Thursday, 18 December 2008

Sonic Unleashed: why the hate?

Sonic UnleashedImage via Wikipedia

Rarely have I seen a game so undeserving of the beating it's been getting, from reviewers and players alike (including from people whose opinion I usually share). So although I know it doesn't mean much, I decided to give my own feedback on Sonic Unleashed, if only to tip the scales ever so slightly back in balance.

Disclaimer: I am not a Sonic fan. I've never owned a Sega console (I've always been a Nintendo guy, even at the time of the Nintendo-Sega wars), although I did play the original Sonic the Hedgehog casually at my cousin's, who did own a Mega Drive (that's how the Sega Genesis was called in Europe), as well as the 8-bit version of the same game on my sister's Game Gear. They were both OK as games go, but that's about all I felt about them. They were OK platformers with a speed gimmick, and that was about it. As a result, I completely missed Sonic's transition to 3D (although I have enough anecdotal evidence to agree with the common opinion that the 3D Sonic games have mostly been terrible), and the very first Sonic game I ever bought was Sonic and the Secret Rings, which I actually enjoyed despite some flaws that spoiled the replayability of the game for me (let's just say that some of the missions were just not fun, and made earning medals a chore I simply decided to skip). So when Sonic Unleashed was announced, I was prudent yet interested, and eventually previews and game footage convinced me it was worth the risk. I actually bought the game for the Wii upon release, and this is the version I will refer to in this post.

So, what do I think about the game, now that I have had a chance to play it? (I actually played most of it, although I haven't seen the ending yet) In short, I like it. I like it very much. I'm having a blast playing it, far more than when I was playing Sonic and the Secret Rings. The game has lots of great parts:

  • The day stages are just fantastic, far better than what Sonic and the Secret Rings provided. The 2D sections in those stages are particularly fun.
  • The fighting in the night stages feels very good. I don't care what reviewers and players are saying about what a Sonic game should or shouldn't be about. There is just something exhilarating in using the Wii-remote and Nunchuck to punch your opponents silly and deliver bigger and bigger combos. The other motion-based actions also feel good and immersive.
  • The difficulty curve is nearly perfect. My main gripe with Secret Rings is that some of the missions were just impossibly difficult, frustrating, and sometimes felt even unfair. It was also far too difficult to get the medals necessary to unlock secrets and new stages. Sonic Unleashed is far better in that respect. Getting all the secrets and unlocking all the stages is far from an easy task, but it is not brutal in its difficulty curve, and there's no point where you feel that the game is playing dirty by providing you with cheap tricks and impossible challenges. I'm still far from getting perfect scores in the stages I've played, but at no time did I ever blame the game itself for this. In each and every case, the only one I could blame was myself and my lack of skill.
  • The music is gorgeous. The rock songs of Secret Rings just didn't feel appropriate, and going back to an instrumental style was just the right thing to do. The music really fits the various environments and complements the action nicely.
  • The graphics are lovely. The art style is very good, and the frame rate is smooth and solid, which is very important in the day stages. The camera works very well in the day stages as well.

Of course, the game is hardly perfect, and I have a few gripes with it:

