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Max Payne 3 on its way….

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When I’m feeling a little blue as I have been lately my wife usually suggests that its time that I went and blow something up and kill people. Not in real life mind you, in the virtual world courtesy of the PS3 because there is no doubt that it is very cathartic to do in the imagination that which you will never be able to do in real life. It is also a little more engaging than DVDs and a great deal better than day time TV. I have however felt a rather uninterested in playing the games that I have at present and a couple of “cheapies ” that I bought have been disappointing so I am pinning my hopes upon this new game form Rockstar to give me the distraction that I sort of need at present. It promises to have the realism that I really enjoy in Rockstar games with gorgeously rendered environments and realistic character movement.

Any way counting down the days until the 18th when my copy will arrive from the UK…

Cheers Comrades

A Trifecta of gambling misery

Gambling has never been my thing, and I am cynical enough to realise that anything other than a friendly wager for a token bet is just a bit of a (dare I say it after the last couple of posts? Well why not, I must be on a roll 😉 ) pissing contest. Thus I can visit licensed clubs where there are rows of poker machines and be totally indifferent to their charms. There are clearly lesser mortals who are prone to put their entire life savings into the money sucking electronic parasites as if that is the entire reason for them drawing breath. Now various do-gooders are keen to put the brakes upon these pernicious machines and I can understand that desire but as long as the governments are on the revenue stream teat of the pokies they will be doing their darnedest to keep the cash flow going. there is a clear contradiction here and as our less than beloved PM tries to maintain support on the floor of the house she is faced with having to break her promise To Andrew Wilkie that she would legislate for his mandatory pre commitment scheme.
Strangely enough I am less than convinced that he would bring down the government over the issue even though he has suggested that he would do just that.

The scheme has been dogged by a fierce campaign from clubs in Labor-held seats, and faces possible defeat on the floor of Parliament with the chances of a Coalition MP controversially crossing the floor remote.

Such a defeat would deeply embarrass the PM.

Ms Gillard is believed to be considering $1 betting limits on gaming machines instead of pre-commitment cards – or a hybrid scheme – which is more widely supported by politicians.

Senator Nick Xenophon, one of the greatest supporters of Mr Wilkie’s scheme, has urged his colleague to walk away from the deal with Ms Gillard, saying she is going to “dud” him.

Despite striking the deal with Mr Wilkie to garner his support to form minority Government, Ms Gillard is now less in need of his backing because Sunshine Coast MP Peter Slipper‘s defection from the LNP last year gave Labor an extra vote.
Courier Mail

As for Wilkie, I’m glad to see that sanctimonious lefty brought down a peg or two by political reality even if that reality is based upon the improved parliamentary position courtesy of the self serving “Rat” from Nambour.

The thing is if governments want the revenue then the social consequences of some fools putting their entire lives through the slot is the unavoidable downside as is the tendency for some of the more extreme gambling addicts to steal to feed their habits . Maybe instead of all of this sledgehammer stuff a better approach would be to legislate so that money that is stolen and gambled away can be recovered from the machine operators. This when Jane Doe embezzles a shit load of cash from her employer to feed the pokies the machine owners won’t profit from the crime as they do now. I suspect that in such circumstances that the clubs would be rather more keen to encourage “responsible gambling” because they must notice when an individual is spending far beyond their means…

Maybe Tim Friedman is right that we should just “blow up the pokies” because I can’t see a way that they can ever be common and not cause a great deal of social misery but we all know how tough it is to try to come between an addict and their drug of choice and the worst addicts are the state governments who are addicted to the revenue, followed by the clubs who are addicted to the profits and at the bottom of this trifecta of misery are the poor saps who are addicted to the flashing  lights and empty promise of the big payout. Its a most unedifying example of the worst aspects of our society and one that we should get rid of entirely.

Cheers Comrades.


Aren't we all losers from comercialised gambling?


Our learned friend makes a noobish error about war and infra red cameras at night.

