Web Slinger

“Unlike most species, Male spiders do not produce ready-made sperm packets, but instead ejaculate onto their web!”

Mary-Jane leapt back from the computer in disgust.

“When the hell were you going to tell me about this?!”

She turned round too late, Peter had already disappeared out of the open window.

Pumpkin’s Fables: Giving up on Grapes

Wandering through the forest a fox spied a bunch of grapes hanging from a tree; try as he might, he just couldn’t reach them.

“Nevermind. They don’t look that great anyway.”

So off he went to catch rabbits instead, which made him far happier than the grapes could have anyhow.

                                                     

Moral: ‘Giving up on unreachable dreams doesn’t mean you can’t be happy pursuing those within your grasp’

I suppose people always tend to think of the fox from Aesop’s fable as being a little childish: he can’t reach the grapes so he says: “they look sour anyway, I don’t even want them.” I can’t help but think he does something right: If you can’t have something you want, there’s no shame in telling yourself you don’t want it anymore so you can move on to better things you can have.

Starship Bloopers

“Wait wait wait.” Rico halted the squad. “We’ve flown millions of light-years across the galaxy to fight giant man-eviscerating insects; and we’re going in on foot?

The commander frowned. “So?”

“Where are all the tanks?”

“Tanks!” The commander slapped a hand to his forehead. “I knew we forgot something!”

                                           

Aside from the lack of tanks, I seem to remember the reporter guy saying that Klendathu is “an ugly planet, a bug planet, a planet hostile to life” (right before he gets munched). So if the planet’s so utterly useless, why not just nuke the thing from orbit?

Big Bad Birthday Billy

“Genau hier”

Said the buxom German woman behind the counter as she pulled open her blouse, letting her ample bosoms spill out onto the glass tabletop.

wo sind die busen?’ definitely doesn’t mean ‘where’s the bus?’ Reflected Billy. Still, this Birthday in Germany is getting off to a great start.

                                                

It’s my brother’s birthday (or it was when I wrote this). Happy Birthday Billy boy!

Worlds Lost for Battles Won

Mikolai pulled down his hood and surveyed the frozen wasteland that had been his country. The thousand-year war was over at last; the great enemy defeated, washed away by a great nuclear flood.

Victory at any cost! They’d said.

The world was theirs; an endless white desert to die in.

                                               

So after reading this Reddit post about the so called ‘eternal war’ I decided I’d get a hold of Civilization 2 and give it a go. As it happened, searching brought me to freeciv, a freeware recreation of civilization 2 made by a group of computer science students. I downloaded it and had a quick go; not going to lie, I had no idea what I was doing. It’s a little hard at first and I couldn’t be bothered to read the extensive online tutorials. Happily, there’s an Android version of the game which I downloaded onto my phone that has a tutorial mode built in. The android app is really well done and works well, take a look at it here.

So, I started playing through a tutorial game, I was set up as the Poles with the Danes as the only other civilization. I played through peacefully, building up my empire across the continents available until about 1200AD. By this time the Danes had started to build fringe cities on what I considered to be my turf, so I decided now was as good a time as any to make a start on the road to conquest.  I built a load of war ships, surrounded all their ports and once I had enough troops amassed started my assault.

Things went pretty well at first, being in times of peace the Danes hadn’t built many defences and their first few cities fell quickly. Here’s where I made my first mistake: I laid off for a few turns whilst I got my troops over to their continent. In that small amount of time they managed to get some city walls up and a few musketeers in each city. Now I don’t know if you’ve played civilization, but troops inside a city with walls up are pretty hard to kill. I didn’t know this.

Wave after wave of troops fell on the walls of the cities as musketeers gunned them down from within (I understand now that I should have just built up a huge force and attacked all at once rather than just a few at a time). Killing all my troops hardened the defenders and made them progressively tougher to kill.  About 600  years of in game time passed by as I waged my war, and  I began to grow weary of sending my troops to their deaths without a great deal of success. At one point what seemed like a single musketeer fought off (and destroyed) eight or nine battleships. That was the last straw, this strategy obviously wasn’t working. I already controlled most of the seas, so I thought I’d try a new tactic,: I blockaded all their ports and began researching nuclear weapons. I’d leave inside their walls and wipe them out in one fell swoop.

It took a long time to get to nuclear missiles and, annoyingly, a few ship had slipped through my blockades some hundred years before I got them and set up cities along the northern and southernmost continents. The Danes showed signs of making a comeback. They even started moving on some of my cities. Too late though, I built up a stockpile of nukes and in one turn I launched a strike on every one of their strongholds, leaving my troops free to simply walk through in.

