Nothing But Fallout 4…Until Monday.

Howdy folks,

How’s everyone? Things have been pretty good here; I start work on Monday (after being informed earlier this week that the background check would take until 4th December, I then received a call yesterday letting me know that it was done), we have new furniture to make the first floor of our apartment a hospitable area (I’m typing this up on the recliner sofa right now), Vanna has been exploring her artsy side, and I have, rather predictably, become addicted to Fallout 4.

We all saw it coming. To say my life for the past week and a half has been food, sleep and Fallout 4 is no exaggeration. In many ways, even eating and sleeping haven’t been that important to me (reduced appetite, irregular and erratic sleep patterns) since the 10th. Tis rather shameful; I can’t tell how many hours I’ve spent gaming in the past nine days, nor am I willing to say the times I’ve gone to bed this week. All I will disclose is that I’ve already played roughly the same amount of time on Fallout 4 as I did on its two predecessors (which were completed over a few months)…and that I have climbed into bed with the sun shining in my eyes on more than occasion (never a good sign, especially not when it is November). So yeah…addicted is probably the right word to use. Going to be rough changing my schedule for Monday, isn’t it? Urgh.

Thankfully I have a very understanding wife who hasn’t complained once about my current obsession, even when I try to engage her in conversations about the settlements I have saved (the fact she can use my laptop – which is so rarely out of my hands – has probably made my overexcitement easier to handle). Of course we’ve still had “couple” time; last week we went to Zorbaz (a great bar/restaurant ruined by their decision to replace every single use of ‘s’ – only one of the most common letters in the English language – with a fricking ‘z’, a choice which gives me an aneurysm every time I try to read the menu…honestly, it is the worst thing ever), and we always make sure to eat and watch television together too. We’ve actually gone through a few Netflix shows* in recent weeks, despite my Fallout 4 cravings and Vanna’s hectic work schedule. Regardless, I appreciate her for being so forgiving about my many hours up in the attic. Sadly it appears that my binging going to end before I am ready to move on. How am I going to cope?!


You may think I’m being dramatic – to an extent I am – but there is a level of seriousness to that asterixed (tis a word!) sigh. I have become attached to Fallout 4, and it will be tricky for me to not play it. Why? Well because Fallout 4 is a fantastic games, even better than I expected it would be. I’m enjoying it a great deal, and there are a lot of things I love about it. The new settlement feature is addictive, the Boston Commonwealth is a rich and diverse wasteland, and the combat is challenging yet satisfying. The only thing I can’t praise is the story…as I’ve barely started it (told you building settlements was fun). As a consequence, I feel like I can only give a brief impression of the game so far, despite the many hours I’ve already racked up. What can I say? It’s an impressive game.

Having said that, I can’t say Fallout 4 is perfect. There are some flaws; the opening story is weak in some aspects, doing anything other than the main campaign gives me a disconnected feeling**, the settlements sometime glitch and cause me problems (I wasted over an hour last night trying to figure out where people had gone), the dialogue, though a step in the right direction, is somewhat simplistic and flawed, and the lack of a manual*** to help with all the new features is bloody frustrating. I’m still in agreement with the 9+/10 reviews so far, but I’m not going to worship it as the best game ever just yet.

Of course, my opinion might change once I’ve completed Fallout 4. I’m sure there are a lot of surprises still in store. Who knows what I’ll think when I’ve finished the campaign? Maybe the good will be better, or the bad will be worse. Perhaps I’ll share a more in-depth analysis once I’ve reached that point. For now though, I just wanted to provide a brief summary of my thoughts so far, which essentially boils down to Fallout 4 being a very, very good, arguably amazing game, with some minor issues. There! Now I can go back to playing rather than writing, and you can rest easy knowing I haven’t wasted away in my chair.

Right then. I guess that’s it for the moment. Unless you, uh, want to hear about my settlements?!

…you don’t? Oh. Well then. I’ll be back next week for a job/ Fallout 4 update (providing I have the time…should probably sleep and eat between my working and gaming).

Take care,


P.S. If I’ve made any grammatical errors, I apologize. WordPress has changed the format and I can’t find the little check button which usually flags up my biggest mistakes.


*After finishing season 2 of The 100 (very good, a definite recommend), we watched Happy Valley (grim but good), before then moving onto iZombie (name aside, a surprisingly good show). No promises – I’ve made that error in the past – but I’ll try to talk about these and more sometime in the future.

** This is hard to explain as I probably sound insane, but I tend to obsess about my actions within expansive games, and have to logically reason out everything I do. Essentially if my character has this huge, super important mission, and needs to get from A to B, I need to mentally explain why I’ve decided to detour to C, D, E, and F first. This happened a little bit during the Mass Effect trilogy (I guess I found this urge easier to pacify with those games), and was bad in Fallout 3 (even though my side-tracking happened after I completed the campaign!) but is especially problematic now I’m playing Fallout 4 (given the context of the plot, it seems wrong to do anything other than search for Shaun). I don’t want to go into too much detail right now as I think this could make for a good blog post, but yeah…my own brain is causing problems with my immersion in the story. Grr.

