09/04/2003 @23:28:39 ^03:21:39

A Week Is A Long Time In Vulturing!

Good evening. I've recently returned to my house following a disastrous trip to the Coventry Skydome irc... Godsdamnit, what a typo, I am such a nerd, please kill me... Indeed this very afternoon, I also read the word "wallop", as in "smack bang wallop", as "wallop", as in "write a message to all on-line operators"... Damnit. I think I'd better start again...

Good evening. Again. I've recently returned to my house following a fairly disastrous trip to the Coventry Skydome ice rink. More on this later, I've a lot to write and it ain't gonna be pretty...


One of my many personality disorders is, I believe, a mild case of bipolarity, or manic depression. That is, extremes of mood, either good or bad. It's not the case all the time, but quite often you'll find me either unable to stop laughing at everything, or dreadfully and inconsolably upset about some tiny little thing that, quite often, my brain has blown entirely out of proportion. It usually wears off after a while, but it's still not a good thing (and, I realised, probably the reason why the gradient of a bird function on the point of a collapse is almost infinitely steep... no, you don't want to know what I'm on about, trust me)

Now there was an, uh... "incident" on Friday. I have my little vision of how stuff in my life supposed to go, and if my subconscious deems it sufficiently important, then either it's running, I'm running it, and I couldn't be happier, or it's all gone incontravertably wrong, the whole thing's crashed, and I might as well give up and indeed be dead.

Acute sudden unhappiness is a bizarre feeling, like having a layer of molten lava and pin-sized pneumatic drills grinding away, just below the skin, all over your body, in particular concentrated around the skull. I distinctly remember the rational part of my mind going "it might not be as bad as you think, you depressive idiot" - and indeed it eventually turned out to be correct - but I had to shut my brain up instantly (and even so, it was two days before the lava layer faded and I felt relatively normal again...) Here's some of the stuff I did to avoid thinking:

Doom (I said, it deserves its own heading)

Like I said a while ago, a new version of DIY was released to the public last month. Now something else wrong on Friday was that my internet connection dropped out. Thanks NTL! Anyway I thought I could try installing it, but I found that the disk I'd put it on to transfer it to the Risc PC was corrupted. Bugger. Oh well, screw it. When the connection came back, I downloaded it again and tried to begin the process of merging the new version with my modified sources, but, well, various factors put me off. I suppose I'll do it eventually though.

I played a huge number of old maps, particularly of the Sunday afternoon drive variety. This is a term I coined to mean large, easy maps, full of monsters, but also full of health and ammunition, so you can basically run around like a basket case and just have fun, not worrying too much about wastage. The definitive example of such a map is UAC Experiment, a map in the classic Episode 1 "Knee Deep In The Dead" style and, for that style, enormous. It has a heavy total of 350 monsters but almost all of them are zombies, imps and demons, and provided you do the first few areas in the right order (so you have a decent number of different weapons, near to 200% health and armour, and bogloads of ammunition) you can go nuts for the rest of it. Others I enjoyed were metro13, Slugfest 9, av46sp01 (The Baron's Domain)... And Blastem2.

Blastem2. Had to say it again. I love this map, it is so replayable. Many maps these days I can barely be bothered to play once; this one, I can happily play it a dozen times in the same day and repeat this the day after and the day after that. It's a wide open plain, surrounded by a fence and some towers, and containing a central complex and inner courtyard. For some unfathomable but beautiful reason, the way it plays is so amazingly fun that I find I can repeat it over and over again. If you have Doom installed and want to try one of the maps I've mentioned, get this one.

Anyway I noticed the time it was taking to finish the map, having killed as many monsters as possible (there are 139, but six of them are unremovable due to a broken teleporter trap) was slowly decreasing. I got a time just over 20 minutes, then a 16'45" I thought "I wonder if I could get it under 15 minutes?" and managed a 14'42"! That was Saturday. On Sunday, among many attempts I got a 13'59"!

Because I had switched to PRBoom again I decided to try recording demos, and the first one I managed to record was a 14'05"... But it gets better, I was really lucky with the way the monsters teleported into the arena, and totally surprised myself by recording... get this... a 12'08". That was Monday night. I'm still working on it, I'd like to get it under 10 minutes, but I don't know if that's possible, you'd have to be really exact with the route you take and be extremely lucky with finding all the monsters as they teleport in (they have a nasty habit of getting into really awkward places and you can't find them in the clearup operation at the end)

Vulturing on ice

Details of what can only be described as a delicate and volatile situation are gradually leaking onto the internet. That sentence could also read "Details of what can only be described as a godsawful farce are gradually leaking onto the internet"; the basic premise was posted on Matt's site the other day - oh, what the hell, let's try his permanent linking system (UPDATE Link fixed, heh) - also people are even making logos, and for a final piece of retardation there's a rumour going around that some idiot's written a scathing comparison of the "contestants" and their "chances of success" in the "competition". No-one'll tell me who's supposed to have done this, but I guess we'll soon find out - if it is indeed more than a rumour and ever sees the light of day - by looking at who's presented most favourably. Then I'll damn well smack him with a rolling pin or possibly a Cthulhu stick (if I could possibly borrow one of them). It's just not funny! Do you hear me, mofo? Gonna bust a cap in yo' ass!

Anyway I digress. Talking about vulturing leads nicely into earlier this evening, and a ringing telephone. It's the girl going "so are you going ice skating", I'm like "well, I woke up with an evil migraine and am full of painkillers... but what the hell, I'll just have some more!" I finished eating, got ready and walked to the rink... first mistake was to tell the truth and say I was no longer a student; it turned out that everyone else had lied and got free drinks tokens.

Second mistake was to bother going along and trying at all. I've been there once before, nearly three years ago. On that occasion it took me about an hour and a half of the time there to get the hang of skating sufficiently well to be able to let go of the wall for any significant period of time. On the other hand, on that occasion I fell awkwardly on my left elbow and was unable to move my left arm properly for nearly a fortnight afterwards, so I hope you can understand my being overly cautious. But although I didn't fall over at all during the entire evening, the policy backfired...

It's like this: all your companions are at least an order of magnitude more skilled and experienced than you. So when you see them, they're all going round with ease and showing off, and when they talk to you they're trying to get you to do stuff you're just not comfortable with (like going more than arm's length away from the relative safety of the wall) That's like 5% of the time, the other 95% you are out there, totally, totally alone, your tiny amount of confidence draining out of you faster than urine from an incontinent old man's trousers. You suck.

Okay I'm probably overreacting again so in the interests of balance here are a couple of positives:

Anyway so eventually they kicked everyone out so we left. Everyone else decided to go to the pub, but feeling fed up, not to mention being whacked out on brain-numbing pills, I decided it was better to go home. Knowing my luck I will have missed something hilarious. On the way home I resolved to write an extremely long article on here, so there you go.