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View Profile Dean
I play video games, watch Star Trek, listen to British punk and drink Guinness.

30, Male

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Scotland

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Dean's News

Posted by Dean - February 1st, 2014


As I mentioned in my last post I accepted a job offer recently and I've now been working there for almost a month. Time has really flown by and the people I'm working with are all good fun. Had my first pay day a few days ago as well, which was never going to be a bad thing. It's nice to finally have a proper income for once. There was also a works night out last night which I went to just as a chance to get to know some of the people better. Was a good night but I'm not looking forward to seeing some of the photos on Monday.

Something else that I've started recently is making the switch to Blu-Ray. Prices seem to be a lot more reasonable than I remember them so I figured it'd be worth a shot. I have a small stack of films that I plan to watch in the near future but so far I haven't started any of them yet. I got: Alien, Aliens, An American Werewolf in London, Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers, Forbidden Planet, Mars Attacks!, The Thing (1982) and the Universal Monsters box set which has 8 horror films from the 30's onwards. Stuff like Dracula and Frankenstein. Hopefully I'll get a couple of those watched this weekend. I've always felt like I don't fully appreciate media as much as most other people seem to. I watch something and then generally forget about it. It's not very often that I think about what I watched or the message it was trying to convey so I'm toying with the idea of writing "reviews" after I watch a movie. Not with the intention of having other people read them, but just so that I'm required to think about the films.

I'm still gaming fairly regularly too. At the start of the year I got a PS3 with The Last of Us and Arkham Origins. I've already beaten The Last of Us and thought it was a pretty interesting game. It wasn't particularly challenging but it had a nice story and atmosphere that made me want to keep playing. On my 22nd birthday I also received a copy of Symphony of the Night from my brother which I was not expecting. This is without a doubt the most sought after / valuable game in my collection now and arguably one of the best. Haven't finished it yet but I'm probably not too far away from the end. Also currently trying to play through the Uncharted series when I get a chance but so far I'm a little underwhelmed by it. I expected more, but I'll stick with it. Other than that, I'm probably just going to be trying to get more of the PS3 exclusive games that I've been missing out on over the years. I've put a little list together so I'll just get them when I'm in the mood for them.

Ever since I graduated from university I've also not done much in the way of programming. That's something I'm hoping to change but realistically I don't know how much of my free time I'll want to invest in it. My free time is obviously a lot more limited now than it was so it can be hard to do all the things I'm wanting to do. Probably going to get myself a Raspberry Pi, just as something to keep me interested I suppose. It's not really a necessary purchase but I'm interested in trying to write some client/server applications so the Pi could easily act as a cheap server machine.

Oh, I've also taken to reading manga again. Not that it's something I have much experience of but a while back I ordered the first two volumes of Magi. Read the first and some of the second before I just stopped and left them. Started reading it again and I'll probably try to stick with it. Also considering getting back into the Walking Dead graphic novels. I have the first 4 volumes which I read a while back and then never got around to getting the 5th.

Anyway, you guys been up to anything exciting?


Posted by Dean - January 1st, 2014


Happy new year!

I feel as though for the past 6 or so news posts I've always been talking about how I'm still looking for a job since my graduation. Well, at long last, the hunt appears to be over. About mid way through December I ended up with three seperate job offers. Funny how things work. They were for a variety of roles too, but all made use of my degree. The first offer was for an applications support analyst position, the second for an IT support position and the third for a programming role.

I'd have been happy with any of those jobs but I'm going with the IT support role. It's a 15 minute bus ride from my house, the money is good, the people I met at the interview seemed like people that'd be fun to work with and the job itself seems like the one I'd enjoy the most. With it having been Christmas and New Year, the process has been a bit slow though. I sent off my acceptance thing right before Christmas, so hopefully I should hear back with a start date and some more information about the job in the next week or so. Can't wait to get started. Feels like a long time since University came to an end.

In other news, I've not really been up to too much. Still go to see the occasional live band at the pub, still trying to get better at guitar and still trying to get through all the sci-fi shows I mentioned in my last post.

2014 also marks my 6th year on Newgrounds. On one hand it feels like I've been visiting this site for a long time but on the other hand 6 years seems insane. I'll be turning 22 in two weeks. I was 16 when I started coming on Newgrounds. Time sure flies.

Anyway, hope you guys all had a good Christmas. I'm not going to bother with the whole "new years resolution" nonsense because, lets face it, nobody sticks to those things.


