Exams, Assignments, blah, blah, blah…

I’m painfully aware that I’ve not posted in while, I’ve not posted a ‘Nomad’ in almost two weeks! This has been due largely to the fact that I am now back at university and this means two things, assignment deadlines and exams! I’ve not done as well thus far in my second year due to a few factors, which I don’t fancy getting into right now, suffice to say that none are good. I even contemplated quitting at several points and, if I could have got out of my rent contract on my student accommodation I might have done just that. I didn’t quit and now I’m determined to get my comparatively abysmal grades back to the level they were last year which, unfortunately for you guys, means less time to spend writing! I’m sure you’ll understand though, try not to be too down about it ;].

On the subject of the blog, I’ve made an unofficial decision, at least for now, to split my posts into 2. This helps readers with short attention spans and helps me stick to my weekly quota, so it’s win-win really! I’m about to post Day XIII pt.1, with part 2 hopefully following next week, although it is exam week so perhaps late weekend realistically. I’d also like to thank all those who commented on my last post, giving me some excellent feedback. Thanks a lot guys, it really helped.

Just thought I’d give y’all a quick update before I sink my head into some revision for next week.

Much love!

Adantur.

The Hobbit!!! (Minor spoilers follow…)

I should be working on the next ‘Nomad’ post and I kind of am at the time of writing but I couldn’t not spend a few minutes expounding my adoration of The Hobbit and Middle Earth in general, books and films alike.

I heard a lot of grumblings in the build-up to this film, mainly about the fact that it was shot in 48FPS which, apparently (not that I’m an expert in any way), gives it a more realistic feel because of all the extra detail captured. Reviews I have read since have likened it to watching the most expensive tv show ever. I can’t comment on this and, to be honest, I couldn’t care less as I watched it in 2D anyway. I’ve watched a few films in 3D and can honestly say that the only one that didn’t feel like a total rip-off was Avatar, I think Green Lantern had more 3D sections in the trailers beforehand than the actual movie!

Anyway, enough about all that FPS rubbish, what about the film? I bloody loved it! If I were to reel off all the lines that made me laugh, gasp or damn near cry I’d still be writing this post into next week. My first thought upon watching was thus, I fucking love dwarves!! I always have of course, ever since I read the book as a child, but the dwarves in this film deserve a special mention such was their hilarity and general awesomeness. James Nesbitt, an actor I normally associate with ITV dramas and mildly amusing Yellow Pages adverts, was a particular highlight as Bofur, injecting much humour and even pathos into the seemingly doomed expedition. When the dwarves had finally settled into Bag End in hilarious fashion and began to sing I must admit I almost cried and I’m certainly not a crier. Seeing and hearing much loved characters from my childhood on the big screen in such an epic fashion was almost too much, the Misty Mountains dirge sent a shiver down my spine and I have not stopped singing it since.

Music is an integral part of Tolkien’s universe, in fact as far as I remember his universe began with a great musical harmony only to be broken by a rogue being Melkor etc… (I used to be a lot more knowledgeable on Middle Earth lore). The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy are littered with songs and poems,  each serving to add life and character to Tolkien’s rich world. I was always captivated by these songs, music is an essential part of real cultures so it makes sense for fantasy races to have their own folk songs and musics. I’m even trying to emulate the great writer in some small way myself, attempting to write a few songs for my this very blog, with mixed results as I’m not much of a songwriter. One of my best finds on Youtube recently was ‘The Tolkien Ensemble’ a group of talented musicians that bring to life these songs and poems with mesmerising results. One of my favourites being the Song of Durin a dwarven dirge, sung by our very own Gimli son of Gloin. These are a treat for any Tolkien lover and should be checked out immediately if you’ve not already done so.

A major worry of mine before heading to the cinema was the fact that the Hobbit, a relatively short book, was being made into a trilogy with a length similar to that of The Lord of the Rings. How on Middle Earth is he going to stretch a single book out over three films?! I and many others thought. I was pleasantly surprised then to find that, at least for this first episode, Peter Jackson has largely pulled it off. Sure some die-hard fans of the original material will scoff at the added scenes, including an exceedingly good battle scene with a certain pale orc. But I thought the vast majority of the added scenes were inclusion-worthy, the scenes with Radagast the Brown, a barely mentioned character in the books, were a pleasant surprise, the scene with him trying to resuscitate his beloved hedgehog “Give him some air!” a funny highlight.