  • The balance between day and night stages feels skewed. Although the number of stages is approximately equal, and their sizes are similar, the focus of the day stages on speed, and of the night stages on fighting and exploration means that one spends most of their time in the night stages. It makes the experience feel unbalanced, even though the night stages are fun as well. The great amount of replayability of the day stages (which all have multiple tracks and secret shortcuts) does somewhat make up for it, but Sega could have made the balance in player experience better by providing a few more day stages.
  • The menu-based hub worlds are a pointless waste of time that breaks the flow of the game (more than the so-called slow night stages). Even though reviews of the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game criticise the hub worlds they have as well, I still feel that 3D hub worlds would have benefited the Wii version. Those at least have some added value, unlike the menu-based thing that we got stuck with.
  • The camera in the night stages sometimes creates awkward moments. I remember a case where I had to quickly walk through a very thin bridge, but was hindered by the camera choosing to look at the scene from a weird angle, and constantly moving, making it very difficult for me to direct Sonic well. I've also had a few times during fighting sequences where the camera position made it very difficult for me to align with the opponents and get my punches to hit them.
  • Related to the previous point, the fighting in the night stages could have benefited from a form of Z-targeting. Maybe not full-fledged Z-targeting, but at least have Sonic follow its opponent during combos, even if that opponent is knocked on the side rather than in front of him, or have something like Ōkami's combat system, where Amaterasu will hit the nearest opponent if he is within range, even if alignment between them is not perfect. Sonic's Werehog form is supposed to have stretchy arms. Why should they only be able to stretch in front of him? As the combat system of Sonic Unleashed stands, Sonic will more often than not flail his arms in the air with nothing to catch his blows, simply because your weren't perfectly aligned with your opponent, or simply because Sonic completely passed through a group of enemies during a combo and left them all behind.

So Sonic Unleashed is hardly a perfect game, and it doesn't hold up to a chef-d'oeuvre like Super Mario Galaxy (but then, in my opinion the original 16-bit Sonic games don't hold a candle to the various 2D Super Mario games either). But does it mean that it's a bad game that deserves the treatment it's received so far? Of course not! Sonic Unleashed is a very good game, it's fun, has lots of replayability value, and looks extremely good. Its defaults are minor, and if people would stop with their prejudice that Sonic is only supposed to be about speed (those people would do well to replay the original games. All those platforming sequences and underwater sequences, were they about speed?), they would see that the night stages are actually enjoyable platforming/brawling sequences, and in no way spoil the game experience.

So relax, don't take it all so seriously. You have here a good game with various kinds of fun gameplay, a good-looking environment, great music, and good replayability. Enjoy it, rather than nitpicking about what it should or shouldn't be about. As for me, I will just keep playing the game, enjoying myself in the process, while keeping an eye at the horizon, where Sonic looms, a sword in his hand. What? Could Sonic Unleashed have made me a Sonic fan where the original games failed?

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Thursday, 6 November 2008

How Ōkami stole my heart

Before anyone freaks out, I am talking about Ōkami the video game, specifically the Wii version.

In previous articles, I've professed my love for Beyond Good & Evil. I am a big fan of Zelda-like action-adventure games, and BG&E was for a long time my favourite of the genre that wasn't a Zelda game itself. However, things change.

Now don't get me wrong. I still think BG&E is an exceptional game. It had a great cinematographic story, interesting characters that it made me care about (and a female main character that wasn't a superficial sex bomb), and an art direction that reminded me of the French science-fiction comic books of my youth. Interesting game mechanics, good voice acting and an unusual setting made it all the better. Of course, it wasn't perfect. It was far too short, and the stealth sections, although they made sense for the story (Jade is a journalist, not a soldier), just didn't do it for me. It could also have benefited from a better difficulty curve (the difficulty in that game was just erratic). But still, even with all the warts, BG&E was the best Zelda-like game I had ever played (that wasn't a Zelda game of course).

That is, until I discovered Ōkami. When I first heard about the game, it had just been released on the Playstation 2, and was being hailed as the best Zelda-like game for the PS2. Intrigued, I checked reviews and screenshots of the game, and fell in love with its style. The graphic style was expressive and really managed to emulate the style of Japanese ink and wash painting, the Celestial Brush gameplay technique (which consists of drawing various shapes on the screen to interact with the environment and perform miracles) really caught my attention, and the storyline (a mix of various Japanese legends, centred mostly around Amaterasu, the Japanese Sun goddess, who is also the protagonist of the game) captured my imagination. Hey, I am a sucker for traditional Japanese legends and style! In any case, Ōkami looked like a perfect match for my taste in games, and I actually said at that time that it was the only reason I ever regretted not buying a PS2.

