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#tirednewsflash: giant no-snow drifts hit manchester

and now, the TiredNews up your own area

hello and despite a day and a bit of disappointingly unsubstantial snow over the weekend, Manchester has since then been engulfed by a flurry of its absence.

traffic on the M60 and most inner city roads has this morning been increased to a dangerously steady flow, following yet another night of continued lack of precipitation.

pedestrians have also found it worryingly easy to get about, with Manchester city council having been inundated with complaints about a lack of lubrication on pavements and byways that are currently proving ‘perturbingly grippy’.

local business owners have been bracing themselves for unusually high levels of custom, as more or less everyone who needs or wants to is currently fully able to get out and about.

“Due to demand”, Fallowfield news and snack agent Marcus du Sautoy explained, “we’re basically having to restock shelves as soon as or sometimes before they’ve been totally emptied. At the moment my brother and I are, between us, working 8:30AM to 5:00PM, six days a week and 10:00AM till 4:00PM on Sundays to meet demand.”

South Manchester’s arts and organic crafts scene has been hit especially hard, with as of yet no clear reason why any of this week’s seemingly infinite number of baby-Yoga, Nepalese-grass-dance, smoothee-a-sise or Chinese power writing classes should be cancelled.

the unpredictedable dryness is apparently due to a sudden and profound lack of the conditions necessary for snow in and around the sky overhead. when approached for interview, no-one at Manchester Meteorological University was willing, and mostly seemed rather more confused about the proposition than i would have definitely expected. given things.

one certainty is certain, there is no sure way to know when the freak system will rapidly shift, but in the meantime North West residents are advised to buy fresh food, wear sensibly high-heeled shoes and not to check in on elderly or other potentially grumpy neighbours.

as always at TiredNews™ we are aggressively keen for you to send in your pictures of the no-snow. however, while we welcome shots of clear driveways, what we’re really after is children or animals enjoying the un-Alpine conditions and more pretentious shots involving depth of focus or sunsets. both.

and now, back to the national TiredNews™ studio in Manchester, while from us here in Manchester … that’s HOW for NOW
*borderline racist Native American-esque hand gesture*

giants almost too polite to win super bowl xlvi

well, good morning

and if like me you’re nursing the effects of a night sprawled on the sofa with nothing but a duvet, Super Bowl XLVI and toffee popcorn for company, then a special welcome to you.

despite the fact that i’m even more tired today than usual, as someone who backed the Giants to win a tight game, i feel it was well worth the effort. of course, actual Giants fans have been left in something of a difficult spot. on the one hand their team just won the Super Bowl. on the other, they did it in spite of making what would, if they’d lost, have gone down as one of the biggest tactical errors in the sport’s history.

American Football is a curious game at the best of times, but last two minutes of last night’s game was a particularly good example of its oddities. all over the world there would have been enthusiastic but inexperienced Giants fans jumping about and whooping their tongues out as Ahmad Bradshaw sat down into the end zone to score what became the winning points. i, however, and i’m sure many millions more Giants supporters, was (whisper)shouting at the TV in disbelief. “take the knee, take the kneeeeeeee! why didn’t he take the knee?”

there were two reasons for this: first, i like the phrase “take the knee” – it sits next to “take the fifth” in the list of my favourite American phrases, and arises only in quite specific circumstances. second, it was what the situation had demanded and yet not what Bradshaw seemed able to do or did.

American football is a game of territory, possession and time. moments earlier, Mario Manningham had made one of the best catches in a Super Bowl ever to put the Giants in a great position. there was now just over a minute left on the clock and the Giants had good possession, deep in Patriots territory – it was 2nd down and they were six yards out.

despite trailing at this moment by 17-15, because of the likelihood that their possession would yield at least a three point field goal if not a six-point touchdown, the Giants had (according to the fine minds over at Advanced NFL Stats) a 94% chance of winning.

however, despite their possession and territory, their real advantage in this situation was time. if they could both score a minimum of three points and use up all or almost all of the remaining time, then they were champions.

what happened next was a curious, but not unprecedented piece of tactical shenanigans. Bill Belichick, the coach of the New England Patriots, ordered their defensive line to allow the Giants to score a touchdown. therefore, as the play began, instead of finding players rushing up to block and tackle, Bradshaw who received the ball from quarterback Eli Manning, found his path to the end zone utterly unguarded.

this was the moment that he should have ‘taken the knee‘, i.e. fallen to one knee in order to finish the play. Belichick had decided that the best chance the Patriots had to win the game was, instead of using up time trying to stop the Giants from scoring a touchdown and then trying to make a block or force an error on their field goal attempt, to let the Giants score straight away, and then try to use the remaining time to get back up the other end and score themselves – a tactic that the Packers head coach Mike Holgren had also used (unsuccessfully) against the Broncos at Super Bowl XXXII.