*** Embarrassingly, after complaining non-stop about having to figure out the settlement builder by myself, I’ve discovered there is a little help page in the pause menu. Ooops. I still think the system could do with improvement (especially with assigning settlers to different tasks) but my criticism has wavered now I realize the answer, or at least something of an answer, was staring me in the face this whole time.

Three More Days…(Also, Halloween Pictures!)

Howdy folks,

Three* days until I can play Fallout 4, people. Just three more days. I can almost taste it. My excitement is overwhelming. Last time I was this pumped for a game was probably Mass Effect 3, and only my latent anticipation for next year’s Mass Effect Andromeda (hopefully) and Gears of War 4 rivals my current level of hyperactivity.  Fallout 4 is going to be amazing guys! Failure is impossible. Three more days!!!


Sorry about that. I should contain my jubilation for now, don’t want to go overboard just yet, at least not until Monday anyway. As it happens, my excitement for Fallout isn’t even the reason for this post; I actually just wanted to  bring you up to speed on recent developments.

First, my job. Yeah…still waiting on that. Good news? The US background check has gone through. Bad news? The UK/international check has only just started. I sent them more documentation on Wednesday to get things going, but I imagine it is going to take at least another week before I get confirmation. Rather frustrating – I expected to be working by now – but hopefully I’ll get a start date soon. The only consolation is that I’m likely to get at least a week to binge on Fallout 4 before I become part of the working world. So…that’s nice, I guess.

(admittedly being a functioning person with money would be nicer, but having extra gaming time isn’t all bad, especially as it’s unlikely to happen again. Gotta enjoy it while I still can, right?)

Next, I should talk about Halloween. It was a relatively fun weekend, but not one which was really blog-worthy, as we largely just spent our two days in Bemidji with our friend Sharissa. We did go to a party Saturday night but didn’t really have much fun there (there was nowhere to sit, everybody was already drunk, and there was no-one that we knew…Vanna and I aren’t exactly social butterflies at the best of times, so we didn’t exactly fit into that situation too well), nor did we enjoy ourselves at the bars. On Sunday we chilled at Sharissa’s place and walked around Bemidji. It was a nice day, but not much else I can say about it really.

Oh wait! Before I forget, I do have a few pictures from Saturday night for you guys! It’s just Vanna and I in our costumes, but I think they are worth sharing. Vanna especially looked excellent! I liked my costume too, but had to throw the red glasses away because the faulty charge pack started melting my batteries. Ah well.

Aaaaand that’s about it, really. Any other news? Well, Vanna and I are currently watching The 100 season two, which has been very impressive so far. After the disappointment of Hemlock Grove, it’s good to have a show which doesn’t progressively get worse with each passing season (the fact that season three of Hemlock arrived with little fanfare shows how far it has fallen…). I just bought the second book in a sci-fi type series, and purchased my first pair of boots (talk about those some other time)…so, uh, exciting times for me! Of course, the big, big, big event is next monday (if you haven’t heard).  I’ll uh, try not to forget about you guys, but it’s going to be tough. The wasteland doesn’t explore itself!



*Because I’ve downloaded Fallout 4, it will be ready at 12:01 PST, which happens to be 10pm in Minnesota, meaning I have a few extra hours to play before sleep hits me. Ah yeah!

Halloween & Beyond

Howdy folks,

First things first, I want to offer a quick apology for the lack of updates recently. Granted this isn’t really my fault; the reason I haven’t brought you up to date with my situation is because nothing has happened since my last post. October hasn’t been a bad month, but it has been a frustrating time for me, in more ways than one.

So what am I waiting for? Well…

New Job

Oh boy. Who would have thought sorting out background checks for a job would be this difficult? It’s been three weeks since I was offered the job, yet I’m still waiting for confirmation. The complications largely arise from my international status, which is causing problems for the people working to get my information processed. I don’t blame them for the delay – this is a new experience for all parties involved – but I really didn’t expect it to be so time-consuming.  Hopefully it’ll be finished up soon because I’m keen to start working again. It’s been a while since I last had a ‘proper’ job, and I’m looking forward to getting back into it. It’ll make our life immeasurably better, for reasons I will explain once everything is confirmed. Until then it’s a waiting game.



