Wednesday, September 28, 2016

HC45 is Bae

I have a few feelings bouncing around me at the moment ...
Let's see ...

Tired. Definitely tired. This is mostly from an abused system that's still recovering from the devastation that happened to my outsides. Also from lack of sleep. Working on both of those now :-). Things are hopefully getting back to healthy again now.

Relief. This is from something actually working for a change with me looking for my outsides to improve ! Yep. There's been dramatic improvements which I'll talk about in a bit. The relief comes from being able to be a bit more normal in how I am around the house.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been wearing shorts in order to not have anything disrupt my legs and ankles. I've been keeping warm with a towel to keep that heat in but it's still been ... uncomfortable ? Well tonight, I'm in the comfy pants/trousers I bought yesterday and ... I have socks on for the first time at home in a few weeks.

The Hc45 cream I picked up on Monday has worked wonders. It's a hydrocortisone thingy, a topical steroid that's supposed to amp up the healing. I did use a fair bit of it on Monday evening but I didn't expect the healing to have been this good. Start the Hc45 on Monday, not need to wear my ankle bandages at work today. Awesome.

The healing isn't done yet. There was quite extensive damage to the skin on my left foot, less damage on my right. That'll take time to fix and until then, the skin will be tight and weak. I have the hopes though.

Next feeling ?

Busy. It's pretty busy at work at the moment. Can't tell you here what I'm doing but ... yep. It's busy.

Finding the fun.

Stream chat was mental last night. I was laughing out loud on many occasions. Part from what Chrissa was up to, a lot from how the people in chat were throwing the daft comments around. There was a lot of fun there. It was huge fun, if the Hc45 healing gave me hope of feeling better, getting involved in the chat gave me the chance to demonstrate that. To let out that joy feeling if you will.

Celebrating the Ben. That old pup is still with us, may he be with us for much longer ! I have been showing his pictures around and ... he's quite a photogenic old pup that one. Everybody loves the old geezer.

Bit sad that Kim hasn't acknowledged any of the pics she's had over the Twitters but ... that's kind of expected now. I'll be getting lost in the noise. I barely watch any of Kim's videos now (not enough time, no interest in what she's doing now) but if a "I'm ill, send pics !" appears, that calls to a part of me that just wants to help out people. Anyone. Everyone. I'll try and help them out, bring out a smile, if they've asked for it. I like it when there's acknowledgement but ... she's ill, I help and that helping is the only thing that really matters in the end.

Bit wondering what to watch !

I'll often have the sport on the telly. However, the combination of cricket season and the Olympics tends to sport me out somewhat. I kept up with what happened in the Paralympics but I never really watch it. Bit of sport fatigue perhaps. I'll have half an eye on the Formula 1 this weekend though, even if the result tends to be a foregone conclusion with not much interest in the race itself.

Sore.
The body is rebelling at the moment. Perhaps it's a side effect of the Hc45 ? Maybe. It's worth it if it is. My muscles aren't too happy and they're trying to cramp up at every chance. I'll happily live with that if it means getting my outsides back in good condition again. I think it's dehydration though. More water needed !

Happy.

I get to interact with some wonderful people that keep me smiling, keep me looking for ways to get them smiling. I get enough cash to do what I want to do. Not everything I want to do (houseboat !) but definitely within my means. Yes. And that miracle cure cream is doing its stuff.

About that ... The Hc45 has done well in a short time. I had been using Savlon but ... I think it was making it worse as much as it was helping. Some things work for some people, other things work for others.

Hungry/yearning. I'm half watching Bake Off at the moment and they have cake ... I am so looking forward to the German Market coming back. They have some awesome munchies which I will be partaking of liberally.

Curious. But I'll let you wonder about what I'm curious about. Gotta have me secrets !

On that note ... Cya !

Monday, September 26, 2016

Can old dogs learn new tricks ?

Maybe they can ...

I've been talking to the parents tonight, first time in a while I know ! I left it a bit too long but it has given them a chance to look away from health stuff and towards moving forwards again. If only I could do the same !

But ... who's that fella who lives with them ?
That's right ! It's the Ben-pup.

Not so much a pup now because he's sixteen years old and suffering from heart problems as well as the long term effects of that dodgy paw.
Such a regal pose. And nothing at all to do with the promise of bacon scraps off to the left of picture. Honest.

Bacon scraps still get the old fella bouncing ...
Although he's getting wise to the smuggling of medicine pills in with the Good Munchies. For all the bouncing, there is the sleeping ...
Bless. (No sleeping pooches were awakened during the taking of these pictures - I think !)

But yeah, it was good to hear from the mum and dad again. Looks like dad's still got some recovering to do after a major health scare but we're a tough mob and they're already looking forward to what they can do instead of looking backwards (like I am) to getting back to health.

Me ? I have some new Healing Gunk (hydrocortisone cream) which is having promising results already after just one evening. We'll see how it does over the week.