Posted by Dean - December 1st, 2013


So later this week I'm expecting to hear back about a job that seemed promising. I had the interview a couple weeks back and it seemed to go as well as it could have. Don't want to get my hopes up because that usually just leads to disappointment but I'm really hoping I get this job. We'll see though.

Yet again, I've not really been up to much. Been practising with the band most Tuesdays. Managed to learn quite a few of their songs but I still have a long way to go before I consider myself a good guitarist. I'll be getting Rocksmith on Xbox 360 in the near future, probably Christmas, with the intention of using it to better myself at playing guitar. It has quite a good set list and some of the songs would probably be worth playing if I learn them.

It was around this time last year that I decided to try the original Star Trek series and from their spawned a love of sci-fi shows. Since last year, I've watched all of the original Star Trek, all of The Next Generation, most of Deep Space Nine and all the Star Trek movies with the exception of Into Darkness. I've also watched about half of Babylon 5. Last week I got a big box of goodies that I ordered from amazon. Doctor Who series 1-4, Red Dwarf series 1-8 and Battlestar Galactica on DVD. So currently I'm trying to finish of Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine but I'll likely start watching Doctor Who soon too.

Overall 2013 has been a pretty decent year. I got my honours degree in Computer Science. It'll be an even better year if I get offered a job this coming week. Really hope I do.

Edit: I was instructed by Amaranthus to give him a special thank you for reminding me to make this post.

December - A Hopeful Month


Posted by Dean - November 2nd, 2013


So I've ended up in a band. As a guitarist, to be a little more precise. A couple weeks back I was asked if I wanted to go along to a local band's practise and mess about on my guitar since their usual guitarist was ill. I thought this was going to be a one off thing but I was then asked if I would play an upcoming gig with them in December. Now I'm told that their guitarist isn't in the best of health and is unlikely to be returning, so I've been asked if I'll stay on as their lead guitarist.

I'm not a good guitarist. In fact, until maybe a day or two before being asked to go to their practise session, I hadn't played my guitar in a long time. I've never really had any guitar lessons, aside from the occasional one back when I was in high school. I learnt guitar by trial and error. I'd put on one of the albums I listen to a lot and just try to work out how to play the songs by ear. I eventually learned how to play most of this album. I wouldn't say I'm an awful guitarist, but I never really considered myself good enough to be performing in front of people. Time for me to become a better guitarist I guess.

These guys are a sort of blues rock cover band but they seem to do a bit of everything. Although now that I'm stepping in as their new guitarist I think they plan on changing their set-list so that it better suits me. From what I gathered there's going to be more of a punk influence now, seeing as that's primarily what I play. It'd still be cool to do some other stuff too. I learnt a few songs between the first and second practise session. Songs like Dakota by Stereophonics, Teenage Kicks by The Undertones and a couple others.

Hopefully I'm able to stick with this. I've seen plenty local bands play over the years so it'd be interesting to be in a and rather than watching one for a change.


Posted by Dean - October 1st, 2013


I don't have much to talk about this month. Not much has changed since last month really.

One thing I have been trying to do is spend more of my free time productively. I spoke about trying to make programming more of a hobby in a previous news post but it was a pretty short lived attempt. I'm back at it though. Currently messing about with Python as a language for web development. Been using the Flask framework which is actually pretty neat. Thanks to Diki for recommending I look into that. Right now I'm just trying to build a few simple web apps that I can hopefully get a handful of people to checkout and provide feedback on.

It's a pretty uneventful time for me right now. Still in need of a job, been playing GTA V occasionally and been going to see local live bands whenever I get the chance.

This is a pretty short news post and if it wasn't for my tradition of writing one of these things on the first of the month I probably wouldn't have bothered. To make up for it, here's a low quality picture of me in the pub with some bikers I got speaking to. Nice chaps. I'm the big fella in the middle who looks like he's fallen asleep, if you couldn't work it out for yourself.

October - Another Month


Posted by Dean - September 1st, 2013


So I'm still looking for a job but some progress has been made. I put my CV up on an IT site and was contacted by 3 recruitment agencies, the first of which seem to be very helpful and after meeting them, seem very optimistic that I'll be able to find work as a software developer in no time. I hope they're right because as fun as this little period of post-university unemployment is, I'm starting to feel like I lack purpose.

