I’ve had my iPhone for three months now and I love it. One of my favourite aspects is the huge variety of games you can download from the App Store.
I’m into the classics that everyone’s played, like Angry Birds, Temple Run and Songpop. Quick and easy to pass a dull moment.
And I’m also into some lesser known games with cult followings. Robot Unicorn Attack 2 is just as good as the first (‘Always’ by Erasure included) and then some. Plague inc. is horrendously addictive, albeit morbid. I named my disease ‘Bum rot’ for a giggle.
But one of my favourites is Sleep Cycle, which is one of those apps that records your sleep. I suppose this wouldn’t classically be considered a game, but that’s the way my brain has started to see it.
The app monitors how deep a sleep you are in, based on your movements. If you set an alarm, then appear to be in a light sleep before that time, the app will wake you up early. Sometimes I wake up a little before my alarm, and my sleepy self decides that rather than get up, it’s more fun to lie perfectly still so as to not set off the alarm. Fun!
When the alarm does go off, it gives you a graph of your movements during the night, and an overall ‘sleep quality’ percentage. I’ve started seeing this percentage as a score to be bested. My best night sleep was the 26th of April when I got a high score of 97%! So close…
But the more thrilling aspect of Sleep Cycle is that to switch off your alarm, you just need to swipe the bar at the bottom of the screen, much like the iPhone’s normal lock screen. It’s become apparent that I check my phone in my sleep and accidentally switch off my alarm in the process. It’s always a thrill when you wake up and realise you’re horrendously late for that important thing you had to go to.
Ooh so that’s the second time I’ve clicked ‘post’ on a blog, but my tumblr iPad app had other ideas and it disappeared completely. Cool.
It’s the anniversary of Hitler’s death.
Hitler was a cat that used to wander around our garden in Leamington and looked like he had a toothbrush moustache. My dad gave him the nickname, and found him dead on our road, having been hit by a car two years ago today.
I was thinking recently about stupid things I used to believe as a child. I guess everyone has some of these.
I believed that your blood was basically loose inside your body. No veins or arteries or anything. You’re just a big bag of blood and there are a few organs dangling about in there. I also thought that you had a limited amount of blood, so if you cut your finger, your blood level goes down gradually from your head. I used to have nosebleeds as a kid, so I assumed these would gradually stop as my blood level went down past my nose. Of course you would die if you bled too much in one go, but in my mind, you would die if you bled a little bit, but lots of times throughout your life.
I also remember being far too gullible/unquestionably obedient when it came to rules at school. In primary school, we’d have swimming lessons and were told not to eat for half an hour beforehand. I’m not sure why. One day, I totally forgot and ate about four crisps during break. Four crisps. Petrified that I would double up with stomach cramps and drown, I tearily ran to my teacher and told her what I’d done, as if I’d just swallowed thirty paracetamol.
In another instance, back in year four (so like, nine years old), Tamagotchis were all the rage, but banned from my school for being a nuisance. One morning, I totally forgot to leave my Nano Baby (like a Tamagotchi, but with a baby. The baby could die!) at home. After feeling it in my pocket during assembly, I quickly ran to my teacher and told him calmly, ‘I need to go to the school office now.’ Thinking something awful had happened, he asked what was wrong. I held back the tears and repeated, ‘I need to go to the office’. I then scuttled away and gave it to the receptionist for safe-keeping so that my teacher wouldn’t find out.
A few other silly little ones:
When I was very young, I called giraffes ‘Morjobs’, and Stratford ‘Ratpit’.
I used to think the offside rule was kicking the ball in the wrong direction on the pitch.
I used to have a clear image in my mind that eventually space ended and there was a signpost there that said ‘End of Space’ and after it was just white nothingness.
I got my hair cut shorter than usual before moving to London. I knew I’d be worse off financially and a longer time before my next trim would help me save some dollar.
Three months later, and it was getting ridiculous.
Bed hair was a nightmare, styling it was an impossibility and it was always either dry and fluffy or greasy and heavy.
It was time.
Normally, I go to a salon type place for a haircut. My hair is so thick and obnoxious, it needs care and tenderness: a tailored cut from a professional to stop it getting silly and long in the wrong places. It grows outwards, not down, and this needs to be taken into consideration rather than just sheared.
Plus salons give you drinks and head massages. I’ll pay extra for that alone! I generally expect to pay around £20 for a haircut, which most blokey blokes would say is extortionate.
But this is London. If I went to a salon, I was looking at paying around £35, and after three months my finances are worse than I thought.
