10 Aspects of Social Media That Piss Me Off

December 31, 2014

Today is Hogmanay – or New Year’s Eve to anyone outside of Scotland – and that means I can look forward to a Facebook timeline full of comments like…

“2014 can do one”
“I’ve rolled with the punches and have come out the other side. Bring on 2015.”
“It’s been a great year; I’m blessed to have such amazing people in my life.”

…etc etc.

Just drab platitudes from people who feel they need to say something about it being the end of the year. Whoopee.

And that got me thinking about the other aspects of social media behavior that annoy me, so I thought I’d compile a list.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting everything I do or say on social media is life-changingly awesome, but what I post amuses me and that’s what counts. Some people will disagree and might think I’m the most boring, unfunny or self-righteous git in the world. Chances are as well that some people will get as far as seeing this article posted on Facebook and Twitter and think “Oh not another Stuart fucking Reviews Stuff article. I hate that guy”. And that’s fine.

For me, social media is a bit of a game, whether it’s drumming up business, getting people to read your stuff or just getting as many likes/retweets as I can. Sometimes you win the game and sometimes you lose.

Anyway, here’s my list.

1. Game Invites

Speaking of games, how many of you are sick to the back teeth of receiving game invites and requests from stuff like Candy Crush Saga on Facebook? It can be intrusive and relentless, but thankfully, you can block gamereqrequests from repeat offenders. Why people want to do it in the first place though, I couldn’t tell you.

2. Chain Messages

Whether it’s those ghastly bleeding heart ones about how “…most of you won’t reply to this, but I know the ones who care about me the most will” type or the more recent copy & paste ones like “Write down in one word where we met”, they are an unwelcome infestation on my timeline. In the case of the latter example, just reply to them with “Prison” or “Brothel” and that’ll shut them up.

3. People Who Post Deliberately Vague Status Updates

Urgh, these are the worst. You know the type I’m on about? The sort of message that people put up like “Change is coming” or “Can’t believe that happened”. These people post status updates without any intention of actually expanding on their point, probably just so their ‘friends’ can reply with “Awww, wots up huni?” and the like. Then the person will reply to their closer friends with “I’ll send you a text” while blanking the other people who ask what the problem is. Here’s an idea; why not just send the fucking text to the people who you wanted to know the problem in the first place?

4. People Who Post As Their Children

There’s something deeply wrong with someone who posts on social media on behalf of their own children. The most worrying examples of this are people who post a photo of their kid on their own social media page and write “I love my mummy/daddy so much”. What is to be gained from doing this? Do you feel that people need to know that your baby/toddler loves you, or do you need to know it yourself? Utterly bizarre.

5. Identical Relentless Selfies

There’s nothing wrong with taking pictures; ultimately that’s what Facebook is sorta designed for. But I don’t understand people who relentlessly post identical one. “Here is a closeup of my face in an unnatural position. You can’t see where I am or what I’m doing. It’s the same photo that you’ve seen of me every day for the last six years”. What’s the point?! And why do the friends of these people feel the need to reply to every one of them saying “Aww huni, you look amazin” etc. Obviously this is more of an issue with women than men.

6. Timehop

Timehop has its uses, but those are almost entirely for self reminiscence. You look at your own Timehop status updates and remember them. Other people don’t care what you said this time two years ago, nor do they want to see a photo of you from six years ago either. If they didn’t care then, they don’t care now.

7. Food Selfies

There’s nothing wrong with posting the occasional photo of a meal you are proud of making or are very pleased with in a restaurant – I posted a photo of my Christmas dinner less than a week ago – but the people

Stop The Press!!! Someone's Eating A Fig!!!

Stop The Press!!! Someone’s Eating A Fig!!!

who post a photo of every fucking meal don’t seem to realise how little people give a toss.

8. Trolls

There are people out there who make it their business to try to annoy others. I said above that I consider social media to be a game, but what sort of person plays that game just to get a negative reaction or promote some daft agenda? I get one or two trolls on Twitter through my job, but I just ignore them.