This isn't a post about me though. This is the Ben Appreciation Post. He's still with us, I had thought that he might have passed on in the time since I last talked to the mum and dad. Nah, they'd have rung and let me know. He's an old dog now and is spending much more time asleep than awake. Pets are family but there is that time when you recognise that you have to let them go. It's more cruel to keep them in this world rather than the next.
Quite. They are only around for a portion of our lives but we are there for all of theirs. There is a bond between a beloved family pet and their people.

I do miss having a pooch (or cat) around but because I live on my own and can be out quite some time, it would be a bit cruel for the poor thing to be on its own for most of the time.

It is good to see Ben-pup when I'm up there. He's always really happy to see his people and gets sad when he knows they're going away again.
Happy pooch is happy.
And taking his duties of guarding England from the Molehill of Unusual Size very seriously. He was taking his Cooking Monitor duties very seriously at Christmas too :
There he is, in the background there, keeping his nose keenly monitoring that steak in there for perfect munchie smells.

Not forgetting the other pooches either ! There has been Goldie, the short haired labrador who was as fast as I was. And I was quick. We had fun racing each other. He had fun unleashing his rapier like tongue for Slurps.
And the Old Gentleman himself, Scruff :
Such a wise old dog, evidenced in behaviour like knowing the theme tune to the 9 o'clock news, connecting that with watching the descending contents of the pint glass and realising that when the pint glass was empty, the news was over and it would be Walk Time. He would steadily get more and more excited as the pint was drunk.

Dogs are smart.

I'm not sure when I'll go see the mum and dad again. I'd like my ankles to be intact again. They're structurally ok but the skin is really bad and needs a chance to heal up.

Perhaps at the birthdays.
One last one. Will someone play with the Ben ? He'll love you forever if you will.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Inspiring People

Someone inspired me to write something about a few people who keep me going, bring out the smile or just just me a little bit of a lift.

You know, those people who make things a little bit easier.

There are two kinds of these people - the ones you don't see too often but who give you a wave when you catch them and those that are a constant support, whether you asked for it or not.

Or even those who you've never seen in person but cheer you up regardless.
I think I'm needing that pick me up at the moment. I am in general, in better condition than I was a month or so ago. Damaged bits of me are steadily healing up into invisibility. I was just remarking in stream chat last night about the chunk that was missing out of my ear at one point, that's all healed up now. It's my ankles that are getting me down now, they just aren't getting the chance to heal up.

But I was meaning to talk about people who keep me going, not about what's dragging me back.
Let's start with the LTK (need a better name for you my dear !) who is constantly on those communicators and messengers reacting to the craziness that I send across. She'll be reading this at some point too and I hope the smile I pass on catches. I get huge amounts of encouragement from LTK and it lets me take down some of the guardedness I have around most people.

In fact, most of the people I'll natter about here are ones I can take the armour off around. It's not just armour about not upsetting people, it's being able to talk about the hard stuff. Especially the condition with my outsides that I've been struggling with.

But yeah. LTK has the advantage of context as we work in similar areas and can therefore understand the world that causes us stress. And that helps us both deal with it more. With the daft comments that bring out the chuckles.

And talking about chuckles, Oh Cupid's Gift, how you make me smile with every message that comes in. It really gives me a lift, even if the message is about dark stuff. It's taking that time to share, to look for a little help, a texty hug, a chuckly bubble (or a bubbly chuckle). An ability to cut through some of the fuzz that comes from the latent autistic tendencies I have. They're there.

She's having a tough time at the moment, which is partly why we haven't talked as much as I might like but ... every time a message comes in, it lifts the heart.

I'm listening/watching another lady who brings out the smiles. Yep. HeyChrissa streamer lady again. I haven't been paying as much attention as usual to the streams, the attention goes up and down according to the interest in the game being played. But it is awesome when this Pretty Lady sees a message, chuckles at it and reads it out. It does help that she makes the streams the most interesting of the streamers I know of.

People like me need to be noticed. It makes us happy when we are and far too sad when we think we're being ignored.

Back to people I see around - Cyberkitten is a constant prop. Cos he's my neighbour, we'll see each other on the bus and exchange the daft messages over communicator at work. I'll occasionally press gang him into sitting in the passenger seat of the car so I get into the car park. He's one of the good guys.

Another fella from the communicators is Luth. He's going through an uncertain time as well at the moment but hopefully I keep him lifted up out of dark moods. He's one that I can talk about my various ills too, with understanding coming from mutual knowledge. We don't have the answers but can help each other look for them.

Who actually inspired this post ?

I met someone called here as Miss L ... maybe 11 years ago now ? It was when my last major relationship was broken up and ... you guessed it, I was rebounding on to this lady. I couldn't help it ! A combination of attractivenes, intelligence and humour was irresistable. And I spotted Miss L at work on Friday, with her pulling out that amused half smile when she spotted me. I always get the impression that she's about to burst into laughter (of the "what daft thing is he going to do ?" kind) when she sees me.

If you can pull out the smiles in someone, that makes you both feel better.

