Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pizza ... coma ...

Off work now for 4 whole days !

I have another week off coming in a fortnight but ... it's bank holiday time over here which means a bit of downtime. I've been looking forward to it for a while now as my batteries have been pretty low.

I'm not too sure why that is, my metabolism just seems to have been in slow mode for ... I dunno ... way too long now and I've been coming to the end of that candle that spells exhaustion. Yep. I'm pretty much burning down to the N.

So tonight, at the start of the chill out it's a case for ... what food do I always turn to as Special Comfort Food :

Pizza coma tonight while listening/watching to youtube videos. I watched the end of the cricket earlier when I got in and fully intend to watch as much cricket as I can get away with over the next few days. That's going to call for a little bit of dual viewing as the Formula 1 is on too. But that's Monaco, which is always a boring nonevent procession. So maybe 5% of my attention will be on that.

Pizza ? It's my no1 special comfort food but I can't have too much of it, especially now that I'm too heavy. The cheese makes me make too much acid which, isn't pleasant. It's not that bad ... but that acid is really bad for when I'm trying to sleep and I've been really challenged on getting sleep lately. It's like I've forgotten how to turn my mind off.

Cricket will sort that out. As will the grand prix "racing".

So yeah. Plan A will be to not do very much. However ...

Comic Con is on again in London over the weekend. Tickets on Saturday are all gone, I need the easy day tomorrow but Sunday is still a possibility.

Positive - lots of shinies. Yogscast people are there again and there's a few of those (Hannah, Kim, Zoey, Rythian) who always get my attention and make me chuckle/laugh/grin/jump when I'm watching their videos. They're a great bunch and they get my attention because they're great characters too. You never really know what Hannah or Kim are likely to do next but you can be sure there would be mischief, fun or just outright batshitcraziness involved. LTK has been urging me to break out of the reclusiveness and head over to Comic Con.

I like LTK, she's another of the work people who has been keeping me sane by keeping up with the crazy stuff that tends to come over Communicator and will one up me on that crazy stuff too.

I know someone else who is a bit like that and I'd jump for a chance to meet up again with Cupid's Gift too. We natter over the texts a fair bit but rarely get the chance to meet up. And a true genuine hug is way better than chuckles over the texts. Lots of chat is great, it feels like we know each other pretty well and it's rare that I feel comfortable enough with someone that I'm prepared to take All of the emotional armour off the way I do around Cupid's Gift.

Yep. If the Evil Fluffy Bitey Thing calls, I'll come running.

It's not just the Yogspeople though, their artists are coming along too. I said a bit about NinaSerina after meeting her at October's London Comic Con. Was it really October ? So much seems to have happened since then, it seems so long ago (I hadn't met Cupid's Gift then!). I wrote about KaeyiDream in that post too and this time ... she gets to go with her Dream Prince Martyn ! Good on ya Kaeyi, it shows how much healthier you've got over the last 6 months. They're there for all 3 days and I hope they enjoy it as much as I think they'll enjoy it. Nina and Kaeyi are just wonderful People.

I'm steadily talking myself into going to Comic Con again aren't I ... Perhaps if I was going along with someone else again then yep. I enjoyed the EGX Rezzed (a little) and London Comic Con (a lot) but I enjoyed Birmingham Comic Con so much more as I was able to sense Cupid's Gift's enjoyment. Brum Comic Con was the best of the lot so far because it was with company.

Sometimes though, you have to listen to your body :
And rest up when you need to get some of that energy back.

So - it'll be a chilled out weekend. The insane amount of travel time needed for Comic Con will wait for another time and an excuse to be towed around by someone on the coffee :
I'll watch as much cricket as I can. (Translation - it'll be on in the background while I do other stuff and I'll pay attention when Important Things happen). The grand prix will get largely ignored (because it's Monaco and therefore likely to be a procession). I'll watch Tomorrowland with the lads on Monday and might see if there's a chance to see Mad Max on my own too.

And with all that, I still need to put into action Bathroom Replacement scouting too.

Last bit - a Very Special Friend is going to have an important interview tomorrow. She's not been well and the nerves have been on her back too but ... I bet she'll do awesome. Good luck Ms Very Special Friend !
I don't really like to think about the Tired's. I prefer to think about that Very Special Friend who I know will impress people tomorrow. The little lady who always brings out a smile when a message comes in followed by chuckles when I read it. The one who joins in with the craziness. The people at work who can manage the grinning idiot (see first pic) and all the other special friends too (see second pic).

First pic ?
Yep. That's me.
And that's you (courtesy of a few people who /liked this on Facebook as I was typing this !)

Cya ! And enjoy your weekends, whatever you intend doing. Especially if it's fun stuff.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Beware the random picture

And the random link to youtube posts.

Currently listening to Nina Persson's solo album, Animal Heart and it's a cracker. It really shows off her voice. It's not a perfect voice but she puts it to incredible purpose. I'll sit up and listen and pause everything to just drink it in.

And perhaps wreck it by singing (croaking?) along too.

Random Pictures ?