The game, unfortunately, failed to catch the attention of most gamers. It was released only a few months before the Playstation 3 was released, and was not advertised in any way. Like Beyond Good & Evil, it was acclaimed by the game press, but was a commercial failure. Still, as the Nintendo Wii was approaching release, voices began to be heard among the game community asking for a sequel of Ōkami built for it, or at least a port. The Celestial Brush gameplay mechanic seemed like a natural fit for the Wii's motion controls (specifically the way the Wii remote can be used as a pointing device), and people felt that a Zelda-like action-adventure game would have a better chance of success on a Nintendo platform. Myself, I was not optimistic (at that time, no sequel of BG&E had yet been announced, and the general feeling was that it didn't matter how many people would petition for it, game companies wouldn't risk making a sequel, or even a port, of a game that hadn't been a commercial success), but I still decided to add my voice to the others. After all, there's no harm in trying! So imagine my joy when Capcom announced that they were porting Ōkami to the Wii!

So when Ōkami was released here in the Netherlands, I bought it nearly immediately. That was back in June, and last weekend I finally saw the end of the game. I have spent nearly 70 hours in the game (I'm a leisurely gamer. I only have time to play in short bursts, and even then I like to take my time in the game itself), and I've enjoyed every last minute of it! Ōkami is not only as good as I had imagined, it's better! Just to give you a taste of why I am so enthusiastic about the game:

  • Ōkami is long, but never boring. Moreover, it has lots of replay value (despite the time I've taken, I still haven't finished all the side-quests, and I look forward to replay the game).
  • The art direction is fantastic, and looks even better in motion and wide-screen. The environments are varied and lavish, and interact beautifully with the protagonist's divine powers. And seeing Amaterasu run around in those environments, followed by a trail of blossoming flowers, is just gorgeous.
  • The Celestial Brush's motion controls work really well and make it really fun to use Amaterasu's divine powers. I'm a big fan of gesture control (ever since the Opera browser introduced mouse gestures, which I'm still using now with the Firefox browser), and as a gameplay mechanic it works really well, and the Wii remote is indeed particularly fit for this kind of interface. The shape recognition can be a bit finicky (especially as you accumulate more Brush techniques with similar gestures), but it's just a minor gripe (and I'm known for having a particularly unsteady hand).
  • The storyline is just fantastic! Seriously, the writers have managed to take various bits and pieces of Japanese mythology and make them fit into an original, fresh storyline that keeps surprising you. You don't need to know Japanese mythology to appreciate the storyline, but knowing some of it makes you realise the attention for detail the writers had.
  • The characters are interesting, and well-fleshed out. And the game makes you care a lot for them. Hey, I'll stay vague in order not to give anyone any spoilers, but the game managed to make me care for a piece of paper! That's how good the writing is.
  • The music and sound effects are gorgeous. Based on traditional Japanese music and instruments, they flow naturally and set up the atmosphere beautifully.
  • And yes, before someone asks me, yes, Ōkami made me shed a tear. More than once, even.

So, dear Beyond Good & Evil, I know you brought me a lot, but you're no longer my favourite. Ōkami is my new sweetheart, and I feel like we are going to be together for a long time. Now let's petition for a sequel...

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Friday, 12 September 2008

Some info about my blog feeds

Lately I've decided to finally join the 21th century and start using feeds to read the blogs and news sites I'm addicted to, rather than hop on from site to site hoping something has been updated. Why did I wait for so long? I'm not sure, but I think the main reason was that most newsreader programs, whether desktop or web-based, looked too much like e-mail clients. Reading news or blog articles to me is an experience that is very different from reading e-mails, so I just ignored the whole RSS feed phenomenon altogether.

However, as the number of sites and blogs I went through everyday was growing too much for my manual way of doing things, I realised I needed some automation, and decided to look again at this news feed thing.