9. Tagging

Have you noticed that your timeline is infested with ‘hilarious’ memes and videos from the likes of The Lad Bible even though you don’t like them? Do you know why that is? It’s because of people who reply to these status updates with the nothing other than the name of some random friend they want to see it. That’s not what the reply function is for. If you want someone to see it, then share the link on either your or their timeline. But leave me out of it. On a similar note there are people who feel they need to tag their friends in every post they make. “Blah Blah Blah Blah…don’t you agree Stuart?” etc. There are some people who I’m not friends with on Facebook and have never met who manage to pop up on my timeline every day thanks to this.

10. Below The Line Comments on News Stories

Below the line comments are the domain of the obnoxious, stupid and ignorant. If you ever see any sort of news story posted on Facebook, just take a moment to read the replies. It’s the cesspool of humanity. No matter what the story is, there will be people out there pushing their own vile or blinkered agendas. Whether it’s some wifey rabble rousing a lynch mob to beat someone up under the guise of “Won’t somebody please think of the children” or trying to turn even the most harmless story into a debate about religion, it would be better if these people were barred from using social media forever.

Have I missed anything? Let me know!

Happy New Year folks.

 

 

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Doctor Who – Last Christmas Review (or “Nobody Likes The Tangerines? Sounds Like a Classic Case of West Coast Bias To Me”)

December 30, 2014

I’ve written the original introduction to this to review in my Stuart Reviews Doctor Who: Book Two document (available early 2015). It makes sense in that, but not here.

So in lieu of writing a completely different intro to this article specifically for the blog, let me just take the opportunity to wish all my readers a happy and prosperous New Year, to thank you all for reading (and for tweeting me, emailing me and putting comments on Facebook to tell me to hurry up and write the bloody review ;-)) and to look out for my Stuart Reviews Stuff Year End Awards which I’ll be writing soon.

Anyway, back to Last Christmas

Doctor Who – Last Christmas Review: What’s This One About?

Inception style dreams within dreams, with a mild dash of Alien, a dollop of Christmas and a surprise rewrite at the end.

Thoughts – The Stuff You Miss On First Viewing

So it’s December 30th and I’ve only just got round to reviewing the Christmas episode. Apart from the fact I was in a mild food coma whilst watching it the first time on Christmas Day, it also seemed to me to be the type of episode you’d want to watch again before committing your thoughts to eternity.

That’s not to say Last Christmas was complicated, but rather that I wanted a second look to spot the hints for plot twists to come. For example, it was interesting seeing the scene in the infirmary where the Dream

According to one review, the only good thing about this story was the casting of Michael Troughton. O....kay.

According to one review, the only good thing about this story was the casting of Michael Troughton. O….kay.

Crabs first attack them. How did I not notice the first time that there was a long cut between them dropping from the roof to Santa turning up to save them? And when he does save them, why didn’t I spot that they are standing in a different place with the Dream Crabs nowhere in sight? The second time around it seems obvious.

Also, the other bits like the hints about Shona clearly not being a scientist and Clara wanting to stay in the dream at the end (for reasons I’ll get to) stood out.

And that’s to Last Christmas’s credit. It’s well and written and has more than one layer to it.

On a more general level, it was also just an enjoyable episode of Dr Who that could have worked on its own merits without any Christmas influence. But the influence it did have worked well and used Santa appropriately.

Certainly based on the end of season cliffhanger I thought it was going to be about some kind of evil alien Santa, but this turned out far better, even though his initial sinisterness didn’t necessarily make that much sense.

From what I’ve read, some people are proclaiming this to be the best Christmas special the show has ever done, but I’d disagree. As you’ll see reflected in my episode rankings in the book, I do rate it highly, but not as highly as the brilliant ‘A Christmas Carol’. That will take some beating.

The Curious Case of Clara and The Suspected Rewrites

So everyone assumed that Jenna Coleman was leaving in this episode. The tabloids had reported it, she’d been coy about it, and both the title of this episode and the first one of the next season was suggestive of it too.

But as it turns out, she stayed.

And I’m glad about that because not only has the she improved immeasurably since Matt Smith’s final season, but it seems as though there’s further for her character to go. Plus she’s got great chemistry with the

Speaking of his character, won't his family find him dead and with that attached to his face? Bit grim isn't it?

Speaking of his character, won’t his family find him dead and with that attached to his face? Bit grim isn’t it?

fantastic Peter Capaldi.

The word on the pavey though – as they’d say in Dundee – is that she had a late change of heart and the final scene was hastily rewritten to allow for that.