There's so much hype out there at the moment about various games. The one that's being unleashed on us tonight is The Witcher 3, the third in a hugely successful series. I have to admit, I've only partly played through the first game and while I own the second (groan - sales again), I haven't played that one at all. The third one is massively anticipated and I know a few people will be going like this tonight :
Not me though. I've been trying to catch up on my sleep. Sleep lately has been something I've kinda been afraid of as it's been taking ages to drop off and while I do, the fidget makes me damage my arms more which sets back the healing.

I mentioned domestic stuff in one of my weekend posts didn't I ? What do all those symbols mean anyway ?
Does that make it any clearer ?

About that sleep, good job I'm not a stormtrooper.
And there's always a cure. Or maybe not a cure but a mask for the tiredness :
We'll be over there watching with extreme curiosity.

It's a short couple of weeks for me at work, I have Friday off as well as next Monday. And it's already Monday night so no need for this for a while :
Good plan. It's almost over.

One last one ? I know a few people who will recognise this :
I know someone who's glued to her phone and I find it adorable. It's a sign of how giving she is with her time because that phone time is mostly the giving and receiving of messages.

One last one before good night ?

If you've stuck with me so far :
That's you. Yes you. You know who I mean. But it's especially you. You're special. Good night !

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Thoughts on Fear

One of the more famous quotes from Dune is :

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain"

That's so true on so many levels. We are all affected by fear, it's part of us, it shapes us, sometimes it controls us, sometimes it traps us if we allow it to.

I have my own collection of fears. Some I've moved on from, some I've accepted, some I still continually battle against. Some creep out from behind me and tap me on the shoulder when I've forgotten they're there.

I still have the fear that makes me wobble when going down elevators. That's a vertigo inspired fear. I've conquered it for elevators and my engineering knowledge makes me ok going over bridges that make other people go seriously wibbly. That's an example where the fear has been analysed and abated through knowing that the event the fear is convincing you may happen (the elevator pitching you forward, the lift going into uncontrolled descent or the bridge collapsing) will not happen because the engineering is there to prevent it happening. But that doesn't help with me going to high places that don't have guard rails.

Yep. You won't see me peering over the edges of cliffs any time soon.

I think there's a genuine reason for this in my past, where an event reinforced that fear of high places. What was that event ? Let's just say it's an event that's marked me for the past 25 years and an event that will always be with me.

The trigger for this post comes from the BBC ... It's about how a producer overcomes her fear of sharks. I can barely swim, I don't think that's a fear of water per se but it's a skill I've rarely had the need to develop. Perhaps when my skin is better, it would be a good source of low impact exercise.

That's another fear that's been locking me down - the fear that the conditions of my outsides becomes apparent when I'm out and ... socially embarassing. That's a super genuine fear, part of it is to conceal my ongoing condition from others. There's a reason why I'm still wearing jumpers at the moment when it's a little warm for them maybe when coming into the office from the bus. Same as I'll predominantly wear dark clothing or clothing that doesn't show those signs that bad patches have been leaking.

That's not nearly so bad as it was, I'm well on the way to being mended but ... it's taking so much time. It would be a tragedy if I allowed that fear of exposure to stay with me and turn me into a recluse.

I think a darling little lady has helped me with that. She saw the arms at almost their worst (not the legs because I'm not in a habit of showing my legs to people in public) and although I bet there was a part of her that was screaming inside, I got a sense of acceptance. That it isn't as bad as I personally am thinking it is. I still have that sense of "Imperfection - DESTROY" that's holding the healing back but her influence is making me more confident about being out and about.

That's another lesson - do not be afraid (there's that word again) to tell others about your fears, if they're a good friend then they'll help you through those fears. They'll lend their strength. Or ... in the case where you've been abused, they can be a reminder that normal people aren't like that. That there is kindness and love to balance violence.

For those reading who have been a victim of abuse, do not be afraid to run. The worst thing to do would be to stay with your abuser for fear of what may happen if you go. Abusive people have no right to your loyalty and that includes those who abuse by words as well as by action.

I've been a victim of those abusive people in the past. Not by action, as I seem to have this aura that makes people think twice about attempting physical violence. But I've definitely felt the effect of psychological abuse. That's tougher than the physical abuse because there are rarely any outward signs for how it is affecting you. Even tougher because sometimes you don't know who you can talk to. In my case, when I was suffering the psychological abuse, I was part of a network of people who were all interconnected and I knew that something I said to one would work its way around that network.

That need for psychological reassurance is why I get so frustrated when I do reach out to people, the questions remain unanswered or apparently unacknowledged. There's a few cases where I've asked questions like :

"Have you heard from ... ? She's disappeared again and I hope she's ok". The person who disappeared is a Facebook friend who has been treated for suicidal drug overdoses multiple times, so you can imagine my concern when she disappeared from the friends list. She's still out there, I noticed a replying comment from her but I'm very disappointed that the question "have you heard from ..." was not answered.

Various comments and questions that go unanswered. The one above is the one that took the biscuit but there's a few ex-colleagues who I've sent comments, questions, lead ins for jokes to and there's ... absolutely no reply. That's not just one comment, it's over many comments and it's not just work, it's over social media thingys like Twitter too. So much that I stop reaching out to them and reach out to more fun people instead (like LTK, she joins in the madness whole heartedly, SQ when she's not mired in the insane busy that's pretty global at work now and Cupid's Gift)

Fears ?

Let's mention the cricket ...

