Time at home

So this post is going to be more of just rambling than actually having a coherent discussion, but there are so many thing that is important about spending time at home, not just during the holidays too. Not just actually spending time at home, but there are so many things that are cool about homes themselves, like the comfort of actually being there and also the designs of certain homes, so you need to make sure that you do not take it for granted! I have another friend who is an Electrician in Merton and we always talk about some of the cool designs of certain homes but also how much fine it is to just really chill at home and enjoy it while we can! By the way, I will quickly add a cheap plug here for my mate, if you need an Electrician in Merton here and he is very good! We do talk all the time about how good it is to actually take some time for yourself at home when you need it and it really does wonders for your physical and mental fatigue. Being in an environment you can relax in and have little worries, or surrounded by family and loved ones for a few hours a day is really worth all of the work that you actually do.

I once visited a home that actually had floor to ceiling windows during the summer and it was one of the nicest houses that I’ve ever been to. Apparently it had a lot of work done to it and had been renovated completely from a really old and broken down house. I’m not actually sure if it was originally an ordinary home and it had been torn down and rebuilt, but either way it was amazing. It also had remote controlled blinds and was painted in a way to compliment the rest of the furniture in the home, so there had obviously been a plan set out to begin with. It was a really nice house and it made me realise that if that is the place that you get to go home to every day, then you really need to make sure you don’t take that for granted. Then again I was also thinking about how much that home would have cost to actually buy it or even renovate it from start to finish and realised you would need to have actually made quite a lot in your lifetime to afford it, so maybe just enjoy what you already have!

There is always that old saying of home is where the heart is and while I guess there is some truth to that saying I personally believe that your home is where you hang your hat. You need to make sure that the environment of your home matches what you need in life. But you also need to sure that you make the home that you actually have match what you want in life. You also should make sure that your home and its environment is actually as clean as possible. I know that sounds very weird and almost as if I am actually trying to judge you on your hygiene and cleanliness (which I’m obviously not) but there is a really weird thing by making sure that your environment is as clean as possible. Nobody likes to be in a dirty environment, especially if you have guests over. But it is also hard to work or even relax in an environment that is not clean. I personally believe in a clean environment helping you keep a clean mind, and personally it would do wonders for you in life when it comes to positivity.

Like I said, I know todays blog post will be a bit of rambling on, but there has been a few jobs that I have had in the past where I have had to work 6 days a week and spend more time at work or even just travelling than actually at home, and many times I realised how much I missed it. So it is very easy to not actually take advantage for it and instead take it for granted.

Holidays!

With Halloween coming up, I thought that now would be a good time to talk about the holidays that are coming up! Holidays are some of the best times of the year to be quite honest (which is why you need time at home)! Halloween is great if you want to get dressed up and go out for a drink or two as Spartacus or whatever costume you think is original but actually isn’t. Usually you can find some decent drinks out there as well, especially when you take into account happy hour! Then you have Christmas, which is nice when you get to see your grandparents, parents, siblings and have a nice meal watching a very long, very boring film! My favourite holiday is Bonfire night (otherwise known as Guy Fawkes Night) just because I love the fireworks personally!

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Guy Fawkes night is celebrated for its namesake, but the story of Guy Fawkes itself is really interesting. But it’s better known as Bonfire night to us, and it is most definitely my favourite night of the year. Fireworks light up the whole of the UK, and the London skyline is lit up for the whole of the night. It’s amazing and a great night for families. While you have the odd kids that shoot fireworks in the streets (and many times has been known to strike other people in the street and cause assault), the rest of the night is really romantic and if you have a special person in your life then going to a park somewhere to watch fireworks for the night can be really fun!

Another really great holiday of the year is obviously Christmas. The values of celebrating a figure that gave up their life for others is special in itself. And while the kids love the presents the most, being able to see family that you would have not spoken to for the rest of the year is really nice. It allows families everywhere to get closer. The Christmas music does get a bit grating after hearing it for a while, and all of the decorations can be a bit much and there really is nothing worth watching on T.V. despite everyone wanting to watch their specific programme, it does become really fun. Plus you are always guaranteed to come out of every family Christmas with 5 new pairs of socks, new boxers and pyjamas.