All in all I think the first installment was a success and I just wanted to vent my appalling excitement at finally seeing my beloved dwarves on the big screen, not to mention the majesty that is Christopher Lee’s Saruman. Now all there is to do is wait for the next one, all the while singing…

Far over the misty mountains cold.
To dungeons deep, and caverns old.
The pines were roaring on the height.
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread.
The trees like torches blazed with light.

Adantur out.

Progress Report and Stuff

Deadlines, oh how I hate deadlines. Personal ones are the worst, ones where the sole consequence of missing them is your own feeling of disappointment. At least official deadlines have that knack of snapping you out of your workless funk a few days before it. When I took up this blog again after over a month break I set myself a weekly quota and, thus far, I have met it, producing a ‘Nomad’ post at least once a week for the past few weeks. This week however I will come dangerously close to missing it, reasons for which are many.

The past few weeks have been trying ones for me, I’ve been as close to depressed as I ever have been before, myself being a generally contented person and I have been having major doubts about pretty much everything. This time last year it was my first year at university and I had made a lot of great new friends, I was generally enjoying life as I never have done previously. In fact, if you were to look at the posts around November of last year, you would read the writings of a happy young man, excited at his prospects and experiencing fresh new experiences every day. I had just left home for the first time and, contrary to some who feel homesick, I loved it.

Fast forward to the present and things have changed, due to a number of factors such as self-doubt, loneliness and general apathy towards my current situation amongst others, I have become introverted. Whereas last year I sought the company of others and was always up for a night out, I now can not wait to get back to my room and be on my own. I seem to have given up trying to be honest. I can only hope that the Christmas break will do me some good and my mood improves accordingly.

Now for the progress report! The routine I have developed for writing ‘Nomad’ posts is to first play half a day and make notes on it, then play the other half and do likewise, before writing it all up in one or two sessions. This is fairly time-consuming, depending on how eventful the day was (and day 11 is fairly eventful). I usually hope to start around the beginning of the week after posting the previous day around friday the previous. This week however I have only just started and it is very nearly saturday so I have a lot to do in very little time. I am however determined to get a quality post out there by sunday 00:59! This blog has been rather therapeutic over the last month or so and playing and writing as Adrian Caro provides somewhat of an escape from reality. Not to mention reading other people’s comments and blogs that serve to cheer me after a thankless day.

I won’t tag this one or share it on Facebook as I have never been one for sharing feelings and such, at least before I “grew up” (being a child was much simpler). I thought I’d keep y’all updated anyways and, until sunday…

Adantur out.

One Thousand and Counting

A particular landmark was struck recently, this blog now has over a thousand views! I’m pretty sure that’s quite a poor stat comparatively speaking but I don’t care, I’m happy in the knowledge that the words I have written have been viewed a thousand times. What often astonishes and sometimes amuses me is the vast range of nationalities that view my blog. Perusing my site stats, as I often do (sad I know), I see that people from the most random places on Earth have checked out my blog. The other day I had a view from Bosnia and Herzegovina (I love that word), oddly enough.  This blog started out as a platform for me to air my thoughts and views, mainly on personal matters and sometimes I’d post opinion-based stuff. Back in those days, over a year ago in fact, views were hard to come by. I had one or two followers, the only one I can remember being Kato Mckracken, who’s posts I have shamefully neglected to read for some weeks now, apologies for that. A big thank you goes to her for encouraging me in those early days with her comments and feedback.

If I had carried on as I was, writing solely about myself and my opinions, I surely would not have 1000+ views by now. The reason for this spike is, of course, ‘A Nomad in Skyrim’. When I first started writing about Adrian’s adventures I thought that it would have a small audience, primarily myself and the few friends I could pressure into reading it. Little did I know of the community of fan fiction writers that now make up a fair portion of my viewership. Bloggers like Lo Zin, The Quixotic Bedhead, KitDoctor, Erica and a few others that I try my damndest to keep up with. One guy that has inspired my blog more than others though is Pyrelle, his was my very first comment on day one of ‘Nomad’ and his ‘Misadventures of Zander‘ was early inspiration for my own writing. The last shoutout, but not least, goes to Elspeth Aurilie.

In the beginning (very biblical) I basically modelled ‘Nomad’, as I have said previously, off of “Living in Oblivion” an Elder Scrolls roleplaying blog that was lighthearted, funny and did a fantastic job of poking fun at the game on which it was based. I, of course, tried to emulate it and I’m not sure how well I managed it to be honest, I guess you guys can be the judge of that. At the time I was busy reading Pyrelle’s blog which, by the by, nailed and continues to nail the more…humourous side of Skyrim role-playing. I started out with a very sketchy backstory written on Notepad for Adrian, but only to help immerse me in the role-playing aspects of the game. I then began reading the very singular story of Elspeth which, with its detailed lore and deep characterisation, inspired me to shift the focus from an attempt at humour to one at a story, the story of Adrian Caro to be precise. In recent posts I have revealed more of his story and, hopefully, given his character and those around him a lot more depth and I intend to carry on in this vein.

