Podcasticopia #1: Dead Pilots Society

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

I'm a person who has been listening to podcasts pretty regularly since 2007, and now because of my current job my podcast consumption has only grown. Because of this I have now a pretty big collection of podcasts I like, and have tried many more that I haven't been so hot on. So I've decided to start this little blog series, Podcasticopia. Each week I will share one of the podcasts I'm currently listening to and why I think it's the bees knees.

My Travel Wishlist

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

I have always wanted to travel, explore new places and experience new things. The problem with having a bug for travel is that it costs ALL THE MONEY. So instead of giving up on travel I've just made a list of places I definitely want to visit, and one day even if I'm old and grey I'll visit them. Here are some of the places that I have on my travel wishlist.

The Odd Pear #13 - A Pound of Chocolate Licko

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

This week Gary and Jemma ramble on about all sorts of nonsense. Since we missed Halloween a discussion about serial killer films and candy turns into a revelation about Jemma buying a bag of strange brown powder as a child. And much more ...

What I've Learnt Living With a Cat

Thursday, 3 November 2016

I have always been an animal person, sometimes even preferring them to people. But there was something about cats that always fascinated me, maybe it comes down to them looking so serious all the time even while being complete idiots. Or maybe its just how mystical they seem, I'm sure that's why the ancient Egyptians were into them. Yes, they may poop in your garden but that's just the way they say, "Hey nice little place you have here, I feel relaxed enough to push out a tiny turd". 

As some of you may know I have a little kitty, Luna. I spend half of my day just watching her seeing what she is getting up to. One of the most spoken sentences in the flat is, "Oh my god! Look at the cat". I have always wanted a cat but growing up in a dog family, with a dog that wanted all of my mums attention (and would only listen to her) made that impossible. But now I'm an adult who can make his own pet choices, kinda (a story for another time). So here is a little list of things I've learnt from living with a cat.

What I've Been Playing - Oct 2016

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

This month has been a hard month to play games. Since I have played the Battlefield 1 Beta that is all I have wanted to play and at the end of the month I have finally bought it and played a few matches. I wont mention it in my roundup just because I haven't played much of it. However oh boy, when I do finally write about it expect me to gush about how much I love it. So everything I have been playing has been something to tide me over. Although I did have the chance to play the charming Pokémon Demo; something else I have high hopes for. So here is the hodge podge of what I've been playing.


Source: Square Enix

For a while now I've been looking for a pretty good mobile game that I can just tool about with when I am just chilling out. So I picked up Hitman Go for 97p on the Play Store and for the quality you get 97p is an amazing deal. It's set up like a board game where you have to make your way through a maze while sneaking past or killing off guards. The main thing that really impresses me about Hitman Go is how minimal they make the whole experience. It teaches you the mechanics of the game through trial and error, instead of obtrusive pop up prompts. It encourages you to explore and try different ways of approaching tasks, partly thanks to the quick turn around of level loading when you do fail. Because you can jump back in super quickly and try different way of doing things you are not scared to fail. Plus it just looks super pretty and stylized.


Source: Game Freak / Nintendo

Ever since Pokémon moved to fully 3D in X and Y, I have been pretty down on the main line games in the series. However I decided to give sun and moon a try since there have been a few really cool looking new Pokemon designs. In the short demo you get to see the new region and a few new monsters and mechanics. The feel that I got from the game is something that I haven't experienced in a pokemon game for a while. It looks and feels like a place that you would want to spend time and want to explore, and I cant wait to fall in love with this new pokemon world when it comes out. You can read my full thoughts HERE.

Pokémon Sun & Moon Special Demo Impressions

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

This year Pokemon has seen a resurgence of interest over the summer, with the amazing but short lived popularity of Pokemon Go the public have been reminded of these adorable little buddies. Well some of us never forgot and the release of the mainline games is always a must play for any true Pokéfan. On November 23rd (November 18th outside Europe) a brand new adventure will be released; Pokemon Sun and Moon. In anticipation of this a demo version has been released with a totally separate story than the main game. So this evening I booted up my 3DS and curled up under a cozy blanket to see what we can expect in a months time.

The Odd Pear #12 - We Drank Too Much

Thursday, 13 October 2016

This week we were meant to talk about autumn encroaching on us. But we were silly adults and ended up drinking too much. So we end up yammering on about: our bad fashion choices, sun beds, being a muscle man and Twilight.

Also we offer an apology for anyone that has been waiting for a new episode. We have had an extremely busy few months but will endeavor to bring out the podcast on a more frequent basis.

