing I took away from it all was that even though I don’t want it, the Apple Watch looked quite pretty.

(I should point out that I am not a fanboy of anything. I simply want the best kit. I am writing this on a Macbook Air and next to me is  my iPad and Note 2.)

What Apple did though, was reluctantly acknowledge that people want choice when it comes to phones. I’m 6 foot 1 and my hand is bigger than most women’s (especially the little ones). So surely there could be some allowance for that without everyone having to pretend that there is a perfect sized phone for everyone? Well finally there is. The great thing Apple has done with the new iPhone is to inform people that bigger phones are ok. This will hopefully stop people whining on about Android phones being too large. Thank you for that.

As for the Apple watch, as I said, it sure looks pretty but what else does it do? From what I can see it does the same as all the other smart watches except it can also tell when you are walking up a hill and you can share your heartbeat with someone else. Brilliant.

With most iPhone users this discussion is moot and fair play to them. They are probably heavily invested in the Apple infrastructure (music, apps, books, etc) and know how to work the operating system. So why change? Don’t. Stick with it and revel in the luxury of choice. Apart from wireless charging, changing the battery, removable SD cards, being waterproof, and so on, you can now do most of what other phones can do. Enjoy. (Sorry for the mild dig, just fooling around.)

Having said all that, I am going to be a bit contrary and say what I think my personal perfect gadget combo would be – a 4g smart watch that can make phone calls (perhaps via a bluetooth ear thing) and notify me about things, an iPad air for all my texts/whatsapp/facebook/quick emails, and a Macbook air for everything else. So no phone at all. Can someone sort that out please?

 

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malfunction by Cyriak – mental but fun.

Having a normal day? Everything a bit sameish? Got a couple of minutes to be weirded out? Good. Then watch this clip called “malfunction” by someone odd on the internet called Cyriak. I found it strangely uplifting. Enjoy.

New windowless planes

I am just a couple of payments away from paying off my private jet, so imagine how annoyed I am that some new planes are set to make mine look like the Amish knocked it up. (Apologies to all my Amish readers – feel free to email your complaints.)

Windowless planes

Windowless planes

The idea the plane boffins have had is to get rid of all the windows and turn the walls into massive screens. This has the benefit of reducing weight (apparently) and making the whole fuselage more structurally sound. Another big benefit is that it looks fucking awesome. Essentially, cameras will film the outside and then project the images on the inside.

People may argue that this might make the metal tube you are in more claustrophobic, but I disagree. Firstly, those windows you get now are crap and unless you have a window seat, you don’t see much anyway. Secondly, we are barely more evolved than monkeys (albeit monkeys that can make shit hot aircraft screens) and our eyes are limited. They could replace the windows with hi-def 3d TV screens now and we wouldn’t notice. I think this will make the trip much more pleasant. In fact, it could be mega exciting. If I had my choice we would be on an alien planet or in space. Like this:

Windowless plane in space!

Windowless plane in space!

Or even better:

We have arrived at our destination, please buckle your seat belts, there may be some turbulence

We have arrived at our destination, please buckle your seat belts, there may be some turbulence

In case I have laboured this subject to death already, here is a video.

IXION Windowless Jet Concept from Technicon Design – France on Vimeo.

 

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It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Its-Always-Sunny-header-its-always-sunny-in-philadelphia-16086951-760-255I’ve moved house and country recently, so have spent the last few months packing and generally getting stressed out. Fortunately, you can pack while watching TV so I have been watching a lot of Netflix – specifically a show called It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

The show revolves around four characters who own/work in an Irish pub in Philadelphia. In series two they are joined by Danny Devito who raised two of the characters and may be the biological father of another. The first series is great but when Mr Devito joins up things get greater. All five characters are a bit mental/ shallow/ narcissistic/ sociopathic/ just plain a bit fucked up. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been described as ‘Seinfeld on crack’ which I guess is kind of fair given the shallow cynicism of the protagonists and the ludicrous situations that evolve but they are from a very different social spectrum. In one episode, the crack analogy literally happens when two of the characters – Dennis and Dee – decide to start smoking crack just so that they can get benefits. (To give you some idea of the shenanigans they get up to.)