Anyhoo this was only supposed to be a brief post, thanks again to all my readers from the US  to Lithuania and thanks again to all those whose blogs I enjoy and seek inspiration from.

Adantur out.

P.S. I expect to be paid for this blatent advertising  ;]

DEFENCE!! (A brief update on life)

I realise that I have not posted in a long time, my last ‘Nomad in Skyrim’ post was a few weeks ago, my last general post being practically ancient by now. Today however I was inspired to write, even if it was just a short update. Since my last post I have started my second year of university. Thus far it has been a mixed bag, until today I have generally been apathetic towards uni work and indeed towards intellectual pursuits in any form, I only read on the train for example. One reason for this is that I am lazy, I always have been and I probably always will be. If two options are presented to me, one requiring less effort than the other, I will 99% of the time take that one. I’ve been like this since the start of high school. I have improved a little since starting university and becoming more independent but there is still a long way to go before that 99% becomes a lot healthier figure. Another reason is that I have since joined the university American Football team, the UCLAN Rams.

The decision to do so is, as anyone who has known me for an extended period of time will know, rather out of character for myself. I’ve never particpated in a full-contact sport before, I am not and never have been particularly athletic and I am not aggressive in the slightest (which is in fact something I need to work on). My reasons for joining were a) to become fitter and stronger, b) to increase my social circle and c) to become more confident / aggressive. Thus far I am steadily achieving ‘a’, I now go to the gym three or four times a week and am not quite so out of shape as I once was. I am also breaking ground with ‘b’, an American Football team has a LOT of players so I have met a lot of people through it. Until ‘c’ i.e. my confidence is improved, however, I will continue to have problems socialising within a large, new group such as the football team. This brings us onto ‘c’, I can’t say that my confidence has not improved a little but I still have a long way to go. I have never been particularly aggressive in any part of life, I am always one to err on the side of caution rather than throw myself into any given situation. This is extremely prevalent in sports, American Football requires a great deal of aggression from every single player on the pitch (perhaps excluding the quarterback) and, at the moment, I just can not summon up the kind of controlled aggression required to just hit someone in a tackle or blocking situation. I am enjoying it though so I should hopefully improve.

All this tiring physical work in the gym and on the training field (three times a week!) has taken a toll on the intellectual pursuits in my life e.g. academia, reading, this blog. It seems that, until I become accustomed to it, this level of physical activity is simply not conducive to mental activity such as keeping up with my uni work. I am starting to enjoy my work though and hopefully I will be able to balance the two nicely in the future.

This is a short update but there should be more coming soon in both general and “Nomad in Skyrim” but, for now….

Adantur out.

A long slow summer…

I haven’t posted on here in a while, mainly because there is little to post about. It’s the summer holidays which, for a high school student, is six weeks to relax and enjoy the clement weather (ok perhaps not in England). For a university student without a job however it is many months of passing the time. It’s not been too bad, I’ve caught up with the backlog of games on my PC and, more importantly, with my friends from back home. It has been uneventful though, extremely so. Mainly due to lack of finances I haven’t travelled or anything exciting like that. I did move in with my girlfriend and have been living here for the past month or two, which is nice and I have been glued to the Olympics for the past two weeks which was great!

Other than that it’s been mainly gaming and that brings me to the reason why I have decided to start posting again before going back to uni, Skyrim. I got the game when it first came out but, after completing only half the game, found myself becoming bored with it and shelved it. Recently however I have found my interest in the game revitalised. Not the fire-breathing dragons and epic soldiery of the main quest though, recently I have been roleplaying as a humble nomad, a wandering hunter with a somewhat shady past. After playing with this character for a few days (about a week or so in game time) I decided to start a blog about it, the blog will recount his story through his own words in the form of a diary he keeps.

I am going to try and avoid anything too adventurous and just concentrate on surviving in the unforgiving landscape of Skyrim, it won’t be too humdrum I hope as there will be a good deal of character exploration as well as the occasional drama. You don’t really have to like or have played Skyrim to enjoy it, although players may get the best out of it, so give it a look.

Regarding real life I am preparing to head back to university for my second year with mixed feelings, I am looking forward to seeing my friends again but apprehensive about the work. We’ll just have to see what September brings!

Adantur out.