I seem to bring out the smiles in more of the ladies around work too. From the one who does the regular cleaning on our floorplate, there's a shy smile that she tries to hide when she spots me looking up and meerkat grinning. She shouldn't hide it, it's a beautiful smile.

Oh and the canteen ladies too. I really should find out their names as I've lost the names of the current bunch. They look after me (it's the little things like remembering me). I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's a touch of respect when talking to them ? Treat your canteen people right and you'll get Nice Things. After all, they are the custodians of the Nice Munchable Things.

Who else we got ?

I really must give the mum and dad a call soon. It's been a bit too long. We're a pretty independent bunch but it's still good to keep in touch. On my end, it's not wanting to be too depressing about the condition of my outsides. Still. The sister will be curious about the new Hannah Peel* album too.

*(4 albums since last post ! Granted, 2 of them are soundtracks I've had for a while but ...)

I'm lucky to have more awesome colleagues who keep me smiling too. From the ladies in the office downstairs. Actually offices cos there is Mrs Sunshine and Snow Queen in one side with Wayne's Women on the other side. And the ones on my floorplate too, the Architect, the Commercial and the Repairer.

I still have a good place to work in. There are frictions but they're manageable.

And ... whoosh ! Another wall of text post.

There are some amazing people out there. And I'm lucky enough to know a few who really help in keeping me going. Including LTK, Cupid's Gift, those Canteen Girls and even those who just barely touch my life like Miss L.

Shine bright ladies, you're awesome. And not just those who I have mentioned here. There's only so much room in one post you know ;-). But it's hugely appreciated when I see the feedback come in.
Nite !

Monday, September 19, 2016

Trials of a Starship Captain / Galactic Emperor / Colony Commander

Or a humble civil servant engineer if you will.

This weekend had to be a quiet one ... Turns out my body was damaged more than I thought on all that walking around on Wednesday. Or was it my efforts to clean up the damage that caused more ...

It's a funny one this condition. The torn up bits need care and cleaning to keep them ok but ... the cleaning will also disrupt the injury to the point where the healing gets set back. Especially when I end up being overzealous with the cleaning.

So the weekend was spent chilling out keeping the shredded ankles bare to allow them to heal. I had a hankering for pizza :
(Actually wearing that top this evening !)

But the ankles wouldn't have supported the walk to the pizza shop. That's ok. I had pizza tonight, the ankles were already complaining from walking at work most of the day.

It was pizza and a movie, watching Jurassic World again this time. A decent movie but somewhat held back by the blockbuster tendency to dumb down movies or put explosions and fire in for the sake of it. You know, putting daft plot elements in to create drama to give an excuse for more, yet more special effects.

Perhaps I think of it as a good movie due to having great company the first time around ? Maybe.

Oh and another tribulation of me is that it looks like I need new sets of trousers ... Yep ! Getting smaller. Not bigger. The weight is going the right way - downwards.

But it is meaning that my trousers are having a tendency to fall off. Let's just say I will not step outside the house in my comfy running around in trousers any more. I would be arrested. That said, my old cricket whites are fine, although I just use those to sleep in now. Turns out they're really good for allowing my legs to heal up while I'm sleeping. Not using them means the leaky bits get aggravated.

I'll fix. Slowly ... but I'll fix. But I do have to leave the wounds alone long enough to let that fixing happen, which is still the challenge.

Right ... about that title ...
I went back into the Elite Spaceship cockpit this weekend ! Instead of flying the Cookie Cutter around doing trading, I parked it up and bought an explorer ship, the Asp you see in the picture above. The plan is to :
Start at the X in the bottom, go Galactic South until I get to the next galactic arm and then follow that arm into the core as far as Jaques Station. I think from there, it will be a trip to Beagle Point on the far side of the galaxy to our own planet. It's the furthest point we can get to. I'll then follow one of the Eastern arms back around until it becomes a short trip home. It's best to travel down the arms, as the gaps between them can be a bit too sparsely populated for the hyperdrives to jump between the stars.

You can see the start there with the green line. I only had a short session after setting off, two series of jumps to see me 1,700 light years away from Earth. The X in the middle is the centre of the galaxy, the super massive black hole Sagittarius A*. Been there already :
It's more impressive in game. Kinda. Yeah, that trip around the galaxy will take a while, especially as it'll happen in short doses. The trip to Sagi A* took a fortnight of more intensive doses.

Galactic Emperor ? I been playing the Stellaris again.

After being addicted to Master Of Orion 2 (Moo2), Stellaris is my current space emperor strategy game. It ticks many boxes and improves on Moo2 in pretty much every way. The new Master of Orion just out is a pale imitation of the original two games (Moo3 didn't happen).

The problem this time around was rushing into a war that my people weren't ready for, losing my fleet in one battle and rushing piecemeal fleets around doing harassment work until I had enough ships together again to challenge the enemy. We won the war in the end :-) albeit with help from a neighbour.

