Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Shooting Trouble

So I realised yesterday evening that I'd been a bit behind in making sure my Tivo telly box doesn't record all the wrong things.
The way I've been controlling that Tivo box, for setting up programmes to record at least, is through the app on my iPad. The actual remote is very clunky and takes ages to navigate. The iPad app is far easier to use. But ... apparently ... also broken.

What I think has happened is that a power cut incident last Friday has damaged some of my network gear. The way it is supposed to work is :

iPad talks to router. Works ok.
Router talks to Powerline widget 1. Works ok.
Powerline widget 1 talks to Powerline widget 2. Wasn't working so well.
(The Powerline kit means wires run around the room instead of across the floor).
Powerline widget 2 talks to Tivo. Nada.

So the chain was breaking at around Powerline widget 2. That one is also supposed to bring wifi as well, which I used before I got my latest router. (Complicated explanation cut short - needed it so my printer would work, got another solution now)

Before any fixes, one tool told me that the two Powerline bits of kit were talking to each other at 11Mbps. This is Very Slow. One reset to defaults later and it was talking at 337Mbps. That's more like it !!! But still no wifi signal. And the Tivo isn't talking yet.

And then I look at the diagnostic tool again and apparently it's showing traffic going one way but not the other. Can't really explain that, it could be that there was no traffic to go the other way. I could turn the lights on it on and off remotely though, so something must have been working.

After some headscratching (and frustration that the configuration tool is on a cd that is lost under much clutter !), I try another solution ...

I have more widgets ...

I use an Apple Airport Express (aka LittleWhiteBox) to transfer my music from laptop to hifi. It talks to the router via wifi, so that's another wire that I don't need stretching across the room. It's really good with transferring that music too. (Almost cd quality bandwidth and keeps the signal digital when sending it to the amp).

It can also (allegedly) act as a router on its own, or as a network bridge to extend a wifi network. As in, you tell it to talk to your main wifi and can also plug a network cable in to hook up something without wifi (like the Tivo).

This actually worked last night. But not tonight. Grr. Apple are steadily destroying their reputation with me for competence in the software market, which is very silly because they control the hardware as well as the software. It should do what it is supposed to do.

The daft thing is that the LittleWhiteBox worked as a network bridge last night but tonight ? Audio stream broke. Fixed now by taking it back to the settings before I started playing but ... I'd like to use all of its facilities, not just those that decide to work on the day.
Actually there are more daft things but I'll get to those in a bit. For now :

I can't control the Tivo via my iPad any more. But I can control it via the web on the desktop. So that counts as a victory.
My audio streaming works again ! My ears are saved.
Powerline kit will be plugged out soon or at least until I can find the configuration cd.

Daft stuff :
Virgin Media really need to sort their stuff out. Dunno why the iPad app can't talk to the Tivo any more. Perhaps they've updated the software again and broken it ? Highly likely.
Virgin Media really need to sort their stuff out. Yep, again. When I got the Tivo, it worked pretty well. The menus were quick and ... all important ... it could record while on standby. A recent update broke the recording on standby ... so I leave it on.
Virgin Media ... you guessed it ... A 2016 network enabled device should really have wifi on it if it is designed to talk over a network.
Apple device working one moment, breaking the next.
TP-Link's Powerline configuration utility staying on the cd instead of installing itself to the machine.

And there's probably more Daft Stuff too. (Like a 2013 Macbook Air with a half broken wifi - known issue that the 2.4GHz antenna breaks, it's perfect on the 5GHz).

Yep. There was more frustration tonight and a few factory resets of the LittleWhiteBox to get that working again. Disabling the network bridge thing sorted that out. And I can still control the Tivo from the desktop, even though it isn't on the home network any more.

I think that counts as a win ?

Other news ... I've gone to a Plan B ... The HC45 Magic Healing Gunk was great but one of its effects can be to thin down the skin. So using it too much can lead to similar problems to what I was trying to fix. As in, I've been back in the ankle protector this week because my ankles were worsening.

It's not all bad news though. Plan B means using a fair bit of the old Aveeno moisturiser again. My ankles and left foot are damaged still but I'm pretty sure they improved over today and yesterday, despite me doing the typical amount of movement around the office. They should appreciate me skiving off the work next week.

Other other news ... I had something to say here and I can't remember !!!! NOOOO !!!!

Ok. What was it.

I know !!! The new phone is likely to be a Samsung Galaxy S7. I still give them the Arched Look Of Suspicion but it seems like they're the best phone on the market at the moment. The Honor phones are cheaper but ... you tend to get what you pay for. Or less. I had my eye on the HTC phone but ... it's too expensive. I.e. it's more expensive than the Samsung for questionable value.

Yep. Voting with me feet and starting to walk away from Apple ... Soon !

PS You can probably tell that I'll be sticking with my current mobile phone network instead of taking up Virgin Media on one of their offers ...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Phoney Hacks

A couple of things on my mind at the moment are ...

Phones and Hacks.

I'm thinking heavily about updating my phone soon ... I currently have an iPhone 5 and because Apple want to force people to use the software versions they push, I can't update it. This means apps are gradually becoming unreliable and nonfunctional. The latest is the Vue cinema app, it can't get data since Vue downgraded their site with a new look which honestly ... isn't very good.
Let's talk about that ...

How come I don't want to update the software on my Macbook Air ? There are a few reasons actually but the biggest is that I'm rather attached to the iTunes DJ function that was removed after v10.7. Actually, a lot of things were removed after 10.7 most of which were to do with basic usability ... v11 and onwards are a mess.