After looking very hard, and eliminating some obvious contenders (mainly Thunderbird and Google Reader, which still look too much like e-mail clients. Although in Thunderbird's case, the reason is quite obvious!), and thinking hard about the fact that I'd like my feed list to be synchronised between the various computers I use, I settled for Brief, a Firefox extension which basically transforms Firefox's Live Bookmarks facility into a simple but efficient desktop news reader. And since it uses Live Bookmarks, Foxmarks takes over the job of synchronising my feeds between computers.

So, now that I was set up and enjoying my increased blog reading productivity (I am now following 48 feeds. Switching to a newsreader was past due!), I thought of the people that might want to follow my blog via their newsreaders, and realised it was not optimal for them. For this reason I did some small changes behind the scenes, and added a Subscribe widget under my profile widget on the page.

But if you want to do it manually, here is the feed's URL:

You needn't worry about Atom or RSS: the feed is automatically translated to the optimal format for your newsreader.

A few months ago, someone asked me whether you could subscribe to the RSS feed for a specific tag (or label, if you use the Blogger terminology). At that time, I thought it was not possible, but it actually is, and here is the kind of URL you need to do that:

  • Atom 1.0 feed:
  • RSS 2.0 feed:

Just replace tagname with the tag you want to subscribe to. There's a list of the tags I use on the right column of my blog, and I try to be both consistent and slightly redundant when I use them, so you should be able to use them without missing a relevant post. Note also that those feeds are not automatically translated, so you need to specify it if you want an RSS feed rather than an Atom feed.

So people, I've given you all the needed tools for comfortable newsfeeding. Fire up your newsreaders!

Friday, 16 May 2008

Yes! Beyond Good & Evil Sequel is in the works!

In a previous post, I mentioned how much I enjoyed (to tears) the game Beyond Good & Evil. It was a marvellous game that unfortunately was a commercial failure. Still, it gathered a faithful fanbase that has been clamouring for a sequel for years (the game is from 2003). I know I've been one of those.

Well, it seems our plea has finally been answered! Gamespot has just published the news that Michel Ancel, the man behind the original game (and more well-known as Rayman creator) is working on a sequel! His team is still in preproduction, and Ubisoft hasn't even given the project the green light, but I don't believe the man would finally come out in the open about the sequel if he didn't believe Ubisoft wouldn't agree to it (unless he thinks releasing the news will create enough buzz that Ubisoft won't dare stop the project, in which case I can only applaud the cunningness).

Now, the project is still in preproduction, hasn't been green-lighted yet, and platforms haven't been announced, but I would still like to say what I would like to see happen for Beyond Good & Evil 2:

  • Include the Wii among the supported platforms! Ubisoft has been claiming to support the Wii since its release, but still has failed to give us anything better than mini-game collections. The core gamer on the Wii is dying for a good, cinematic, action-adventure title that is not a port. Marketed correctly, the game could be a resounding success (moreover, development on the Wii costs lots less than development on the PS3 or the Xbox 360. That gives Ubisoft a big margin for advertisement). I also don't believe the PS3 or the Xbox 360 install bases would be as much interested in that game.
  • Add content to the game! The original was superb, but far too short. The sequel needs to be at least twice as long, or people will wait until the game reaches the bargain bin, and Ubisoft will get itself another failure.
  • Time its release well! The original was critically acclaimed by critics and reviewers, but failed to gain traction among gamers. Why is that? I believe it's mostly because it was released at the same time as proven sequels, as well as Ubisoft's own Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Beyond Good & Evil is still a relatively unknown title. So Ubisoft, don't pit it against heavyweights, and please don't release it at the same time as another game of your AAA franchises. Treat that game as an AAA title itself!

This is the best gaming news I've heard in a long time, and something I've been waiting for for years. Now, let's just hope the game quickly goes into development, and that they don't mess it up! Ubisoft, this has the potential to be big. Don't miss that chance.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


I love manga and anime. I like Japanese culture in general, but it's through anime that I've been first introduced to it, and it stays my main attraction.