The alternative was…
I had intended to walk past my local barbers and have a look in, then run away if it looked too rough. But some madness took hold of me and suddenly I was inside and sat down. In my nervousness, I’d sat directly next to the only person in the waiting area which had six other empty seats. I convinced myself that this was actually a sensible move, and now there will be no confusion as to who is next.
When my turn came around, a short tank of a man with a broken looking nose and a mohawk called me ‘boss’ and summoned me to his chair in the window. He had thick, low eyebrows and looked like he could have emerged from a Grand Theft Auto game. I noticed a sign next to my thigh that said “HOT TOWEL SHAVE AVALIABLE” (sic).
I explained that the back and sides need to go quite short because they get wild otherwise. He immediately clicked out a clipper and buzzed off a square next to my ear.
“Number four,” he said in a non-descript foreign accent.
“Uh, probably even shorter,” I said, slightly shaken up by the suddenness of cutting implements next to my temple.
I nodded and shrugged and spluttered out an okay. He then proceeded to clipper the back and sides of my head to this very short length without even touching the mass on top.
His phone bleeped and he turned around. I was left sat in a shop window on a busy high street looking like this:
The scary barber turned back around, pulled out a cut-throat-razor and rapidly ran it over my neck and the tops of my ears. I dared not move at all.
He then sprayed the ginger fuzz perched on the top of my head with his water bottle and massaged it in a weird circular bowl motion that moved most of the top half of my body. A sign behind him simply said “HAIRCUT SIR” in red and white letters.
The scissors made their first appearance and my eyes widened. They seemed to swipe within millimetres of my scalp, taking huge chunks of hair with them.
“I can’t really see because the sun’s in my eyes,” he said, still swiping. Marvellous.
Ginger clumps were falling onto my chest thick and fast when I realised I hadn’t actually told him how I wanted the top to be cut. He’d gone rogue. He was off the map. The outcome was anyone’s guess now.
He was frantic, like he was being timed. Scissors and comb flying everywhere and in the middle, a sudden pang of pain in the top of my ear.
I winced. It was just the comb.
“Heh, sorry,” he said. “Don’t worry, it’s still there.”
My hair was now getting close to a buzzcut— all that was left was a tuft at the front for styling. This was actually how I liked it, so I was impressed.
He moved between me and the mirror.
Now I looked like I had a buzzcut.
He flashed the mirror at the back of my neck, but any man who says he challenges a hairdresser’s mirror flash is a damn liar. I nodded and mumbled a ‘yep’.
He tipped me out of the chair, swiped my £11 and kicked me out of the front door.
I felt used, shaky and terrified of ever getting my hair cut again. Worst of all, my head was cold.
Before I moved to London, I thought it was the place where, like, ALL the celebrities lived.
Within a week of living here, I saw Charlie Higson in the building where I work. You know, Charlie Higson. From the Fast Show. Not Paul Whitehouse. The other dude. He played that character who was a lord or something, and Paul Whitehouse was his groundskeeper. Yeah? Charlie Higson?
Then I saw Andy Hamilton on the tube. Do you watch Have I Got News For You? No? QI then. He’s the guy with the beard. Not Bill Bailey. He has a squeaky voice and looks like he might be a dwarf but he’s actually not a dwarf. Andy Hamilton on the tube.
After work one day I saw John Prescott on the Strand. Everyone knows John Prescott. Well, English people at least. My friend, who isn’t English, asked who he was, and the best I could come up with was ‘He’s a politician who punched a guy’.
And later that week, I saw David Gest, and his big plastic face and ponytail, saying hello to random people. He’s famous for… erm… pass.
So all in all, a pretty successful two months of celebrity spotting.
Then today, my friend who’s lived in Paris for six months texted me saying she’d just been sat next to Leonardo di Caprio in a café.
I just had a really weird moment.
Anyone played the Soul Calibur games? I loved Soul Calibur 2 on the GameCube.
My favourite character to play as was a dude called Voldo, who was blind, mostly naked and had crazy knives on his hands.
I remember when I first heard of the French philosopher, Voltaire, I thought my teacher had said Voldo, and I had a nerdy chuckle to myself.
In the years since, I’ve not played Soul Calibur, and I grew to believe that my favourite character had actually been called Voltaire, perhaps named after the philosopher.
Then, just now, I saw a painting of Voltaire (the actual one), and my mind had become so muddled over the years that I was GENUINELY CONFUSED that he looked like your standard 18th century Frenchman and didn’t look like this http://gamingirresponsibly.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/voldoig.jpg