Weird Al Has A Big Dictionary

Posted by Dan | Posted in Pedantry | Posted on 15-07-2014


Just in case you weren’t aware: Weird Al‘s new album is out today.


{Although the line “you write like a spastic” made me feel pretty uncomfortable. In America that word carries quite a different meaning than here in the UK.}

As If You Needed Another Reason to Love Steam

Posted by Dan | Posted in Nerd | Posted on 23-05-2014


Microsoft: “So we’ve made Windows 8. Basically we took all the elements that made Windows 7 good and crapped over them so spectacularly Vista actually looks like a decent OS by comparison. If you’d like to upgrade it’ll cost you £100, which I’m sure you’ll agree is quite reasonable.”

Steam: “We’ve designed a way to let you play Far Cry 3 at maximum settings on a netbook. For free.”

steam-os-planet-steam-logoIf you own a gaming PC, update to the latest version of Steam immediately. Then dig out a crappy laptop, netbook, home theatre machine or whatever else you have lying around and install Steam on that.

The latest update allows you to stream the game to another device on your network while utilising your gaming PC’s hardware. You don’t even need to install the game on the other device. Consequently I’m now able to lie in bed and play Bioshock Infinite with max settings in 2560 x 1440 on the same netbook which previously struggled to run Monkey Island.

Do it. Do it now.

Seven Days With Depression

Posted by Dan | Posted in Mental Health | Posted on 25-04-2014


Trigger warning: self-harm, suicidal thoughts


I’d been meaning to try out a new illness ever since the crazy times I had on the Norovirus, so when I was offered a week’s trial of depression I jumped at the opportunity. I’d never tried a mental illness before and was curious to see how it compared to the physical kind.

As only 1 in 4 people have suffered with a mental health problem I was looking forward to being part of an elite group, and had many questions about the experience. Would my illness be apparent to those around me? Would it garner sympathy like a broken leg, or make people tactfully avoid me like when I have something contagious? How would I know when it was ready? Would there be a period of feeling a little under the weather before the onslaught, or was it lurking around a corner waiting to hit me full-force?

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I Can’t Breathe

Posted by Dan | Posted in Blog, Mental Health | Posted on 20-03-2014


When a friend asked me to be his best man, this was the first thought to go through my head:1795529_530268430422636_1035407866_n

“If I say yes, that means I can’t kill myself until at least next June otherwise they’ll be really inconvenienced.”

I genuinely contemplated turning down the offer for that sole reason. I knew I could handle all the other commitments; I also had no particular plan or desire to commit suicide, but this should give you an idea of how high up the idea was on my list of possible future activities.

Although I’ve never directly attempted suicide, the thought has entered my mind more times than I suspect is healthy. It’s almost always because of my inability to let things go: I still feel guilty, ashamed and embarrassed about (barely) getting into trouble as a child; unkind comments from a decade ago still sting and resonate with chimes of overthinking and overanalysing, leading me to conclude I am spectacularly hated and deservedly so; friendships which ended abruptly haunt my dreams and paralyse my idle time with regret.

I think of my mind as a rucksack I’m forced to permanently carry. Every negative thought, every bad experience, every worry, is another rock added to my pack. There is no way to empty the rucksack, and I’m lucky if I get to set it down for a few minutes each day. It gets heavier when I’m alone and is worst of all when I lie down.

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Thailand Journal — Extract

Posted by Dan | Posted in Blog | Posted on 24-02-2014


Extract from a travel journal I kept when backpacking in the Far East in 2005. Uploaded for #RedMatter because I didn’t really have the time or money to go on a new adventure just for the sake of a blog post (sadly).


“Don’t let go – you’ll die.”

We’re crammed into a tuc-tuc; the carriage is only designed to hold six people and, as there are ten of us, I volunteer to hang off the back. I laugh politely at the driver’s warning, but as the engine chokes and wheezes into life and we reach the main road, I realise with unnerving certainty that a sweaty grip really is all that separates me from an almost certain death. My mother’s voice rings in my head: “You won’t do anything dangerous or stupid now, will you?”

We’d just blown up a cow.

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