Though it’s just a rumour, it’s one that I believe.

It seemed to me that this episode was built around the revelation that the Clara who was dreaming was now an old woman. Apart from the continual references to it being a Last Christmas, the way she didn’t want to leave the dream – especially in scene in the sleigh – suggested she was remembering that she was old and that this was her back in her prime.

If it turned out that was the case, it would have been a solid and acceptable end to her character. The scene with the Doctor not acknowledging how she’d aged and helping her pull the cracker was a mirror image to the one from Time of the Doctor one year previous. It was sad, very well acted and would have given her realistic conclusion.

Still, I’m glad that it didn’t end like that and that she’s staying aboard the TARDIS.

The Even More Curious Case of Clara and Her New Home

Clara is a school teacher at Coal Hill in London. She’s not the head of a department, she’s young and has only been in continuous employment for a short while (before which she was a nanny).

'mon then

‘mon then

As far as I can tell, her small family aren’t particularly well off either.

So how the hell did she manage to afford to move into that new house?

Maybe she’s been using time travel to her advantage by investing in stocks that she knows will turn out good? Or maybe she’s got a copy of Sports Almanac hidden away somewhere?

That seems to be the only logical conclusion to arrive at.

Random Observations

  • Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi are both from the Glasgow/Paisley area of Scotland. Therefore, I’m calling out West Coast Bias and anti-Dundee Utd sentiment with the “Nobody likes the Tangerines” line that was used twice. Could they be Zombies? Does anyone who doesn’t follow Scottish football know what I’m talking about? Stephen Thompson, ya bass!!!
  • When The Doctor asked Clara to pick a page number and she said “57”, my brother declared – totally seriously – “Did you know in that situation, everyone picks 57?”. Erm…no they don’t. Of course, he’ll read this and tell me that he was deliberately playing me in the hope that I’d write this in the review, just like he supposedly did with the Keeley Hawes thing (see: Time Heist Review). Aye…right.
  • The bit where the Doctor took the reins on the sleigh was very ‘Punchtheairtastic’. I thought we’d seen the last of that.
  • I loved the line about how it’s no wonder Earth gets invaded so much if we have a film called ‘Alien’.
  • I also liked the line about how Danny Pink might be “…texting women of low moral character”. It was a very 12th Doctor thing to say.
  • Why was Shona walking through the infirmary at the start anyway?
  • Given the attitude that Clara has towards the Doctor on being asked to collect the specimen Dream Crab, do you think the Doctor longed for the days of having companions from the 1960s who offered up cups of tea without giving him grief?
  • On proof reading, I noticed I’d originally written that as ‘Dram Crabs’ in the paragraph above. That could either be whisky based crabs or an affectionate nickname for the Macra.
  • As you might expect, the Doctor Who forums are full of mixed reactions with some people declaring it the worst thing in the history of the world. If I knew I didn’t like a TV show, I certainly wouldn’t waste my Christmas Day watching it.
  • The best piece of criticism I read though was that the only good thing about it was the casting of Michael Troughton. Why is that good? From what I could see, he just seemed like a nondescript fat bloke who had the fewest lines and had the indignity of being the only person killed off. Oh wait…I know why it’s good; because he’s the son of Patrick Troughton and therefore he’s amazing. #WarpedLogic.
  • But speaking of Troughton’s character, I assume somewhere in the world at some point in time, he’s going to be found dead with a Dream Crab attached to his face. Does The Doctor not plan on cleaning up that particular mess? No? Oh well.
  • Ok, so in the Doctor Who universe, is Santa real or not? And is it not a leap for the 8 year old believers who were watching to pick up on the subtext of the Tangerine at the end rather than the other 59 minutes of ‘Santa is a fictional character’.
  • I’m surprised that nobody tried to sue the BBC for ruining their offspring’s childhood with that one.

Doctor Who – Last Christmas Review: Final Thoughts

It was a solid episode and it was an enjoyable episode; I’m happy with its quality.

But for me, the most significant thing to take from it was that Clara is staying, and that’s better news than I would have thought possible a year ago.

Bring on Season 9.


Games: One Finger Death Punch Review

December 17, 2014

I’m all for variety in gaming, and having finished off the AAA title Far Cry 3 last weekend, I decided my next game should be something completely different.