Speaking of waiting and games (see what I did there?), it feels like each day speeds by yet November 10th* only gets further and further away (I’m not going to tell you the significance of that day because you should just know it!). This past month has been painstakingly slowly. I’ve tried to fill the void with other games but so far my attempts have been unsuccessful. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition was a false dawn (gave up on that within a month), Thief was too clunky, Mass Effect was a brief fling following my game writing (didn’t get the second job either; not too disappointed however, it is just something I need to work on), The Walking Dead was enjoyable but ultimately a story not a game, and FIFA 16, which had taken up most of my gaming time, doesn’t really work as a long term solution (I prefer to pick it up from time to time).  It’s been a rough time, I tell ya.

Fortunately I’ve just discovered Assassin’s Creed Unity (it came with my Xbox One along with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag; I jumped forward because I haven’t completed Assassin’s Creed III and Unity isn’t tied into the main story like Black Flag) so I’ve started playing that this week. It doesn’t quite satisfy my bloodlust (my mistake was not giving my 360 a go, as Halo 4 or Gears of War 3 probably would have helped with this…now I can’t go back, as I’ve given the console to a friend for a couple of weeks) but it should keep me entertained while I wait for the 10th.


One distraction from my gaming and job woes is tomorrow’s Halloween adventure! Vanna and I are heading up to Bemidji again for the weekend, where hopefully we will have a…spooktacular time (sigh).  I’m not entirely sure what is on the agenda for Saturday night, but I will bring my camera to document what I can. I actually have a proper costume this year! It is shop bought (If I’m going to dress up, I want it to be something unique and clever**. But at the same time, I’m too lazy to be creative…hence why I didn’t really bother doing anything last year) BUT I’m happy with it. What am I going to be? Find out next week!
Have a happy Halloween everyone!





*Fallout 4′s release date. If you didn’t already know that, shame on you.

**I did have a great idea for a costume this year, but due to time constraints, it will have to wait until next Halloween as I’ll need more than a week to put it together. I’d tell you what I thought up, but I don’t want to ruin the, uh, surprise. Also, if I forget to do it or it looks bad, you won’t know that I’ve failed.

Fall/Autumn Pictures!

Originally posted on Even More Photography On The Citadel:

Howdy all,

To celebrate the fact that Fall lasted longer than a whimper this year, (last year we had a nice September and then the cold set in), Vanna and I went for a walk a couple of days ago to document the changing colours of the leaves.  We didn’t get many pictures, but it certainly was gorgeous. Still is, in fact; driving to Crosby today was worth it for the views alone. Anyway, here’s the slideshow.


In other news, I have a job! Well, almost. They still need to complete background checks (a slow process so far, my fault for being a foreigner) so I’m not going to say anything more until I have a confirmed start date. It’s very promising though. A great opportunity, and it doesn’t involve filing(!), so yeah, I’m happy.

I also applied for my second Bioware writer position earlier this month*. Although there…

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Trivium Gig Review!

Howdy all,

Boy, what an eventful week Vanna and I have had! First we had our trip to the cities, which involved hours and hours of clothes shopping PLUS my first Red Lobster experience, and then, once we got home, we’ve had to deal with car problems, job interviews, and vet trips! The excitement (because bills are super fun and exciting, right?) hasn’t quite ended just yet, but while things are quiet I’m going to take the opportunity to talk about last Wednesday’s Trivium gig. As there were three acts (including Trivium) I figure I’ll break the review into three. First up…

Wilson: Mill City Nights in Minneapolis was the venue, much like it was when Trivium last toured in Minnesota. We arrived on time, bought our Trivium t-shirts (most important detail!) and then listened to Wilson, an upbeat heavy rock/metal band out of Detroit.  They were entertaining, had some good songs, got the crowd pumped up; what more could you want from an opener? The singer even brought out a massive drum and then jumped off the stage and crowd surfed…so yeah, we enjoyed Wilson. They were fun. Drumming was a little simple, but they had some cool solos, and the vocals were decent.

The best thing about Wilson, though, was that they didn’t overstay their welcome. The same cannot be said for the second group, however.

Tremonti:Tremonti was formed by Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti. Cool fact if you like Creed, bad news if you don’t. Why? Because Tremonti’s fame meant his band performed for over an hour! In fact, they were on longer than Trivium, and that’s just not right.

Ugh, I try not to be negative about bands, but when it comes to Tremonti, I can’t help it. Their act started well enough, but soon got very, very, very boring. The occasional instrumental aside, there is nothing positive I can say about Tremonti. The vocals were boring, they had no stage presence whatsoever, and it didn’t take long for all the songs to sound exactly the same. I tried to like them, but I just couldn’t. And any goodwill I still had for them soon disappeared once we hit the hour mark and the singer said they ONLY had three more songs left. No. Get out of here Tremonti. You suck.