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia treads very close to the line of being offensive but remains continuously funny. Unless you are easily offended and lack a sense of humour, in which case just move along. If you have ever written a letter of complaint about a TV show then don’t watch this and do something more meaningful and less whining with your life. For everyone else, prepare for a treat.

Here is a brief intro to the characters:

Dennis Reynolds – a good looking narcissist who gets lots of women but there are moments where what he gets up to are a little disturbing. His DENNIS system of getting women for example, is funny but a little unnerving.

Dee Reynolds – Dennis’s sister. She aspires to be an actress but isn’t really very good. She even gets stage fright which causes her to vomit. Which is funny.

Mac – Dennis’s flatmate and self proclaimed badass. His dad is a convicted drug dealer and he can be a bit of a religious gun nut. Good times.

Charlie – used to be a part owner but sold all of his shares for food and stuff. He now works as a janitor and is often seen sniffing the cleaning supplies. He is also semi literate and semi stalks a local waitress.

Frank Reynolds – Dennis and Dee’s legal father and possibly Charlie’s real dad. Great at business but a bit dodgy. At times, very dodgy. (The Devito character.)

I would mention some classic moments but there are just too many. Although the characters are all a bit on the negative/dark side, you kind of like them. They may be semi alcoholic and nearly everyone they meet comes off worse for having done so, but it is so damn funny you forget or forgive most of their behaviour. Where It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia succeeds is getting these strong disparate characters to exacerbate nearly every situation to the point where it is fucking hilarious (and sometimes quite extreme) while remaining believable given their motivations and personalities.

To quote Dennis: “We immediately escalate everything to a ten. … (S)omebody comes in with some preposterous plan or idea, then all of a sudden everyone’s on the gas, nobody’s on the brakes, nobody’s thinking, everyone’s just talking over each other with one idiotic idea after another. Until, finally, we find ourselves in a situation where we’ve broken into somebody’s house – and the homeowner is home.” (I saw that quote on wikepedia and it is a good one, so thanks for that.)

This review has run on longer than I meant it to but I have smiled while writing it. I heartily recommend It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Make sure you keep watching until Danny Devito enters in series two. Then you will be hooked. I am actually a little jealous. Enjoy.

 

 

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Goodbye London!

goodbye_londonWell, the time has come to move on once more. I feel like Bruce Banner, always on the move but without the rage and government agencies after me. (He was the Incredible Hulk in case you missed the reference.) Or the Littlest Hobo but without being a dog. Or – whatever. I get restless and need to move occasionally.

While it is fun to change scene/city/country/continent there is always an element of melancholy as you are leaving friends and possibly even family behind. When I was younger and moving to Australia or Hong Kong or wherever, it was a bit worse as flights were longer and there was no internet and people are shite at writing letters. Now it isn’t quite so bad. Thanks Facebook, you are keeping me in touch everyone (and in return here is all my personal data). Also email and Skype and all that stuff. The modern world is bloody marvel.

It is with sadness that I leave but also some excitement. Working in TV with a bit of freelance writing on the side was great and it paid for a degree and a shiny new pair of lasered eyes. But I find writing full time more satisfying and London is too goddamned expensive. So I am returning to a life of journalism, while focusing on my legendary websites. I will also be working on more kindle books, which is ridiculously good fun and is already making me an increasing amount of money.

So I bid you farewell London and all my wonderful friends and family. I will only be 12 hours away by plane or a few seconds by a click of a mouse. I will visit lots. If all goes well maybe I will spend half my time there and the other half in the tropics. (Now is a good moment to buy one of my books, by the way.) It all depends on numerous factors and most importantly, what Mrs Word of Ward wants to do. She is in charge after all.

So cheers, London and farewell Blighty! I will see you soon but for now – mine’s a Beer Chang.

 

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