Our learned friend seems to have a never ending ability to amuse with both his technological naivety and his willingness  to embrace the most jaundiced view of the way that the USA does anything in the modern world. Be it the way they legislate copyright or distribute creative works on film. However he has outdone himself with his latest, err, critique of the piece from yesterdays Sixty Minutes. I actaully saw the piece in question and it was a pretty standard puff piece that tells us nothing that is new, I’ve seen plenty of magazine articles that cover essentially the same ground.

He offers these two images and the following commentary:


The white thing that person is holding is something hot in the desert, like something metal in the sun meaning it must be a gun that’s been fired by a “bad guy” who cannot possibly be captured and must be blown up. (jeremy sear)

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Oh come on, it’s not as if it’s in colour or you can see a bloody mist. (We’re lobbying the military to upgrade their cameras for the follow-up report.) Then it’s apparently not disturbing at all. Boom! Ha ha, it’s funny ‘cos we apparently don’t have any empathy whatsoever for human beings in foreign countries if we’re looking at them through the camera of a military drone and told that they’re “insurgents”. Who cares if it’s unavoidable or not.(jeremy Sear)

The salient point missed by our learned friend in his mad rush to denounce the USA is that the shots in question are from an infra-red image taken at night. So when a gun-barrel shows up white in the footage it is not because of the effect of the sun upon metal in the desert (because even in Latte land the sun only shines in the daytime) it is because it is substantively hotter than the ambient temperature. The footage from the same report that explained how Infra red imaging can distinguish between a soldiers head and his body whilst he is in a sleeping bag should have made it clear to our man at the Bar that he was sprouting rubbish to suggest that there was any doubt that the man in the first image had been firing a the gun he was carrying.

Watch the vision to see what our learned friend missed:

Of course it would be easy to point out just how intellectually dishonest it is to misrepresent what has been said in a piece of television journalism to further one’s own political agenda or to amuse a particular gallery who will undoubtedly lap up any suggestion of the manifest evil of the United States in particular and western society in general but the Sandpit does not claim such a remit, unlike the site run by our learned friend and Comrade Dave Gaukroger …

Hmm anyone care to call him out  on a charge of hypocrisy?

Cheers Comrades

Its all go here at Chez Hall, summer holiday edition

So much for Global warming! Yesterday and today have been bloody cold for Queensland in December yeah I know the difference between “weather ” and “climate” but just a few weeks out from Christmas and I am wearing a jumper! Anyway as the rain falls here I ma looking forward to going to my children’s school for their bush dancing event this morning and tomorrow evening its  the awards ceremony where I know (because she was given the modest bursary at the graduation dinner)  that my daughter will be acclaimed as Dux of the school for  2011, considering the fact that the academic year is over its been very busy here at Chez hall for the last week  or so, Monday was taken up with a grade eight orientation day, yesterday was spent getting new tyres on the back of my car and fixing may angle grinder which decided to stop working just as I was about to do something  unspeakable to the Morris , No that’s no quite right I planned to cut down the battery box to facilitate the fitting of the engine and when I went to use the tool nothing! some testing revealed that the switch had shat itself. So I spent the next two hours seeking a suitable  replacement switch. Eventually I found one and then I needed another connection block which took another hour to find. Fixed and working now I cut down that battery box and now the engine bay looks ready to host  the engine, if only I can get it here!

To be honest I am already in a sort of school holiday mode and I am just waiting for the end of the school year as keenly as my children are, I literally dream of not having to do battle every morning to get them up and dressed, breakfasted and brushed for the new day before the bus induced deadline so its once more into the breach this morning and tomorrow is their last day for the year…

Cheers Comrades

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

GD sent me this and it ticled my fancy...


Pokies – a sensible solution

(This post is reproduced from my home blog Alpine Opinion)

Pretty, ain't they? How can anyone be so stupid as to tip their money (and life) into these things? Beats me.

Just limit the size of bets!

I’ve never liked Andrew Wilkie’s gun-to-the-head approach over gambling reforms. Not that I’m a fan of gambling (I think those who can’t resist the temptation are fools and we all know about ‘a fool and his money’), it’s just that I don’t think this dweeb from Hobart – who only received 20% of the 90,000 first preference votes in his own electorate – had any kind of mandate to insist on such wide national reforms in the first place. But he did and, as we all know, he made his support for Julia Gillard’s minority government totally dependent on her passing these reforms by 2012. I reckon Gillard should have played it tougher, refused to be blackmailed and dared him to go with Abbott. He wouldn’t have. She should have handled the Greens that way over the Carbon Tax too.

