Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.



Monday, February 28, 2011

Cee Apostrophe D

A terrible thing it is, to go shopping for a new car.

With mine on the way out t's about time to change up for a car for the future, even though I haven't really started saving yet. This makes it tricky, and limits the budget.

I'd initially seen a nice Scenic, but that's probably too big, too soon. A new version of my current Megane is out of the question, too, as I don't want the one with the big ass, and the brand new one is tiny inside - so small it might as well be a Clio, and I've already got the larger version of one of those.

A little investigation led me to Kia, who I never really considered before. Silly not to, when you think about it, what with 7 Year Warranties (oh so efficient and reliable German engineers, you only provide us with 3?) and a lovely 1.6l diesel version of their 5-door Cee'd (which is Top Gear's Reasonably Priced Car, no less). For a diesel, too, it's got a hell of a lot of oomph to it.

Now I've just got to sort some finance out - whether it's a new one or a only-just-used one. I'll be wanting this as the main car (what with the super low tax, high mpg and average insurance) for the next decade or so, so it had better be a good one!

UPDATE: After another test drive and another showroom with another salesman, with another set of finance options, I've decided to wait until this one dies, when I go for an approved, barely-used, car. Otherwise I'd be living hand to mouth for 12 months, and don't fancy that sort of pressure just for a shiny new motor.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Return of the Strat

As Pay Per View's that aren't Wrestlemania go, Sunday night's Elimination Chamber was quite good. It's nowhere on the list of all-time great events, but it was certainly not one of the stinkers.

First-up, the international sergeant jump champion, Kofi Kingston (oh boy, can he ever get some air time) was defeated by the completely unimpressive-looking Alberto Del Rio. Trading on the inverted stereotype of a rich Mexcian - as anyone who wrestles and has a white towel around their neck is somehow rich (see JBL) - the most exciting thing about Del Rio appeared to be the Aston Martin he drove for about 10 yards to get into the arena. A fairly good match, though, but with the wrong result, just to get everyone nice and annoyed for the rest of the evening.

The first Elimination Chamber match of the night was probably the best - with Kane, the Big Show and Drew McIntyre throwing everyone around, and Rey Mysterio and Wade Barrett generally being on the end of things. Lots of great moments, particularly from Kane and Mysterio, though Edge keeping a hold of his title was well deserved. Kane should surely win one of these eventually, right? Christian coming out to save Edge from Del Rio's attack afterwards was a lovely touch - we do love Captain Charisma - as Edge and Christian are probably up to the point in their careers where they can be properly loved, even when they're playing the bad guys.

Trish Stratus returned to prove she's no good at Rock/Booker T impressions, but that's not what she's there for in the first place, as first and foremost she's a great wrestler. Booker T, however, annoyed me throughout the commentary. Essentially there to say "Oh! Did you see that?!" and get every kick-out/pin prediction wrong. Go back to accidentally using racial slurs against the Hulkster, will you?

Then came the first match that no-one seemed to care about - the comedy stylings of Santino Marella and Vladiimr Kozlov against two guys I've never heard of. The two nobodies won, and generally nobody seemed to be bothered either way, except the odd Santino fan.

Vickie Guerrero then quickly proved that nobody wants to hear what she's got to say as they recycle her storylines, and the non-event non-fighting shortly after was only notable for Trish Stratus wrestling in 5-inch heels - a feat in itself.

The match between The Miz and Jerry Lawler was my low point - not for the match, which was by far the best singles match of the night, but for Michael Cole's commentary. Heel commentators simply don't work as the lead, and having three of them further complicated matters. The main commentator should always be the sensible one - the Gorilla Monsoon or the Jim Ross - with the heel having his input every now and then. This way round, the senior commentator - Cole - got to be his usual irritating self with no-one to hold him back. Josh Matthews cut a grim figure as he listened to Cole's crap, but had no way of putting on a leash and tugging very hard at the e-mail reader.