Colony Commander - this is the Planetbases ...
Apparently I didn't take a screenie of the current challenge ... That one is from the crash landing where your people have to survive in a base for 20 days before building enough radio telescopes to call in an evacuation. They managed it ... but it took more like 36 days due to me speed bumping in the middle for some reason.

The challenge I'm on now is a Dark Moon colony, where :
The only power available is solar;
The days are something like half the length of the night;
You start with minimal people;
The target is to grow the colony to 300;
And the stretch is to do it in 70 days.

Not sure if I'll do it this time after a series of disasters :
Growing the colony to 49 out of a capacity of 50 in the oxygen generation at the time ...
Then spotting that the food supply had run out ...
Literally ripping up the beds to turn the bioplast into food plants ...
Having meteors hit the batteries at really bad times ...
And then having the oxygen nearly run out due to not enough power.

It's a tough game but I enjoy it. But not tonight. Tonight is chill time with videos.

And seeing sobering stories come up on the news like what's happened to Michael Schumacher.  Both his case and the Paralympics show that however bad my luck has been with getting damaged, I'm still in a privileged place with all limbs and head intact. I'll write something about Schumacher and the Paralympics at some point but ...

I'm lucky that my head injuries, while they've had consequences, they're nowhere near as bad as they could have been.
And those Paralympians are an inspiration aren't they ?

Look for that inspiration, may it help you tackle your problems.

Cya !

PS That Asp needs a name ! First thought - IEV Scott (Imperial Exploration Vessel) after "I'm just going out for a while, I may be some time" but perhaps IEV I'm going to find the cookies is more like it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The End Of Days Is Coming

Yep.

Confirmed.

And I know what people will be doing when it comes too :
My main phone camera has a crack in it. Which just means ... I shall have to turn the phone around, use the selfie camera and ... selfie the apocalypse !

Sorted.

It is unseasonably warm isn't it ? We're having what you could only call "Mixed" weather at the moment. Yesterday, we had a pretty apocalyptic level thunderstorm. No high winds, just torrential rain and thunder that was shaking the buildings. Today ? Warmest September day for many years.

I was walking around in it too, with a teambuilding event in the afternoon. I was worried for my shredded ankles but they seem to have come through ok. Not unscathed ... but overall I think I'm a little better than yesterday.

That's all you can ever hope for really, to be a little better than yesterday. With the skin condition I've been managing, it's all small steps towards improvement. I'll get there, it may take a little time but ... I'll get there.

No. The real sign of the apocalypse is not the weather. Although global warming is adding not so much heat I think but energy to the air. It is making the thunder louder, the winds more spectacular. We are damaging our planet, hopefully the rocket and space programmes will reach a point where we can establish a lifeboat Out There before the damage becomes terminal.

And on that note ... The end of civilisation is coming !!!
Yep. This is probably the last year of the Bake Off.

Those who do not understand the significance of this, do not understand the importance of cake. Cake is love, cake is life, cake is definitely not a lie. Ask the dwagons.
And me after I saw these lovelies last year :
Gertlush.

Bake Off is a light bit of fun with a bit of understated naughtiness in there too with the innuendo. The production company have sold the programme to the rival broadcaster, Channel 4 and the presenters have walked away. Too much money was being asked for and pretty much all that is left now is a tent and a concept. Hopefully the show gets a second wind with a different name on BBC again. After all, any production company could make the programme but what makes it special are the presenters and the competitors, with the presenters bringing out the characters of those who take part.

I'll enjoy watching the rest of this series. Dunno who's going to win. I was very pleased about Nadiya winning last year. She emerged from a shell to be a very fun lady to watch.

I better get back to watching it (and Chrissa's stream too !).

One thing to warn of though. If you see the combination below, I'd just like to say that it was nice knowing you all. All of you who visit, all of you who come back. Especially those of you who pass on feedback !

And don't be like these guys :
Mark my words. End of Bake Off is End of Civilisation As We Know It, is End of days.

PS Another sign is that yesterday, a young lady came up to me and demanded, DEMANDED, my telephone number. That's not something that happens often. Very rare indeed. A portent even that the natural order of the universe is breaking down.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tired - send pizza

I feel like I've been hit by that truck again !

I am improving in general though. My outsides are gradually being reclaimed from the condition that's afflicted me these past years. There are still awkward bits and I have to manage the condition but ... it's getting there.

Hopefully when it finally fixes, I'll get some of the old energy back. It does help to have a good sleeping pattern with that though and I'm still losing the sleep. And I'll probably grab another week of leave from work at the end of October. That's not fixed yet and it depends on what's happening.

Picture for thumbnail ?
I actually kinda wanted to do another music post. Haven't done one for a while. What have I been acquiring and listening to lately ?

I pick up on music from various sources. I'm always on the lookout for new stuff to listen to, whether it be from tips from friends or what I hear around me. The HeyChrissa streams have been pointing me towards some great songs too lately.

Candyland by Tobu is one of those ... It's a wonderfully tappy, bouncy, happy tune, as catchy as it is likely to send you into wiggly chair dance boppiness. HeyChrissa uses it or other tracks on the NCS Infinity non-copyright music collection as startup songs for her streams. It's a little bit of awesome.