Anyway, it’s good to see that at least one independent MP ain’t buying Wilkie’s draconian mandatory ‘pre-commitment’ scheme and wants him to water it down to simply having a maximum bet of $1 per spin. Common sense at last:

Independent MP Tony Windsor says he is currently opposed to the mandatory pre-commitment, but is interested in the idea of a one dollar bet cap.

“I’ll wait and see what I’m not voting for or what I am voting for or what some compromise may or may not be,” he said.

“I think we should have a serious look at what the one dollar bet means in terms of being able to achieve an outcome without the capital cost of mandatory pre-commitment.”

What do you think? I reckon the pre-commitment idea was going to destroy the clubs because, let’s face it, why the hell should you have to be registered to gamble? That’s like saying we also need a license to: drink, smoke and even eat. Think about it – those things are just as potentially harmful and addictive as gambling. Alcohol, tobacco and fatty foods are killing people and destroying lives too – probably more so (much more so) than gambling.

I also believe that doing something about the easy access to gaming online and the placing of pokies in hotels would be a better solution. These things are a blight on our society and aren’t there enough of them in the clubs to keep us happy? At least the clubs use them for the benefit of their members and the wider community. If the only pokies were at services clubs at least that would confine the problem to venues that don’t have such wide appeal – like pubs and the Internet.

Oh, and gambling on the footy (especially AFL) really sucks and should be dropped like a hot potato, if not banned outright in my opinion. Gambling on horse racing? Well, that’s been around for ages and how are you going to intervene there? Like I said, a fool and his money ….


Grand Theft Auto V Oh Yeah, bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Oh Yeah baby! This is right to the top of my must have games list, The graphics look stunning, as you would expect from a new generation game and it looks like the story line will not just be a re-hash of the small time crook works his way up through the ranks that worked so well for the earlier incarnations of the franchise.  Rockstar games have taken on board all of the feed back from their previous games and distilled it into a (potentially) great sandbox game bathed in the LA sunshine. Even though I have never played GTA San Andreas* I am well aware of its status as a much loved game and it makes perfect sense to revive and update the location for this new game because it will mobilise fans to want to play this one. For me GTA4 was the game that opened up the world of gaming so naturally I look forward to more Rockstar goodness…

I also note that the music  in the trailer is not the usual Rap rubbish, instead it seems to be going for a more cinematic feel which can only bode well for the future.

With sweaty palms Comrades

Is this the way that ardent gamers are going to have their fate decided?

*I have actaully acquired a PC version of the game but I have yet to play it , mainly because the control interface on PC games is just too lame

Noob no more

Its coming up to the first anniversary of Chez Hall joining the world of console gaming and here we have found that its a great way for this father to find common ground with his children and to spend quality time playing games with them.

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Of course to truly get the most out of the experience you have to develop some skills in the way that you play and that means that you have to do the “hard yards” by playing a number of different games on your own. Because there is nothing worse than your twelve year old daughter calling you a “noob” when she beats you in a game and nothing more satisfying than her respecting your skills when you play together on the PS3.

Cheers Comrades

Better in the safety of your own home

The high speed chase is the heart of many cop operas and that goes for both  the Movies and television dramas.   In real life there seems to be no shortage of wannabes like the chap at the Gold Coast yesterday:

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Maybe this fellow would not be cooling his heels at her majesty’s pleasure and contemplating a long time on shank’s pony had he stuck to doing car chases on the Play station instead of our streets. The latest driving game here at Chez Hall is “Driver San Francisco”and its surprisingly good fun for all of the family (well at least the ones who like driving) with great graphics and lots of ways to play it seems, so far, to be the sort of game that is very re-playable something that is hard to pull of well in a game. Its not perfect because the driving mechanic can be a bit frustrating (You need to drift any corner that you want to take a speed)but the “shift” ability does make for dynamic chases and interesting game play.
Anyway its a good way to fill in some  time while you wait for the pain meds to kick in.
Cheers Comrades

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