E-mails. From the RAW General Manager. When on earth will they realise that this is one of the dumbest ideas they've ever come up with. It even had to happen during the RAW Elimination Chamber match, too, just so CM Punk could re-enter the ring after being annihilated by Randy Orton. It was interesting to see the crowd's reaction to Orton, as bar the opening of John Cena's music, it sounded like Orton got the biggest cheer of the six. Quite what R-Truth was doing in there, I have no idea, but the star of that, for me, was John Morrison. Of course Cena was going to win, of course Orton and Punk were going to have a great fight, and of course Morrison was going to do something awesome. Falling 16 feet from the top of the cage just to flatten Sheamus, before taking all sorts of self-inflicted punishment to his knee.

All in all, a good PPV, and worth watching - sets up Wrestlemania very nicely.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Que Sera Sera...

...Whatever will be, will be,
We're off to a Blood Bowl tourney,
Que sera sera

So we're going to the NAF Championship in May. Nine of us from Portal will roll up for the five game, two-day tournament and I'm sure we're going to have a blast.

Which team will I take? Why, my Dead and Gooners of course! I considered my Humans, Halflings, High Elves and even my currently unpainted Chaos Pact team, but I simply couldn't see past the Undead. After having played them in the PWCBBL and got them to the Final (defeated, unfortunately), they play how I want them to play, with a good combination of bashy, expendable and skilled players to get the job done.

To celebrate that decision, and have them make an awesome impression on my opponents, I've been purchasing and modelling my own models for the Score, Turn and Re-Roll counters. Some pliers, glue and a strip of green stuff later, I have up to five re-rolls (the three I'm going to take plus both Brilliant Coaching and Cheering Fans ones). I've also got a hold of a cannon (to match their badge) and also a Necromancer coach.

Now all they need is a paint job, some basing, and they're good to go for a full team of rotting goodness.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Many, Many Catchphrases

FINALLY... The Rock has come back to my TV screen.

Has it really been seven years since he left? The Rock was, and I imagine still is, a truly great wrestler, despite having the most showy electrifying finishing move since Scotty 2 Hotty's Worm - emphasis on the theatrics, followed by an elbow drop or backhand chop respectively.

No-one is better on the mic than the Rock. Chris Jericho comes close, but Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is the absolute master. He exudes personality with every single gesture, just as he did on Monday Night Raw - which I've only just got round to watching.

As an aside, Natalya Neidhart certainly should have won the Divas Championship that night, but now it's set up just perfectly for her to get her title back at Wrestlemania: I hope she gets it.

Anyway, as the host of Wrestlemania 27 he's bound to be all over the screen that evening, and probably getting involved in all sorts of matches - hopefully laying the smacketh down on John Cena, who never gets enough of a beating, in my view. Cena can try his five moves of doom, but a good Rock Bottom and a People's Elbow will stop all that random waving in front of his face.

Interesting how that, in a year's time, Wrestlemania 28 will take place in Miami, where The Rock went to University and is billed from. Chance of him picking up a title there after a year of pushing is pretty huge, no? Fingers crossed for that one.

What makes The Rock even more awesome, is his football allegiance (thanks only to a 1 in 92 chance draw, though, but let's gloss over that fact for a moment). Did you think Peoples Champ would be anything other than a Silkman? *beat* It doesn't matter what you think!

I just had to do that.


What's now incredibly weird, though, is that via the magic of Twitter, I can direct both The Rock and Natalya to this blog via a mention and a link. All it would take is for them to see it within the mass of mentions that the inevitably get from their thousands of followers every minute. Let's try it, though, as a random shot in the dark occasionally can come off.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Have GW just chosen my next team?

So far, I have Humans, Halflings, Undead, High Elves and some work-in-progress Chaos Pact in my collection. Five of the twenty-four playable teams.

Ultimately, I'm certain I'll have the remaining nineteen of those in my collection, ready to pick up and play with any of them in a grand gesture of... whatever it is.