I used to be afraid of the ball. Which is understandable because a cricket ball is 5 and a quarter ounces of bone breaking, bruise inflicting pain. If you allow it. The mistake is to allow that fear to have any impact on how you treat the ball. If you field perfectly and your batting skills or protection is up to the job, the ball doesn't hurt you. But that fear is a paralysing factor that throws your timing off enough for that ball to hurt you.

I've been hit on the head by a cricket ball 3 times now. Two of those (without a helmet) saw me suffer psychological/neurological effects and the middle time (with a helmet) just saw me almost vomit in the changing room after the game. The first time is what I call Nose Job no 1, it hit me in the eye with my glasses saving my eye from ... quite possibly losing the eye. But it smashed my nose sideways to the point where I couldn't breathe properly through the nose. That was fixed with Nose Job 2 a few weeks later.

How many weeks ? I'm not sure* ... but I was able to play cricket again before the rains came to end that season. I got one game in wearing a helmet where I had the chance to bat again, which allowed me to confront that fear of being hit before it had a chance to fester over the off season. I'm still affected, I'm pretty sure I'm different as a person to how I was before the impact.

*The impact damaged my memory. My short term memory is now pretty poor and prone to complete gaps. I lost the PIN to my main credit card, it's like the memory cells it was in got corrupted and the PIN was just ... gone. That's one example of how it hits. My memory for faces to names is also affected by it. I've accepted that.

There's a couple of England cricketers who have been hit badly on the head over the past few seasons, they'll never be the same again. Both were hit by balls that managed to sneak their way past the grille. Craig Kieswetter was a wicketkeeper batsman, a good one too. But he always had a weakness where he just couldn't see the fastest balls which meant he continually failed at international level. I think being hit has made him think that his weakness in vision is down to the impact and he'll probably have to retire because it's affecting him at country level as well now. Stuart Broad was a very promising lower order batsman but his confidence has been shattered now since he got hit. He's made a Test hundred (a big one) but is now a shadow of what he used to be.

I made my biggest scores after being hit that first time but ... I don't know how it would have affected me if I hadn't had that chance to bat again before the demons had a chance to set in. I know I had a subconscious need to change all of the kit associated with that impact, bat, pads, gloves etc. I've never played again at the ground where I got hit but that's mostly due to opportunity.

Oh my gosh I'm rambling on aren't I.

Lessons - fear is valid. Fear is rarely silly. Anyone who tells you otherwise is scared of accepting their own fears.

Fears usually have a rational explanation. An external source or other cause.

Fears can be analysed. Like my vertigo. I'm now less wibbly about those escalators.

Fears can be faced. Like me with batting and those cricket balls.

Fears can be confronted. If I didn't confront my fear of isolation, then I'd retreat into a shell when not getting replies or recognition of stuff I send to people.

Fears can be accepted. I have fear that my plans get thwarted. I accept that unanticipated things can happen and have loads of back up plans in my back pocket ready to come out if I need them. Some would call this being paralysed into paranoid inaction ... I'm just surprised when things work first time.

Fears do not have to be tackled alone. I think this most applies to the abuse cases where talking about your abuse means you will get a reply of "Nothing, it's not your fault" to those inner feelings of "What did I do to deserve this". You didn't deserve it but you do deserve better people.

Fear can be a mindkiller, if you allow it to. Don't let it get that kind of control over you, be master of your own destiny.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Plan A, Plan B, plan ...

Getting tired again now.

Currently chilling out at home to Siberia, it's a pretty naff tv series actually about a group of reality tv contestants who are in a last person standing game where they are dropped off in the middle of Siberia. Or so they think ... it quickly becomes apparent that the tv crew supposed to be looking after them has disappeared and there's something Very Nasty out there that would like to do horrible things to them.

Bit naff but still watchable, partly for the developing story.

Plan A was to go see Mad Max today. Not a film for everyone, actually probably not a film for many but the trailer was spectacularly epic and I want to see it. However ... today's showings are either :

Director's Hall in town - nah. That's extra money that I don't think gives me any value. (If I was going with someone though ? Yep, definitely treat her to whatever shinies they have in the Director's Hall)
3d showings - nah. Maybe I'll watch films in 3d at some point but to be honest ? More unnecessary spend.
Mall cinema ? This one had potential but they're digging the roads up around the Mall and I don't particularly want to be anywhere near that ...

It'll keep for a bit. I suspect Mad Max will be in cinemas for a little while.

I'd kinda like to go to the cinema with another little lady who I took to Hobbit 3, I don't think Mad Max is her kind of film but ... I'd kinda like to see Far From The Madding Crowd or even Home. There's a few more coming too, I have plans to watch Jurassic World and Terminator Genesys when they come out and I want to see both of those series before I do.

Another partial plan today was to go check out more places for bathroom scouting. Wickes at the Mall have been fired now, whenever I go in after work their kitchen/bathroom design people have already gone home. Machines dark, lights off, everything put to sleep. That's really bad ... They're missing a prime market by not being able to catch the people who are working all day, with their only chances to visit these places being after work. Yet they're not around to take their (my) money.

Their loss ! I'll go to either another Wickes (we have a few), there's a Jackson and Ikea is also a possibility. I've scouted B and Q as well but their stuff looked rather dingy (even though it probably comes from the same place as the others!)

