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The Rest

Rum Doings Episode 274: Wah Wah Cancer

by on Dec.31, 2021, under Rum Doings, The Rest

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In our 274st ever Rum Doings, our topic is: who will remember to put the ISTMA back into CHRISTMAS?

For the third week in a row, this is a double-length bumper episode. We cover all the events of the previous week, from having a cold to having a cancer, the oddity of billionaires, the cancellation of ourselves, and why all children’s authors are MONSTERS.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here. Maybe? Do any of these links still work? Does anyone listen? Do we even exist any more?

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Rum Doings Episode 271: Other People Are Best Kept As Text On A Screen

by on Apr.10, 2020, under The Rest

In our 271rd ever Rum Doings, our topic is: whatever happened too all the white dog poo? (reprise)

Obviously we talk about the current happenings, from the perspective of John’s all-consuming anxiety misery, and Nick’s similarly pathological upbeat view. But there are other subjects too, such as John’s new attempt to start running, and the inevitable demise of Facebook.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

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A Bunch Of Ways Coping With Anxiety Disorder Might Help People Cope With The Current Weirdness

by on Mar.17, 2020, under The Rest

Someone said a very wise thing to me.

He’s right. So I’m going to do that. I’m going to share the techniques I use to cope with my anxiety disorder, at a time when an awful lot of extra people have been temporarily drafted onto our team.

(continue reading…)
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Rum Doings Episode 261: The Common Decency To Look Bloody Evil

by on Jul.11, 2019, under The Rest

In our 261rd ever Rum Doings, our topic is, “Those pedalling the slur that Labour is ‘institutionally racist’ should remember When the fascists march into your town, it will be Labour supporters who turn up to drive them out.”

In this week’s episode of our weekly podcast we talk about John’s long ago trip to Canada, about Nick’s hatred of all that is good and pure, and go into some detail about the peculiar near-death experiences of John’s cat, Lucy. Oh, and are all children sociopaths? Plus other stuff, as you might imagine.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

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Rum Doings Episode 260: Joris Bonson

by on Apr.24, 2019, under The Rest

In our 260rd ever Rum Doings, our topic is, shouldn’t we take time to smell the roses?

This week’s episode of our weekly podcast begins with chat about John’s sudden unemployment, then quickly moves on to the complete erasure of basic civil liberties.

There’s a brief moment of Game Of Thrones (no spoilers), then we talk about San Francisco’s highs and lows. We ponder the syndromes of Valve and Google, and then meander wildly through topics at quite a pace.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

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Rum Doings Episode 218: Dual-Purpose Cloaca

by on Jul.06, 2016, under The Rest

In our 218th ever Rum Doings, our topic is, surely schools should be teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, and not yet more emojis?

Now everything’s back to normal and the country’s running tickety-boo, we’re able to move on to… no, of course not. But we do cut off the politics talk after a bit and focus on more pressing matters, like how did PacMan mate? And what would we do if we had vaginas? This leads us to making a new rule about sex: no sharp corners.

We also make a big stakes bet over the possibility of a Trump presidency.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:


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Jurassic World: A Review

by on Jun.11, 2015, under Rants, The Rest

Jurassic World is a truly horrible film. Not simply because it’s badly written, drearily directed, and horribly acted, although it is all those things. But because it’s a joyless void.

Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is a splendidly fun movie, for all manner of reasons, but key is that it understands one huge thing: dinosaurs are amazing. Jurassic World begins with the premise that no they’re not, that they’re boring, and that we’re all over them. And sinks deeper into its awe-free mire from there.

The park is open, successful, and packed with tens of thousands of visitors. But, we’re told in the opening breath of the movie, people are over dinosaurs now. They’ve seen them, they’re used to them, they need to create something bigger, scarier, more powerful. In some ways it’s a defiant opening statement for the film to make: we’re going to be so much more than that 22 year old movie (no, it’s really 22 years). It’s a statement that its audience is au fait with dinosaur movies, even bored of them. So you just wait folks, we’ll make something even better.

