Welcome to my blog - Read and enjoy

Thank you for visiting my Scooby1970 blogspot. I update whenever I can and when I have something interesting to share. You will also find published work of mine at Gaming Illustrated. Gaming Illustrated is where most of my work now takes place, but I will transfer some of my more popular articles from there over to this blog, in extended format.

Feel free to email me at:
Google+: www.google.co.uk/+MarkAdams1970
Feel free to add me to your PS3: scooby1970
Flikr - My Photos: www.flickr.com/photos/markyboyo/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/scooby1970
Twitter: www.twitter.com/markyboyo

I've just started a new blog for my upcoming book releases: http://mark-adams-writes.blogspot.co.uk/

Also check out my 10 Quick Facts for more sites I run.

Enjoy the blogs, and relive my ups and downs in life, view some interesting reviews and just enjoy the site. If you are interested in learning something about some of my favourite music then click here it's the official Jan & Dean Site that has taken me and my friend from across the sea, June many years to keep updated.

:) Mark

Saturday, 2 October 2010

An update!

It's been a little while since my last update, so I thought I would just update you on a few things! Don't forget to follow me on twitter.com/markyboyo for daily updates or facebook.com/scooby1970 for slightly less regular updates!

First off, Sara and myself went to Dublin a couple of weeks ago and had a brilliant time, sadly, Sara caught a chest infection from somewhere so was ill for a lot of the trip. We came back after our trip and found out that our house that we have bought will be ready to move in on the 21st of this month!!! It's going to be a busy time, but once everything is set-up it's going to be brilliant!

Gaming update: Yes, of course gaming is still an important part of my life, and I have bought a few games lately, but not as many as usual. I picked up the Megadrive Collection, and we have been enjoying some real classics such as Streets Of Rage, Golden Axe and Sonic! Also, I've been enjoying Dirt 1 & 2 a hell of a lot lately.

I've got back into radio, and I've been enjoying Big L radio quite a bit. The good thing is that I can stream it on my phone, so I can listen to it where-ever I can go... Talking of my Phone, I have come off the God-Awful T-Mobile and I am now on "3". Wow! This network has changed recently. I get a perfect signal everywhere, the internet speeds are super-fast and the tariff is unbeatable! I love my new HTC handset. I'd always heard good things about them, and they really are brilliant hand-sets.

That's all for now, but I will be back very soon!

Friday, 6 August 2010

The ultimate diet?

For me, food is life. I love food in every shape and form, and I could eat endlessly without a thought to my weight. Except, as got closer to 40, and then finally reached 40 my weight had ballooned to just under 19 and a half stone.

I took a look at myself one morning, and really didn't like what I seen. I had bought a new XL t-shirt for holidays and it just wouldn't fit me. It was time to do something, and time to do something fast. The only trouble was I really enjoyed food, so I looked around at many diets and sites telling me what the best diet was, and I came up with a plan.

Firstly, I cut certain things almost completely out of my diet. Gone was the bottle or two a day of coke and other fizzy drinks. Gone was the multiple bars of chocolate, and gone was the dozen or so chocolate biscuits. Also, I cut out eating chips almost every day or so.

So, this is a typical weekly and weekend diet for me... And the good thing is the weekend diet plan!

Monday to Friday Breakfast: Cereal, half the size of my usual stacked high bowl.

Monday to Friday Day Time: I have called this "Day Time" as instead of having one huge meal, I have broke down my food intake. I'll have a snack at 11am, usually an apple or a diet-cereal bar. Then dinner time (usually around 1pm) I will have more some food, such as a sandwich and some fruit, and later in the day around 3pm I'll have more fruit or a small snack.

Monday to Friday Evening Meal: For this meal it's usually a cut down version of a meal I used to have (so half the potions) served with jacket potato instead of chips. Also, egg or beans on toast quite a lot. Later in the evening if I was hungry I would have just 2 small biscuits.

It's surprising how fast your body gets used to this, and by eating less, more often, you really do stay full longer.

As for the weekends... From Friday evening to Sunday evening... EAT WHAT YOU WANT!!! However, after a few weeks of cutting back you will instinctively eat less anyway. It's perfect!

Following this plan, with also a little added exercise (walking more, standing up in work etc) may be a help to anyone who really hates diet but needs a way to lose weight.

As I said at the start, I was just uner 19 and a half stone, now I am 16 and a half stone just by following these simple steps. If you decide to add more excercise to the plan, I'm sure that the weight will come off even faster.