But I don't like all styles of anime. Don't ask me about Naruto, for instance, as I've never watched that one nor have any interest in it. Dragon Ball Z, although I've pretty much seen all its episodes, is also far from my favourite anime. And don't even try to mention Pokemon! No, with only a few exceptions (classics like Captain Harlock, for instance, or Saint Seiya, which I liked a lot and still do), my preference goes to the Magical Girl genre, which is usually (but not always) associated with the shoujo style of anime and manga.

I actually know rather well where my preference comes from. I was lucky enough to be raised in France during the 1980's, in a time when Japanese animation was ubiquitous on French TV. We got lots of great anime, like the already cited Captain Harlock (Albator in the French version), or UFO Robo Grendizer (Goldorak when one speaks en français). These really defined the generation. Ask any French person of my age, and they will all know what I'm talking about. But there was also another anime airing during that time, which unlike the ones I've cited so far didn't involve great heroes fighting against evil villains of cosmic proportions, but a little girl just trying to make people remember their dreams and achieve them, one good deed at a time. It doesn't sound like much, and yet it managed to capture my imagination strongly enough to define my tastes from then on. That's because that little girl was rather peculiar, and to succeed in her mission, this is what she did, in each episode:

The little girl was known as Gigi in France, and she is better known around the world as Magical Princess Minky Momo or Magical Princess Gigi, the daughter of the king and queen of a fairy tale world, sent to Earth to help people regain their dreams. As for the video above, it is indeed a transformation sequence (also called henshin sequence, to use the Japanese word adopted by the English-speaking fandom). It might not look like a very complicated henshin, but it was the first one I ever saw, and I was blown away. It was my first introduction to the Magical Girl genre, and I loved it. Moreover, the whole idea of the transformation sequence was really speaking to me, and from then on, to really interest me most anime I watched needed one.

Unfortunately, the Magical Girl shows that followed didn't capture my interest like this one did. They usually lacked a nice henshin sequence, and in terms of scenario were usually weak. Moreover, those shows suffered from constant airing time changes, jumped from channel to channel as broadcasting companies made arrangements between each other, making it difficult if not impossible to follow a show from beginning to end. Luckily, other kinds of shows took over, which did feature henshin sequences, at least enough for me to be content for a while. Some were anime, like the previously mentioned Saint Seiya (the few scenes where the knights take on their armours count as henshin sequences for me), but most of them were live-action series, like Uchuu Keiji Gavan (X-Or in France) or Super Sentai series like Choudenshi Bioman (which was broadcasted in France a good decade before the USA got that butchered adaptation that became the Power Rangers series). I still enjoy live-action series, especially since advances in special effects have made nicer henshin sequences possible. But I'm straying away from my subject here.

The 1980's went, and the 1990's started, with me growing older, but still enjoying watching anime and live-action series. There wasn't much available in terms of Magical Girl series though. I remember enjoying the Cutey Honey series (Cherry Miel in France), but although the series introduced me to the concept of a transforming heroine fighting evil, it just didn't feel like a Magical Girl series (what with the heroine being an android, and the henshin sequences being very short and simple). And then one day I came upon an unknown series. I had put the TV on early, waiting for the next episode of Saint Seiya, but it started in the middle of an episode of an anime I'd never seen before. It immediately caught my attention, and I quickly knew that it was a Magical Girl series (the talking cat was a dead give-away). However, it was nothing like what I had seen before: the heroine seemed to be an adolescent girl, rather than a 10-year-old child. Also, the setting was different, with something seemingly evil happening (in this case, small children being brainwashed by cute, but deadly, furry animals). And then, suddenly, the girl had to intervene (not exactly willingly, but still), and this happened:

I was shocked: here it was, the henshin sequence I had been dreaming about: long, complex, full of light effects, and accompanied by great music! I had discovered Sailor Moon, and I was in love! Afterwards, other things made me appreciate the series even more: the humour, while sometimes a bit cheesy, was always in good fun; the main character, Usagi, was very well-balanced between the clumsy and selfish brat and the selfless hero, with all her characteristics feeling very natural; the scenario was very inventive; the villains were interesting; and most of all, the series was the first Magical Girl series to introduce companions to the main character, other girls destined to fight evil, all with their personal henshin sequences and attacks! I know it was only applying the well-known sentai principle to Magical Girls, but it was the first time it was done (Sailor Moon is rightly considered to be a true genre-renewer for the Magical Girl genre). Still, all things considered, it was really Sailor Moon's henshin sequence that first attracted me to the series. I also enjoyed the attack sequences, but that needs a separate post.

I was sad when the series ended, but psyched when its sequel started airing. New story, updated henshins and attacks, I was in ecstasy! And it carried on over five series (the last one I only ever saw in original version on my computer, as only the first four aired in France). Today, it's still my favourite anime, and some of its henshin sequences are just fantastic. Especially those of the third series. Watch them:

After Sailor Moon, the anime presence dried up on French TV, so I didn't get to see any of the Magical Girl series that followed it, until I got a computer, Internet, and discovered fansubs. Thanks to them, I've been watching lots of Magical Girl anime of the post-Sailor Moon era. Some are near-clones (like Wedding Peach, although it's different enough that it deserves watching on its own), while others explore radically different ideas (like Prétear, which has one of the best musical score of all anime I've ever watched, or Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, which isn't even a shoujo anime). In any case, I saw enough anime and henshin sequences to draw up a list of criteria that define what I feel is a successful henshin sequence. Those criteria are very subjective, of course, but let me illustrate them. You may draw your own conclusions after that.

  • A good henshin sequence must be long, yet fast-paced. I don't care about verisimilitude, and I don't mind filler stock footage henshin sequences as long as they are of good quality. I like to see lots of details, so the henshin sequence needs to take its time, while keeping speed. You can always shorten them in further episodes. The henshin from the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha is a good example (although its exploding clothes intro can sometimes bother people):
  • A good henshin must be flashy, and yet keep to a single theme. If you mix and match too many different kinds of effects, or change backgrounds without rhyme nor reason, you end up with a sequence that lacks unity. Mew Mew Strawberry's henshin from Tokyo Mew Mew is an example of this issue (it's not too bad, but it feels a bit too chopped up to my taste):
  • A specific music may be the most important ingredient to a good henshin, and I cannot emphasise this enough. As much as I liked Wedding Peach, it always bothered me that the henshin sequences in this anime didn't have their own music. A good henshin music sequence must be closely related to the action on screen: ideally, a blindfolded person should be able to imagine the action happening on screen just by listening to the music. One of the reasons why this is important is that if music and animation are not well coupled, the sound effects associated with the action won't fit with the music: they will just clash. Typically, some kind of crescendo music fits pretty well with the idea of a transformation up to a certain form. A good example of great henshin music is the following, coming from the anime Otogi Juushi Akazukin. The henshin itself is not spectacular, and a bit too slow (some of its effects are original, though), but the music really carries it very well:
  • Finally, ease up on the fan service! I don't mind a bit of nudity (even Minky Momo's henshin had some, but it was playful), but I've seen so many henshins with girls gaining suddenly 4 cup sizes and rebounding breasts that I'm sick of it. What interests me is how intricately the heroine's costume appears on her body, not what her anatomical features are. I won't show any example here: I find them far too tasteless.

So there you have it, my four criteria for an enjoyable henshin sequence: length and rhythm, unity of style, a specific music score, while keeping the fan service to a minimum. Of course, quality of animation, colours, effects and the like are important, but they can't save a henshin sequence that just lacks rhythm, or unity, or does too much fan service.