Also please drink responsibly ;p

3 Times I was an Odd Child

Monday, 10 October 2016

I think I had a pretty normal childhood. Although I could at times be a slightly neurotic child that would later become a neurotic adult. For example when I put out the cutlery for dinner I HAD to make sure everyone had matching knives and forks. My reasoning for this was that if one person had odd cutlery they may think I poisoned them, and used a different style so I could tell what ones were the murder knives and forks. Now my anxiety comes from far less abstract worries, like saying hello too quietly to someone in work and worrying that they didn't hear and thought I was ignorant. But those are pretty dark examples so here are a few stories of when I was a weird kid.

Would you move to Mars?

Monday, 3 October 2016

In the history of our human species there has never been a larger challenge then establishing human life on another planet. It's something that has been the dream of novelists, scientists, astronomers and philosophers since we looked up saw the moon and wondered "whats it like up there?". In 1969 we were finally able to put a human on the moon, however that "great leap for mankind" ended up landing quicker then expected. Since then our involvement in space exploration has been limited, and the dream of expanding the Human race off Earth seemed less likely. But why should we try and go to Mars at all?

What I've been playing - Sept 2016

Friday, 30 September 2016

This month has been dominated by shooty gunmen for me. I was planning on playing some Dragon Quest 9 this month, but that ended up being put on the back burner for now. Not for any particular reason, that just seems to happen when you fall into a deep video game addiction, you buy games and never end up playing them. Another game that isn't in this post but I have also been playing is Overwatch. I decided to leave it out because I really cant see myself putting it down any time soon and I really don't want to write a reason every month for why I'm still playing it. Just trust me it's really, REALLY good. So without any further ado these are the games I've been playing this month.

My Teen Internet Life

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

I consider myself a seasoned veteran of the internet at this point. My oldest memory of it was going around to my aunties house when I was 13 (circa 2002) and playing little flash games on the cartoon network website. At 15 (circa 2004) I started using the internet frequently, using a crappy dial up connection. Now at 27 I have a need to be connected to the internet that comes close to being a severe impairment. I use it for everything from entertainment to banking, and it keeps becoming more and more sophisticated. So today I would like to go back in time with you all and show you what I would expect to see on the world wide web when I was a teen.

Battlefield 1 Beta Impressions

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

For the past week I've jumped head first into the open beta of Battlefield 1. I got invited to the early access for the PC version, giving me an extra day with it. My PC is an old boy now and only just kept up with all the new graphic fidelity DICE has shoved into the game. Therefore for the rest of the beta time I switched to the PS4 version. Also for some reason the Battlefield series is the one shooter that I'm better at on console then PC. No idea why but I ain't complaining.

How I Cope With Computer Eyes?

Friday, 9 September 2016

I'm a pretty heavy user of screens. I would estimate that around 75% of my time at home, I'm looking at a screen. With the increase of smartphone use and how easy it is to take a tablet with you from room to room, it's so easy to find yourself looking at a screen. When I was a kid my mum used to say that my "eyes will turn square" if I looked at a screen for too long. It turns out that's not too far from the truth!

What I've been playing - Aug 2016

Saturday, 3 September 2016

I can't believe it's nearly September, this year has gone so fast. This month has been fairly busy, with traveling to Plymouth to visit family and the Girl Gang Event taking up a fair amount of my time. On months like this I tend not to play games that I need to spend a lot of time with to dig my teeth into. So pretty much all I've been playing have been games that I can quickly jump on for an hour here and there. 

5 Podcasts I Love

Sunday, 21 August 2016

I love podcasts! I have been listening to them for about 10 years now, and have seen the medium grow into this extremely polished form of entertainment that it is today.  My love affair began as something to listen to while grinding in World of Warcraft with WoW Radio on in the background. Since then my palate has refined and podcasts have grown more and more mainstream. So here is a small sample of podcasts that I listen to weekly and love.

5 most messed up Pokémon

Thursday, 18 August 2016

With the release of Pokémon Go, these cute little buggers have become super popular again. Well they may not be as adorable as they seem, some of them have a dark past that would even make Edgar Alan Poe recoil in horror. So I sincerely believe it's my duty to uncover the sordid pasts of these creatures. Therefore in no particular order here are 5 of the most messed up Pokémon around.

I want to break free! - Breakout Liverpool

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Boredom, it the curse of this 21st century life. Every now and then you just want to get out and do something, but why go the cinema and a restaurant when you could have Netflix and a chippy? Well I have something different and exciting for you to try; escape rooms! 

I first heard about escape rooms a couple of years ago from a few different podcasts that I listen to. The basic idea of them is that you and a group of friends get locked into a room full of clues and tasks, over an hour you have the ultimate goal of figuring out a way to escape the room. The idea of going out and doing an activity that isn't passive and was a challenge was very appealing for me. However when I began to search out places in the UK that did these escape rooms I hit a brick wall, the only places I could find were across the pond. Until now!