The album I have on currently is Moon Safari by Air and I've linked songs from it before but 2 are so good they always bear relinking. Here is All I Need. A wonderful song, chilled out with lyrics and a tune that you melt into.

The latest album I bought was Every Open Eye by Chvrches. I haven't listened to all of it yet but my favourite so far is Down Side of Me. This group is promising. I can see me collecting all their albums ...

There are 3 albums that I have my eye on for getting soon ... Norah Jones has a new one coming, KT Tunstall has one out today. And then there's Lisa Hannigan with that fragile but oh so sweet voice. I haven't picked them up ... just yet.

I just remembered back to a song that gripped me by the throat and didn't let go until I looked firmly lipsmacked. It's The Veronicas with Untouched.

And yes. I am singing along to Untouched at the moment. Or rather I am singing along to Song For The Leftovers which is a classic from A Camp, the project Nina Persson started up after The Cardigans. Another excellent live song was Laura by Bat For Lashes.

What else have I acquired lately ?

Angus and Julia Stone provided music for the Life is Strange game ? This album got played as warm up music too and I kinda liked the jinglyjangly soft guitar music. Especially liked Hold On.

I got a soundtrack sampler with the new Deus Ex game too ... must play that soon when I have the mental energy to give it a good crack.

A fairly old soundtrack I picked up is Ghostbusters. Yep, the original. It's still a classic but I haven't wanted to pay much for it. £3 was a bargain. I have a synthesizer version of the theme tune somewhere from When Computers Were Old and it was actually pretty good.

Reaching back a little :

Sia - 1000 Forms Of Fear - great voice, so so songs.
Bat For Lashes - The Bride - incredible voice, inspired songs.
Garbage are still kicking it with Strange Little Birds. Here's Magnetized.
Massive Attack are capable of extreme beauty in their songs. Here's Teardrop (I actually bought Blue Lines but ... Teardrop !)
Passenger - All The Little Lights. Not my usual music but you need variation to keep things interesting.
Sia again with This Is Acting - same comment, great voice, so so songs.

One last one and then I'm done for tonight. After all this illness and bad outsides, I want to kick start my life again. And what better song to represent that than ... Goldfrapp I Wanna Life from the Head First album.

Cya ! And be healthy, be happy.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

On Advertising ...

If there's one thing that seems to be ever present in our lives, it's advertising.

Someone out there, many people ... want your time, your money, your attention.
Me too ! Although I'm not nearly as persistent or intrusive about it as the advertisers are.

The advertising people are a bit too intrusive though. I don't like advertising people for many reasons :

They get in the way of what I want to do. BBC are actually really bad at this, they will be running late yet they still have time to put a few trailers on for their stuff before starting your programme late. This is really bad when the programme overruns past what your recording box is set for.

They're intrusive. Sport watching over here is cursed at the moment by the betting ads. They're loud and designed to grab your attention. They portray gambling as a glamour thing, they portray it as something everyone does. I want to be chilling out to the cricket ! I don't want to be shaken rudely out of half dozing (need all the sleep I can get) by a gambling ad that's twice as loud as the programme I was watching.

They're offensive. One gambling ad with the cat in particular. Thought that advert had been banned but ... apparently not.

They're dangerous, at least on computers they are. I run an adblocker on most websites due to the very real chance that a site has third party advertising that is pushing malware to your machine. The malware people can do this legitimately too by buying advertising space and feeding poisoned pictures and videos to it. Our only defence is an adblocker and anti-virus and anti-malware scans.

They have double standards too.

This post is mainly inspired by a story I was seeing hit the Twitters over the last week. Turns out some youtubers are being hit by the execution of a change in the Terms and Conditions that happened a few months ago. YT is just now doing something about it.

Some people make money off Youtube, via the adsense advertising. The change is that the advertisers can now pull their goods from videos due to them not liking the content of the video. Too much swearing and the advertising will get pulled from the video. Disturbing content will get the ads pulled.

There's a few key things there :
1 - the advertising we see tends to be targeted according to the sites we visit. So we should only be seeing the adverts that are appropriate to us. People who like mature content should see mature adverts.
2 - we don't get a choice over the adverts we see. So there is a double standard between ad people saying where their ads will appear and us being able to choose what ads we think are appropriate.

And probably a few more things too. Brain is a bit fuzzed.

I hope you see my point there though. The advertising hierarchy are picking and choosing where they want their ads to appear, yet we do not get a choice as to what adverts we see (mostly). For me, I'll tolerate the adverts that are useful to me and the others, the gambling, the moneylending, the offensive get :
Fingers in the ears for I'm Not Listening. And I can do this too on the Twitters by blocking the gambling sites and reporting them for spam. Because spam it is. In effect, by drawing my attention to them by advertising, I act and they don't reach me any more.

If only you could do that for the other sources of advertising. Like ... right click on that banner ad, choose "This is nasty", never see anything from that company again. Or even a "This company tells rotten lies" and have them blacklisted from the advertiser.