I've left the bathroom scouting for another day. I have the tireds.
But I'm coping with it.

Work has been insane lately. We were busy before but it seems like that's ratcheted up a few levels. And it's not just me thinking that either, it's a pretty global feeling. It gets worse too as people get upset, they leave and that leaves more work for the rest of us. That's compounded by people who have jumped over the wall to being contractors, they come back for a "visit" which is actually them headhunting the people they used to work with here.

That's unprofessional, a disgrace and they should be ashamed of what they're doing.

We've already seen a few people recruited out of the team by one particular individual (let's call him KB) who I had no respect for while he was with us - he was sweary and inflicted his own inability to do the job while he was with us on his colleagues. We're better off without him but he shouldn't be coming back in to unsettle people.

It's definitely a case where reputation does not match their actual quality. In my opinion at least.

We've seen this with a few more people who go outside too, they'll come visiting as contractors and they'll be fishing for work. That's not the way it works ... it short circuits open competition and potentially gets us in an extremely awkward position. If we don't obey those open competition rules (blindly), then we can be fired. I'm kinda glad I don't have to use all the rules when I'm buying stuff for me, they slow things down so much. They're there to make sure bad decisions aren't made (by incompetent people - but then we get our disastrous IT update) but they don't allow for memory.

What do I mean by memory with getting people to do stuff ? I refuse to get anything by Asus now after getting two motherboards which weren't feature complete (various things, plus surround sound that ... wasn't). That boycott is extended by what happened with their Asus Transformer pad.

I have other boycotts too with the techie stuff. I had one on Gigabyte for a while for selling boards which were effectively beta (not fully tested, not complete) standard. Another was on nVidia for disastrous driver support for their graphics cards but ... ATI/AMD are now worse.

I detect ranting ...

Which another sign I need a bit more chill out.

Or good company. Being around people has a good effect on me. It has me looking away from problems, towards seeing if I can cheer up the other people. That doesn't have to be actually seeing them, it can be swapping the messages as well. Sending crazy thoughts to people to see how they respond.

I think I've rambled enough now though. Closing thoughts :

MCM Comic Con in London next weekend ! I'd like to go again but not on my own. These are far better when you're with other people. Besides, London events tend to be very long days and I'm wrecked afterwards. I'll still do Lords but will take the Friday off after.

If anyone would like to come to Comic Con with me ? (And I have a particular person in mind who I think will be booked up already!) Yep, I'll go again.

Tired and have a poorly back. It could do with some TLC again. But I'd like to be properly fixed again before I try that. It's getting closer ... More repairs to do though.

Quiet weekend to come ... although ... I hear in the background that domestic things are happening ... (the washing is in the machine and the cycle is just ending). Cya !

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

That old temptation again ... and some random comments

I'm still on the circulation for one of the cricket teams at work.

This could be a very dangerous thing.

It's just one of the teams that I'm getting the emails from. I think the other team may have given up on me as the fella who used to do the organising has passed on the baton to someone with more time. That's something I found when I was running the indoor cricket team, it was starting to take over from the day job and there was so much stress with getting a full team to actually turn up. That shouldn't be a problem should it ? If I said I'd play, then I'd turn up even if my arm was hanging off. And if you know me, there has been a period where my arm has been literally hanging by tortured muscles and duff tendons.

(It was the period of the torn rotator cuff / minor dislocation - when I picked anything up in my right arm, it felt like it was getting pulled out of the socket).

Yep. Just the one team with their eye on me at the moment. And it's the one where I was looking to back away from playing anyway due to bad captaincy. I like the fella who runs the team (we regularly do the Lords pilgrimage together, maybe not this year) but he didn't get chance to captain much. The stand in tended to put the fella with the atrocious throwing arm (me!) in the outer areas of the field where it's ... boring. And not where I'm a terror, in the infield closer in where I'll throw myself around to get the spectacular run outs.

That's a weird part of my personality. It happens in badminton too. The mundane stuff bores me, I'll naturally go for the more spectacular stuff. Like the quick fast infield scampering or the tough but spectacular shots in badminton. A little bit show offy ? Perhaps compensation for an otherwise introvert nature. Perhaps that part of my brain sees the need to show off as a contrast for otherwise fading into the background.

The cricket ?

Yeah. The temptation has been coming back again as my outsides steadily repair. They're still incredibly prone to being further damaged but ... I'm seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. And feeling it too as I touch skin that's now much smoother.

Not fixed yet but it may happen inside the next month or so. We shall see.

What isn't fixed is the damage to my insides. I'm ok when I get moving but there are those reminders from hips, back and shoulders. Just reminders. They still work pretty well, they're mostly complaining about lack of use.

Nah. I'm quite happy ignoring that temptation to play again. I can vaguely remember back to two years ago the frustration of having to leave balls go that were going outside my throwing range towards the fella on the boundary. I wanted to go haring off after them but knew I wouldn't be able to do anything except for just get in the way. I don't like that feeling, especially as I knew one reason he needed to be covering the boundary is because I couldn't.

Other random comments ?

I've been watching the social medias ... One trend you see on there is the Emotional Blackmail Shame post. The one where someone posts something really horrible, or something with the base message "if you don't like or share this, you're a horrible person". Like the mothers day posts which said things like "share if you love your mom".

