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Over the years I’ve made a lot of stuff online in lots of different places. From abandoned blogs to defunct YouTube channels, incomplete web pages, half-finished projects, the odd flickr account I’ve lost my password for (up to five now). However, there are some things online I have stuck with and I have continued to update and remember how to log into. But they’re spread far and wide all over the internet and it would take even me weeks to figure out where everything is. Well, fear not, for I have condensed everything into yet another blog!

Seriously I must own 80% of calum-related domains at this point.

Seriously I must own 80% of calum-related domains at this point.

Yes, you can now pop over to CalumGillies.tumblr.com and see a nicely presented run-down of all my websites and projects with a wee description about each of them. I’ve got my old YouTube Channels, this lovely blog right here, my new Art Store, Facebook Page and the RaasayHistory website I’ve started (I’ll maybe do a blog post about that sometimes down the line).

Anyway, hopefully that’ll be more helpful in letting people know all the different things I do all over the place! Probably not though. I know I’m pretty lost.

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Fixin’ a van

Have I told you guys I got a sweet new van?! Well, I say new… for about 3 months now I’ve been in possession of my childhood dream vehicle. It’s called Bamse, and oh man is it awesome.

 

BAM!(se)

BAM!(se)

This is Bamse, my bloody wonderful adventuremobile. It’s a 1988 Suzuki Super Carry, a ‘microbus’ more commonly found and popularised in Asia. It’s an absolutely minuscule little 970cc van that I’ve been obsessed with since I was a wee boy. Also yes it;’s the van Richard Hammond flipped over in that van challenge on Top Gear.

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Broadchurch- All Go in Final Minutes

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One of my favourite series of the past few years has been Broadchurch, a captivating and incredibly well acted television drama which in the first season centered around the murder of an 11 year old boy, Danny Latimer, in the fictional Dorset town of Broadchurch and the efforts of David Tennant (Detective Alec Hardy) and Olivia Coleman’s (Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller) characters in catching the killer as well as the wider impact of the families involved and people of the community, each a suspect themselves. The second season has just finished up last night, this one focusing on the conviction of Danny’s murderer and the resolution of the infamous unsolved case that ruined Alec’s career and brough him to the town of Broadchurch in the first place and turned him into such the moody, destitute and pretty unwell person we met in the first ever episode (though how much of those traits can be attributed to him just being Scottish is unclear). It was a great ride, but did anyone feel it slightly rushed in that final episode?

(some spoilers ahead!)

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Life is Strange, Its Mechanics Stranger

Life is Strange Episode 1 Spoilers Ahead.

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A lot has been said about Life is Strange, the new point-and-click episodic adventure game by not Telltale Games, who currently run what is probably the largest game-genre monopoly in history, but rather by Dontnod Entertainment, makers of 2013’s Remember Me. As many have pointed out, some aspects of the writing leaves a lot to be desired. Many of the characters are walking clichés, there is some god awful “down with the kids” conversations that just do not work. It also has some very… odd lip-syncing issues. Despite this however, it does do a lot right: interfaces, presentation, a good value for money episode that doesn’t make you feel slightly cheated (cough cough The Wolf Among Us) or drags on too much. And I’ve enjoyed it too- I’m doing a Let’s Play of it on my channel, and as a big fan of both Point and click-style adventure games to more artistic works like Gone Home and Dear Esther, it’s a very welcome breath of fresh air in a market that was starting feeling slightly stale from an overload of Telltale products (I love you guys, really, but I’m beginning to feel a very definite air of derivativeness recently).

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“If only there was some law enforcement agency I could inform! Drat!”

The problem I have with Life is Strange, however, is a pretty big one. A pretty big, glaring gameplay mechanic that I feel simply doesn’t fit within the context of the story or game: time travel. Yes, our main character Max discovers during a pretty out-of-place school shooting (seriously, our main character should have maybe put more thought or worry into the fact that someone in her school is carrying about a loaded gun other than just maybe giving the headteacher a quick tip-off), that she has the ability to turn back time. This is essentially the main mechanic of LiS. You explore the environment, interact with people and make decisions like any other point and click. The difference, however, is that you can immediately undo each option with a  quick rewind. It makes for some novel puzzles here and there, but it leaves me with two big gripes. Continue reading

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned I Could Care Less about Couldn’t Caring Less

I’m a big David Mitchell fan, he’s a great actor, speaker, has an amazing a sense of humor and his writing is bloomin’ brilliant. I also loved his video podcast series David Mitchell’s Soapbox, which started all the way back in the forgotten mists of 2009. Now David has dozens of brilliant episodes of Soapbox, but arguably his most famous episode is one you’ve probably seen trotted out across the internet in one form or another- Dear America…, in which he discusses in classic Mitchell style, among other things, the nonsensical phrase “I could care less”.

