Saturday, December 29, 2012

World of Warcraft: No Logins for You


No it isn’t just you World of Warcraft EU is playing distinctly hard to get at the moment. The problem seems to be that after you go passed the log in screen to the server/character selection screen the games kicks you out after you choose a character and it tries to load. I tried it on several characters and switched realms after a quick trip to the official WoW forums I realised that this is a fairly widespread problem plus there is an announcement on the log in page.



According to the forums it looks like the problem started somewhere around 11am UK time but there were some issues last night that make more sense now for instance while in dungeons the game just hanging during encounters for maybe 20-40 seconds like the bad old days of using a 3g connection or something instead of the 7mb connection I currently enjoy.

There is a lot of gnashing of teeth going on which I think is due in no small part to the fact that Blizzard always get so damn obtuse when they have issues. At first their updates make reference to a problem that was external in nature. Further investigation into things and it seems that there is a problem with WoW’s internet provider.

That is all the info I can weed out at the moment so now I am going to go and try to use this time constructively to go apply for some jobs.

Check out these threads for more information.


Friday, December 28, 2012

IT IS CHRISTMAS OR AT LEAST THE AFTERMATH


REAL LIFE
How was your Christmas? The most exciting aspect of mine was having to bundle up to post a response to the Doubt raised by SEETEC over non attendance to a mandated interview. To explain I am on the Work Programme for the unemployed run by a government and they in theory help me to find work. I missed an interview because I had got myself a job interview, I had informed them beforehand but apparently that makes no difference. That fact as well as a few others to me shows clearly that all these changes to the rules around benefits for low paid and unemployed people is just an exercise in screwing people out of money in order to appeal to the public at large they are dealing with those evil benefit scroungers (while ignoring all the rich tax dodgers and evaders) and to reduce the welfare bill (though the majority of it is pensions just so you know). Anyway the letter has been sent so now I have to wait for the response.

I haven’t really picked anything up for Christmas mainly as a result of some unexpected expenses that came up just before it. I had three interviews in rapid succession and SEETEC in a move that proved their ‘worth’ refused to pay for travel for the 2 outside of the local area, in this case it was to cover the cost of travel to London for the interviews. That really made things difficult and I nearly couldn’t come up with the funds to make it happen needless to say food was a little light on the ground following those interviews but I’m still here so we move on. I am in the process of writing up a complaint about the whole thing after talking to the Job Centre who think that SEETEC are in the wrong for refusing to help with the costs of travel but we will see how long the complaint procedure will take.

GAMING
Still I did fun things at Christmas too I did a little levelling on World of Warcraft even managing to pop 86 on my Horde Hunter and see some of the Horde storyline play out in Pandaria which I haven’t seen really up until this point. It is interesting so far and it is good to be home I have always identified more with the Horde than the Alliance the communities in my experience feel quite different and I just got used to the Horde side stuff after levelling through 4 max level characters.

So now I am going to do my best to do some smart shopping to stretch my limited pounds for all they are worth. My shortlist includes some new smart shoes for interviews, a new cap and some books.
Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? I’m still waiting for that most precious of gifts – a job.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday


Deadly Cool written by Gemma Halliday was published by Harper Collins on the 11th October 2011. It is the first in a series featuring the main character Hartley Featherstone. I purchased this book.

PLOT

Hartley Featherstone just found out that her boyfriend, Josh, is cheating on her with the president of the high school chastity club. So naturally she breaks into Josh’s bedroom after school, hoping to catch the cheaters in the act. Instead, all she finds is the fake virgin’s dead body in Josh’s closet. Now Josh is the prime suspect and as much as she wouldn't mind watching him squirm, Hartley knows he’s no killer. So she teams up with Chase Erikson, the unnervingly sexy editor of the school newspaper, to try and crack the case. Soon Hartley  is stumbling over more dead bodies...and all signs indicate that she may be the killer’s next target.

WHY I READ IT

Whenever I have the time I like to update my preferences on the Amazon site to reflect which books they suggest are ones I already own and take a quick look at the suggested ones, when Deadly Cool showed up I was immediately intrigued, what doesn’t sound compelling about a high schooler solving murders with her friends especially when you add in the fact that the murder was at the school.

WHAT I THOUGHT

JUST WHAT I NEEDED. This book is a very quick read but such an enjoyable one, the writing style is filled with humour but never goes too far in that direction, there is just enough of a hint of real danger surrounding the characters that you quickly become interested in to keep you excited and eager to see the plot unfold.