I'm not intending to change how I tackle advertising here :

No adsense for the blog template;
(And there was much rejoicing)
Only pushing the "I've posted something!"'s to Facebook and Twitter;
And the occasional "I've written nice things about you" to select people.

That last doesn't seem to get any response though or views. Perhaps it's something I said. Maybe. I like to say Nice Things about people. I think Bad Things about some people but ... it's not for here. It's a bit like a : I like you, I don't like them. I'll draw attention to the people I like but effectively ignore those I dislike. With the youtubers, they're trying to make a living from the videos, it's not my place to try and demolish their livelihood by saying Bad Things about them.

But I will quite happily talk about the good ones.

So ... there is actually a little bit of advertising here. But it's me talking about things I enjoy, things I think you might enjoy. There's no monetary consideration there.

It's curious where the line gets drawn isn't it ?

My brain is fuzzed so I'll leave it there. My ankles have been improving ! Hopefully they'll survive the week without getting shredded which means they will be well on the road to recovery. The ankle protector is working ...

Early night tonight. The Chrissa Streamer I would be watching isn't feeling too well so no late night stream watching for me. I could do with that early night though. Just hopefully it'll translate into good sleep !

Nite all.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Distant Planet Journeying

I had a post idea today.

It was kinda following up the April Fools post from ... ahem ... April, where I got duplicated and sent off into space to fight for aliens.
It's an idea actually - I've thought for ages that there's a novel or a few in my head, looking to get out into the world. And one tenuous idea follows from the set up in that April Fools post. It also owes a lot to The Martian but ... different. Let's see :

A human, uplifted from 21st Century Earth, plunged into the world, nay galaxy of wondrous technology.
A human marooned on a mysterious planet, with only their own ingenuity (and a lot of alien toys) to help them survive.

Not quite sure where it would go from there as the escape we see in the Martian would need to be much different. As in, you would need to be rescued by the alien peeps as I think building your own space ship would be a bit farfetched.

I think I might have some fun writing it though. The reason the Martian worked well for me is because Mark Watney, central character, was writing his diaries. It felt as if he was writing to you, the reader, directly. A narrative needs explanation, or it will leave the reader behind. For my marooned human, the narrative needs to be explaining to the reader as it is leading the human through what they need to do to survive.

That's such a key narrative trick that so many authors I know use. They'll explain the intricacies of their universe, their tech, through an uninformed character with an expert explaining it to them.

But yeah - I can see there being things in there like :

3d printed parts. Although a bit more complicated than the 3d printers we have now. I believe our 3d printers are essentially laser cutters which slice a shape out of a moulded plastic. Good for some things, not so much for complex items.
Food ... this is a tough one. Our food is made up out of complex proteins, carbohydrates and all sorts of other things that plants are so much better at making than the machines we have. Our marooned human would need a steady, sustaining supply of food. Tough to get that into an escape capsule.

And then there's the narrative key too - having someone for our person to talk to. This would be an AI/VI who would guide our person into the basics of survival after crash landing.

Oh and there would need to be a certain amount of Magic in there too. You can't really get away from that in fiction.

Oh and NaNoWriMo is coming up too ... It's in November and it involves a challenge to write a full length novel inside a month. It's something I want to do at some point. There's also the other idea of the survivors of an apocalypse-to-be-determined who help rebuild society as scouts who explore to bring back materials for the colony ... Some of you reading this may recognise yourselves as characters if I write that one. Cos you're good characters, good people and I think you'd be awesome as part of a post apocalypse rebuilding crew.

And apocalypse novels can be good for atmosphere.

My head isn't quite in there yet though for that kind of hard thinking.
Not so much like that. But the concentration isn't back properly yet as my body constantly distracts me away.

I am healing up ... slowly. I'm seeing genuine progress with some of the healing. Patches that were pretty bad last week have healed up properly. I still think I'm steadily reclaiming my outsides.

But there are a few patches where constant irritation is leading to the damage not repairing. I have plans for these bits (ankles and a couple of other areas mainly) but there are limits to those plans. The tubigrip helped a bit for the ankles but there is that inevitable rubbing of ankle on shoe.

Oh - I think I'm sleeping better too ... Perhaps this is being a bit better at not attacking those really bad bits. Nah. I'm still having a go at them when I shouldn't be. We'll see how it goes over this week to come. I've been using a healing gel thing too (not proper medicine like the Fucibet but something I can use pretty liberally) and it seems to be helping. Ankle is definitely more pale-unhappy than the red-unhappy it has been.

Yep. It's taking ages to repair but very slowly, very steadily, I'm getting my outsides back again.

And from there, I should get back some of the health I had before.

Oh - I've been on the games again too. I think this is a sign of two things :

Some games - I can dive into and lose hours into. The concentration is there to support that.
They distract away from me doing more damage !