I love my mom (and mom 2) and they know that. They love me too. I think. I don't need to share a random picture that's come from a viral source. Nah - I uploaded the Happy Mother's Day dwagon. It gives the message in my own fashion, not a way borrowed from something gone viral.

Similar with the cruelty posts. I feel really bad for the animals who are victims in these pictures. There's been one doing the rounds of a dog with its back paws duct taped together, its front paws duct taped together and its muzzle duct taped shut. It has the caption "Share if you would help this dog". I hope everyone who knows me would know that I would :

Comfort that pooch as best and as gently I could
Send someone off to get some scissors
And cut the bonds
(Note - not remove the duct tape as - tape + fur = super pain to remove)
Carry poochling off to a vet to see how it could be helped
And then I'd probably adopt the pooch.

There will always be a special place in my heart for the unconditional love that a dog will give its master. (I like cats too but that's more a staff-boss relationship). I don't see that I have to hit that share button to show that I'm not cold hearted. I like to think that the temperature of my heart is something I demonstrate continually.

I know a few people reading this may think I mean them but - I mean no disrespect. The worst thing we can do is turn a blind eye to suffering. But ... what I object to is that emotional blackmail that's involved with turning raising awareness cruelty into blindly sending something viral. It's a bit like the chain letters that started out as something interesting but had that awful "If you don't send this to 5000 people then your life will be ruined.". I used to occasionally pass those on but I'd remove the chaining part at the end. But that chaining is exactly the same as "Share if you care".

I think I need to get back to something more positive now.

Help out where you can. I'm not saying spend all of your own time to be a selfless monk of sacrifice but consider helping others in your own small way. If enough of us help just a little, that makes the world a better place.

If you can bring a smile to people, then that makes everyone's day brighter.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Continuing Adventures of Cmdr Sleepy

I think this could be another theme ... I have a few of those.

There are the random ramblings. I occasionally go ranty but I'm not keen on doing that. Besides, there's always that filter on my whinging where certain topics, certain thoughts, aren't for public viewing. You never quite know who's looking !

There are the music posts. I do enjoy doing these, as it gives me a great excuse to listen to some of my most favourite songs via the youtubes. But I don't think many people click on the links to the videos. Sometimes it feels like a "Look at the size of my music collection" brag too. I don't like to brag. The dominant feeling when I look at how much music I've collected is that I like a wide variety of music. Never a bad thing.

There are the whingy posts where I say how I've struggled. These have their place. I find it really helps if I can quantify what's getting me down. To get the thoughts collected and organised. They act as a kind of reset where I can take stock, shape up and move on. And it usually does help too.

But - smiles from Pretty Ladies are usually way better. And that includes messages where I'm imaging a Pretty Lady smiling and chuckling at me while she's tapping out the message.

There used to be a series of cricket posts. I'll still post about that but with me not playing any more, the source material isn't there to build a post on.

Movies are an occasional post too, as well as me taking excuses to put the adorable Ben (he's a popular puppy) on screen.

And now the gaming posts are coming back ... This used to be either WoW or Eve, now it's going into the territory of the Elite Dangerous pilot. I think I'm liking that game perhaps a little too much. It is a rather pretty game and there's still a decent amount going on in it. The latest community goal is a trading initiative where you take agricultural machinery to Diso to help them with their farming. The last one involved bounty hunting to clear the pirates out of Zaonce.

The big thing that made Elite grab my attention is that it appeals to that inner adolescent in me that while growing up, wanted to be a Space Pilot, going on missions in outer space. And this game lets me escape this life and act out those early ambitions by plying the tradelanes out there, fighting or running from the pirates or just getting out there and exploring.

But there is something very important to consider - games should never be more important than real life and if they start feeling like a job, that's when it's time to walk away. That's why I fell out of love with WoW and Eve, I wasn't enjoying playing them any more and it was actually more fun working in my proper job than doing the grinding these games demanded. Ok, WoW has less of the grind now as it accommodates the recent influx of players suffering from entitlement but that's part of why I went away, it offered me zero challenge outside of accommodating daft mechanics in the boss battles.

Back to Elite !

I need a ship name. I've just upgraded to a Python :
Yep. It's not much to look at but it's a great all rounder. I currently have it set up for lots of cargo carrying but you can also use it as a really nasty combat ship and I suspect it would do ok as an explorer too. It can land at the smaller outpost stations as well, so when this farming community goal is all done, I'll look to use it to run lots of missions for naval ranks, these let you buy more ships.

Oh dear. It's sounding like working again isn't it ? I walk away from the game when it starts feeling like that. I used to be reasonably competitive in the games but ... if it isn't fun, why are you playing the game ? And putting pressure on yourself to advance through as quick as possible, is how you quickly evaporate the fun out of a game.

