Monthly Archives: January 2011

Race for Life Challenge!

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As the year has newly started, I’ve heard everyone and including myself mention New Year’s resolutions. With Bridget Jones’s diary one of the most famous films to date, a woman expressing her need for change and managing weight issues etc.

My new resolution was to start with trying to get fit. Now in the third week of January, I have still to join yoga or aerobics classes or even the gym. So instead of trying to talk myself into ridiculous exercise routines, I found something that gave me an incentive to start getting fit. I was doing my usual browse of Facebook when I saw a friend’s status saying sign up for Race for life, the charity run for raising money for Cancer Awareness. A few of my family members have suffered from the disease in the pass and this was a way that would make me train for the race. I have always liked the idea of participating in a marathon but never really had the courage to go for it. I’m very unfit and really struggle to run just to Tesco’s around the corner!

At the moment I’m designing an exercise routine to ease me into it. I’m quite scared to be honest, It’s only 5KM, but for me that’s the equivalent to a London Marathon. I’ve signed up and have set myself a goal of raising twenty five pounds at the very least. I think I’m going to hold a bake sale at University to make some extra money. I’m going to keep you posted on my development and see if I improve my fitness level.

Hopefully this will be me on Sunday, the 15th of May in Falmouth, Cornwall…

Shadow of Rome – PS2 Review

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Shadow of Rome, a historical adventure game was first released in 2005. Quite well known for its hard levels, this game will definitely leave you on your toes. Brought to you by Capcom, the same people who did the Japanese game Onimusha, the game involves two key characters.  Agrippa, the over pumped gladiator and Octavianus, a young boy in search of claiming Justice for his friend. The game follows the two of them on their quest to find who assassinated Julius Caesar. When Agrippa’s Father is cruelly accused of committing this crime and Agrippa captured by the Roman Army, this is when Octavianus tries to fight his way past the roman guards, to find out the truth.

The game switches throughout letting the player have the chance to use both characters. This been an effective move not letting the gamer grow bored. While Octavianus has less gruesome challenges, it is Agrippa who is the highlight of the game. After been captured and made an enslaved gladiator, each level follows him fight to the death with Tigers, slaves and other Mystical beasts, sometimes maybe having to fight all of them at the same time. Having no mercy with his opponents, cutting heads off and throwing arms are just the norm for Shadow of Rome. His combat moves are amazing and the choice of weapons makes him a great warrior to play.

Octavianus’s character had missions such as passing Roman Guards of the Senate.  His character is unable to use combat, sometimes it will make it hard to fight with him, but what makes his missions  fun to play is the way he can change his identity and sneak into secret buildings, there was a bit more variety with his quests.

At the start of the game, the levels are pretty tame, easing you into it. After a certain point though it is not so easy to complete. Chariot racing is known to be one of the most ridiculous levels on it. After going round the arena several times and been ahead for most of it, the game seems to trick you into thinking you’ll win and right at the end you lose, letting the enemy take the winners title. Approximately spending at least an hour or two will eventually get you pass this level.

The levels do become more challenging and longer to complete and can make the game linger on for no reason. In the final showdown’s which usually come at the end of nearly every round you would find your enemies would have the equivalent of four life bars and yourself would only have one, which was quite unnecessary really by just prolonging the level and making it inevitable to beat. Just don’t let the game push you into frustration and throwing the controller at the wall. I’ve heard this game has had this effect on a lot of people.

Cut scenes are shown between missions to help maintain interest, letting you follow the characters developments.  Finding out that it was definitely needed; you can keep up with the storyline as it often made you wonder why you were fighting so many endless rounds. The story scenes were well written and designed letting the graphics make the game that bit better too, ranking it in top ten ps2 games to play.

All in all spending just over thirty hours on the game, it was definitely worth it. Recommending it for everyone; just make sure you have plenty of time to complete it. If you like this genre then there are other Roman Adventure games to play such as Colosseum, Spartan- Total warrior and Gladiator sword of Vengeance which is very similar to Shadow of Rome.

4/5

Marley and Me Book review

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When I raided my book shelves looking for something new and exciting to read over the Christmas period. I came across this book as an ex-housemate accidentally lent me it and me being me never returned it.

I was a fan of the movie and thought I should maybe give the book a go. The author of the tale of the worst dog ever is John Grogan. A journalist who now resides in Pennsylvania. He recalls of his time spent over the years with the golden retriever Marley. Its a coming of age story of a young couple growing up in Florida on the verge of starting a family. Marley the dog in question is there first attempt of looking after something other than a house plant. Pun not intended. What i thought was so beautiful about the book was the way Marley made himself a member of the household the minute he was bought from the farm at the side of the road. Marley is an example of life’s joys. John Grogan often mentions on how Marley had become his friend, his loyal companion and it was hard for him to carry on without him there.

“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things- a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty…”

I found this short chapter helped to sum the whole story up really. It touched me how a character could touch someone’s heart so much. I have even considered on getting a dog myself now. I suppose that everyone after reading this will think the same. I did shed a few tears at the end, I must admit. It was an ordinary couple growing up in Florida reflecting their lives whilst venturing into parenthood. It’s real and that’s what made it so joyful to read. John Grogan has become wildly popular after his novel and has gone onto write The Longest trip Home, the follow up to before Marley and Me. I do look forward to reading this one.

9/10

Just Back- Portugal

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As I stepped onto the scolding airport floor I knew I wasn’t in the British Isles any more,  I was In Portugal. The heat was beautiful, the breeze lightly touching your face. I was in Faro, the seaside town of nothing but yachts. I decided to take a detour and jump on the nearest train to Lagos. The train station was deserted, It was home to some of the huge steam like trains that you see in Films. The journey past remarkable skyline’s, families eating feasts in their back gardens, coastlines and orchards. Finally reaching Lagos on the train it looked dark. Creeping closer a light was exposed, the small town was alive. Children playing, teens mooching, families laughing, the town was exciting. After admiring the sites, the next stop was to find a hostel. Moving towards the centre of it all, I saw how the bohemian lifestyle had swept over, the locals playing guitars in the streets  and taking the night as it comes. Fish Mongers were yelling, street markets full of the most exotic food and quirky little bars open. I took my time to take in the new surroundings, absorbing the environment. Finding a hostel in what was tourist central, it was my first time in one. I was scared yet also intrigued, it was the cheapest night I had ever spent in what seemed to me as a hotel really.

Water sports was a big deal in Lagos, so I thought I should give it a go. It was either Surfing or Kayak. Going with Kayak, was a much more safer option for me. Proving to be a lot harder than imagined, it was more of a work out than an activity. After a while I did get the hang of it. We went as far as four miles out around the coastline. It was breathtaking, the caves in the cliffs, all covered with treasures, coral, shells and creatures. The Coastline was impossible to see from your ordinary beaches, you couldn’t even drive to the cliff tops. Secret beaches hidden within the cliffs, it was a special moment for us to see. Stopping off to have time to snorkel and take in the sun’s rays, I collected shells and had a well needed rest. When it was time to go back, I was only wishing we could stay longer. Also a part of me thinking I may not make it back, considering the Journey. As I traveled back, I took in the last moments of this long and challenging experience.

On the last day walking back towards the train station, I looked at the locals drinking beers, the elderly perched on the wall’s, people watching the tourists, the fish mongers still shouting at new people entering the town and I knew deep down that I would return someday to this place. I envied there way of the life too much to not come back. Portugal marked an important chapter of my life, one I will never forget, ever.