Sunday, December 21, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 21 - Santa

I've already done one Santa pic, way back for day 5 - Red.

But, today - here's one I've been using as an avatar all month :
Dragon Santa !

Had to be done. I'll use him as my avatar all through December.

I've treated myself today. I had a mad moment where I paid the (probably exorbitant) price for Elite : Dangerous. It's £40 at the moment, which I consider a bit hefty. But I paid it anyway because I remember all that time sunk into the original Elite. Need to get my flightstick out again for this one and to dust off the printer for the keyboard layout.

On gaming, I've just watched a lovely chilled out stream from Pippa Warr (@philippawarr) about a game that's coming out very soon, called How To Build A Snowman. It's a simple puzzle game, utterly charming. And I got a lovely chuckle when I linked over the Internet Hug pic :-) (there was a bauble related reason). I think I may be tuning in for more if she does more.

More pics ?
One more :
Muahaha. Have a good evening everyone.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 20 - Snowman

It could only be ...

Return of the Snow Thing !
I made him a number of years ago. We hadn't had snow for quite a few years, so when it started falling one winter night it was a massive novelty.

So of course I had to head outside at 11.30 to build a snowman. You can probably tell by his size that we didn't actually get much snow that night. But it had to be done ! I bet I got a few funny looks from the neighbours too, which makes it worth it.

More pic ?
Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbes is an absolute legend. And one of the staples of Calvin & Hobbes was always the snowmen scenes in the winter.

Utterly hilarious.

Now for some chilling out - on the telly we have the Strictly Come Dancing finale. I have no clue who's going to win. Once the also rans were eliminated, it's been an incredibly strong field with 6 potential winners. I hope Caroline wins, although it would be good to see Mark win as he's come from nothing to be something pretty special.

And on the desktop, we have Yogscast doing (or trying to do - the game is a bit broken) Civ V on the livestream. That's usually good for a laugh as they ally, betray and backstab each other in an otherwise friendly game.

But I better wrap - I've been hearing the dinner bell going off in the kitchen. Better rescue my munchies before the smoke alarm tells me :
Cya !

Friday, December 19, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 19 - Pine Cone

Ah well - having to cheat on this one again :
I have to admit, I don't go too many places there are pine cones. I do have one of my own pics for tomorrow though.

My Xmas leave starts here ! By golly do I need it too. The physical and mental batteries are drained, the outsides need some healing time and there's a few things I need to sort out around the house.

Plans :

Head up to see the mum & dad at some point for the Xmas day festivities;
Hopefully see Cupid's Gift again if she's free (am missing that chuckle);
Watch lots of movies and recorded stuff;
Perhaps see a few movies with the Crazie mob ?

I'm kicking it off tonight with pizza and by watching Blade Runner. It's a Ridley Scott directed movie from the 80s and it is ... stunningly beautiful in its own dingy way. I have the blu ray edition Final Cut and for an old movie, it does look amazing still off the bluray. The sound isn't maybe as good as bluray quality but it's still really good.

Harrison Ford leads this movie incredibly well, ably supported by Sean Penn (ed - erm, make that Sean Young). And the soundtrack by Vangelis is out of this world.

Still tired though. I may not be up long after the movie finishes.
I'll hibernate over the weekend but I will head out early next week. There's a few errands I have to do. Like get my jacket fixed ! There's not much damage but the zipper has gone which means ... coooold. It's an old jacket and I may actually retire it ...

I also need to get HMV to sort out a couple of blurays I bought. Plan A tonight was to watch XMen Days Of Future Past but the girl in the store was too confused to remove the anti-theft tag. So early next week will see me visit the store (with receipt) to sort that out. Ha ! First World Problems.

Back to the movie :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 18 - Stockings

Whatever could we use for stockings ...

Well, I can think of something that ends up being very photogenic in stockings ...
Haha - I suspect you were thinking of something different ...