I’m free! …..and bored.

I finished my first year of university a week or so ago and, I have to say, it went by so fast. It’s been a great eight or nine months of my life; I learned to cook (basically), to clean up after myself (occasionally), to do the washing (when I have to) and, above all, I had fun. I don’t believe however, that my liver was expecting the whole experience. From having a few pints in the pub once a fortnight or so to going out every week, sometimes two or three times, is a big step up. But I have to say it’s handled it admirably! Yes there have been a few…shall we say, “messier” nights than expected, the time I only had crackers to eat before going out (big mistake) and ended up being helped up the stairs with vomit on my shirt springs to mind. But, other than a couple of hiccups, it has been a highly enjoyable and unusually sociable year for me.

Allow me to elaborate on that last remark, “unusually sociable”. Before coming to university I had few good friends, I had a fair amount of friends that I would see occasionally or play football with, but only a handful that I talked to regularly and could really confide in. This, I believe, is primarily due to me being a little socially awkward and shy. Which is why, when my new flatmates testified on the contrary, I was surprised to say the least. This is the area I believe I have grown the most in, the ability to talk to people. Before moving away from home I would often hesitate before talking to people I don’t know and occasionally even forgo talking entirely if I could get away with it, but no longer! I am not saying I’m the life and soul now, but my general demeanour has vastly improved and this has allowed me to meet an array of interesting and varied people. Chief among those people are my flatmates.

Without getting all menstrual on you I will just say that I love them and dread the end of next year when we must part ways. Obviously it’s partially a byproduct of living together but I have never had a group of friends like them, and I say “partially” because this doesn’t count for all six of my flatmates, just the four that I will be living with next year. We are a motley group indeed but it seems to work well and this year just would not have been the same without them, I just hope for more of the same next year.

Moving on, I have recently completed my first year so that means exams! There’s not a great deal to say on this subject frankly, it all happened rather predictably. I made a half-hearted attempt at revising for each exam, of which I had three, usually occurring during the last couple of days running up to them and I got through them with positive results (I think/hope). The first was on Systems Analysis & Database Design, a module that is about as interesting as it sounds. This exam went perhaps a little worse than expected but I did well on the assignments so my final grade should be ok. The other two exams, Computer & Networks and Programming, ranged from surprisingly easy to a veritable ‘cakewalk’, so it is fair to say that I am more than pleased with those.

Exam periods are a dreadfully dull time, everyone locking themselves in their rooms revising or pretending to revise whilst actually mindlessly browsing Facebook. In fact, the penultimate night before my final exam I simply thought “feck this” and went out anyway. Revision has never been my forte and when I say this what I actually mean is that I have never attempted to do revision in my life before coming to university. Thus explains my average results in school, I’m just too bloody lazy I suppose, something I urgently need to amend before second year. I managed a little revision this year but, had the exams been as difficult as they are likely to be next time, I doubt I would have done particularly well.

Thus ends my first year of university, pretty much everyone has gone home now so it’s just me and Callum left in the flat. I’m going home tomorrow, something I’m not sure I’m looking forward to. It has to be better than staying here on my own though, the weather has been lovely for the past week and I haven’t enjoyed any of it. My hopes for the summer thus far include…

  • Meeting up with friends.
  • Going to a BBQ.
  • Getting a job/internship (not likely).
  • Going on holiday (depends on getting a job).

The list is bound to expand but I just hope that I don’t spend the summer cooped up inside, I have a few things I need to do before second year i.e. program my own game project, complete the summer work assigned and prepare for the Japanese elective module I’m eighty percent sure I’m taking, but apart from that I would like to get out there a little and have new experiences. One can only hope.

This may be my last post for a while as I don’t think there will be much to do at home in the coming month but I’ll try to post the bits of writing that I’m working on sporadically, no promises though!

Adantur out.

 

 

On writing

This will be a much shorter post than usual, just a quick note on my intentions regarding writing a series of short stories on this blog.

I’ve always been an avid reader and was quick to pick it up as a child, I can still remember my glee when being moved onto ‘real books’, so to speak, at about 5 or 6 years. Since then my reading material has changed dramatically and I am, at the moment, making my way slowly through some of the classics, while periodically dipping into a poetry anthology or two (Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Browning, William Blake etc…). Anyway onto the main subject, I have just this moment had an idea, whether it is a good idea we will yet discover, about publishing a few of my writings on this blog. Nothing major, no thousand page epics, just a few short stories and the like.