So I took a look at my Steam Library to find a game I’d bought and not played yet (and believe me, there are plenty of them), and decided to try The Last Tinker: City of Colors, and when that turned out to be guff, I put on One Finger Death Punch instead.

One Finger Death Punch Review: The Statistics

Platform: PC (also available on Xbox Indie Games)
Game Type: Minimalistic Combat
Theme: You play as a ninja who must repel constant waves of attack to his left and right.
Scores: Full marks across the board, with the game getting ratings no lower than 9/10 in most places.

One Finger Death Punch Review: My Thoughts

In direct contrast to the sometimes over-complicated and drawn out nature of AAA gaming titles, One Finger Death Punch is simple, easy to play (yet hard to master) and 100% fun.2014-12-16_00001

With only two buttons – X to punch enemies on your left and B to attack the ones on your right – it’s a game that anyone can get the hang of with practice, but the key to it is that it has depth.

Rather than being a button mashing game, as the difficulty level increases and the variety of enemies and styles of attack change (for example, some enemies need to be hit more than once to die, while others will require a combination of X and B button taps to defeat) it becomes an exercise in concentration and skill. Missing your target and not hitting the button at the right time leaves you open to losing your own health, so you have to be careful.

And I love that sort of thing. No, it didn’t take me long to polish off the Student levels (there are harder options where enemies attack faster and in greater numbers) but I thoroughly enjoyed it while it lasted and it gave me more than enough bang for my buck on that single play-through.

And should I choose to, I can go back and replay it all over again without feeling like I’ve been there and done that already.

So with that said, if you have Steam or an Xbox 360, then you should absolutely give it a go.

You won’t regret it.

 

 


TLC 2014 Shows WWE At It’s Lowest Ebb

December 15, 2014

WWE is terrible these days, it really is.

I’ve just finished watching – or should I say fast forwarding through – their latest PPV event, Tables, Ladders, Chairs & Stairs and I find myself with an interest in the product that is the lowest it has ever been.

And I know I said that earlier this year, but it’s just gotten worse.

This was an event that played out in front of a mostly dead audience as wrestlers put themselves through the mill, battering each other with tables, chairs, steel steps etc and throwing themselves through tables. WWE-TLCEssentially, in a bid to impress, these guys were just hurting each other. What’s the point? Did I care when I saw Dolph Ziggler fall off a ladder for the thirtieth time that night? No, of course not. I’m completely desensitized to watching stuff like that and it’s actually quite sad to see these guys doing riskier and riskier stuff in the hope of seeming fresh.

But that’s the key word right there; fresh. WWE is not even the least bit fresh; rather it’s the stalest it’s ever been.

Not only is there too much of it on TV – we really don’t need to see three hours of this shit every Monday night and then another three hours every fourth Sunday – but the stuff that’s on just gets repeated ad nauseam.

Anything remotely interesting – like the once humourous Damien Mizdow stuff – gets squeezed of every little bit of appeal it has and then still gets done for months afterwards.

Meanwhile, the same booking tactics that have failed in the past get rehashed to the annoyance of the audience. The bit last night where Cena and Rollins went through the table together was a waste of time, while Roman ‘We’ll Accept Him Whether We Want To Or Not’ Reigns was pushed down our throats yet again. Do they not realise that by trying too hard with him, the core audience will reject him? Do they never learn?

Also, the same matches play out on TV and then on PPV week after week after week. How many times can we watch the same four of five tag teams having the same match? How many times can we listen to Lana talking about Vladimir Putin, or Rusev facing Jack Swagger? How many times can the Big Show turn heel and feud with John Cena?

It’s soul-destroying.

You’ve only got to look at the talent roster to see the problem. This year as far as I can see, only three new male wrestlers were promoted to the main roster; Rusev, Bo Dallas and Adam Rose. The rest of them have been around for years. You’ve got guys like the Big Show, Mark Henry and Kane who have been kicking about non-stop since the 1990s and then a huge bulk of talent who have been active since the mid 2000s.

And they just face each other week after week and nothing ever changes.

Compare that to the NXT event from this past Thursday. Now sure, I don’t watch NXT every week, so it does hold a certain freshness that WWE just can’t copy, but it seemed a far better show in every way. The crowd was into it, the matches told stories rather than just ambled from spot to spot and it didn’t overstay its welcome.