A couple days ago I had to travel to their offices to take a test set by one of the companies I'm applying to work for. The first test was 12 multi-choice software engineering and maths questions. I got 11 out of 12 correct but the frustrating thing about that is that the question I got wrong should also have been one of the easiest: simultaneous equations. It had been years since I'd last been asked to solve a pair of simultaneous equations and I just couldn't remember or work out how to do it. I felt a little silly. Still, 11 out of 12 ain't bad. For passing that test I had to do a second, written test which basically tested on knowledge on software engineering concepts. I think I did pretty well on that but there were a couple questions related to relational databases that I couldn't answer and also at least one question that I since realised I got wrong. I didn't get my results for that test because they get sent off to the company I'm applying for and if they think I did good enough I guess they'll get back to me and invite me to an assessment day.

Other than that, I've not been up to much lately. Back to watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and trying to enjoy some of my free time by playing video games.

Update:

Probably going to go and see Sham 69 on the 6th. It's the 1977 line up too. Hope they still sound as good after all these years.


Posted by Dean - August 1st, 2013


A couple days ago I had a job interview for what essentially came across as a web development position, although I imagine there is a little more to it than that. The interview seemed to go okay but I honestly wasn't expecting much in the way of competition from other applicants. The job was targeted at recent Computer Science graduates and it isn't near any cities so I was hoping there wouldn't me much interest. However, I saw a guy get interviewed before me and the two guys who interviewed me said they had more interviews after me that day and some more the next day, so I'd say that there are probably another 8 applicants at most.

I was told that I should hear back within a couple days, which probably means by the end of the week but I'm thinking it'll more likely be sometime next week. Really hoping that I do get that job for a few reasons: it'd allow me to remain local, they offer a good training period which sounds like a good transition from education to the working world and they guys ho interviewed me are the guys I'll be working with and they both seemed like decent guys. So I'm really hoping to be told some time soon that I've got the job but part of me can't help being sceptical. Getting that job would make my life easy and we all know that life tends to enjoy being difficult. See, if I don't get that job, I'm more than likely going to have to start looking for jobs in Edinburgh, which is about an hour away from where I live, so as well as the hassle of finding a job I'd also probably have to move their which isn't ideal right now, but at the same time, it's something I'd like to do.

In other news I've not really been up to much. I finished watching The Sopranos last month an OMG BEST TV SHOW EVER. Seriously, if you haven't seen that show, go watch it now. Regardless if your interests, that show probably has something for everyone. Another achievement of mine from last month is that I managed to beat the original Metroid. That makes it the second game from the NES / Master System era that I've ever beaten. The other game being Master of Darkness. Currently giving Bioshock another chance. I've had that game for years but never beaten it as I always got bored of it before the end. I'm enjoying it a little more this time I guess, so maybe I'll beat it and move onto Bioshock 2.

Something else that I've revisited is a website that I was previously working on in order to try and teach myself new things. However, my ideas for the site have changed quite a lot since I originally started. Currently the plan is to make a site for gamers that focuses on being community driven. I'm not just referring to community discussions either, I mean the site content will written and maintained by users. I can't really explain it too much because my ideas are changing and developing all the time. There's also the chance that I'll never end up finishing it because it's quite a big project, I think, for someone to do on their own but that's how I want to do it. So I guess we'll see if much progress has been made by next month, or if I even still care about it by then.


Posted by Dean - July 1st, 2013


Well, I received my degree so I guess it's time to look for a job. I feel like I've mentioned jobs in the past few posts and still not actually started looking for one. I guess it's just strange because up until now, this time of year has always been my summer holidays, so it's kinda weird not officially having one right now. It's not as though I'm waiting for school or university to start again. I'm not waiting for anything other than myself and it's kinda strange. As much as I'd like to be working right now and making a start on life, I suppose it just seems like such a hassle getting to that point. But still, that's life and I need to get on with it. Hopefully by the time I write next months blog, or whatever you want to call these things, I'll have made some progress. I really hope so.

In the mean time I've just been trying to enjoy the free time. Mostly I've just been playing video games, browsing the internet and going for the odd walk if the weather is nice out. Getting drunk every odd weekend if I have people to go to the pub with. Nothing super exciting really.