Ok. You thought it, you asked for it (beware mental scarring again)
Yogscast strike again :-)

Gotta admit, I'm really flagging at the moment. It must be the after effects of yesterday's Xmas party but I'm quite drained now. Definitely looking forward to the Xmas break now. Just one more day to go. So what happened yesterday ? Can't remember what I wrote actually (brb).

I drank wine ... That doesn't happen too often. I tend to avoid alcohol due to unfortunate ill tendencies ... I was the only one on our table drinking the white wine and ended up having maybe 4 glasses, most of the bottle.

Oops. I wasn't ill or anything. I didn't actually notice the wine too much. I definitely noticed the freebie rose wine we had before going in for the dinner.

Nah - it's the walking that got me. I went on a rather strange route, Google reckoned it was 2 miles, I reckon I must have walked at least 3 on that leg, plus another mile after that. It just happened to take me past the Happy Cookie Place again ... All those miles have settled into my legs and made them rather stiff and sore today.

However ... one thing I'm happy about is that I'm able to do that indefinite walking thing again. That would have been difficult a month or so ago when there was still swelling in my legs and ankles. Pretty much all of that's gone now. Hurrah ! I'm still looking like I've been dragged through that thornbush but at least I have most of my mobility back again.

Wow - this post has ended up longer than expected. Tiredness meant I thought I'd just post the pictures and run. But not before saying ...

I may be tired, fatigued and waiting to collapse tomorrow night but - Cupid's Gift is still making me laugh out loud with the random text messages.

Beware - I may end up being insufferable with mentions of Cupid's Gift :-) The image of her lovely bubbly chuckle is one I'm desperately trying to retain in my mind !

Before I go, if anyone sees me doing this at work tomorrow :
Or just tell me there's been a text come in from Cupid's Gift. That'll wake me up.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 17 - Favourite Holiday Movies

Crikey.

This could be one of those weird posts where I make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Whaddya mean ! That's every post. Ok. Guilty as charged.

Favourite holiday movies ? There can only be one absolute favourite :
It has to be that ultimate anti-holiday movie. Guns, explosions, crazy people. And it's set at Xmas.

What else ? There's a bunch of favourite movies with a Xmas connection for me :

Fifth Element. That riotous frantic headlong flight through an Earth of 500 years hence, all brought to us by the vision of Luc Besson. He's something special as a film maker. I add this one because we usually watch it in the Crazie Anti-Xmas gathering that we have a few days after the 25th. Hopefully that'll happen again this year. Perhaps a certain little Cupid's Gift lady could come along too ? I'm sure the Crazies would make her welcome, although it depends on our busy little lady's availability.

Hoping to see our Cupid's Gift again soon. The memory of that magic bubbly chuckle she has fades too quickly.

More movie !

When I was growing up, the Star Wars movies (original versions!) were the definitive Xmas day movie. They were on every year. I may do a run of all 6 movies this holiday. I need to clear space on the box first though (too much Doctor Who and ST:TNG).

I may well watch these guys too :
Minions are awesome. And somehow, I've not watched my copy of Despicable Me 2 yet.

The Lord of the Rings films have been an annual staple of Xmas too, albeit in the cinema and not in the small screen. I don't own the Hobbit movies yet but may watch the LOTRx3 movies over the break. I suspect Star Wars will be the Xmas movie of the next few years, judging by the timings.

Oh my, tiredness and incoherency are threatening to come down on me. Although I'm fighting it ... My route home happened to take me past the Happy Cookie Place, so of course more cookies appeared. As well as, one of the Cakes Larger Than My Hand :
It will not last out the night.

PS You can see two signs on my hand there ... it's my right hand which has the natural Vulcan salute. I must have broken fingers at some point, although I can't remember. You'd have thought I would ? The second sign is some of the psoriasis spotting on my wrist. It's improving, honest !

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 16 - Favourite Christmas Song

Ooo. Let's see ... Could this be an excuse for a music post ?