A name for the Python ?
Monty is banned. That's way too obvious.
IMV* Michael Palin has potential. I loved his travelogues which started with Around The World In 80 Days, a modern day attempt to recreate the journey in the book.
*(Independent Merchant Vessel)
Sid. As in Hissing.
"Oh please god don't hit anything". When I bought it, I literally didn't have enough money to fill the cargo hold. And if you lose the ship and can't cover the 5% value insurance, you're back in the starting ship. Oops. I've just managed to get enough back in the bank to cover the insurance but there's a massive amount of upgrading to do.
"Making Miss Millie Proud". There seem to be a lot of Miss Millies but one of them makes Big Cookies, which fits in with my usual theme for trading vessels.
"Firefly Enterprises". That's more like a company name than a ship name.
"Pegasus Rising". Spot the scifi series that one is inspired by. Actually it could be two series that I immediately think of.
"Sky Eagle". I like that one but that name deserves to be on something much shinier, prettier and littler than the Python.

Any more ideas for a name for my Python ?

Friday, May 08, 2015

Let's put it to a vote

The world has its eyes on Britain at the moment ...

That includes Wales, home of the Dwagons, Ireland, home of the Giants of the Causeway and those barbarians north of the border. Scotland is it ?

Just joking there. Ireland was a much loved home while I was in primary school (last millenium) and I adore that accent. I've been going wow hearing it again, we've had a recent joiner and we've been occasionally swapping war stories. Yep. I been about 200yards away from a bomb going off. Only a little one, it knocked off the front of one of the stores in Lisburn. Different times. Yeah, you had the end days of the Troubles but it was also safe enough that 8 year old me was trusted to walk through town to the bus home.

Wales has the dragons. Watch them around the sheep though.

And I had the pleasure to work with some amazing people up in the Scottish part of the organisation in my previous project.

Yep. We been voting again. No matter who wins our elections, we're always deeply unhappy with the result.

I don't believe the fault is in the ideologies of the parties. I don't think the parties know what their ideologies are any more, they're just saying anything to chase votes. The trouble comes from them chasing votes from different parts of the population. There are also those deeply entrenched ideas (which I have too and I'm struggling to throw them off) about who we should be voting for. People vote Labour all their life, people vote Conservative all their life.

Some people voted LibDem all their life, up until the last election where they showed their true colours by shattering all the promises they made in the run up to the election ... and then reminding everyone what they're like with some incredibly negative campaigning over the last week. They still looked surprised when they went from 50+ seats to just 8.

Nah. Our problem is with the politicians. No one with any credibility wants to be a politician any more and by the time they reach real power, their credibility has been knocked out of them. They are not rooted in the real world.

Someone once said "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for those already tried.". But - the important thing is, we have our freedom, our streets are mostly safe at night, our police enforce most of the laws that are in there to keep us safe and we still have the last vestiges of a National Health Service.

Enough about politics.

About that vote ?

There are far more important concerns than who we choose to inhabit that lunatic asylum that sits on the banks of the Thames. Yep.
That's from my current trading expeditions in Elite.

What could be more important than life or death ? Tea or coffee. Definitely. Although I will admit to being very partial to hot chocolate as well.

Ending thoughts :
Vote the way you choose.
Try to banish prejudices when you vote.
Make sure you vote - it's the only way the lunatics will pay attention.
Norah Jones had it spot on with My Dear Country.
Cricket's second main break of the day is called "Tea".

Which way do you go ? Are you a coffee or a tea person ?

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

That was the weekend that was

Just had a busy weekend. Well, technically it's weekend +1 now but hey.

Actually - come to think of it, it is +1 day on something :
May the 5th be with you ! Oh wait - one day late. Oh well. That's an example of one of the Gimp photomanips that I'm maybe ... 80% happy with. Why not totally ? Because there's a mismatch between the two images that have been cobbled together. To really work, the images have to be all sharp, all fuzzy, they need to be consistent across the image. In this one, the dwagon is fuzzy, the Star Wars bit of it is sharp.

Oh and they don't trust me with lightsabers any more.

It's going to be mental around the scifi geek community in 2 years time when the 40 year anniversary comes around. Star Wars really caught the imagination when it came out. There'd been scifi films before then but they'd never really hit the mark before this one. Hell, Star Trek had been going strong as well. But Star Wars grabbed people in a way nothing before it had. And then it continued that with Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi (one of the first films I saw in the cinema).

The sequels weren't quite the same but I think they were still pretty good.

Enough about Star Wars though. Just had a busy weekend :

Work trip on Friday - 100 miles there and back and a fairly full day of meetings too. It's a new contract and it's very encouraging. We might be hard pressed to keep up with our contractor, they're really cracking on. (A nice refreshing change!)

I could have done the run to see the parents on Friday night but to be honest, bank holiday traffic can be nuts and I welcomed the easy evening. So I travelled on the Saturday morning instead. Straight to the pub. Lovely steak and tangy chips too. Yum.

And as well as seeing mum, dad and sister for the first time in a while, I get to see this fella too :
That's Ben the Staffy. He's getting on a bit now but he's still got an absolutely lush coat, finely defined muscles, a distinguished greyness to his muzzle and a tail that oftens disappears into motion blur.

He's got a great temperament too. He'll bark when unfamiliar people come around but when his people give the impression that the unfamiliar person is ok, then he'll start with the slurping. Typical Staffy. And he likes to keep an eye on his people and make sure they're ok. And if they're not, it's slurping time.

It's good to see the family. And there's another important thing - dogs, cats, they're family too.

Back to work today though. I may need to escape for another break again soon, although that might come partly due to domestic stuff. Need to sort the house out. I'll accept certain standards for me, even a certain amount of clutter (because my brain likes familiarity, including clutter) but I expect to provide higher standards for others. And I need to bring my house back up to those better standards.