The easiest thing to do would be to pick up a couple of werewolves and several zombies in order to turn my Undead team into the eerily similar Necromantic. Flesh Golems are optional, as the mummies would be perfectly useful as them, but Necro are certainly the easiest.

And the most boring. Had Undead been removed from the game (along with High Elves, evidently Jervis Johnson hates my choices), Necro would be one of my teams for the spooky Undead theme. Back in the days when I still collected White Dwarf, the Undead and Tomb Kings fluff was my favourite. The days when they just dumped three or four pages of straight text into the magazine, with very little in the way of fabulous new model (buy this!) pictures to get in the way of a good story.

The only problem with the Tomb Kings (or Khemri, as they're termed for Blood Bowl) is the GW models. Awful. Completely awful. With Incoming: Tomb Kings, I can only hope that they'll be getting some sort of plastic kit that can make a decent set of four Tomb Guardians.

For regular skeletons, all I'll need is a Tomb Kings box of Skeletons. For Blitz-Ra and Thro-Ra models, the Anubis Blitzer/Safety models that Impact! produce will be great. For the Tomb Guardians? There's nothing I want to use for them, not even regular Undead Mummies. If I can find those four, then I'll have my next team.

Failing that, it'll be GW and Willy models to make up Orcs. Or lady Wood Elves.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Too many Twits makes a Twat

So here's the deal. Twitter is for self-important, shamesless self-promoters who think that whatever they've got to say at any particular moment is worth sharing. It's for new media and sports types, as well as lazy journalists who have got nothing better to do and treat the 140 character long tweets as if they're as sacrosanct as press releases.

So, in short, it's totally my sort of thing, and I've only been avoiding it out of some Luddite anti-trendy ideology. I can already see how easy it would be to overload on how often you tweet, how many random people and celebrities, sports people and journalists you follow.

I figure if it's good enough for the likes of Main Guy, it's good enough for me. It was Transfer Deadline Day in the Premiership that finally brought it home to me how this Twitter thing really works, and how awesome it could be. as news was broken on Twitter five or ten minutes before it made it onto, say, the BBC's Live Text service.

The scope for two-way communication, too - Jason Manford excepting - is immense, whoever it is between.  But, for now, it'll just be me putting up random things for my own amusement. By linking it to Facebook, it gives me another way of getting information out there, to whoever happens to be listening.

It'll allow, for instance, live Tweeting of the NAF Championship in May. Oh wouldn't that be awesome? In between my bit of promo and recording work for Zlurpcast, of course!

Friday, February 04, 2011

What a Weekend in Prospect

OMG SPORTSWEEKEND!

This weekend we have Wales Vs England in the Six nations on Friday night, my two non-Premiership sides, Macclesfield and Bradford City, play on Saturday afternoon, Chelsea play Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, followed by the Superbowl on Sunday night. Not only that, but the F1 season is winding up again and, brilliant, Gary Neville has retired immediately from playing football.

I knew there would be a way to link to that picture of a celebrating Beckham, and the wannabe Musketeer who loves his best mate a little too much is the way to go about it.

Had he played for any other club, he still would have got on everyone's nerves. Playing for Manchester United, he stirred up pretty much pure hate from everyone who isn't a Man Utd fan (or is that just me being a bias Liverpool fan?). One thing is for sure, though, he was the best right back of his generation, and I never would have picked anyone else at Right Back for England over the last 20-ish years, fitness permitting.

Right, that's the niceness out of the way.

Torres has gone to a team who have, over the last ten years, won far more trophies than Liverpool. It's thanks to a multi-billionaire Russian Oligarch's money, of course, rather than based on any history or culture of achievement, but that's the situation, because the World Cup and European Championship winner wants to win stuff. Fair enough, because in return for his insane fee, we get to spend £8m and get two strikers in return.