Picture first.
That's one of the opening frames of Kim's So This Is Yogscast, one of their Xmas songs from last year. And, like the lady herself, it's a little cracker. Linky ! Go check it out ! It's guaranteed to :

Make you go ahhh with the cuteness
Have you sing along
Get you falling in love with this little lady
Give you an appreciation for the fun that these people have
Show you how they can transfer that fun to the audience.
Have you joining in with that effervescent Kim-chuckle at the end.

Yep. It's still one of my favourite christmas songs. I wonder if Cupid's Gift sings ? I hope so, although the bubbly chuckle she has is enough for me. She definitely likes very similar music to what I do, including getting me remembering The Cranberries and one of their highlights - Dreams.

Word of warning though, the two christmas songs this year are ... 1st one - very poor and 2nd one - objectionable and likely to get banned. Actually the first one has redeeming features (it has Hannah and Kim singing and showing up the boys) but I wouldn't be surprised if the second gets banned. Actually, don't ban it because that just leads to more publicity. That's enough about this year's songs, check out this one !

More songs ? More pics ? Let's see :

Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews did an incredible version of Baby It's Cold Outside. Love it.

Kirsty MacColl had the voice of an angel, which was lost to us far too early. Here's her version of Fairytale Of New York. (Warning - strong language)

Going back a bit (and grabbing a pic!), a childhood favourite : Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Going back even more, Eartha Kitt's voice is perfectly suited to Santa Baby (wonderful song). As is Yogscast - Hannah's ... although her version is way naughtier ;-) (Haha - I'm not linking Arthas Baby !)

And ... I just watched Arthas Baby again (the one on youtube with the Yogs reactions) and ... No way I'm linking that ! (lol). But I've given you enough hints that you should be able to find it. Beware mental scarring.

One last one. Elaine Paige is one of many artists who have done Christmas albums and the highlight from her's is the heartwarming The Coldest Night Of The Year (Incredible Phat). Lovely.
Nite folks - back tomorrow with holiday movies.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 15 - Decorations

I don't have much time today, before heading out for Hobbit 3 so ... short post.

(And there was much rejoicing !)
That's the lights outside Cribbs Causeway, our local Mall.

Beside the castle thingy (pink/purple on left), there's an open air ice rink and various sellers of goodies. Things like hats / scarces, sweeties, hog roast, chestnuts, all the stuff you'd expect from an outdoor christmas theme market thingy. And typically overpriced of course.

I'll be heading back into town again tonight to watch Hobbit 3, hence me looking to get this post off quickly. Cupid's Gift finishes work late, so early dinner for me. (That's a shame, I haven't had the chance to buy dinner for a Pretty Lady in ... years).

Hobbit 3 is kind of a 2.5 film. It finishes off the story pretty well. And it goes beyond the book to fill in all the gaps. When the trilogy bluray comes out, I'll enjoy doing a marathon epic of Hobbit x3 followed by LOTR x3. I have a few more of those coming up too, there's a few movies coming out that continue series :

Star Wars - must see.
Jurassic World
Terminator
And I'll watch Divergent again before seeing Insurgent.

It should be good times for films next year.

Decorations ?
May your's stay intact and unmolested through this season of temptation for our pets.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 14 - Hot Drink

I headed off into town again today. One reason :
Yep. I am addicted to the hot chocolate again.

Today it was from the German Market, that day it was SohocoffeeCo hot chocolate. And when she asks "marshmallows and cream too ?" You know what the answer is. Yes, it's bad for me. But it's sooo Goood !!!!

This time of year isn't the best to venture into the shops on the weekend. Even on a Sunday. The main car park was absolutely full and the next one on route was getting there too. Expensive as well ! £3.20 for an hour. Crikey. There's a reason why city centre trips don't happen as often as I'd like. The shops, munchie places and facilities are better but the cost of parking drives people away.