Easter is one of those smaller holidays that are really fun to be a part of as well. The kids love Easter just because of all of the chocolate that adults give them (obviously), but another great part of Easter for the kids are the easter egg hunts! As a kid I used to love being a part of easter egg hunts. In my house, my parents used to hide small Cadbury Crème Eggs around the house (the radiator was used every year obviously) and can be really fun.

The most obvious holiday of the year for kids and adults however is Halloween. While Halloween can be really scary for the kids, taking them trick or treating is really fun. There are very few kids out there that have not been trick or treating and its by far the best night of the year when it comes to getting free chocolate! But the older we grow up, the better nights of Halloween obviously becomes about drinking green and yellow shots dressed up like an idiot. And then we get a bit older, and end up taking our kids to trick or treating in Halloween! I think overall, it’s the best holiday just because it’s enjoyable at every age.

I think the thing about holidays is that it is enjoyable in every country. Each country and culture has its own holidays and traditions which its people celebrate, and it’s always the best parts of the year besides birthdays. You need to remember to enjoy each holiday as they come along, as they can provide the best times of your life!

FIFA

So as you could probably tell, I love video games! Now, I have a friend over at Asbestosafe and we play this game all the time when we have time off. In fact, we probably play it too much. It’s a huge franchise, and probably the franchise that is actually worth the most money. I hear that just for one game mode named Fifa Ultimate Team they make $650,000,000 a year. It’s a huge game and it’s actually really fun to play as well, but quite honestly very frustrating at the same time. I’ve been playing it for the last 4 years online now, and there is so much that is right and wrong with the game that people have made actual careers and millions just making videos on YouTube about the game. Personally my favourite is Fifa 15 (and on the first day it came out I packed Ibrahimovic, which is one of the best players in the game. Needless to say I was happy!), but the newest addition to the series has to be by far the worst game I’ve played.

Fifa 17

FIFA 17 is a really weird one to be honest. The game feels like it actively goes against you half the time. There has never been many games that have actively went against you on multiplayer without actually telling you that it is designed to go against you, yet for some reason it is acceptable in FIFA. The amount of games that I have played where my players that I am controlling are either actively not doing what I am trying to tell the game to do, or even just games that when I’m playing it do things of their own volition is just plain strange. In this day and age a game shouldn’t go against the specific coding within the game, or even what the game was designed to do. The input lag within the game is just terrible. If you press a button, you would expect the game to follow out what you pressed. Instead it would take two seconds to actually perform the task you asked the game to perform, which in a competitive game is just insane.

What makes it worse is that right now there is only really two ways to play the game right now. Either you play completely defensively or counterattack or you spend the whole game chasing the ball and trying to actually score. It’s a really odd game and you can tell that while they had some specific design ideas that they wanted to correctly include, they didn’t do the best job with it. I think after a bit of tweaking to the game and after a patch or two the game would be played the way they designed it to and it will probably be the best of the franchise, but for now they have a lot of bugs and issues that need to be fixed.

Fifa 15

Like I said, this was my favourite of the franchise. However this game wasn’t exactly the perfect game. It seemed that all you really needed to do to win on the game was pick the fastest players on the entire game. You just had a hundred games where you faced either the same teams, or slight iterations of the same team over and over, and with the majority of games being 5-6 it came down to either plain luck or just being slightly better defensively than another player. It was a fun game overall but quite honestly it was a bit of a heart attack waiting to happen as well. It’s not hard to see why so many people got upset and angry playing the game since it was all about either luck or who had the faster player. The main difference between 15 and 17 is that at least with 15 you was bound to score goals and it was actually fun to play every so often, and didn’t require you to try so hard to actually win a game.

Superhero Films!

My most recent blog post had been discussing one of my favourite film franchises in the X-Men, but this blog post I will be talking about superhero films from Marvel to DC. By far the best film franchise on DC’s side are the recent Batman films, as some of them have been fantastic. My personal favourite would be Batman Begins of the series, just because I’m a huge Scarecrow fan. But Marvel has also made some really great films that aren’t related to the X-Men such as the Avengers. They did a great job casting the Avengers this time around, from Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man to Chris Evans Captain America, the Avengers have really become a superhero group people are aware of. Even Jeremy Renner does a brilliant job as Hawkeye, which is probably my favourite character of the films.