The thing about murder mysteries is that unless you are really knew to them which is unlikely given the proliferation of them in nearly all forms of media we know exactly how things are going to happen from murder to speculation over motive, to suspect one onto suspect two and so on until in the end the killer appears and we most likely never saw it coming. Well that is an example of a GOOD murder mystery sometimes you know who did it before the murder even takes place but without spoilers I think you’ll be reasonably happy with the resolution of this mystery and it features none of that nonsense like finding out that one of the principal characters is actually someone’s son in the summing up of why they did it, I always hate when they do that.

Hartley is an immensely likeable character right from the beginning and you totally begin rooting for her and hoping that she comes out on top because you can tell despite the things she is obviously very confused about she is strong, dedicated and incredibly loyal.

So if you like mysteries and your stories with a little snark and humour then you need look no further than Hartley Featherstone and Deadly Cool.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

FILM REVIEW - Dead Souls


Dead Souls is a 2012 Horror Film that premiered on the Chiller Network. It is based on a book by Michael Laimo that was first published in 2007.

PLOT

For eighteen-year-old Johnny Petrie, the dilapidated farmhouse in Maine meant a way out. When the letter arrived saying he had inherited an estate from a man he'd never heard of before, Johnny knew he could finally escape the hell of living with his religious zealot mother and drunken father. He didn't realize that the hell he was moving into would be far, far worse.

The previous owner of the estate was Benjamin Conroy, a man obsessed with securing eternal life for himself and his family--even if he had to kill them to do it. Conroy's ultimate ritual, a perverse ceremony of blood and butchery, went hideously wrong, denying him the immortality he sought, leaving him and his family dead. But now that Johnny has arrived at the house, Conroy's spirit will have a second chance....


WHY I WATCHED

If you are a regular follower of my blog ramblings then you might know that I am a huge fanboy  of one Magda Apanowicz, a young Canadian actress I first saw in one of my favourite Sci-Fi shows Kyle XY. She played Andy Jensen who ended up as Josh Trager’s girlfriend and a close friend of Kyle himself.
Magda Apanowicz also starred in the ill fated Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica which charted the beginning of the Cylon menace. Needless to say that show was great but the slow, slow start and the mid-season break were not helpful. So in the end Magda +horror film sounded like a winner to me and therefore here we are.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I was impressed by this offering from the Chiller Network who I knew absolutely nothing about before I started hearing about Dead Souls. What you get is a solid horror film that doesn't skimp on plot or interesting characters. With horror films it is too often that you end up choosing one of what you want from gore, an interesting plot or three dimensional characters. You get all of that here and more.

The two leads are believable and interesting I almost instantly bought into their stories and their eventual chemistry. The story moves along at fair old rate even the initial flashback giving you the background stays brief enough to be interesting and more than gory enough to make you wince.

Dead Souls is an excellent horror film that manages to skilfully skirt all the traditional horror pitfalls. What we get is a great film with a plot that keeps you interested and more than enough scares to have you throwing your popcorn all over your living room.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Two Ways the Work Programme Providers Can Screw You


Way 1

Last month I had one of those pesky job search sessions where they require you to come in and sign up 2 hours of your life for no apparent reason in my case as I have Internet access at home and a computer that actually lets me right click things to keep a job advert open at the same time as the application process which TRUST me is incredibly useful. Moving on when I sat down at a computer I noticed that there was a written note at the top of the job search form which they require us to fill in with the details of any jobs we apply for. I took a picture because I couldn't believe their cheek in what could be politely described as misrepresenting the truth. I have included the photographic evidence below.



If you can’t read it I took the time to write down what it says.

“DO THIS FIRST”
“REGISTER WITH THE JCP SITE (UNIVERSAL JOB MATCH) AND GET ID NUMBER, GIVE ID NUMBER TO YOUR ADVISOR”
“THIS MUST BE DONE TODAY”

So there you have it they are trying to get access to your Universal Jobmatch details which they have absolutely no right to and if you were to read that without the foreknowledge of resources such as the Unemployment Movement or DoNotSign you would assume that failing to do what was written there would result in at least some sort of punishment, yet when I refused after having to explain my reasons for not handing over the details – that they were private and it says clearly in the terms and conditions NOT to share your details with a third party I was told that “Oh it is not important we just wanted to make a note of them in case you forgot your ID number.” That is some textbook social engineering right there and I am afraid that they got away with it in most cases though I did try to educate the people around me but I feel like it is a losing battle.