So how come I went in, despite knowing it would be packed out ?

Tickets for Hobbit;
Getting out and about;
Happy Cookie Place

Not sure how many more times I'll get chance to raid the Happy Cookie Place, the Xmas market in Bath closes today so I've missed that for another year. Oh well.

There were enough people going to the market that they ran out of half meter Bratwurst !

Looks like I didn't need to get tickets early (girl on the till reckons not many have been sold yet) but I'm glad I got the chance to get out of the house. I have a mix of hyperactivity tendency and tiredness at the moment. When I got out of the car park and into walking, the hyperactivity was driving me into ZOOM. I walk fast when I feel that need. But after a while, the lack of conditioning in my legs was becoming apparent. Ouch.

I'm watching 2010 at the moment. Wonder if the boys managed to see 2001 today ? 2010 is the sequel, it sees a joint US and Russian mission going out to find out what happened to the Discovery. (Hiding spoilers!) The book was written at a time when the USSR was still a valid superpower, instead of a bankrupt one that likes to rattle the sabre occasionally.

I'm at the point where they're about to board a derelict Discovery.

It's a decent film. Not watched it for ages now. The science in there is still valid now, having been based on principles that weren't compromised by the need to jazz it up for the story (I'm looking at you Interstellar !).

I'd better get back to the movie ...
Pretty much sums up the condition of my legs today !

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 13 - presents

Ok,

So - change of plan. I was going to give a shoutout to someone for this post but ... Here's the replacement pic :
Pocket dwagon strikes !

This one's "It's A Present". I don't actually have that one. My pocket dragon collection used to be much bigger but Ravenwolf took custody of more than half of them when she moved out almost a decade ago (to be fair, she was the one who bought most of them!). Sadly, pocket dragons are no longer made, so you have to raid Ebay for them.

What was the presents post going to be ? One of the youtube people I keep mentioning does a series in December, an Advent series where they do videos opening what the fans send in. It's fairly amusing :-). But I'm not going to send shoutouts their way any more. (Ok, just the one, it'll be in a few days time)

That sounds a little petulant doesn't it ? I guess it does. Or it's just someone giving up and moving on after a multitude of attempts to get someone's attention in order to answer the need for them to find company. Or maybe that isn't their actual need ? They just say it on the videos to seek a certain response from the audience. That's a shame because the quality of the videos otherwise means they'd captivate that audience, without getting it from the emotional/protective response.

Either way, there's another little lady who's got my attention at the moment.

I watched Hobbit 3 yesterday with a very good friend (aka Luth). He's one of my movie buddies. I'll quite happily head off to the cinema on my own. I should really look at doing other things as well to get me out and about, bit cold at the moment to go walking up mountains though, or other stuff like that. Yep, Luth's one of the movie buddies, as are the Craziemob.

It's a mixed mob, each movie buddy likes different types of films. So where one wouldn't go to see Hobbit 3 (haha - I know how much CK loathes the suck everything out of the franchise attitude surrounding these films), another didn't want to see Interstellar.

I'm hoping I'll have another regular movie buddy :-) I'll be going to see Hobbit 3 again on Monday night with a Pretty Lady.

It's true ! I saw that look. Haha :-)

Actually, that brings me back to presents because I have a little preparation to do. First thought was to do that today but it looks like I missed a bullet. After today, there's only 1 more shopping Saturday until Xmas. Which means ... chaos. Looks like it was chaos out there today. I'll head in tomorrow instead for :

Bratwurst - yes, I'll miss that German Market when it goes.
Hot Chocolate - yes, I'm addicted again.
Presents ... What can I say ? I like doing nice things for people.
Happy Cookie Place - those cookies ! sooo good.
Early buying of the tickets - I don't think they'll be booked out. Friday was close but that was opening night. Monday's tend to be quieter (unless it's a one time in the week 2001 showing !)