Today I actually made a start on watching The Sopranos. It's a shame it took the death of James Gandolfini to motivate me to finally order the DVDs. I've been meaning to watch this show for years now but back then it cost a lot more to get the box set. It's not so expensive now so I thought I'd just get it. I've only watched the first few episodes but so far it's great. Definitely going to be a show I'll enjoy.

I've also got Twin Peaks sitting here and I plan to watch through it at some point too. Picked that up because I recently beat Deadly Premonition and I loved that game so much that I just had to check out the TV series that heavily inspired the game. After playing Deadly Premonition I have really high expectations of Twin Peaks. I just hope my expectations aren't so high that I end up feeling disappointed by it, because I'd now probably consider Deadly Premonition to be my favourite game of all time. If not, it's definitely up there as one of my favourites.

As you've probably gathered, I'm sort of at a loss for coming up with anything interesting to write about, so I'll just end it here.


Posted by Dean - June 1st, 2013


"Subject to the approval of the Senate, the examiners have recommended that you be awarded the following: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with Honours of the Second Class (Upper Division)"

Well, that's it folks. It's finally over. I've graduated from university and now the only thing I have left to do is attend the graduation ceremony. After that I'll be completely done with university. Still not particularly looking forward to having to wear that gown thing.

I've still not started job hunting yet either which is starting to annoy me but it's my fault. I told myself I was going to give myself a week or two after uni finished to just chill for a change. It's been four weeks now... I'll need to get started soon. It's not that I don't want to be working, because I really do, I suppose subconsciously I'm just delaying the job hunting process. Need to get my act together though.

So yea, not a great deal has been happening with me recently. Like I said, just chillin. Been playing through the Mass Effect Trilogy and The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead game is fantastic by the way. If you've not played it, I highly recommend it. I got really into it and before I realised, I'd been playing it for 6 hours straight.

I suppose it might interest some of you to know that I've also sort of gotten into (or am in the process of getting into) comic books. I've always been interested in comic books but never really had any, with the exception of the first 4 Walking Dead volumes. I recently found out about Marvel Now! and DC's New 52 which interested me, seeing as it's apparently a way for new readers to jump on without feeling too alienated. I've read some Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men Legacy and Cable and X-Force. I was always put off by the fact that a lot of comic characters have comic books that span several hundred issues, but Marvel Now! (haven't tried any of the New 52) definitely makes them feel more accessible. Enjoyed reading them so far so I think I'll stick with this for a while. Helps keep me amused for a little while at least.


Posted by Dean - May 1st, 2013


Tomorrow will be my last university exam and Friday will be my last day of university. It has been a long 4 years of mixed feelings. Looking back I wish I'd done things differently, but those choices would probably have left me worse off in the long run. The past 4 years haven't been particularly bad or anything, but if I could re-live them, part of me thinks I'd do some stuff differently. Perhaps my biggest "regret" was choosing to commute from home rather than move to the city. It no doubt saved me a lot of money (I've come out of university debt free) but it was also the boring approach. I feel like I missed out on a huge part of the experience and made it harder to be more social with some of the friends I made over the years.

Anyway, it's almost over. I always imagined that I'd have a job lined up by now, but that never happened. Again, I blame it on me not living in the city but maybe that's just me looking for excuses. Now I need to get my act together and find a job. I'm really, really hoping that I'm able to find a decent job in Edinburgh that'd allow me to move there. I don't want to live in this town any more. My childhood friends either moved away or grew distant from me while I was at university. Edinburgh just seems like it has a lot more going on. It'd be a totally fresh start. New people, new places. I don't really know anyone who lives in Edinburgh, with the exception of a few of my uni mates, who may or may not still be living there after they graduate.

But yea, other than all that going on, not much is happening. Been considering trying to develop a HTML5 game in my free time and eventually uploading it to Newgrounds if it I think it's good enough. I'm just not sure if the motivation to do it will last. Whenever I start a personal project like that it starts off well and then my interest just gradually dwindles and I rarely seem to see things through. I think it's usually because more important work takes priority and leaves me a little demotivated when it comes to doing more work in my free time. Who knows though. I'd like to make a submission to Newgrounds some day. Been using this site since 2007 and I've not contributed anything creative at all.

The sun also appeared for the first time in a while yesterday. I tried to make the most of it by going for a walk in the woods with my dog. Below is a photo that I took when out on the walk and it's amazing for me to think that it was actually taken in Scotland. It looks so foreign to me. It looks... really nice.

May - An End of an Era Month