In a bit. Having me dinner now.

At least it's calmed down a bit now. I added the following to Facebook earlier "It's a hat stealing, umbrella murdering, wig pinching day out there but not quite at 'small person grab an anchor' levels". Very windy. Thankfully it wasn't raining when I was outside. You know what the unsettled weather means though don't you ?

Cricket season is upon us !

One of the work sides starts the season tomorrow night. I'm oh so close to being intact enough on the outside to play again. That's a bad idea though because I wouldn't be able to put in the performance level that I'd be happy with. If I had the chance to up the fitness levels and prepare, maybe. But as it stands, an evening of play would be followed by days of pain. Besides, there are fitter, younger players who want a game more than I do who can be more effective for the team.

Why do I discount myself there ?
Reactions have slowed - so my batting has suffered
Carrying the weight (this is something I need to sort anyway!)
Very weak throwing arm

I have like 95% movement in both shoulder and hip but the movement lost in the shoulder is critical to bowling and throwing (and not much else!). So while I can throw when I need to, I save it for special occasions.

The upshot is, there's people who play way better than I do now. So I'd be taking away from the team if I demanded a place ahead of the young whippersnappers. And the captains like me enough (I'm gobby on the field with constant encouragement for the team and my energy level is usually high) to find places in the team for me if I wanted it.

I dunno - it just doesn't feel honest to everyone if I still looked to play. And honesty is everything with me.

And on that note ... cya soon !

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Over Avenging ?

I'm a heretic. I'm strange. I'm out of sync with modern ... hype ?

Went to see the latest Avengers movie tonight. This one has the hype machine working overtime ... But I think there's a lesson there too.

Make your own mind about things ! Don't go with the herd. Keep an open mind and make your own evaluation of what you're seeing. I suspect a lot of the people who see Avengers 2 will be wowed by it, partly because the hype machine is telling them they should be. Us humans are very good at following the rest of that herd.

I guess you can tell I wasn't overly thrilled by Avengers 2. Yes. It has the big booms, the explosions, loads of laser shots going everywhere. Hawkeye is allowed to be awesome. (He gets the chance to actually be a character instead of being more wooden than his arrows).

But I was disappointed ? Yep. So far this year I've seen (and I may miss some things out) :

Ex Machina - lots of thinks in this film. It keeps you guessing all the way through, who is telling the truth, who is being honest. Really enjoyed this one.
Big Hero 6 - film of the year so far. It had the booms but most important, it had a lovely story and engaging characters. One to enjoy as a feel good film.
Jupiter Ascending - was far more epic than Avengers 2. Rubbish story but it looked amazing. Kinda surprised that I haven't erased it from memory yet. It was pretty awful.

And I know I've missed a few films off that list. (Hobbit 3 counts as last year and had the best mass battle sequences).

So there we go - Avengers 2. Half heartedly covers the battles, misses out on the feels and telegraphs pretty much everything. The first Iron Man was exceptional, the first Avengers was pretty good too. Winter Soldier was outstanding. But the rest have been, honestly, much of a muchness. Guardians of the Galaxy was great because it carried humour all the way through. And it had Groot and Rocket who stole the show.

But. What's more important than going to the cinema ?

Going to the cinema with friends !!!

I'll sit through anything to be with friends. (I'll freely admit that I watched Twilight - and Kristen Stewart was more wooden than Hawkeye's arrows). Friends are awesome. As well as being friends, with things like Avengers 2, they validate your opinion when you come out. Didn't like it ? I didn't like it either !

Perhaps this franchise is running out of steam. It'll still make a tonne of cash for Marvel and there will be sequels. I'll get the bluray - but not at full price. Bit like the two Thor movies and Captain America, I waited for those to get cheap. They didn't excite the way movies Big Hero 6 did or make me think the way Ex Machina did. Or tear up the way (admittedly bad plot) Interstellar did. There is a bit near the end which should have made people sad but it's a bit of a Shrug-Don't Care moment instead.

But don't take my opinion. Make up your own. It's still a big spectacle, it's not as bad as Jupiter Ascending (which dug a massive pit) but it's not the stellar piece of awesome it's been made out to be.

Hereth ends the review.

Haha - Saying all that, I did enjoy it. Or was that because there was a big smile appearing at the end when I turned the phone back on and had a message from an amazing person. Yes - I've had a trend lately of saying Very Nice Things about a particular person and I fully intend to continue. However ill that may make you feel. Ha ! It's made me happy, made me smile and I feel it's my duty to pass on the happy feels.

I still have the I-Hurts but I'm feeling better than the fraught me of yesterday. Part of that is anticipating a heavy week to come plus I'd missed lunch which always makes me cranky. Like the Hulk tried to say (in the actually pretty good Edward Norton film) "You wouldn't like me when I'm ... hungry." Yep. On away trips, I always make sure I never get hungry while driving or it's ... Code Green.

I need a picture !
Perhaps that's appropriate here. I enjoyed Iron Man so much partly because I had very little expectations of it. As more Avengers movies come out, our expectations rise. We expect more, we expect better. Perhaps it didn't come off so well with this one. It fell a bit flat for me. Great baddie though.