This next week will be fairly busy. A night out with the Pretty Lady on Monday, an afternoon/evening with the team on Wednesday (not convinced how long I'll stay out) and pre-break shopping to sneak in some time too.

I'm looking forward to the break. It'll be a chance to heal and a chance to hibernate. The healing is positive and negative. I am genuinely healing but it's still ridiculously easy to set it back through ill discipline. I'd hoped to be healed up by now but it's still taking its time.

A new telly might appear ... But it will depend on the right offer being in place. My requirements are :
Big Screen - 55 inch preferred.
4k ultra HD resolution.
High processing rate - this affects the smoothness of the movement between frames. And now I know what to look for, a low processing rate (like on the Samsungs) is really noticeable. They're ok for static images but I was starting to feel ill watching them.

It could be an LG Big Telly. But ... It needs the right offer and I really do need to fix a couple of other things :
The heating - it's ok for heating water but it really needs fixing.
The washing machine pipe - it's leaking more and more over the course of a wash.
And generally making the house suitable for visitors.

I suspect the pipe will be an easy fix, outside of getting access to the back of the washing machine. It may not even need replacing (I suspect a bad washer).
This has gone into random thoughts territory hasn't it ?

Time to concentrate on the music again. I'm getting closer to listening to everything, although 2 more soundtracks appeared today courtesy of GoG.com's sale. There's only 800 more tracks to listen to. That'll take me into the new year.

Especially as I have this habit of adding more stuff to the library !

Friday, December 12, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 12 - Joy is ...

Let's see.

What could be more appropriate than :
Yep. It had to be pizza.

That's a BBQ Meat Feast pizza done by my current favoured pizza outlet, the Pizza Hut Delivery that's really close to where I live. I can hit the button to confirm a web order, put on shoes & outside stuff and still walk there with a few minutes to spare before it comes out of the oven (never rush food, especially pizza). I reckon it's actually quicker to walk there than it would be to take the car.

I'd actually prefer to walk, it offsets some of the calories that are in the pizza.

Demolishing a pizza is still something that satisfies one of those Make Pete Happy things. It fills me up, it's tasty, including multiple different tastes and it satisfies the naughty guilty pleasure aspect. I do pay for it later though, I'm developing a minor lactose intolerance. Nothing really serious, certain foods (including pizza and cheese) make me produce too much acid. I'm usually prepared for a great deal of trouble getting to sleep the night after having a pizza.

I have a few other known allergies too, the most serious is citrus/orange. I had two connected incidents where I nearly carted myself off to hospital due to having a great deal of trouble breathing. That was directly linked to having orange juice and white bread ...

Wait ...
More joy ?
I'll be going to see Hobbit 3 twice over the next few days. The second will be with Cupid's Gift on Monday night and I'm expecting that to be huge fun. Mostly cos she's good fun. This sounds conceited but it's rare that I find people who can keep up with me. CG definitely can.

Joy is - having someone who you can communicate with on an equal level. That's verbally, non verbally and most important, offering the gift of your time.

One frustration I've had is where I reach out to people and they don't communicate back. I like writing nice things about people and I like it more when I know they've appreciated seeing what I wrote. So you can imagine my frustration when I tell people about the nice things and they completely ignore it. Yep. I'm talking about yesterday's post. Let's just say I won't be doing a shout out to someone's channel tomorrow for "presents" ! A pity. As I genuinely admire the people I talked about but if they give me the blanking treatment, then honestly ? that's their loss.

Back to joy ?
Happy T-Rex is happy.
Sad T-Rex is sad.
Driving fast, usually at ludicrous speeds around corners, used to be a big joy. Actually, it still is, the problem is finding the places to drive at the ludicrous speeds and corners that give the challenge. That's a drawback to having a car that handles speed the way it does, both in a straight line and in the corners. The IS handles the turns extremely well and insulates you from feeling the high speeds.
Last one for today - Smiles are Awesome.