Not a bad deal, considering that those two players are 1) England's next great striker hope and 2) one of the stand-out strikers of the World Cup, even before the handball. There aren't many strikers who played better than Luis Suarez in South Africa, and they're probably limited to his team-mate Diego Forlan, Asamoah Gyan and Miroslav Klose (not the overrated David Villa - as anyone playing in front of Xavi, Ineista, etc could score with that sort of service).

Hang on, that was fairly nice, too. So anyway, on to the Rugby. The Six Nations is, frankly, awesome. Every match really means something, and it teaches football a lesson that a Home Nations series over the summer, when there's not a World Cup or European Championship on, would be absolutely brilliant.

So much history, so much passion, and once again everyone just wants to play and beat England. Just because we're, y'know, historically better and all that, and they're all sick of us, turning up in our lovely white uniforms, declaring we're better than them, and more often than not proving it.

Whether it's Scotland at Football, Wales and Scotland at Rugby, Australia at Cricket, or any of a number of similar encounters, there's a simple message, that goes both ways.

We don't hate you, we in fact love you (more than) a little bit. We just want to beat you, that's all, because when it comes down to it, we're family. At least the Stereophonics agree with me.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Time to Play the Game

Move over Triple-H, as Double-H is in town. In this case it's my toon on Wrestler:Unstoppable a wrestling game on Facebook, called 'Homegrown Hero'.

I didn't really want to use the opening line from Triple-H's intro music, but it comes across better on text than something like 'If ya smmmeeeellllllllll...", or the various heavy guitar chords and breaking glass that accompanies some iconic wrestler entrances.

Either way, Unstoppable is a neat little game that is entirely PvP based, which is fairly neat for Facebook. Either via real-time 'Instamatches' against any opponent, where you have a total 2 minutes 30 seconds do perform all your moves (in a chess-clock style) before you're counted out, or via in-game challenges where anything up to a 7 day limit is enforced.

Starting at Level 1 with a limited move set, you progress with XP (per match) up to the point where you're 'performing' Atomic Drops, Spears, and other cool moves (of course you only ever get a static avatar, but this is free on FB after all). With Coins earned per match, or the obligatory FB game premium currency of 'Wrestler Bucks' you can customise your character almost endlessly.

Homegrown Hero is definitely in the "early 90s never died" camp, as you can see.

You can see that the game has been made by some real dedicated wrestling fans, as you can set whether your wrestler is a heel or a face, and even what type. Add to that entrance music from youtube (Creedence Clearwater, thankyou very much) and easy options to join companies, form stables, train your stats solo, or via friends for extra XP and boosts, as well as a great combat system of Hit Points, Momentum, Fatigue and move expertise... it all adds up to Unstoppable being a very good, and very social, game.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Final Countdown

Or, to ensure no big-haired 80s Euro synth-rock, more like the countdown to the final.

Andy's rolling Dwarf machine of death, the Arse Time Bandits, have loaded themselves up on Block, Tackle, Guard and Mighty Blow. They're like a spiked, bearded steamroller, grinding their way down the pitch to score.

Worse, too, is that they've brought an actual Deathroller to the party, too, making things even tougher for whoever their unfortunate opponent is.

Which is me.

The Dead and Gooners have remained Undead and Undefeated (ooh, that's quite catchy, actually. Think I'll use that if they win the League) through the season so far, with six wins and a single draw along their route to the final. The power of the Mummies, the speed of the Ghouls, the... roadblockyness of the Zombies.

Plus Chance from Three Di Block has heard of them, so that's all good.

As for the rest of the league, the winners of the Top Scorer, Thrower, Casualty-Inflicter, Player and Coach have all been set out, and I'm wondering if I can add in a Most Beaten Up and Most Open Defence category, but I'm figuring that Damo will win both of those, in addition to his Wooden Spoon. Best work them out first, and see if it applies to any other player before I make them. And, of course, go and buy the wooden spoon itself. Might have to be a spatula, though, we'll see what's in the supermarket.

We'll find out tonight who the top team is, though. Hopefully it'll be me!