So how can WWE overcome this problem with its main talent roster?

As far as I can see it would be to have less of it on TV, but that doesn’t seem likely. Beyond that, have more wrestlers on the roster to provide something a bit different, and also punt some of the guys who have been on the go forever.

Something has to change though, because I – like a lot of people I’m sure – am just watching out of habit these days.


Games: Far Cry 4 Review (or “Dear Games Developers: Give Us Something Fresh, Please!!”)

December 9, 2014

I’ve not written anything in a wee while, so I thought I’d drop by to discuss the latest game I’ve been playing, Far Cry 4.

Now here’s a game that I’ve spent the last week or so playing pretty heavily. Indeed, I’ve notched up around 20 hours on it, to the point where my life has been work, Far Cry 4 and the occasional episode of The Simpsons (Seasons 2-9 inclusive of course; anything else just wouldn’t do).farcry4

Today I “finished” it and it’s time to jot down my thoughts.

I say “finished” because apparently only completed 50.7% of the overall experience, but that’s enough for me anyway.

Far Cry 4 Review – The Statistics

Platform: PS4
Game Type: Open World GTA-esque,
Theme: Set in the fictional Asian state of Kyrat, you play as the son of the founder of a freedom fighting movement who has returned to the country and is asked to help liberate it from the clutches of the nefarious Pagan Min.
General Scores: Pretty highly rated. It gets around 8/10 on most sites.

Far Cry 4 Review – My Thoughts

As much as I enjoyed certain aspects of Far Cry 4 – and I mean with that level of time commitment I must have, otherwise it’d just be idiotic – the main thing I’ve come away from it feeling is that single player gaming really needs to try something fresh.

The only thing that separates Far Cry 4 from GTA, Saints Row, Red Dead Redemption, Crackdown, Bully, Skyrim, Oblivion, Borderlands or any number of AAA title is the environment.

I definitely felt it was something I’d played many times before and it’ll be something I’ll inevitably pay £40 to play again with a fresh lick of paint in a few months time.

Here’s the checklist of what’s in it that you’ll have come across in another game…

  • You’ve got your main story mode complete with tiresomely long cut scenes that you don’t care about and yet can’t skip.
  • A variety of side missions that are usually more fun but get so repetitive that you begin to lose interest after a while.
  • One of those side mission varieties is a racing game that you really don’t give a toss about.
  • There’s the scavenging for different leaves to help you make potions (in this case syringes)
  • There’s the hunting bit.
  • There’s the conclusion to the storyline where you feel slightly betrayed.
  • The bit where you’re accidentally on drugs so that development team can make things go all weird and spaced out.
  • The needless bit where you start a mission and then have to drive right the way across the map just to pick something up or shoot someone.
  • The wee notes/journals you can look at to read that have absolutely no bearing on the game.
  • The pretence of open-worldness when there really isn’t. In this case it’s the idea that all the crates and boxes are worth searching, but they aren’t.
  • The bit where you go from thinking “Wow, this map is so wonderfully vast; I can’t wait to explore it” to “I’ll just click Fast Travel from now on”

And don’t get me wrong; some of it is great. I loved doing the hunting (up until the point I realised that once I killed a certain amount of each type of animal it became pointless to bother about it) and was in my element mixing the combination of stealthy sniping and no-frills shotgun brutality when liberating outposts and radio towers.

But other bits left me cold. I just couldn’t be bothered with the side missions for the two druggie blokes and instead longed to murder them, and if I wanted to play a racing game I’d put on Mario Kart.

Also, as you may have gathered from my comment above, the main story mode was a bit crap. But they always are, aren’t they?

Where this game falls down though is that at 50.7%, I’ve had enough. To keep going would just be completing it for the sake of completing it. Having unlocked the most powerful weapons, there’s no challenge left in completing the side missions now and I’d just be going through the motions.

Compare that to the best example of this genre ever – Red Dead Redemption – and that’s a big failing. Red Dead made me want to complete 100% of the game because everything about it was superb.

This – as good as it looks – isn’t at that level.

Having said all that, it still took over my life for four days and up until the point where I realised I’d have enough, it more than offered value for money.

So on that basis, I’d recommend it.

But I implore the big game studios; give us something fresh soon please. Surely this type of game has long since been over-saturated?