I haven't gone back into the Deus Ex Mankind Divided shooter game yet (it crashes and is a bit too hands on for what my head wants to do at the moment) but ...
I do enjoy Planetbase. It's a very simple game for one that can be played effectively by remote control. That's from a challenge :

Make lots of ore in an automated facility. You can't have any new people, so you need to look after those you have (malnutrition aka Fork Disease is bad). The mining is done through robots and you can't turn base materials into better materials because you don't have the people to do it.

The next challenge is to turn an ailing spaceport into an economic one. Without some of the base materials again. We'll see how that goes.

I've been enjoying the Hearts of Iron too, although that's kinda a balance between frustration (there are quirky mechanics in its details) and I Won Dat feelings. My latest game is with Russia and after a tense build up on the border, we rolled over the Reich. Next target - Venezuela (to finish the war) and then the Allies.

One thing about Hearts of Iron is that it feels like a game you should win every time, if you learn the mechanics. The AI doesn't really know how to coordinate an overwhelming attack. Maybe it'll improve with patching.

Planetbase is better because even though it is again, another game you should win every time knowing the mechanics ... I suppose it's because it's competing against yourself instead of an AI which isn't up to the job.

It's just kinda satisfying leading those poor marooned colonists through into becoming a burgeoning, expanding colony.

I better leave it there for a bit !

Still here, despite not posting very much at the moment. I'm gradually improving on my outsides, although my concentration is highly distracted away by dealing with those outsides. But ... I look back to a few years ago and it is so much unbelievably better than it has been.

Always look to improve. Cya !

Monday, August 29, 2016

Tick of Doom

Ask not who the tick ticks for, it ticks for thee.

Ok. Perhaps not the quote you were looking for. I think that's "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."

We've lost another couple of great people today ! You've probably heard about the most prominent, well known of the two. That's Gene Wilder, who was responsible for bringing in so much magic, mirth, merriment into my childhood with his brilliant performances on film and the small screen. He'll definitely be missed but we'll remember him for his work.

People's work is what defines them. It's what they leave behind.

The other fella gone today is a fella called Darrell Ward. He was a rough, tough, Alabama trucker who put so much colour into the Ice Road Truckers programme over the last few years. I usually wait a few weeks before watching series and then watch a few episodes in a go. But he's one reason why I usually watch programmes like Ice Road Truckers immediately. (Or the day after - it's only the Bake Off that I watch on the day - and Robot Wars because of spoilers).

Oh wait - I need a thumbnail pic and I just conveniently mentioned the Bake Off :
They were back last week and on form again. Definitely great entertainment for midweek.

Oh and not a good thing to watch before shopping or things may escape. Wonder if me worsening over the weekend is due to grabbing a box of Jaffa Cakes ? I blame Bake Off. (I believe I'm sensitive to the orange layer).

Yep. It'll be bittersweet when Ice Road Truckers starts up again in just over a week. It'll be starring Darrell Ward and it's a shame that it'll be his last series.

Tick of Doom ?

I emerged from the pit of sleep over the weekend to find an occasional tick coming from my PC. I heard it but didn't realise the significance until later. You should keep an ear open for odd sounds from PCs, it tends to be the precursor of things that may melt the machine, like fans getting in trouble.

In this case, it's coming from an old hard disc that came from my last PC. I'll transfer the drive over from old machine to new one when I do a new build. It's just so much easier that way to copy all of the data over. It was slightly different for this machine though, as a shortage of hard discs had made the price sky rocket. After a while, prices stabilised (helped by BestBuy's failure leading to savage discounts which I took advantage of) and I moved over to a new big hard disc.

This time it's ... RIP old hard disc but no real bother to me as I'd mostly stopped using that drive a while ago. It does have some data on that I'll miss ... but not enough to get the data recovered.

How about me ?

I was hoping for some good healing over the long weekend. That hasn't really happened. Perhaps due to those Jaffa Cakes. I'm a little more torn up than I was but ... not crippling. That's the frustration with my outsides, they will improve and then suddenly get worse again.

I will go back to the Doctors about this at some point. Just not yet. What I do need to do is find that balance between keeping it clean (because the damage likes that) and not aggravating it when I'm getting it clean.

I've been quiet lately haven't I ? I guess I haven't had that much to talk about, plus I've been putting my mental energy into work. Oh and a game called Hearts of Iron ... It's a World War 2 grand strategy game and while it has its faults, flaws and annoying bugs, I've been enjoying it. Definitely enjoying it enough to finish a session at 5.30am this morning. Oops. But it did lead to my chosen country, USA, winning WW2.

It's not a game that really ends though. Whereas in the real world, we stopped when the Axis powers were defeated and the Allies were staring at the Russians in a Cold War that lasted over 50 years. In the game, wars keep popping up from the same old events again. It's a criticism but it's one of those things where you have to remember that it's a game and one thing the game needs to do is to encourage the wars so the player has something to do and something to keep them on their toes. Something to keep them interested.