Enjoyed the evening out, company was better than the movie.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Yep. It's one of those again.

But ... it's not all bad. And it has nothing to do with a certain new device that may well be I-Hurt if you do the strap up too tight. Or get one of those metal straps which bite all the hairs off your wrist.

Nah. I'm not going to get the latest new fangled Apple thingymybobby. I don't need it. (Like the iPads I've been eyeing up - I don't need them). I'm quite happy with my ... (deep thought and more fingers needed than I have to count) 17 year old Accurist. It's done me well that one. I can read it without my glasses on (this is no easy thing) and I only have to change the battery every few years.

Oh my, this seems to be morphing into one of those rambling posts where I talk about anything and everything. (There's a lesson in that)
It's been one of those days today. We do a little bit too much strategizing at work, planning how to do stuff. Figuring out how to keep the disparate parts of the organisation working with the other parts. Conniving how to get the money for our stuff. Looking into the crystal ball to see what's ahead. Dealing with "confidence levels" instead of hard facts. How much actual Doing do we do ? Sometimes, it feels like not much. I get pretty fed up with that after a while. Especially as all the scheming and politics interferes with me getting Stuff done.

All that stuff seems to have created its own ecosystem. A wise man once said (and I picked it up from a Civ 4 omnipedia entry) "The bureaucracy expands, to meet the demands of the expanding bureaucracy." Yep. Silly.

But enough about that. Frustrations like that will only be solved by getting out of that environment and into something more useful. I've started looking there. But it does depend on the right opportunity opening up. There are other frustrations as well "We can't do this because we're too busy poking our noses into stuff outside our business" is one I keep hearing. I'm an integrator, I get my fingers lightly on everything, diving into the details when I need to. But I also recognise when to ignore the details and let the experts get on with it.

More people could do with leaving alone where their interference ... well ... interferes and hinders.

I'm getting this all out now aren't I ?

Bring forth the pitchforks and light the torches !

The reason the frustration is coming out is because the tiredness is hitting again. I know why that is and it's combined with my weight going up. My metabolism has gone into low gear again. That leads to tiredness, weight gain and a general feeling of lack of worth. Oh I've been feeling cold too. But it's not just the Tired, the arms and legs have been hurting too.

I like to have my legs folded, it's almost a compulsion. But the pain rising in my hips is making that ... sore. My muscles have hit that imbalance where they try and cramp up at every opportunity. (They're not that bad - yet. And I'll use the "drink lots of water" treatment). My back feels constantly twisted and is also picking up that poorly muscle thing.

However - and this is where the lesson comes in.

When the bad feelings come in, do what you can to banish them. That's harder for some than others. Definitely. But if you focus on the good, it can happen. So - and to go back to another pic from the archive :
With the youtube people, I could get angry that the messages I send don't get the response I'd like. Or I could recognise that they're busy people probably being bombarded with all sorts of stuff. Lesson - behave as you would like others to behave to you. Be good to people.

I'll freely admit that I have way too much fast food from the local chippie and the KFC over at the Mall. They know me at those places now, probably because I smile at them and treat them with lots of respect. The smiles make both of us happy. It's got to the point where they see me approaching the counter and break out in a "Hallo!!!" and smile. That's awesome and really brightens up my trips to the Mall where I end up really flagging by the time it comes to munchies.

I really enjoyed the Comic Con trip. And I got a huge hug at the end of it. You can't know how tempting it was to drive real slow by the end just to have a bit more time with Dear Heart. To give her more ... normality (that sounds weird but there's context which I'm not passing on) and a good day out with a caring friend.

And there's that huge smile which breaks out when I get a message in. People have noticed that I've been feeling happier these past few months.

It's coming from feeding that good wolf. Here's a good wolf that we fed :
Yep. Dear old man Scruff again. We fed him as a pup, maybe 3-4 years old only. He'd been abandoned, presumably from a car in the middle of the N.Ireland countryside and he plopped down on our back door, starving and with ribs showing. And he stayed with us as our loyal friend, protector, postman scarer for the next decade and a half.

Did I mention randomness ? Think I did.

Yep. Tired now. Hurting somewhat. But those hurty feelings evaporate when I think of the smiles I get. From the ladies in the munchie places. From making the attempt to get smiles from the internet people. From sending crazy comments to friends and seeing the bemused amused responses. From hoping that from my actions, at least one person is happier or better able to cope with this life.

Lots of people are struggling at the moment, both at home and away. Try and make the world a better place by helping where you can. Whether that be by donations (I never really see how this truly helps), by being a trusted ear so people can talk through their problems. By passing on smiles where you can.
Smiles are awesome. They make all sorts of troubles fade away. Hugs are better. But hugs tend to draw slaps if the person you suddenly do a bear hug on wasn't expecting it. Worse - I know a few short people who either wear shoes with spears or have devastating uppercuts. You know what I mean.

But smiles are good. Talking is better. It doesn't help anyone to bottle up the problems until you hit breaking point. If you feel like things are getting on top of you, talk to friends, talk to colleagues. They'll be happier helping you out than knowing you're struggling. The good ones will anyway.

I've rambled enough - be good to people ! They may not return the favour but you'll feel better for making the effort. It's how you are that's important. If they don't reply, shrug, move on and smile at the next person.

Cya !