My lovely girlfriend Jemma was invited to go check out Breakout Liverpool; an escape room company right at our doorstep. So after the begging and bargaining she agreed to let me be one of her guests to go check the place out. Breakout Liverpool had several different rooms to try all with different themes, from a pirate ship to a missile base, each room has it's own challenges and difficulty level. We ended up going with a spy training scenario. 

On the day Jemma and I met up with Holly and Sarah to do our spy training. We were briefed on what we had to complete in the 60 minutes allotted and the story behind the room (the room we chose actually had a sequel room). We were a group of rag-tag agents that was just about to go on our first mission, however there was one thing in our way! Our commander was a tyrant for rules and didn't think we were ready for the big time. The fiend developed this room as a final test to prove that we could handle it. 

I wont tell you what happened in the room because I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone, plus its classified. But I'll give you a little taste of what to expect. The main challenge of the room was to figure out the combination of a code to get out, to do this we had to figure out lots of smaller clues like lock combinations and finding keys. All the puzzles in the room don't assume any prior knowledge, it's just about logic and lateral thinking. It turned out to be just as fun as I thought it would be, especially in an energetic group the atmosphere in the room is all excitement and intrigue. Also don't worry if you get completely stuck, there is someone watching on CCTV and will give you hints if needed. 

This is such a good idea for a day out and something a group of friends can banter about afterwards. It's entertainment like this that does leave you with an experience at the end of the day are really valued in my eyes. That's what life's all about really, experiencing different weird things. Breakout Liverpool is one of those things that I really am glad I could experience. If you want to try it for yourself the prices are £60 or £70 depending on the room, that works out to about £12 or £14 per person if you go in a group of 5. You can find more details on www.breakoutliverpool.com

Oh and don't worry we did escape and here's the picture to prove it.

Ode to Overwatch

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Image Source: Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch has been out for just over a month now, and it has burrowed it's way into my heart like some weird alien parasite. This happens every now and then with certain games. There are ones that force me to think about them when I'm not playing, and learn a silly amount of knowledge about it. I could probably use that time on something more constructive but hey ho! Minecraft, Battlefield 3, World of Warcraft, Kerbal Space Program and Cities Skylines have all had that honour also.

Digital Negativity Audit

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Ahoy-hoy everyone, you all having a super week? I hope so. I want to talk about a little experiment I have been trying. But first it needs a little bit of background to explain it properly. At 15 I was first diagnosed with depression, this led to me taking medication for a few years. At 18 I went cold turkey off them (definitely a bad idea), and being really bad at managing my mental health for 8 years. But that's a story for another time. This year has been a turning point for me , I've started to take meds again (ones that actually seem to work), and have taken significant changes to help me become happier. Depression is weird and there is no quick fix, as I've seen with members of my family it can be something that needs to be treated on and off for the rest of your life. That really sucks the big one! But in the spirit of being happy and positive I'm going to fight back against the miserable bastard. This is why I've come up with the Digital Negativity Audit. Well I may not have come up with it but I sure as hell gave it this pithy name.

4 Cartoon characters that should have gone to prison!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Yes yes cartoons aren't real, but sometimes the characters do some real messed up stuff. Stuff that if any real person even attempted they would be given a one way ticket to the slammer. So here is a list of just a few of cartoons most wanted deviants. Also to make it more interesting I left out all characters that are meant to be evil. 

The Graphics Conundrum

Thursday, 30 June 2016

This year has been a very exciting time to be a PC gamer! Both NVIDEA and AMD have shown their offerings for graphics card supremacy, and while in terms of raw power a winner is very apparent, the choice between them - for me - has never been harder. 

5 Steam Summer Sale 2016 Picks

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Oh happy day, oh joyous day. The Christmas in summer for PC gamers has come again, the 2016 Steam Summer Sale has started. If you're new to PC gaming or even a seasoned veteran, each year Steams massive sales are always a good place to pick up a real bargain. So being a skinflint like I am I'll dig deep for some real good games to play on the cheap. If I can I'll get enough to last me 'till the next sale.


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

I don't quite remember my first experience with the internet. I remember being around my aunties house - who was one of my first family members to have internet - and dialing into AOL with those crazy beeps and boops exciting me because I knew exactly where I was going. The Cartoon Network website and waiting around 10 min for an Adobe Shockwave game to load. I was around 8 or 9 then and it took a few more years before my parents decided to take the plunge and surf the web. In the interim all I could do to scratch that itch, was to load up our old Windows 95 PC and make my own websites with MS Paint and Powerpoint (or just try to outrun the yeti in Ski Free). Needless to say I have always been interested in tech and creating things with tech.