But huh? When did we stop loving dinosaurs? When did we get cynical about seeing them at the movies? That’s not something anyone’s ever expressed. In fact, the reason people were delighted to hear the franchise was back is because it’s been so long since a film revelled in their majesty. Fourteen years since the entirely forgettable Jurassic Park III came out. Eighteen since Spielberg was at the helm. Sure, we see dragons and magical monsters in every other film, but that extraordinary, breath-taking wonder that was felt the first time you saw the family at the foot of a brontosaurus? The rush of watching the gallimimuses “flocking this way”? The utter terror of the velociraptors in the kitchens? Imagine that, but with 2015’s technology! Imagine the wonder!

Jurassic World is a film with the wonder surgically removed. Every character but for the generic impish child is utterly uninterested. It shows little children bored as they ride around on baby triceratops in petting zoos, parents staring into the middle distance. It’s probably a statement about how we’re all staring at our phones as the world goes by around us, or something. But in a film so empty-headed and blunderingly constructed, such social commentary is wholly out of place. This is a film with open contempt for its audience, snootily condescending of the imagined demand for bigger, scarier dinosaurs. And then is about a bigger, scarier dinosaur, that has apparently had its DNA spliced with nearly every other species of animal on the planet.

The plot is so dumb it feels like lying when trying to explain it. They’ve made this super-dinosaur, bred it to be larger, scarier, more exciting than a T-rex for the jaded fools it imagines are watching, and then almost instantly releases it into the island. But there’s also these velociraptors that Chris Pratt has sort of tamed a bit, and there’s this baddie man who wants to use trained velociraptors in the army… oh God, seriously, this is the story. Meanwhile, two children are posted to the island by their mom, Judy Greer, to spend time with her sister, Aunt Bryce Dallas Howard. Aunt Bryce is IN CHARGE OF RUNNING THE PARK, but Mommy Greer is utterly bemused that she’s not able to drop everything and entertain her children for her for a couple of days. How dare she?! But then wouldn’t you know it, just as things start to go wrong, it’s those two boys alone who are inexplicably in immediate danger. It then slides downhill until the finale that defies all credibility.

What unfurls is drowsily stupid. At no point does anyone make a decision that makes any sense. “Keep everyone trapped on the island with the killer dinosaur, because if we send them home we’ll be closed down!” That’s literally the argument made by one character. And every single moment of peril is caused by people being too hideously brainless to ever just go indoors. No dialogue is worthwhile – there’s not a single line in the entire film that works properly. Jokes repeatedly and awkwardly fall hideously flat, met with complete silence in a packed cinema. Even a conversation between two dinosaurs – no, I wish I were kidding – is over-long and boring.

However, the cynical nastiness of the film is a lot more deeply rooted than just in its sneering plot. It also seems to believe that it needs to be incessantly gruesome to keep us thrilled. Except, it goes so far that any 12 year old watching would experience a few sudden moments of really unpleasant trauma, between extended periods of yawning and asking if it’s over yet. Spielberg expressed dismay at how kids had been upset by a couple of moments in the original Jurassic Park. Jurassic World seems desperate to ensure everyone feels uncomfortable. Spielberg had Martin Ferrero get eaten on the toilet, and Wayne Knight scoffed in a car. Jurassic World slaughters in dozens, with scenes where the dinosaurs extensively torture established, benign characters, before tearing them into pieces. It kills and kills and kills, blood splattering, everyone dying with anguished screams in complete terror. It’s miserable.

When the film ended, I felt a moment of genuine surprise when the director’s name came up. I thought, “Why would you deliberately own up to that?” It’s a film that seemed to hate its own existence, and its audience for wanting to see it. And despite the frenzy of deaths, the ever-so-slightly bigger than a T-rex baddysaurus, and the far greater technical capability, it feels a far smaller film than Spielberg’s original. There’s no sense of scale, no presence, no excitement.

At one point, early on, there’s a moment of wit. In an arena designed to look like the whale show at an aquarium, a monstrous aquatic dinosaur is shown off, leaping out of the water to catch its food, then splashing down and soaking the audience. The food being dangled is a great white shark. It feels like a statement, a bold claim that this will be a disaster film that nonchalantly eats Jaws for breakfast. It proves to be a pivotal moment of arrogance from which it can never recover. (And not least because the clunking rigid rubber head of a dying brontosaurus is less convincing than that ’70s robo-shark.)