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The Batman films decision to go darker with the storyline and characters was probably the greatest decision that they could have made for Superhero films. It forced the entire genre to go darker, since for the most part they were either overly cartoony (Jim Carrey as the Riddler) or just plain boring (Tobey Maguire as Spiderman, sorry). However, with Christian Bale’s Batman being by far the most formidable of superhero’s bar Wolverine, you needed villains that could match that. With the Scarecrow, Joker, Bane and even Rah’s Al Ghul, those villains matched Batman and then some. It wasn’t just a case of hiring actors for the sake of hiring big names, either. Every actor from Cillian Murphy to Heath Ledger to Tom Hardy played their parts to perfection. When adding the darker storylines that came with those films, they were bound to be a hit. Even the filming and lighting is darker than that of an ordinary film. From top to bottom they ensured that Batman wasn’t really a hero for the sake of being a hero. It made it clear every time what his intentions were, and exactly who he was fighting.

Although the Avenger’s films wasn’t as dark as the Batman franchise, it was still just as enjoyable. Mark Ruffalo does a brilliant job taking over from Edward Norton as the Hulk, and you can truly see the divide between who Bruce Banner is and who the Hulk is in terms of personality. While it could have been portrayed as a simple Jekyll and Hyde situation, you instead saw the internal struggles within the mind of Bruce Banner while also seeing him fighting for what he personally believed in at the same time. With Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, he did such a great job at portraying Hawkeye as a mercenary with specific intentions, but also provided comic relief that matched the film. The one gripe I had with the first Avenger’s film had been how easily Loki (the main nemesis) had been defeated at the end of the film by Hulk. He was simply destroyed for the sake of comic relief, which completely killed all build up that both the Avenger’s and original Thor film had given him. It was an odd decision but it worked for most people who watched the film.

The last superhero film that doesn’t really fit in another category however is Ant Man. I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, and truthfully I only really watched it because I enjoy Paul Rudd as an actor (I can’t imagine that is said often). It really was an enjoyable movie that I thought was a lot better than expectations had prepared me for. The film is really funny, the action is really fun to watch and there is a specific scene towards the end I thought that while they could have done more with it, was so fun to watch in a film. I can’t see it being a huge franchise in the long run, and I imagine it would be a character with one more sequel and then stuck with the Avenger’s, but either way Paul Rudd does a fantastic job with it.

As you can tell I love these types of films, so if you agree or have another opinion feel free to let me know! Thanks!

X-Men Films

I am a huge superhero fanatic and one of the franchise films I have really started to become a fan of are the Marvel films. They have released some really good X-Men films and seem to be continuing that tradition with the great entry of Deadpool this year (by far the best of the bunch at the moment). Considering how great they have been so far, I wanted to just talk about how much I enjoyed the films after re watching Deadpool a few nights ago. They have released some really great ones, and there are a few more that are still waiting to be released that have the potential to be great!

The X-men films are great, and although the graphics do look outdated since the original came out in 2000, it’s hard to not be a fan of these films still. They have aged well and they are still enjoyable to watch today if you picked one up. The earlier films are definitely more family friendly, due to the storylines being less dark than the newer ones. What I do find interesting looking back on it however, is that it is only during the earlier films that Wolverine actually kills people. In fact, he seems to be the only one of the X-Men heroes to actually kill civilians during these films. While I think that it was the filmmaker’s intent to make Wolverine appeal more to the casual watcher in terms of making him look more of a renegade / maverick compared to the other heroes, it is a weird choice since we see Magneto and other villains kill less. Nonetheless, the newer films are definitely where the franchise really kicks into action. Days of Futures Past for example was easily the second best X-Men film to be released. There is something extremely enjoyable about watching Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy (both great actors) in dialogue with each other both playing Xavier, and I think they do a really great job to show that while both characters are extremely different in terms of current personality, they are both still playing the same character.