One word of warning though, in your first couple of weeks, don't expect miricles. It took at least 2 weeks before my weight started coming off me.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Ubuntu 10.04

I decided to take the leap and go for a non-Microsoft Operating System. I was just fed up with Windows, and the price they want for a legitimate Windows 7 is stupid! No product is worth that much, regardless of what it does, so I decided to look around for a comparable Operating System that would do everything I need. I made a list, and a new OS had to be able to do these things.

Browse the internet, download via torrent sites, use Open Office, have some fun games available, be able to use iPod with it, be able to rip CDs and be able to use my printers and other devices. Although all this sounds as if it should be possible, let me just say that Windows 7 had trouble finding drivers for my equipment, and it took me days of research to add my Photosmart printer!

I took the plunge with Ubuntu 10.04. A great version of Linux that you can try out by running it as a "LiveCD" - it won't install to the hard drive, you can run it off the CD! After just 10 minutes of using the LiveCD I decided to install Ubuntu onto my PC, alongside Windows 7, and it was the best move I ever made. All the drivers were found instantly and everything went smoothly.

The great thing about Ubuntu is that it is also highly customisable, and after a short while it looked and run brilliantly. Downloading software is a breeze through the software centre, and using the inbuilt applications is simple. The whole Ubuntu experience seems much more intergraded than Windows, and overall I have been finding it a pleasant experience.

For now I will keep my dual-boot system, but in the future I will never buy another Microsoft Operating System again. Ubuntu does all the average user needs and a lot more. I'll keep this blog updated on my progress of using Ubuntu.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Quick update

Hello everyone! Sorry it's been a while since I last updated the blog. I've been up to quite a few things, so let me just highlight a few items I will be blogging about in the coming week:

Ubuntu 10.04 - New Operating System I have installed instead of Windows on my PC.
Tenerife - We're going there in a weeks time for 8 days!
Cameras - My search for the perfect camera.
Games - General games update.

Call back soon and read the updates!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

God Of War III - Just finished it. My review!

I spent 15 hours on God Of War (GoW) 1, 14 hours on GoW 2 and now,after just under 9 hours I have completed GoW3. 2010 was the first time I had ever played a GoW game on a console, I had played the demo of GoW on the PSP briefly so when I bought my USA imported I only had a rough idea of what the games were about.

The first two God Of War's played brilliant, and they looked and sounded pretty impressive in their upscaled glory on the God Of War Collection, so I had very high hopes for the third and final game. Little did I know that I was about to play a game that would totally blow my mind.

First thing that impressed me was the shear amount of things going on on the screen at one time. The first hour or so of the game is just a pleasure to play, and a pleasure to watch other people play. The scale of the game play is just mind-boggling. The camera moves in and out of the playing field giving you a sense of scale never before felt in a video game. You feel tiny in a world full of giants, simply awesome!

The combat is a refined version of GoW 1 & 2, and it is all the better for it. It does not feel like a button masher, you actually need to fight with different weapons and different tactics. The special weapons all work well too, and for the first time you can switch weapons on the fly. The game also includes the quick time events (QTEs), and I found them paced pretty well, only missing the events once or twice.

The game throws quite a few puzzles at you too, and to be fair I managed to work them all out quite easily (though some took longer than others). Thankfully though, it's all quite straight forward and I did not need to look up any cheats to help me through it. Each puzzle adds to the gameplay, and adds to the whole fun of the game.

Sound in the game is just brilliant! The orchestral soundtrack rocks and the sound effects are superb. The voice acting is also brilliant, probably up to Uncharted 2's level. Talking of Uncharted 2, GoW3 is probably up there with UC2 as one of the greatest games ever made.

So, my final say on the game. Game play is enjoyable to the n'th degree, graphics and sound are just mind blowing and it's a fitting end for the trilogy. The ending was a bit of a shock for me, but I think it was about right (the dream sequence just before the end is freaky and techically very impressive).

Overall then, up there with Uncharted 2 as my favourite game ever! If you don't play this you are missing out on a part of gaming history.

:) Mark

Friday, 19 February 2010

Heroes Of Today - A Poem

Heroes Of Today - A Poem
Each night I watch the evening news, the story's almost always the same,
Another Soldier's body returns, but how many have been badly maimed?
Mostly are just young boys in age, but they die heroic men in our hearts,
Fighting a war highlighted on TV, you forget it tares family's apart.

I hide my tears of sadness and pride,
A lump in my throat I fight hard to hide,
War is just a political game,
Our soldiers die it's such a shame.

Watching the crowds stand silent, lining the narrow street,
Wootton Basset the centre of so much loss, this country'll never face defeat,
Our young men and women so very brave, loosing life for you and me,
Without them fighting this atrocious war, we'd loose all our liberties.