Trivium: It took three hours, but finally the main attraction arrived on stage! Once again, Trivium were (was? Just sounds stupid!) awesome. The sound wasn’t as good as last time, and a few of the song choices were somewhat questionable, but to be honest, I’m just nitpicking (I blame Tremonti).  We loved the gig, and we loved Trivium. Had it been any other band, we wouldn’t have stayed through Tremonti’s act. Trivium though, they are most definitely worth waiting for. It was a great performance. I only have two regrets; I wish Trivium had come onto the stage sooner, and I wish they’d stayed there longer too. I wanted more!

Uh, what else can I say? Well I think we (the crowd) did a fantastic job; Paolo (Trivium’s bass guitarist) even tweeted that we were joint best crowd on the tour…so that’s something to be proud of. I realize I’ve only seen a handful of bands live, but I have to say that Trivium are far superior to everybody else when it comes to entertaining the audience (take note Tremonti and In This Moment). They made us want to be loud and raucous. I can’t wait to see them again!

And that’s about it…oh wait! I almost forgot, but at the end of Trivium’s gig, Vanna got one of Matt Madiro’s drumsticks! She really had to fight for it, but she snatched it out of some other girl’s grasp so we now have two Trivium drumsticks (Vanna got the old drummer’s stick a few gigs back) along with several plectrums. We’re building quite a collection! Well, Vanna is. But I’m married to her, so it’s my collection too, right? Even if it isn’t, I have a badass Trivium hoodie that came with the album, and that is arguably as good as a drumstick (the album is pretty fantastic too!).

So that’s the news from our latest Trivium experience. What’s next for us? Well, I have another interview tomorrow, and I’m working on a second game story for another Bioware writing position. I think I applied too late for the first job (the ad closed two days after I posted) but this position might work better for me anyway.  And now that I have some experience of Twine, I should stand a better chance of getting it…providing I apply in time, of course! Anyway, I’ll post a link to my second story sometime next week.

A’right, I think that’s it. I’ll speak to you guys later!







*Edit: One thing I hate about writing gig reviews is using the correct terminology regarding the bands. To me, it should be “Trivium are” not “Trivium is.” I realize that’s wrong, but it is a difficult habit to break. So, uh, apologies for any grammar mistakes above.*





Applying For My Dream Job…And Trivium!

Howdy folks,

I do apologize for being quiet the past few weeks. In my defence, the blog isn’t the only thing that has been ignored recently; chores, my book…even my Xbox  has had little playtime (except for FIFA 16; will talk about that later!) during the last fortnight. Why have I been so sidetracked?  Well a writing position opened up at Bioware earlier this month. If you didn’t know, that happens to be my dream job at my dream company, and for the application I had to write a plot set in a Bioware game universe…so that’s why my priorities had to change this month (sorry Xbox).

But hey, things should return to normal now that I’ve finished. My mood repeatedly changed through the process (sometimes I’d go from pleased to frustrated to pleased again in the space of ten minutes) but ultimately I’m quite happy with how my story turned out. It took a while for me to find the right concept, and even longer to fit the story idea into the Dragon Age universe. I had to do a lot of research (my memory needed some help) to ensure each facet of the plot didn’t contradict the lore. I then decided last minute to switch from a Word doc to Twine, which wasn’t an easy task either.  But I got there eventually. Here’s a link if you want to read it!

(Background information if you aren’t familiar with Dragon Age; Templars hunt bad mages, blood magic is bad, demons are bad, the Fade is essentially the realm of demons and spirits…you should be good now.)

Anything else exciting happening in my life? Well tonight Vanna and I (along with her cousin Brit and her boyfriend Zach) are going to see Trivium at Mill City Nights in Minneapolis. This is my second time seeing Trivium and I AM EXCITED! They were very impressive last time and I can’t wait to hear their new material. Unfortunately the album doesn’t come out until Friday so we can’t memorize the lyrics beforehand, but we’ll have the older songs we can jam too. If only I still had my long hair…*sigh*

Anyway, I’ll tell you about the gig later. For now, here’s the video for Silence In The Snow, my favourite of the three songs I’ve heard. There’s no shouting on Trivium’s new album so even if you aren’t keen on metal you can give it a try. Enjoy!


Cultivate Festival…From The Outside.

Originally posted on Another Photography On The Citadel:

Howdy all,

Sorry for the slight delay for this post, had some reports to transcribe…and I forgot I still had pictures for you.

Anyway, after our trip to Duluth, Vanna and I finished our anniversary week (I realize this was a while back now…) with a visit to her grandparents in the cities. On Friday we went to a car show, and then on Saturday we attended the Cultivate Festival in Minneapolis.

Well…sort of attended it. Because of the crazy amount of people going to the festival, we ended up parking over a mile from the park venue. After a long walk – humidity and heat only made it feel longer – we eventually arrived late to a jam-packed Loring park. The thousands of people did not deter Sharissa or Vanna, but it was too much for me, especially as I already wasn’t that keen on the festival…

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An expression of my love for gaming and writing


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