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.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hectic

This last week has been very busy. What with celebrating the day of my birth, sorting out the wedding, playing an awesome new card game (yes, 'geek' is now becoming 'nerd') and generally working away, I've not have time to do any blogging. I've not even played Blood Bowl, for crying out loud!

Rest assured, all three of you that read this blog (both men and the dog), that I'll get posting soon about all sorts of loveliness.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Saviours?

A new number 7, an old number 7, and a new number 9 - these are the new men (along with a number 4 who's now playing in the right position) who are revitalising Liverpool's attempts to claw their way back into the European spots after an awful, awful start to the season.

They are, of course, Luis Suarez, Kenny Dalglish and Andy Carroll (and Raul Meireles, who definitely deserves a mention). Between them, Liverpool are starting to play better, to look like an attacking force and generally have started winning games they once would have lost.

Title ambitions, drawn from the amazing run at the end of the 08/09 season, are still not on the cards and surely won't be for a good long while. The big spending Man City, resurgent Chelsea, youth assembly line Arsenal, juggernaut Man United and 'arry's bankrolled Spurs provide more than enough competition to nudge Liverpool out of any race for the 'Top Four' - who, thanks to Liverpool being awful, are no longer the 'Big Four', at least we're still in a 'Big Six'.

Kenny was the first piece of the puzzle, getting the fans (and to a large extent, the media) onside after Roy Hodgson's fairly pointless reign where he was, unfortunately, out of his depth. Then Meireles, who is always pointed out as a Hodgson signing as we're supposed to forget Konchesky and Poulsen, found his position as an unlikely attacking midfielder, weighing in with more goals this season than he's ever scored in his life.

Finally, the last two pieces have been added in the form of decent strikers. Torres, during his time, was always Liverpool's only striker, backed up by Gerrard. Without Torres, we had to rely on the likes of Ngog or Babel, who simply aren't the right style to be a lone striker. There seemed to be no Plan B for when Torres was injured or out of form - not even Dirk Kuyt was tried at his natural position of striker and goal-poacher. Enter Suarez and Carroll, the two players who decided Torres' fee to Chelsea. You can have our talismanic-yet-uncomfortable striker, as long as we get enough to afford two strikers to replace him.

I'd say Liverpool got by far the better end of that deal - even based purely on the Sunderland match, Suarez and Carroll are far more effective than a subdued Torres and Babel. Suarez showed his quality in the World Cup, and I thought he was Uruguay's best player, bar Forlan. Carroll's goal tally in the Premiership at the beginning of this season was formidable, and his £35m price tag reflected the last-minute, panic buy, OMG we need an English striker from a club who doesn't want to sell him NOW situation at the time.

Together, starting as a partnership for the first time, they brought a glimpse of a burgeoning partnership, the classic little & large combination. Kuyt's stint as the striker produced him three goals against Manchester United, but he's now relegated back to being the hard-working wide man for these two, which in some ways is a great pity. At least we have proof that Kenny knows how to use Kuyt up front, if ever the need arises.

With Lucas maturing as a defensive midfielder with every match, Gerrard and his undeniable quality, an improving defence and generally excellent goalkeeper, the future is certainly a lot brighter than it was at the beginning of the season (which I'm not un-ignoring quite yet, but am close to it).

Now we just need a decent winger or two who can get the crosses in. Are there any promising David Beckham's from the mid to late 90s available? Didn't think so. Nevermind, eh?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Patient Zero

So I've gone and infected my other half with this cold bug, and now she's had two days off work, and now the whoooshing sound of my deadline has passed, I've come back to take care of her for this afternoon.

Making drinks, lunch, etc., blogging and general geekery while she's asleep... all the good stuff.

Manflu meant I had a lazyish weekend, while manflu has given her two sick days. Where's the justice in that, I ask you?

Well, at least it gives me a chance to catch up on some reading, play some games and tidy up (quietly) a little.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Manflu Strikes & Kuyt Scores!

I bet there's an evolutionary reason behind this. It probably goes something like this:

Back in the days when we had to hunt sabre tooth tigers just to stay alive, the men did the hunting. Spear in hand, a party of hardy warriors needed to be in tip-top condition to stay alive and slay the fearsome beasts.

If they were only fighting at 90% they were dead. No hunter, no gatherer, only a lonely woman with a bone through her hair multitasking cleaning the cave, keeping the fire going, watching the baby and their enormous club, thinking about what's for dinner, talking on the phone shaped like a shell, that sort of thing.

So, when men are hit by illness, our bodies are designed to take it hard, to make them realise that there's no hunting of the sabre tooths for them today, in order to preserve the species.

Besides, women are ill all the freaking time. They're used to being messed up by their own bodies with every passing of the moon. Men are used to being all awesome, all the time.

Except when they get a cold. So an entire gender sorta like The Miz, only with no immune system and not wearing a championship belt, except when we are. I think.

So yeah, to sum up: I had a cold over the weekend and felt like crap. But at least Liverpool dominated Man Utd all over the park on Sunday, which made me feel much happier.

Finally United have been found out, for two games in a row and three in there last five. Particularly in the Liverpool match, Michael Carrick has been exposed (for the umpteenth time, if you ask me) as a useless central midfielder. Sure, he can pass sideways very nicely, and even backwards, too. Somewhere he's got this reputation as a fabulous playmaking, quarterback distributor. Unfortunately he never leaves the centre circle and has no idea how to tackle or, indeed, pass forwards.

Scholes and Giggs, excellent servants though they are, are now way past their best and cannot lead a title charge on the strength of their own backs - substitutes at best. When Rooney doesn't play well, which is fairly often over the last 12 months, he's a petulant little thug. Beyond the ever-injured Ferdinand and the often-suspended Vidic, United have no competent and experienced central defenders.

Yet they're still on top of the Premiership and were unbeaten for over half the season. When Liverpool play that badly, we're flirting with relegation for half a season, before gallantly trying to claw back a Europa League qualifying position. The Premiership's Big Four has had a re-jig, and is probably now a Big Six, thanks to Liverpool not being awful any more (we somehow managed to drop out of the Big Four and then raise ourselves into the Big Six in the space of 6 months, which is pretty good going even by Man City and West Brom's standards of inconsistency).

Hopefully it'll be Arsenal for the title. That'll keep me any my mum happy, as well as infuriating Fergie for at least another season by not having that mythical 19th English League Championship.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Good, Good.

So my main toon finally hit level 85 in World of Warcraft. This is a good thing; it's taken bloody long enough, after all.

A Dance With Dragons, the latest in the Song of Ice and Fire series, has been announced for publication in July this year. This is a very good thing; it's taken bloody long enough, after all.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Time Marches On

Earlier today I realised that the 'kids' of today, who were born up to ten years after me, can legally drink alcohol in this country. Anyone born before 1992 is allowed to grab a pint in a pub, or wherever.

I remember 1992, exploring the world of Games Workshop for the first time, the first year of the Premier League, etc - the babies born in that year surely aren't old enough to drink yet, right?

Because I'm... very nearly 29. An age which, for young people, is quite old. Near as dammit to the big three-oh. Certainly post-youth, with only the kindest of little old ladies referring to me as a young man.

Not entirely sure why this came to mind, but it probably has something to do with thinking up some ideas for my two immortal characters on Nationstates and attempting to figure out how they will be dealing with intense aging of their own.

Now get off my lawn.