Thursday, September 22, 2005

Praising the Playstation 2 (and EA Fight Night)

As a relative newcomer to the ways of the Playstation 2, I was unsure whether it would be a worthwhile investment. Despite coming from the generation that saw games evolve from the simple but addictive “pong” (the bat and ball game that was played on the tv with those funny paddles) all the way to likes of “Sensible Soccer” on the Amiga, and “Doom” on the PC, I figured the time had finally come to lay down the control paddle and call it a day. I thought I had outgrown gaming.

I was mistaken. Like Pavlov’s dog, I associated computers with dull things like word processing, analysing excel spreadsheets, and worst of all, preparing power point presentations. Having left this twisted world, I have realised once again exactly how much fun technology can be. A quick rummage on the internet reveals the average age of a game player to be 28-30 years old; this tells me the gaming industry continues to serve our generation well. It grew up with us.

“We don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing.”

As we grow older so we tend to get stuck in our ways and become reluctant to learn new things. I don’t know if it’s just me, but on the margin I’m that little bit less interested in the all the new functions of things that I buy. I just want them to do what I want them to do, with the minimum of fuss. We are creatures of habit and the older we get the more scared we get of new things. We must fight this if we want to keep learning. The best way to avoid ossification is to make learning new things a habit in itself - keep those neurons firing! This is where the PS2 can lend a hand. Most games are so complex they introduce to new worlds, while keeping our brain reflexes quick. With the average person in the UK watching just over 20 hours of passive tv a week (ONS), surely it is better to trade off some off these hours with a more proactive entertainment? I’m not advocating trading PS2 time for outdoor activity time, but it can make for a healthier balance of activities overall.

As the Xbox360 is coming out at Christmas and the PS3 in the Spring of next year, so we can expect the price of PS2 games to plummet (hello E-bay). Ah, the joys in being behind the curve!

At the RMF we have adopted “EA Fight Night” as the game of choice. Its probably one of the best multi-player games I have ever played. I am pleased to announce there are a few features we are yet to exploit.

1) You can play the fight from a range of different camera angles.
2) You can create your own boxer from scratch.
3) We are yet to try most of the boxers from categories other than heavy-weight.

The best is still to come!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Male Grooming - The World's First 5 Blade Razor

Before you say it, no this is not a joke. Gillette have gone and announced a 5 blade razor that will supposedly revolutionize the world of shaving. With the Mach 3 model already the widely recognised champion of modern shaving, the RMF is left asking"what can the Fusion really offer?"

Gillette claims the new Fusion models "outperform the world's leading razors, MACH3Turbo and M3Power respectively, by incorporating breakthrough innovations that provide a dramatic increase in shaving closeness and comfort." Closer than the Mach3 -I didn't think this was possible without taking off a layer of skin (?).

And is it really the best a man can get? I do have a few gripes. First the blades are 30% closer together than with the Mach 3. This gives more scope for hair to get jammed between the blades and will take more time to effectively rinse out. As I'm the kind of masochist who will keep using my razor until a) it rusts b) it starts scarring my face, this potential for niggly hair jamming is a concern. Also, the Fusion looks likes something from outer space ... and it wants to land on my face!

One thing the blade has going for it is that clever folk at Gillette have mounted a 6th blade on the back for delicate trimming of sideburns, taches, and beards. This will be a very welcome development in the world of multi-bladed razors.

Woah, hold on a second. That means they went straight from 3 blades to 6! On no, this spells trouble. You see, once upon a time we all thought the 'Excel' was the best a man could get. They lied and gave us the 'Sensor' and said that was the best a man could get. The 'Mach 3' showed they were once again lying through their teeth. And again, with the 'Fusion', we have been deceived. It is logical to assume that it will not stop with the Fusion, and that we should expect to see a 12 blader entering the market within a couple of years.

To tell you the truth, its all getting too much for me. Indeed, I am now seriously contemplating getting back to basics with a cut-throat razor. I particularly like the Red Bismark from Dovo of Solingen, a real man's blade. It will takes years to master, and will no doubt involve several pints of spilled blood, but it will be worth it. Plus, you can't attack an intruder with a Mach 3 or Fusion, but this fine cut-throat would inflict some serious damage!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Movie News - Real Man Borat Returns

At the end of the week most newspapers publish a section on what's showing at the cinema, sorting the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad. Here at the RMF Media Division our mission is to write only on those few, (potentially) brilliant movies, that are truly life changing and that bring a new insight in to the viewer's soul. We're talking about films are so deep that they make us want to become better men.

RMF's first insight into Hollywood is a shocker. Get ready for it - in fact, make sure you are sitting down, because this news will knock you off your feet. Here it is: Borat is coming to the big screen !

The real man of Kazakhstan has gone over to Hollywood and a full production is well underway. Just in case you have been on the moon in recent years, Borat is the man who brought new meaning to the following phrases:

"Is nice"
"It is nice"
"Nice to meet you"
"I like you"
"Do you like me"
"Where is Jack?"
"When will we see Jack?"
"I relax"
... as well as introducing us to the classic foreign phrase "Jagshemash" (sometimes "Jagshemash Pepsi Max").

According to several movie web-sites director Todd Phillips (Starsky & Hutch) exited the project a while ago but another director Larry Charles has apparently taken the realm. In fact, it should be in the finishing touches stage by now.

Check out boratonline for some real Borat appreciation (I don't know who it is who put this website together but they deserve national recognition!).

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Real Man Manifesto

Welcome to the brotherhood of 'real man'.

The year is 2005. We are a generation unmarred by major conflict. The communist ideology is largely defunct and capitalism, in its many guises, dominates the Western world. Despite routine scare mongering by the media, we are better off than ever before.
The mechanical age has given way to the electronic age and powerful technologies are available at a low price to the masses. Scientific advances are continuing apace, inflation has been tamed, economic growth is improving living conditions across the board, and we have more choice than we know what to do with. Nevertheless, something is amiss in picket-fence heaven.

Somewhere along this path we believe man lost his way.

In today's world, success is measured in academic grades, and then, when we are suitably primed, by our salaries. These are the modern day yardsticks, the measures of man. The system has created a world where the majority of men no longer use their hands and minds in any meaningful way. Instead we are spending our time in tall, shiny buildings, wedged in front of computer screens, relentlessly analysing excel spreadsheets. We are no longer connected with nature, with each other, with what it means to be a man. We have abandoned tens of thousands of years of hunter-gathering, and instead are pursuing a different course entirely. This is creating an inner conflict in each and everyone of us, a deep sense of hopelessness and resentment. We feel betrayed.

The Real Man Fraternity (RMF) is no more than a product of the times we live in.

Before we condemn ourselves behind our office desks for an eternity, a small group of men from in and around North London have decided to make one last break for the border. In adopting the 'real man' way of thinking we hope to restore balance in our lives. The mission is to become enlightened through our actions and thoughts, to become reconnected with life and its excitements. Just as our peers are giving up the battle, getting ready to wilt and maybe even fall over, we are stepping up to the plate with a new set of demands from our lives.

What marks us out from the masses of men? Very little. RM is a state of mind.

At present we are not offering a range of overpriced merchandise such a RMF jackets, caps, t-shirts, or engraved rings. The RM committee appreciates how such merchandise would confer a sense of belonging to the brotherhood and increase the allegiance. However, we firmly believe the measure of the real man is not in his appearance but in his actions.

Think RM, breathe RM. Live RM!