A lump in my throat I try so hard to hide,
Holding back my tears of sadness and pride,
This was must be fought again and again,
It's more to us than Political gain.

The Military Hospitals are almost full, of casualties of this Afghan war,
No matter how much blood's spilled today, the enemy will always want more,
So whatever your Nationality, belief or religion please join when we say,
Our troops in the war zone fighting for you and me are our Heroes Of Today.

I can't hide my tears of sadness and pride,
Too many lives have been destroyed and too many soldiers have died.

(c)10/02/10 Mark Adams

It's been a long time since I've written a meaningful poem that is not about my life or the ones I love, but I have been so sick of seeing British soldiers coming home from Afghanistan in coffins that I had to let out my feelings in a poem. Whatever your thoughts on the rights and wrongs of this war, or previous wars, our troops are just doing their jobs and need to be supported. My father was in the armed forces, where he spent some time in Northern Ireland during the late 1960's/early 1970's, and from his stories of those times, I know how much hell he went through. So, I can only imagine what these men and women are going through now.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

SMiLE - The Lost Beach Boys Album

Once in a while there comes along so intense, so brilliant, so melodic and so life changing that it can make you appreciate music more than you have ever appreciated it before.

The first album to change my outlook on music was The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds" album, it took me months to listen to it and fully understand it, but once I grasped the concept I fell deeply in love with it's classical undertones and sweet sweet lyrics and melodies.

So then to "SMiLE". Brian Wilson released this unreleased masterpiece a couple of years ago, and everyone gasped at how beautiful it was, however, myself , just like many other Beach Boys fans knew that the real magic of SMiLE was in the unreleased sessions and fragments that can be found around the internet.

During my search for tracks from SMiLE, I compiled my very own 4CD box set. Disc 1 contained all the officially released SMiLE era tracks that were available from various Beach Boys releases. Disc 2 contained the Vigotone bootleg version of the album, a stunning concept that still blows me away. Disc 3 contained alternate versions of SMiLE tracks from various other bootleg albums, while disc 4 contained a mono version of the original track-list as found on the back of the original album cover, plus some bonus tracks of yet more alternate versions. I cased all these bootlegs into two double CD cases, re-created the SMiLE album cover (as seen above) and was more than happy for many years.

A couple of years ago I then came across a brilliant SMiLE bootleg known as the DJ Mic Love mix. It contained the most thought provoking mix of the album so far, and the mixing was of a very high quality. More recently I discovered the on-a-par, but different version from MoK (click on the post-title to view tracks and download). So, all in all these different versions and snippets have added to me wanting to hear a real, official Beach Boys SMiLE box-set from Capitol. They never will, so we will all have to enjoy Brian Wilson's released version plus the numerous official tracks and bootlegs.

So, what makes the album so great? Putting aside Brian Wilson's version (a great version, but lacking in emotion and creativeness when compared to the original unreleased/released versions from the original 1967 album), each track on SMiLE is just sublime. Starting with "Our Prayer", a prayer to God in pure harmony, you feel instantly that you are taken to some other World where music has taken a new dimension. "Heroes & Villains" and "Good Vibrations" are also on the album in slightly different forms, and as anybody with an ounce of musical knowledge will tell you, these are mind-blowing track in their own right. The other big track that some people would know is "Surf's Up". A stunning piece that just blows away almost every other song ever written by anybody in the World. It is that good.

Talking about the album can not do it justice. Either run out and by Brian's version or download one of the many bootlegs available on the Internet. You may not get it first listen, but you will be taken in by the shear brilliance and eventually realise your music life was empty without it.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Welcome 2010

So, 2010 is here. The start of a new year and a new Decade. This time last decade I had a job I thought was safe for life, I had very few grey hairs and I was happy with Sara. A decade down the line and I'm still very happy to be with Sara, but the rest has gone down hill!

This year, in February, I will be reaching the big 40. It's strange, but I still feel the same as I did when I was 20 and 30, but somehow it's not the same. My bones are aching, I have this continous sense of "what next" and I just don't know what to do with my life. I'm in a great relationship, I shave all I need in life, so I guess it's just nerves of reaching the landmark 40.

One good thing, in my 40 years of life I've always had a passion for computers and music, and this has only grown with age. Thankfully, these days I can just buy whatever I want, whenever I want - or in the case of music, just download it! But I still miss my years of growing up into a teenager, there's something special about them that I will always remember.

Anyways! 2010 is here, a new job awaits me and generally speaking I'm happyier than ever. This year I am looking to twitter the same as ever and also update this blog at least a couple of times a month. So, keep following me, and enjoying my twitters.

Thank you for reading this quick update. More exciting blogs to come soon!