therefore, as counter-logical as it might seem to American Football novices, the best thing for Bradshaw to do, tactically speaking, was to just fall over, forcing another play and more time to be wasted. watch this clip from 2009 for an example courtesy of Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars:

 
instead, apparently unaware that the situation might arise, he dithered and then sort of sat ungracefully down and over the line for a touchdown. i guess he felt it would have been a bit impolite not to score. despite the fact that the Patriots had initiated the tactical ploy, maybe he didn’t want to be known as the guy who won the Super Bowl by trickery?

although the Giants went from 15-17 down to 21-17 in the lead, their chances of winning the game actually decreased (ANFLS recalculated it at 85%). while they were able to use up a bit of time by attempting a two point (running) conversion, the Patriots were left with 1m 3s to make something happen.

although, fortunately for Bradshaw and the Giants and Giants fans everywhere, the Patriots were not able to make a scoring play, it would have been interesting to see how history would have treated Bradshaw if they had.

after the game, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen, who in the run up to the game had sent out emails asking friends and family to pray for her ‘Tommy’, no doubt exponentially increased her popularity in the locker room by sticking up for her husband’s team in their moment of defeat.

 
filmed leaving after the game, she shouted, towards a vocal Giants fan, “They didn’t catch the ball when they were supposed to catch the ball. My husband cannot fucking throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time”.

quite. perhaps the Giants will ask her to tutor Ahmad on the game.

#vidiotic: jesus heals a gay

 

“These are vagina fingering hands now!”

Hallelurious

discover your name

(c/o Brian Butterfield)

everything’s fine by socrates adams – book launch

last night

the Post-Dr and I fulfilled an invitation to a book launch, which led us to a room populated by the great and bespectacled of the Manchester literature scene. it was at a bookshop.

as usual, everyone was wearing pumps. did you know that the heeled shoe was actually invented by George Bush Snr, as a weapon, during the first Iraq war? most were also afraid of a potential tax on surplus trouser material. a woman carried around and wore her baby like a badge of extra special hipness, and encouraged it to ‘express’ during the readings.

four young male writers read some things they’d written. two out of the four things were to do with trains, but i think that was incidental.

the first was a charming, shy and softly-spoken man who offered a charming, shy and softly-spoken poem about being humble and alone and not alone. it was a lot better than i’ve made it sound. i laughed.

the second reader was a slighter male with a shirt that an American would call ‘plaid’. i think it was blue, but i could be misremembering – i did not write it down. his ‘thing’ as he called it, was ‘new’, which meant printed on a sheet of paper rather than in a book. it was about an interview at a job centre. i liked him and it.

at that point the not-so-funny MC who continually made reference to his being fat, declared it ‘half time’ and invited us for the twentieth time to drink up all the beer – ‘cos there’s plenty of beer and after this we’ll all go to the pub anyway ‘cos beer is great and we’re not at all the sort of people who wouldn’t always drink it or have it at a book launch.

the second half started with my least favourite of the readings. it was another new one on paper and seemed to be an extract from an as yet unfinished story about someone with newly-fitted prothetic legs – possibly (although this was subtext) because of a war – who was arriving at a place in Cheshire.

i can’t remember what the place in Cheshire was called, but the name was mentioned too many times. although the author-cum-reader had a pleasant northwest accent, he did that thing where he made his voice all thin and lingered over the sounds at the end of sentences to make sure that every tee and ess came with the requisite emotional punch. i hate that thing, and the story took itself too seriously for my liking. it was full of fashionably off-beat similes, like the conversation of a public school boy on soft drugs.

the final reader was the author of the book that was being launched, rather than another of his friends, and read from that, his latest, book. he had a beard and a voice reminiscent of Jack Whitehall’s voice. his name is Socrates, which, presumably to avoid confusion with the other two, is pronounced with a long ‘ahhh’.

his novel apparently unfolds the tale of a tube salesman who is forced by his boss to take a tube home and treat it like a baby. instead of reading the opening section of the book, which he implied would have been his instinct, he followed the advice of others and read from elsewhere in the book. as such, i do not know why the boss forced the man to mother the tube, although it’s possible, perhaps likely, that i wouldn’t have anyway.

what i heard was fine; not quite pretentious enough to be like Kafka, not down-to-earth enough to be like Dan Rhodes. it was not, from what i heard, as good as either, despite what everyone was saying and how much they were laughing.

we would have gone to the pub for all the beer with the lit-folk, but we hadn’t had any tea, so we went home.