Fine, right? Great! Funny. A nice side-line two-minute video to make you laugh. Not as good as some of his other episodes, but a classic nonetheless. Maybe, however, could we stop talking about this possibly incorrect use of a phrase as if it’s some kind of deadly virus that needs to be knocked out before we all succumb to the horrors of using idioms that are factually inaccurate? “What do you mean ‘why am I feeling blue’?! That’s a colour not a feeling, get him! Burn the witch!”

"Ugh okay okay, I get it fewer then not less than!"

“Ugh I get it- fewer than, not less than!”

This is nothing against David Mitchell, who merely pointed out this interesting development of a phrase for comic effect. No, the problem I have is with the hordes of internet and grammar aficionados/know-it-alls that use this video as some irrefutable logic bomb, and insist that this injustice in speech needs to be pointed out at every available opportunity as an example of either the English language going to the dogs (see: Eats, shoots and Leaves), or America being a bunch of dummies who say stuff they don’t understand (see: edgy teenagers). I think this also falls into the larger category of people co-opting someone’s opinion as fact, and that will point to something like Louis CK’s or Chris Rock’s stand-up-routines as a reason or justification that we should all be allowed to use gay slurs or the n-word because “It’s just language! I don’t mean it to be offensive! It’s your fault if you’re offended!”.

So where does “I could care less” actually come from anyway? Well, we don’t know for sure. It’s impossible, really, to pin down the first usage of the phrase and there are various theories. Dictionary.com rightfully points out that the phrase is an idiom, and guess what? Idioms don’t have to make logical sense:

“In English, along with other languages, idioms are not required to follow logic, and to point out the lack of logic in one idiom and not all idioms is…illogical.”

Similarly, the first recorded usage of “I couldn’t care less” only precedes “I could care less” by around 10 years. Although the Dictionary.com article refutes it, the best theory I’ve heard of the phrases etymology is that it originated from Yiddish adoption of the term. Yiddish speakers dropped the negative couldn’t as part of pattern of self-deprecating/sarcastic phrasing that is common in Yiddish heritage and New York Jewish speech. Just as how Yiddish communities popularized the phrase “I should be so lucky!” (which actually tends to mean “I have no hope of being so lucky!”), “I could care less!” sort of follows that sort of delivery and speech pattern when presented that way.
Another phrase that is more generally American is “Tell me about it!” which really means “Don’t tell me about it, because I know all about it already” but follows this sarcastic style.

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Again, There’s no actual documented evidence of this, but I always liked that explanation as it felt like the most believable and understandable to me, (mainly because when you say it in the voice of a plucky sarcastic rabbi from New York, it doesn’t sound nearly as out-of-place).

So maybe let’s just accept I could care less for what it is: an idiom that doesn’t really have to make sense in any way, and just another example of how cool and evolutionary the use of English is without having to point it out as wrong at every available opportunity. Maybe, in fact, we should look at what is probably the best episode of Soapbox, in which David’s friend and co-writer Robert Webb comes on to quite rightfully point out the hypocrisy and generally nit-picky nature in many of Mitchell’s arguments. At the end of the day, David’s arguments are funny. They’re well presented, well-research and most of the time technically correct, but that doesn’t make it undeniably right, and it certainly doesn’t make it a crutch for you to then go and beat every person with who wants to use a phrase of speech differently than you online or in real life. In the end, can’t we all just get along?

 

 

 

Personalities In Space

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I’m calling it- probably the most exciting news this year was that of the Rosetta mission, which after 10 years of traveling managed to get the European Space Agencies Philae lander onto the surface of a comet hurtling through space at 84000 mile an hour. It’s really hard for me to actually conceptualize that happening, that somewhere millions of miles away, after billions of miles of traveling, a tiny wee metal box a bunch of shirt-wearing humans made is lying slightly precariously on cliff on a rock that is about the same size as a LEGO Deathstar if it was made to scale with the minifigs (now THERE’S a statistic I can get behind!).

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