Oh, there’s so much more to rant about, so many more abandoned sub-plots, utterly irrelevant characters given extraordinary amounts of screen time… but none of it needs saying after the most key problem: it’s a film that’s bored of dinosaurs. Who the hell is bored of dinosaurs?

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by on Oct.13, 2014, under The Rest

I need to put this in one place, to stop myself from having to tweet it eighteen trillion times.

GG got very cross yesterday and overnight with my having written about how much abuse and harassment I received. I mentioned that I’d received thousands of unpleasant tweets. I came to this figure based on an average bad evening of it would see 500+ tweets coming in, and this happened multiple times. Within them were a number of extremely unpleasant and distressing tweets, with demands that I kill myself and so forth. This was one of them (which GG has been desperately trying to declare can’t be anything to do with them because of X, Y and Z, then someone else pointing out he was, and then tweets get deleted, and so on).

Oddly enough, I didn’t keep the rest. Because I’m not crazy. I screenshotted that one on my phone, because it was quite so scary, and when the tweeter promptly deleted it after lots called him out, I was able to repost it. I took screens of a bunch of others, but deleted them since, because I didn’t really like having them on my phone. And, heck, why would I need them?

GG participants are FURIOUS with me, and have attempted to disprove that I’ve received any abuse at all, via various searches. However, they used Topsy, which only stores a month’s worth, meaning it went back only as far as 12th Sept, after the bulk of the abuse I received had happened. Their search also only included that which had the #gamergate tag in it. This also doesn’t work, as the vast majority of the abuse I received came without it. People would send me a tweet saying whatever, and if I replied, they’d then frantically add in the tag to get back-up. This would then bring dozens more in who were following the tag, also insulting me without the tag, and then themselves only adding it in if I replied pointing out they were incorrect, etc.

The reality is, I spent two weeks receiving extraordinary amounts of unpleasant comments, most of them mild, but unrelenting. It was miserable, my wife saw it all happening and it made her miserable, my friends saw it, people argued with these people at the time – it all happened. It’s important that I maintain this, in the face of an attempt to discredit it.

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A Thing About #GamerGate

by on Oct.12, 2014, under The Rest

I want to think through some thoughts about #GamerGate, and try to address the questions/accusations I receive the most often from those who identify as part of the movement. I also want to talk about my personal experience of it.

GamerGate (GG), since its beginnings, has unquestionably been a formless, undirected collection of people with wildly disparate aims and desires. To say, “GG thinks X” is a meaningless statement, since there are those who are participating who only want to know that the games journalism/criticism/coverage they read is not affected by corruption, all the way to those who are sending terrifying death and rape threats to women in the industry, with a wide spectrum between. While there are various attempts at grouping together specific aims or objectives, these again widely vary, from desires to see game sites publicise clear ethical guidelines, to the desire to “destroy” sites that do not adhere to particular standards/styles/beliefs. There are those who wish to see “politics left out of games coverage”, and those who wish to see writers with “SJW agendas” out of work. There are those who fear games themselves will be negatively affected by progressive criticism, and those who wish to scare female developers and writers until they are too afraid to participate in the industry.

Identify the group as one aspect of this, and other aspects will step forward in disappointment/fury/confusion in response to this understanding. It’s intangible. And I believe perhaps its greatest weakness is that it seems to have no idea that it is.

I absolutely believe that there are many who have been part of the million tweets made using this tag who are horrified by the horrendous abuse and criminal attacks that have come from within GG. I know that there are those who identify with GG who have benign aims, and are personally hurt or upset when they see people identifying GG as a misogynist cause, or a cruel, bullying agenda. I appeal to these people to consider whether GG is ever going to be a place that accurately reflects them or their desires.

(continue reading…)

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Rum Doings Episode 172: They’re Bubbling Like Fermenting Sauerkraut

by on Sep.30, 2014, under Rum Doings, The Rest

In our 172nd ever Rum Doings, our topic is what is, considering all the cracks, isn’t it now time to admit that paving stones are a noble failure which should be abandoned?

We talk about how microwaves enhance baby learning, Nick’s food fight with a primary school, and John’s disgust with the awfulness of Doctor Who.

There’s then chat about American late night talk shows, British attempts at them, and then some TV and book recommendations.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:


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