Personally my favourite Marvel film to be released as of yet is Deadpool. In the comic books he is the classic anti-hero, and probably the first of its kind in superhero books that really worked. They managed to translate both that and his character amazingly, and the film was great on so many levels. The action scenes had been done so well that it was hard to really tell that the film was under-budgeted. The jokes and humour (especially the fourth wall-breaking jokes) had been hilarious enough to stand as its own comedy film away from Deadpool itself, and Ryan Reynolds did perfectly. While it is definitely not recommended to children, if you have yet to see this film (superhero fan or not) I would easily recommend it. Either way you’ll enjoy it, and it may actually turn you into a Marvel fan!

There are still so many X-men films yet to be released as well! They have a sequel to Deadpool coming up that I just cannot wait for since it will be involving his brother-like friend in Cable, and it is bound to be great. But they also have a new and from the looks of it final Wolverine film yet to be released, with some speculating that a female version of Wolverine would replace him. They also have a film based on another X-Men superhero in Gambit, and although it will be played by Channing Tatum (which does not seem like the best of casting decisions) I still would like to watch it before I judge. The success of the original X-Men films with Patrick Stewart has allowed Marvel to become a huge player in Hollywood, and is probably the only reason most Superhero films bar Batman & Superman get the green light. However, the franchise has only really gotten stronger recently and I imagine I will be making a new post shortly talking about the other Marvel films that have come out recently. Thanks for reading!

Games!

Final Fantasy

Now, I’m obviously a huge video game fan and Final Fantasy is probably one of the biggest franchises of all time in the gaming community. It has spanned over 20+ games in its lifetime and with the upcoming release of Final Fantasy XV, it’s hard to not be excited! At the same time, there has been an effort by Sony to re-release older versions of the game on the PlayStation Network. They have released Final Fantasy VII on the PlayStation 4 re-mastered, but also with a speed button to make the game 3x faster if you have already completed it in the past and just want to reminisce over childhood memories and smash through it. I personally have a huge love for the game and I’m going to briefly discuss why I love it and the best features of the franchise as a whole.

I think that Final Fantasy VII especially showed how – for a game made in the 1990’s – open world games can be amazing if done properly. While the game begins in a city that is unknown to you and seems very, very large (Midgar), once you leave the city the game opens up and becomes huge! There are so many towns to explore, and with the materia system being so helpful and at times game breaking (such as with emerald weapon), it’s hard to not enjoy this game. The replay value on this game alone shows how well this game was actually made. I think I’ve beaten it 5 or 6 times now, and will eventually buy the PS4 remastered version. I personally think that it is the best of the series, and even if you are the type of gamer to complain about graphics, you’ll still find a way to look past the outdated look and enjoy the game for what it is worth!

I personally enjoyed Final Fantasy IX the most. Although it is not the strongest entry within the franchise, I thought that it was done rather well. I personally enjoyed the characters and maps more than the other games. Vivi was my favourite character of the whole franchise. It’s not often you get to play a game with one character being a literal shadow. Overall the game is a lot of fun, and also requires you to use every item in the game due to the games design of adding skills and spells that are learnable on equipment. I quite enjoyed being able to use a variety of weapons to use while also gaining abilities from them, and it gave me a new way to play what is generally an ATB (Action Turn-Based) game.

Another game that I really enjoyed from this series was Final Fantasy VI. Of all of the games in the series, this was the darkest. With the main character being called Kefka (who may be the best villain on a video game of all time), you take control of a multitude of characters in what is basically a dystopian world. You both start and play the game trying to save the world like most video games, but actually experience the end of the world and the effects of what that world would be like also. It probably is the most enjoyable to play, especially since it has the most variety of characters that you are able to play. It ends up being a powerful game.

The whole series itself is so much more unique than most games for its time, and that is what allowed it to become such a huge franchise in such a small amount of time. It isn’t just about the gameplay (which is very good), but also about the characters and story itself. I think that is what the game itself is built around, and allows it to become so much stronger than other franchises. If you have yet to actually play one of the games from this series, I would suggest you pick one up and try it. You wouldn’t regret it.