It took a while to clear out all of the cities, some of them had tried to hang on and rebuild but they provided little trouble for my empire. What I hadn’t counted on was the effects of my nuclear strikes. The huge amount of fallout caused a century long nuclear winter that turned the entire game world to ice. Far from being free to populate the land once occupied by my enemies, my civilians were all starving to death in the inhospitable world I’d created for them. I tried to terraform the lands, but I took too long. By the time I had cleared the ice about 90% of my population had died from famine.

Its just a game, and obviously the way it played out was mostly a result of my having no idea about what consequences nuclear warfare would have in-game, but I couldn’t help be a little taken aback by the whole thing: How my drive to win at any cost and lack of foresight basically ended the world for everyone. It moved me enough to write a saga about it anyway; I’ve resolved to be a better ruler next time round…

Anywho, give freeciv a look if you fancy weaving your own tale of doom and destruction!

(TLDR: I was playing freeciv and I doomed my civilization to a second ice age through nuclear warfare)

Penalties for poor performance

The Adventures of Geoffrey the Zombie: Minimalism

Geoffrey was pleasantly surprised at the response to his new minimalist running club. Almost everyone he knew had turned up on the street barefoot ready to join him for a jog; though, he couldn’t help but think that Frank was taking minimalism a little far by chewing his feet off.

                                        

Geoffrey makes a triumphant (minimalist running themed) return! I’ve a few more planned for him, but I’ll try to space them out a bit.

I’ve changed the front page up a bit too, I’ve picked a few of my best comics to stick to the homepage above the blog roll. Let me know what you think of the new layout, does it make it difficult to work out where the newest posts are? (I’m open to suggestions as to what posts should be stickied too).

Best Pumpkin in Show

When Pumpkin heard he’d been nominated for three more awards by extremely talented Lookaraoundyounow, Creativeliz and Kellygrahamartist his big orange head very near toppled off his shoulders! Versatile, inspiring and creating awesome content, it made him blush just thinking about it; at least, it would have if pumpkins could blush.

So, I’ve been very slowing getting round to these, but I’ve been nominated for three new awards. The ‘Versatile Blogger’ award by Lookaraoundyounow, the ‘Very Inspiring Blogger’ award by Creativeliz and the ‘Awesome Blog Content’ (or ABC) award from Kellygrahamartist. Thanks guys! I really appreciate the Pumpkin-love 🙂 If you haven’t already checked out their blogs, get on over there now and take a look at some great content!

I’d love to be able to accept all of these awards, but unfortunately what with my PhD and trying to sort out my mini-saga per day, I just can’t find the time to fulfil all of the requirements for the nominations. So I’m going to graciously decline (though I’m extremely thankful for the nominations!) the awards, though in the spirit of the awards requirements, here’s a few random things about me and a list of blogs I think you should go on to check out:

random things about Pumpkin:

  1. I’m a Uk size 6.5 (though I usually wear 7’s)
  2. My favourite breakfast food is porridge
  3. I prefer cats to dogs
  4. I ride a 52cm frame bike (when I should really ride a 54)
  5. I was once the frontman for a band called ‘Sushi Bar’
  6. I only drink skimmed milk
  7. I almost took a conversion course to become a graphic designer before I got PhD funding
  8. I can’t drive
  9. My middle name is David
  10. I don’t believe in macroscopic objects
And here a few blogs you should check out:
Michaelverse (it was this blog that started off my mini-saga venture!)

Thanks again everyone and keep reading 🙂

Monkey loves Penguin: Worth Menshning

                                         

In case you didn’t realise, I love Louise Mensch.

Happy Father’s Day

                                        

This weeks Sunday post takes the form of a card to my Dad. Happy father’s day!

The London to Brighton bike ride is fast becoming a tradition in our family. I think I’ve ridden it all but one year with my dad since I was 14, my younger brother’s done it every year since he was 14 (this must be his 7th time) and this year my youngest brother joins the team. It’s a really fun ride and a great way to spend the afternoon (well mostly the morning as we usually leave for London at about 3am!) with our dad. The high-point of the ride (pun intended) is the Ditchling Beacon, what feels like a small mountain to ride up, and a great achievement to put behind you. And its on top of the Beacon that another tradition is beginning to crop up: stopping  for an ice-cream cone. Can’t wait!

That’s all for today, have a great day all you Dads out there! Pip pip!

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