You see I have, for a good few years now, sporadically attempted writing full-length novels but they never work out. I seem to either simply get bored or it takes me so long that, by the time I read back on my work I find that it is immature and scrap it. I do however greatly enjoy writing and will probably have a lot of spare time in which to do so. This is not a definite thing, just an idea, as I may decide against it due to poor quality or sheer embarrasment at what I produce, but we shall see. Until then…

Adantur out.

On socialising and the geek/lad ratio

It’s coming up towards the end of my first year at university, an end which, for my tastes, has come about far too swiftly. Generally I have to say that is has gone exceedingly well, perhaps even better than I anticipated, however that is not to say that I don’t have a few regrets. The one foremost in my mind being the fact that I never really got stuck in and socialised with my coursemates.

Now I have met an array of weird and wonderful people since coming to university (some a little closer to weird than wonderful), some of them becoming great friends. When it comes to my coursemates however I am less enthused and to diagnose the problem I came up with the geek/lad ratio. For it seems on my course (Computing) that there is a 70/20 split between the two, with only 5% left for people with a healthy mix (like me or so I like to think) and the other 5% for females (5% may be a little generous as there is about 10 in the whole year). Looking at my rough, indeed very rough estimations there are certainly no surprises. Computing has always been a male-dominated career path (or sausage-fest as I have in the past so eloquently put it). But what I have an issue with is not the lack of females, it is the lack of a middle ground that irks me.

Perhaps it is too much to ask for to meet people who are happy to set up a minecraft server one night and go out and get hammered the next, perhaps I am too much of an everyman so to speak, maybe I should stick to one or the other. Don’t mistake me there are some great lads on my course but they, for the most part, seem to either want to go out everynight and do nothing else but drink and have ‘banter’ (I’ll come to that word towards the end) or do nothing of the sort. The whole thing serves to make me relieved that I have been blessed with such great flatmates, I surely would have been admitted by now otherwise.

This is more of a ramble than usual as it was an impulse post, there is a good chance that I am completely off the mark and the fault is mine rather than my coursemates but the point stands. I have a little resolution for second year and that is to make more of a concerted effort to socialise within my course as well as outside of it. I believe that, if I succeed, second year could be even better than the first.

Adantur out.

P.S. About the term ‘banter’, it is most odd how that word has come back into common usage as, when I was younger (I hate being able to say that!!) the term was very rarely used and seemed extremely outdated, perhaps something one might expect to read in English class. It seems to have coincided with the ‘lad’ culture that is prevalent at the moment and is indeed used most commonly by said ‘lads’, some people hate I have no strong opinion on it. It can be offensive, it can be just outright crude, but what else is to be expected from the vast majority of its users?

A Belated Debut…

It sure has been a long time… Yes it is three and a half months into 2012, high time for my debut 2012 post! I’ve not posted on this blog for a long while for a couple of reasons, one being that I’m lazy, another that I have a busy and fulfilling life.

Oh but I joke!

Life has been a mixture of things since my last post but, aside from a few weeks or so, busy has not really been one of them. It’s just not my style. A quick update on life since my last post would include the fact that my grades have been largely consistent with those from pre-christmas (very good) and that I have, for the first time, witnessed the famous sights of London, England. Last week, in fact, I travelled down south (me living in the north of England) with my lovely girlfriend to see and photograph the oft-photographed delights of our capital city. We took in all the major sights in two or three taxing days of walking and zipping between stations on the underground, not the most comfortable way to travel by the way but most efficient. Expense was kept to a minimum as we stayed at my girlfriend’s sister’s place, without which the trip could not have been possible (muchos gracias to her). We still, however, managed to spend a healthy amount in getting around the city and eating. London, like many other big cities, is an expensive place.

When sightseeing, I found that preconceptions of mine regarding the scale of said sights were mostly exaggerated. Buckingham Palace, ‘Big’ Ben, Nelson’s Column and more, all seemed to me to be much grander when viewed through a television screen. A probable reason for this expectation is the lateness of my visit.  Twenty years, a lot of them spent seeing the various landmarks on television, is a long time before exploring your nation’s capital first hand. Don’t get me wrong, they were most impressive, they just seemed somewhat smaller than expected. On the trip I also revisited an old, not exactly favourite, game of mine called Monopoly. There is surely no board game in the world that can match Monopoly’s skill in dividing friends and family. When your beloved girlfriend of five years damn near bankrupts you and threatens you with interest on that 500 Monopole (the name we decided on the currency (mo-noh-pull)) loan you took out a few turns ago, you know shit is about to go down! Pardon my French.

Anyway I’m getting a little tired now and still have a veritable mountain of work to do before heading back to university on monday so, for now at least…

Adantur out.