Steam for Mac, and Altitude

Because I haven’t been gaming for a while now, I decided a couple of months ago that I should sell my Windows desktop computer. A year previously I’d fully switched to Mac OS X, and I was only using my desktop for the odd few games – of which Team Fortress 2 presided. What’s now awesome is that a couple of months later, Valve have released their content distribution system to the Mac. Steam. Continue reading “Steam for Mac, and Altitude”

Visiting the US Embassy

Today I went down to London to attend an appointment at the US Embassy, and such an amazing experience it was. The embassy itself is a huge building, holding high the flags of the world, and guarded by an assortment of police and international troops. I was certainly a little nervous, and was thankful my appointment went smoothly. After taking the train to Euston Station, a taxi took me through the streets of London to the embassy, leaving  ten minutes to spare. Speaking to a women outside, I was alarmed to find that I needed a sheet of paper with my appointment time and a special bar code (as well as other documents I had with me) in order to gain entry. Thankfully the lady was helpful and pointed me to a nearby chemist across the road, who allowed me to use their wi-fi to download and print out the form within literally five minutes.

Once I had all the documents, I was able to queue for entrance, where firm and fierce airport security checks were taking place. I had had to travel to the embassy without any electronic devices, including my mobile phone and laptop, as they were not allowed into the embassy, and there was no official location to put them. I was with a lady in front of me who I thought was going to be thrown out for sure, for she was being incredibly rude – and these guards weren’t to be messed with; I for one ensured I followed every last instruction and didn’t do anything I wasn’t told to do!

Once I got through the security checks, I followed the building round to the side, and to the reception to check in. The interior was grand, the walls lined with pictures of american history and culture, and as I sat down, large screens boasted images of american flags, american icons (such as the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge), as well as the great american seal I would hope to get on my visa.

I sat down in the hall and waited to be called to one of the twenty-five booths. Once I was called to a booth it was very straight forward. Hand over the documents, have my fingerprints scanned, and answer some simple questions. After two callings to the booths my visa was approved, and I went to a final desk to arrange for a courier delivery of my visa, and return of my passport. I left the building after two hours. Next stop – America.

Beware of Darkness

I think I always try to be as optimistic and laid back as possible. I’ve decided in my naive youth to always assume the best in everyone. As philosopher St Thomas Aquinas insists; humans always seek the apparent good. And most of the time I’m happy enough in my little bubble, rocking through life to love songs from the greatest band of all time, and claiming its never the end of the world. After all, I’m a perfectly fortunate person in the sense of the opportunities in life that I’ve been given.

Every so often though, this small world of mine falls slightly apart. A crack in my beliefs form, and I realise (or perhaps remember) that where there is generosity there can be motive, where there is friendship there is sometimes betrayal, and where there is honesty there can lie deceit. Life is not about living in perpetual paranoia, nor is it about being oblivious of what lurks in the shadows. It is about being cautious, but trusting. It’s about absorbing and deflecting hits. It is about shining light into the face of darkness, so as it can rarely touch you.

Unfortunately today I witnessed a large crack in my reality. I realised that someone I’d known for a long time was not who I thought they were, and so sadly it’s time to move on and upwards. If someone isn’t who they say they are, I say forget them. Life flows on. Certainly for the most part it seems to be a smooth and beautiful journey…

“Beware of darkness… it can hit you.” – George Harrison

A New Government

Last night saw the creation of a brand new government; a coalition between the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrat party. As I’m sure everyone is, I’m looking very forward to seeing how this collaborative government works for the country. A new type of politics? Well, we shall soon find out!

As a liberal democrat I couldn’t hope for anything more. The conservatives have offered a referendum on electoral reform, positioned Nick Clegg as deputy PM, and the liberal’s best policies have been selected, including the £10,000 personal allowance.

As Lord Ashdown neatly put it… “hurray!”