#tiredgamer: 2011 in video gaming

i have been

meaning to write this post for a while, but I’m afraid life (and more specifically in this instance, death) has been getting in the way.

still, hopefully you’re more on board with ‘better late than never’ than our postman.

i’m not going to be too serious or detailed about it all – if that’s what you want, i’m sure a man in tight chinos and daps has written something long and imperious for The Guardian (Dear The Guardian, please please make me your man in chinos and daps).

anyway, here’s some #tiredgamer thoughts:

2011 was in several ways a very good year for gaming, with several brilliant and interesting games squeezing their way past the ever-swelling torrent of schlock (which, incidentally, is an old nickname of mine).

as with many areas of entertainment/the arts (and, inexplicably, politics), the recession has brought to gaming a trend towards conservatism. as such, the year’s release list is dominated by established franchises. sequels, and in particular threequels, were everywhere:

Killzone 3, Lego Star Wars III, Fable III, Dirt 3, F.E.A.R. 3, Resistance 3, Just Dance 3, Battlefield 3, Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, Saints Row: The Third and Modern Warfare are just some (well, most) of 2011’s third-installments.

then there were the 2s, the 4s, the 5s, the HD redos, the spin-offs, the non-canonical affiliates and so on. in fact, of full releases for the major consoles (and that right there is a key), only a very modest proportion were representative of new ideas.

hope, however, continues to spring up at the margins, and stuff like XBLA and iOS gaming continue to offer a platform to niche/indie games and small-scale developers. as such, in terms of the future of gaming, two of the year’s most significant releases in my opinion were Final Fantasy III for iOS and Real Racing 2 for Mac.

following last year’s release of iOS versions of FFs I and II, this year saw FF III hit the App Store to near universal approval from fans. now personally, i hate RPG games and have a special hatred for the FF franchise, but the reason i think the release was so important is that it basically turned out to be almost exactly the same as FFIII on the Nintendo DS, but for somewhere between half and a third of the price, depending on when you bought it.

as for RR, we’ve been talking about the iOS gaming revolution for a long time at GamePeople (did you ever check out my probably too ahead-of-its-time, cunningly pseudonymous TouchGamer column, with its stock image of an old man staring at an iPhone?) and finally it seems to be realising its potential as a fully-fledged gaming platform. trust me, Nintendo and Sony are scared.

Real Racing 2 for Mac, arriving as it did towards the end of the year, signalled another coup for Apple. when the original Real Racing hit the iOS App Store in Autumn 2009 it was obvious (as i noted at the time) that it was a big deal. since then an HD version and a sequel have taken that potential and ran around wanging it about their heads like so much jumper.

the beauty of the Mac version (from Apple’s point of view) is the way that it beautifully builds on the success of Firemint/EA’s iOS app whilst also integrating it with the so far relatively un-developed gaming potential of Intel-era Macs and the slick logistics of the Mac App Store.

the ‘hook’ is that once Safari is pointed at a specific server, an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad functions as your controller. i won’t rehearse my forthcoming GamePeople review, but suffice to say that it works really well and all the idiots on the App Store moaning about autorotate and so on are idiots.

as for the more generic issue of the list of my eleven favourite games of 2011, it looks like as follows:

11. Forza 4 (360)
10. Dark Souls (PS3)
9. LA Noire (360)
8. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (360)
7. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PS3)
6. Stacking (XBLA)
5. Batman: Arkham City (PS3)
4. Portal 2 (360)
=2. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
=2. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (360)
1. Uncharted 3 (PS3)

———-

honourable mentions:
o Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (iOS)
o NBA 2K12 (PS3)
o Iron Brigade (XBLA)
o Jetpack Joyride iOS
o Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (XBLA)
o Star Wars Lego III: The Clone Wars (360)

———-

utterly dishonourable mentions:
o Duke Nukem Forever (PS3)
o Deathsmiles (360)
o Grey Matter (360)

and finally …

if i had to pick one game that i’m looking forward to most at the moment, it would have to be:

o Spelunky (XBLA) – the wait for the HDified version of Derek Yu’s great indie platformer has me stretched on tenterhooks.

that’s all for now, and here’s to a vintage year for sticks and pads of joy in 2012.

… keeeeeep gamin’

#tirednewsflash: new news

*TiredNeeeews
dumdumdumdumdumd
TiredNeeeews
dumdumdumdumdumd

TiredNeeews TiredNeeews TiredNeeews,
dum dum dum

*sung to the tune of the Channel 4 News tune

and, your headlines are:

1) US public support for Bradley Manning falls after confusion with Bernard Manning cleared up.

b) Glitter Twitter-comeback faked.
T-shirts hailing him as the ‘Thierry Henry of Paedos’ withdrawn.

iv) Gingrich loses eye: local witches suspected.

) Stealing From Idiots, Alain de Botton’s new book about achieving bliss whilst being ‘very much the opposite of ignorant’, fails to find smug-enough audience.

&) “In truth, no news is actually bad news” admits head of ITN News

£) Princess Michael of Kent to be ‘hit hardest’ by welfare reforms.

that is all.
bonsoir.