G.R.R Martin makes me angry.

So, I just happened upon a chapter in ‘A Storm of Swords’ today that I’d not been looking forward to reading. I’d had this particular event spoiled for me quite early on so I knew it was coming. Worry not those who wish to avoid spoilers, this will be as vague as it possibly could be. As a heads up, its the Red……

Knowing what was going to happen before it happened was worse than if it had been a surprise. This way, I spent every other sentence for about three chapters thinking ‘No, don’t do that, get out of there, don’t let them do that, get that thing back, turn around, fly you fools’.

Not even a cup of tea and a scone made the bitter pill any sweeter….

I don’t even particularly like the characters involved. I mean, one of the Houses sure, but not really the characters. It’s the way it happens. Just plain wrong. There is something which is broken; and to me, something like that should never be broken. Gives me goosebumps.

General Ramblings on my A Level Results

For my A Levels, I took Law, History, Use of Mathematics and (for AS) Business Studies. History, followed swiftly by Law, being my favourite with Use of Mathematics rather further behind (I enjoy maths, I’m just poor at it). I ended up with B’s in Law, History and General Studies and C’s in Use of Mathematics and AS Business Studies. I was about 2 marks off an A in Law and about 4 off a B in UoM.

Now, not to make excuses or anything, but that Law grade isn’t my fault; my Year 12 teacher mucked up dreadfully but I’m still bitter about that and don’t really want to rant about it. I thoroughly enjoyed my Year 13 Law class even though about 4 of the 6 students in the class didn’t really understand, or want to understand, the work – the teacher made concessions and worked for the best of everyone – the slowest and the quickest learners. History was also excellent; The Tudors, Vietnam, British Raj and the rise of Totalitarian Regimes (1900-35-ish) are all fascinating topics to cover and with the help of engaging teachers it made the classes immensely fun to go to. Use of Mathematics was another small class but equally with a passionate teacher who helped out a lot; I just wish I’d managed that extra few marks to get a B. I just never really ‘got’ Business Studies.

Anyhow, sometimes I look at my results and wonder what they could have been had I not spent the majority of the time playing Countdown and Risk on a SMART board in between card games….Then I realise the Countdown number rounds were probably more useful for developing numeracy skills than Use of Mathematics. After all, I can’t really remember how to differentiate or integrate, but I can remember how to add, takeaway, multiply and divide (and that was more than a slight dig at the British Comprehensive Education System).

I suppose what I want to say is that A Levels are not the end of the world. I was quite disappointed with my results I’m not going to lie. And I feel like they aren’t just impacting badly on myself from a personal point of view, but Law firms also use them to ‘cut the wheat from the chaff’ so to speak, and I lie on the edge. And that worries me. But, remember A Level students. you can always resit. You can always retake a year; you’ll have plenty more for working, one more won’t hurt. Make sure you get them right. 

Unless you’re a law student. In which case, please just give up. Competition’s hard enough as it is.

A brief history of… Mario

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I daresay that there are very few people out there reading this who don’t know who Mario is. The lovable little American-Italian plumber is arguably the most iconic gaming character in history and polls suggest he’s even more famous than the cartoon figurehead Micky Mouse. But what do you really know about Mario? Probably a lot more than me, I’ve only played a handful of his games, but for those also lacking, here’s a brief history of the moustachioed star.

Despite being the mascot of Nintendo for as good as three decades, the famous Mario actually started out playing second fiddle as an unnamed character (titled only as ‘Jumpman’) in 1981’s ‘Donkey Kong’ and it wasn’t until a year later he became Mario (in ‘Donkey Kong Junior’ – the only game Mario has ever been an antagonist).

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I have nightmares about this scene. I mean. Just. Another Castle…..

The Mario we know and love today came into being in the 1983 ‘Mario Bros’ which also introduced his long suffering younger brother Luigi. However it was 1985’s ‘Super Mario Bros’ that really expanded on the universe by introducing the Mushroom Kingdom and tasking Mario with saving Princess Toadstool. Today this single branch of the Mario series has sold more copies than any other complete games series.

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Seriously though, there’s something fun about wandering around cleaning things. Note: This is not Mario with an ASBO.

The games led to numerous sequels and spin offs (such as the delightful Super Mario Sunshine which I played on the GameCube where you basically go around cleaning pollutants and graffiti) and there seems little the plucky little plumber can’t do – he’s even been to space. There is literally nothing Mario won’t do to save Princess Peach, especially if it means beating arch-nemesis (and serial kidnapper) Bowser or his childhood rival Wario.

 

Mario has also had several successful trips into Sport-themed games taking on both friend and foe on the race track in the phenomenal ‘Mario Kart’ series, clashing with Sonic (the megastar of Nintendo former-rival Sega) at both the Summer and Winter Olympics as well as knocking seven bells out of other famous gaming characters (ranging from Pokemon’s Pickachu to the lovable ‘Kirby’) in ‘Super Smash Bros’.  As well as being an award winning sportsman in his free time, jumping and plumbing are far from Mario’s only skills and over the years he’s also worked as a soldier, demolitionist, Doctor, Baker and President of Mario Toy Company.

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I have all the Gold cups for every track on Mario Kart Wii. It is a ridiculously fun game.

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For a portly plumber, Mario doesn’t do too badly in the Olympics. Even against a Hedgehog well known for travelling incredibly quickly. Videogame logic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mario has been recognised as one of the most prolific characters in gaming. In 2009, the Guinness World Records found Mario had appeared in 116 distinct titles (not including remakes or re-releases) spanning every single year from 1981 until now (2014). According to Wikipedia, the Mario series of games is the best-selling of any game series with over 445,000,000 sold games; putting this in perspective, the next best-selling series is ‘Pokemon’ which has sold around 245,000,000 so it has a very healthy lead indeed. And all this is without even mentioning the comics, tv shows or film (yeah, FILM) in which he features.

And if you still don’t think Mario is cool, then you clearly don’t know he’s been on the side of lunch boxes for years. And that is the epitome of coolness.

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Post Script: Many thanks to Google for the images.

Post Post Script: I forgot to mention this in the actual article, but please have a moments silence for Luigi. Mario7

My sincerest apologies

Dear readers,

For a start, thanks for reading this. If you’ve checked this blog out a few times over the last year you’ll probably be surprised to see this! I can but apologize for my absence. Last year I started the first year of a University Law degree and this blog got left by the wayside. I hope now to re-start writing regularly (hopefully I’ll be posting things every few days or weekly at least).

If it’s any consolation, at least I wasn’t wasting my time when doing University work instead of updating here: I received a 1st and I was only 3% behind the chap who got the best marks in the year so, considering its Law, I’m rather pleased with it. And from the looks of the stats, the blogs done better with me not posting than it ever did when I was! I’d be lucky if I’d get a view a week last year, now we have daily views which is lovely to see.

I have a ‘A brief history of…’ ready to post later today so I am prepared!

Your humble writer
The Consulting Gallifreyan