Way 2

So listen on as things go from bad to worse. On Monday I had great news that I got an interview for a great job that I would really love to do. Unfortunately there is a problem, my Work Programme provider do not provide help with travel costs for interviews outside of the local area which is one of the most backward theories I have ever encountered.

Not only are they breaking their agreement to take over the responsibility from the job centre they are putting unnecessary barriers to me returning to work which I find unacceptable especially when they are being PAID to get me work and they have done nothing but hinder me at every point.

The job is in London which is a long way away, commutes STARTING from just under 2 hrs, 1 way but I know of many people who do it because of the lack of any real jobs (more than that 18 hour nonsense) to be found in the local area.

To be honest at this point I am so upset and angry at how I have been treated I am going to stop here and go do some research on the job interview I WILL be going to on Thursday. WISH ME LUCK.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Magic Of Vampire Diaries


Oh Vampire Diaries, I am convinced that this show has some hidden mystical powers above and beyond the ability to entertain a cynic like me how else can I explain suddenly noticing how beautiful Phoebe Tonkin is. Somehow throughout the entire run of The Secret Circle I never noticed Phoebe but then you have a show with Shelley Hennig and Jessica Parker Kennedy the latter spent the first few episodes in nothing but her underwear very distracting indeed.

I think it has something to do with the Faye the character she played on the Secret Circle she wasn’t the nicest of people and that might have blinded me to her appeal. So since Phoebe started on The Vampire Diaries I have done a little research into her and I was rather surprised to find out she is Australian, who knew? Her accent is excellent.

I am assuming the readers are familiar with these shows and Ms Tonkin but if not I have included a gallery.






If this has only whetted your appetite then be sure to head over to Shaft's Words Extra for a bigger gallery dedicated to our new favourite former witch turned werewolf.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

SHAFT'S TV ROUNDUP


So I watch a lot of TV and I figured that it was more than time to do an article about shows that in my opinion are worth watching, further than that these show are great with usually top notch writing and thoroughly entertaining characters that keep you coming back. In this action packed instalment of Shaftsword we will be discussing three top shows Vegas, NCIS LA and Homeland.

VEGAS

Set in 1960s Las Vegas, the series centers on Sheriff Ralph Lamb (Quaid) and his dealings with Chicago mobster Vincent Savino (Chiklis), who moved west to set up his own operation. The Lamb character is based on a real-life former rancher who served as Sheriff of Clark County from 1961 to 1979.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect given it is a period drama but I took the plunge initially because Michael Chiklis was one of the principals and after being a dedicated fan of The Shield.  I am not usually a fan of period dramas but the glamour of Vegas in its infancy sucks me right in. It reminds me a bit of OTR (Old Time Radio) broadcasts from the 1920s to the 1950s which told of private detectives, cops, robbers and speakeasies.

Dennis Quaid is the right choice for Ralph Lamb a former military investigator who is pressed into service as a sheriff when things the previous sheriff disappears. Between him and Michael Chiklis you have two opposing forces that can’t help but clash over control of Vegas. In this story it is a mob boss and a sheriff but it could easily be two opposing countries locked in a desperate war it is a simple tale that is presented very well with a variety of support characters that hold your interest so you end up wanting to learn more about them too.

NCIS LA

Pretty much everyone knows NCIS either you know Gibbs and his angry cop routine or like me you pine after Ms Sciuto. That show has been going for 10 years and doesn’t look like it is about to end. NCIS LA is of course a spinoff… of a spinoff but somehow it is still kinda awesome. For me its success is in its simplicity it is a buddy cop movie but it pretty much as three pairs of buddies appealing to broad demographics. Add to that an average of about 10 clips of ammunition spent per episode and you have something that just works.

HOMELAND

The first season of this epic show blew my mind, I mainly went to it because I was a fan of Damian Lewis and was pretty upset at the two season run of Life which in my opinion was one of the finest cop procedural shows out there. Now thinking about Damian’s performance in Life it does have some similarities to what he brings to Homeland. Both of these are stories about men who are loss then found and struggling to adapt their new found freedom. Life of course has a vein of comedy running through it whereas Homeland is as serious as a heart attack.

Homeland is based on an Israeli Television show Hatufim (Prisoners of War), the series stars Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a Central Intelligence Agency officer, and Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody, a U.S. Marine. Mathison has come to believe that Brody, who was held captive by al-Qaeda as a prisoner of war, was turned by the enemy and now threatens the United States.

So that was my roundup of three excellent shows that maybe you should check out. You can leave comments on here or tweet me @shaftsword. Thanks for visiting.




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