I'd like to say that the new Deus Ex game I mentioned had been completed over the weekend but ... it's another modern game that isn't finished enough to be stable on your average PC. Mine's a pretty well running PC (somehow) but it's having trouble where the game crashes. That kinda kills the desire to keep on playing. So I haven't been back in since the second attempt. A shame, because the last one was amazing. It did what it did perfectly, it didn't try to do everything which was part of why it succeeded. I think this one is trying to do too much and it is tripping up over those visuals.

Still, it isn't another No Mans Sky. I was so hyped about that game but it looks like they have mucked up just about everything they could have got wrong in that game while still producing something playable. That's kind of an achievement in itself.

And I'm rambling again ...
Still here, still got the issues with my outsides. It's hard to remember that it's so much better than it used to be, it just doesn't want to finish the job of healing.

Frustrated with some of the gaming, although enjoying other games. It's a credit to how good the Paradox games are that you're prepared to tolerate the bugs and work around them. Sometimes they aren't even bugs, just things you didn't realise were a thing*. If a game keeps you going until 5.30am, it's doing something right.

*(like planning a naval invasion, wondering why they wouldn't GO and then realising that your landing craft weren't up to it yet - the game didn't tell you this).

Sad at losing a few people too. It doesn't matter how well they are known. People matter, even if only a small number of people miss them. Everyone matters. And that's where I'll leave you today.

Keep ... mattering !

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The future looks ... pretty ?

It's also quite dark, grim and uncertain too.

According to the world of the Deus Ex that is. I've written about this a while before but the latest iteration of the games in that dystopian future is out and I'm quite looking forward to seeing where the story leads.

Pretty ?
As always, click for bigger.

They're doing more and more these days in the games. There is a bit of a trick to it, the prettiest part of that picture is the city in the background. It's Dubai in the near future and our hero, Adam Jensen, has been sent in to sort out some terrorists. And I won't say any more because it'll be spoilers.

Oh - tricks ! Yep. There are two main parts to the image above. The background and the foreground. You could say that the background is an inactive part of the picture, the foreground is the active part. The player cannot go into the background or interact with it. They call things like this "skyboxes" where a complicated texture is painted on to a flat wall that is very far away. Except there's a bit more to it than that in this case because the texture moves a bit.

The foreground is where the player moves around. It's a complete 3d environment with walls, fake walls, doors, things that move, bad guys that need thumping. You'll notice that the detail on the railings isn't as good as what is out there in the background.

Still looks awesome though.

Here's what things were like in the first of this reboot, in the game from 5 years ago :
Haha, yep. Another pretty skybox in the background with a less complicated accessible environment.

It still looks pretty stunning though and the last game (Deus Ex Human Revolution) was a very pretty game in itself. I played that game to death. It didn't try to do everything but what it did do, it did extremely well.

Wait - I'm being confusing with the sequel / prequel / whatisitquel. There are 4 main games in the Deus Ex world so far, although we don't talk about one of them. We don't even register that there was one called The Fallen.

Chronologically, Deus Ex Human Revolution comes first. That's the game from 5 years ago. This one is set 2 years after that and I'm looking forward to exploring its world.

The very first one was Deus Ex from way back in 2000. How did that look ?
Hmm. A bit crude. And that was even with the improved textures pack. This one was maybe 20-30 years after Human Revolution and the one I have now.

I've stopped playing for tonight though and I've switched over to watching the Chrissa stream.
The Chrissa streams (link on the right !) are always highly enjoyable to watch and chill out to. At the moment, she's playing through Alien Isolation, a game from a couple of years ago that works on the nerves and the suspense. The expression there is one of knowing that Susan* is waiting just around the corner with a Very Pointy Tail.

*(we named the Alien Xenomorph Susan. Yep.)

It's a much darker game but also has an incredibly detailed environment to play in and hide from the alien in. I don't actually own Alien Isolation, the stealth sneaking appeals but the other mechanics definitely don't. But I did enjoy watching the Hannah and Kim playthrough and I'm enjoying watching HeyChrissa's playthrough now.

I'm veering off topic too ...

Games look better now ! But that's not really the point ...

No Man's Sky looked really pretty in a comic kind of way. But it didn't seem to be that much of a game. I've taken that one off the Wishlist now as a game I would get frustrated and bored with very quickly. I would look seriously at Alien Isolation for the hide from the alien gameplay and the ability to wander through Giger and Ridley Scott's world.

I think I'll be enjoying playing Deus Ex Mankind Divided a lot. They have a compelling world to play in there. But not tonight, I had a crash to desktop earlier which was the perfect point to put it away and have a break.

That's one thing about watching the streamers and the video people. They let you enjoy the gaming even when you're too tired to do the gaming yourself. That's me after a day's work. I'll put so much into the day's work that I don't really have the mental energy to play when I get home.

Chrissa is perhaps the best streamer I know too. Always entertaining, always chuckling along to what us in chat are bantering on about and an excellent player of the games too. It's great when you draw out the chuckles with what goes into chat too.

And I'm missing too much while posting !

Cya - and I'll hopefully find some other topics to talk about soon that aren't games !