Naturally, as I wrote earlier, those criteria are deeply subjective. You are quite welcome to disagree. So to end this, I'm going to present you a few henshin sequences that I feel embody the spirit of my criteria really well. They rank naturally among my favourite henshin sequences so far. Tell me what you think about them!

As it happens, all those henshin sequences come from the anime Futari wa Pretty Cure, its sequel Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart, and its spin-off Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star. You can say what you want about those anime, but the guys who made them nailed the art of the henshin sequence to near perfection. But images speak louder than words, so I'll let you make up your mind by yourself.

The original series' henshin sequence (somewhat longish but great all over):

Pretty Cure's henshin in the sequel (shorter and even more dynamic than the first one):

Shiny Luminous's henshin (featuring maybe the best crescendo in henshin music I've heard so far):

The spin-off's henshin (my favourite henshin music among those five sequences):

Pretty Cure's upgraded henshin in the spin-off (its music is not as good as the previous one, but it makes up for it by adding more movements, slight differences between the two heroines' henshin, and upgraded light effects):

So there you have it: an over-long post, full of Wikipedia links and Youtube videos, over a subject you probably couldn't care less about. Hey, I'm a geek: it's practically my duty to obsess over such a topic. But I do hope you enjoyed it. And I'd be really interested in reading what your favourite henshin sequences are. I'm always ready to discover new ones!

Saturday, 23 February 2008

From the sickbed...

OK, I'm actually out of the sickbed now, so it isn't exactly an accurate title. But the sickbed is where I've been this whole last week.

But first things first: the pantomime was a great success! The two evenings were sold out (the matinee was only about half-full, but we were up against unexpected spring-like weather, so the parents just kept their children outside rather than put them in a closed room), the audience loved it, and I've received enough compliments to boost my ego for a year. Given how some people tried to sabotage my work, this is a nice vindication (no, I won't add any more details. They know who they are, they know I know what they did, and the success of the play is for me revenge enough).

However, between the play, lots of work, and a difficult situation at home (a death in the family, just after New Year), I've ended up completely drained, and a perfect victim for the current flu epidemic. So naturally I got it, and ended up bedridden for a week, with enough fever to cook an egg on my forehead (and I'm hardly exaggerating).

Now I'm recovering. The fever seems to bid its last farewell, and I hope to be fit enough to go back to work next week. However, the doctor warned me that it could be three more weeks before I'm completely cured. How nice!

The morale of the story: really, really don't overdo it. Your body can only do so much, and you don't want it to be pissed at you.

Well, the cloud does have a silver lining: with all this happening, I've finally reached my ideal weight of 85 kg! Now the trick is not to start to yo-yo...

Thursday, 7 February 2008

King Arthur

Poster King Arthur Pantomime

This is a short post to explain the lack of updates, despite what I had promised in my previous post. As you can see, I've been directing a theatre play, which is to go on stage next week, so I just don't have time to finish the post I've been drafting. Between work and this play, I hardly even have had any time to sleep!

But it's all worth it! This panto is funny as hell, and I got to work with very nice amateur actors. And let's not forget the great poster design, created by my better half! All in all, this has been a great experience, and I'm sure the spectators will love it. I'll make sure to write about it when it's finished.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

My First Comment!

I got my first comment a few days ago, yay!

OK, I know it's spam, but beggars can't be choosers. I'd probably get more attention if I posted more often, but to do that I need to focus on short, topical posts, and when something interests me I tend to want to tell a lot about it (I tend to go into tangents too (but you've already noticed that I think (not to mention too many parentheses))). I could also try and make an effort to shorten my sentences and revise my style. It's quite obvious English isn't my mother tongue. I know, I can be a pain to read. I'm learning though.

In any case, I've been busy with a big post these last weeks. Nothing very important, just a subject I like very much, nicely illustrated thanks to the multimedia possibilities of the Web. Look forward to it! (although I won't hazard a publication date, I don't think you should wait longer than a week or so)