Oh and the newer versions of iOS don't talk to 10.7 any more, so I can't update my phone.

Not just that, Apple updates are getting notorious for breaking things. Like changes to firmware making the laptops much slower. I hear the new MacOS Sierra breaks battery life by making the machine work too hard. I can well believe these stories because pretty much every time I updated iTunes on Windows, it would break.

So yeah - the phone is getting less and less usable with the apps, so it's getting near time to replace it.

Except I don't know what to get ... The elimination part is proving easy :

Not Apple, definitely not Microsoft for the phone.
Not Sony, the Xperia mini phone I had before failed as a phone (calls frequently being just static noise) and couldn't have its software updated.

Apparently not Samsung either now. I used to have quite a high opinion of Samsung products. They made perfectly functional tellies and monitors that just did what they were required to do and they did that extremely well. But ... their quality has been slipping lately. I think my current telly is contributing to the trust issues that my amp and bluray player have. My last monitor was ... not as good as it should have been. The AOC one is way superior. And then there is the Galaxy Note 7 debacle to top it all off ... I'm not mentioning what I read in an article yesterday but ... if industry people don't treat their people right, the customers suffer as poor quality and deliberate mistakes come in.

I'm currently thinking HTC but would prefer a Google Nexus. I don't think I can get a Nexus phone on my current mobile network though. The HTC is expensive too compared to the Samsungs. I may be forced to go to an earlier version of the Galaxy ...

Hacks ?

I've had a couple of warnings over the email today and odd behaviour from the Apple account ... They've only come from GOG and Apple so far but it's enough for me to start changing passwords.

GoG - a couple of 2 factor authentication requests. Bit odd as I don't think it is me initiating that.
Apple - Facetime ID. That could have been the laptop doing something strange.

What's also odd is that they have different usernames on the log in ...

Just what password to choose ! Most password systems are pretty crazy now. You have to beware of simple stuff like dictionary attacks where the cracker system will go through the dictionary trying to break in. Number and special character substitution tends to demanded. I like using recognisable words but to get around the dictionary attack, I use combinations. Like Hack4Evah. Mis-spelled words can be good too.

(I have never used Hack4Evah !)

So yeah - new phone soon and a few new passwords too I think. The important stuff like bank is kept safe behind all sorts of multifactor authentication. Most stuff I have online is protected by two or more factor authentication.

But I did get hacked once ... my Eve Online account was hijacked and the only way I could explain that was that the keylogger that captured the credentials got in through the people who run the game. Had to be ! It was the only thing that got hacked.

It'll be a little time until I switch the phone. I'm evaluating options at the moment.

Me ? I'm ok still. Hanging on in there somewhat until I go on leave in a week but still pretty good. My outsides are gradually reclaiming themselves, when I let them although there are some hold outs. I still have my hopes, although I'll go see that doc on my week off if I'm not happy with progress. Kinda want this outsides thing done now so I can move on and away from it.

Monday, October 10, 2016

World Mental Health Day

Apparently it's another one of those Days again today !
As per usual though, this kind of thing is not a Thing for one day. When Depression gets its hooks into you, it's something that's with you for life.

I have it too, although mine is mercifully not a permanent imbalance with my brain chemistry as it is for many of the people who I know who have depression. Saying that though, I do notice occasions when stuff I've had has been affecting my mood probably due to upsetting that brain chemistry temporarily.

Let's see :

Multivitamins and Iron tablets. This is a long time ago but after maybe a week on those, I went evil. Dark Sleepy was well and truly out. I had gone well grumpy. When I realised, I ditched the tablets and my mental state recovered after a week or so. I'm now on basic multivitamins, which seem ok.

Last week's hayfever tablets. Mounting exhaustion was contributing to feels of being down and it was needing to be up and active for work which was keeping me going. My Happy State has been improving since I ditched the hayfever tablets again.

Coffee ... oh yes. The demon drink. I get headaches if I don't get a reasonably constant supply of coffee. That said, I managed to steer clear of the coffee this weekend albeit after topping up on the Canteen Co**a coffee. That's strong stuff. You could probably melt metal in it.

Exercise ... and lack of it. This can do funny things to the mind but I found it was more inability to do exercise.

I'm always a little confused about the people who do so much exercise but that's partly lessons from my own experiences with the exercise. Yes, it feels wonderful when you're running around and when your brain is filled with the endorphins (natural painkillers) from that but ... for every mood upper, there is withdrawal. You have to keep exercising or face that withdrawal. And there is the inevitability of injuries that will prevent the exercising.

I learned a lot of that from realising that my big strength, power legs, were also my worst enemy. The injury I got most often were strains and mini-tears from my legs, either from cramp or muscles that couldn't cash the cheques I was trying to write with them.

I had the bad feelings from when the condition of my outsides was really bad too. I'm still not fixed but I am far better than the times when I had zombie patches under my eyes, chunks missing out of my ear lobes, inability to shave cos of a torn up chin and lots of very messy bits that kept on leaking.

Yep. I was in a bad way and don't really want to look back to that.

I'm preferring to look to now, where the leaky bits ... aren't leaking (no leaks today !) and my outsides are gradually improving.

But I still look back to the Dark Times where I could easily do damage in seconds that will take weeks to fix. I'm still doing a bit of that even now. It's just too easy to damage delicate half healed bits.

I get the depressive feelings when looking at the mess in the house too ... and the amount of work that needs to go in to clearing up before I'd be content to let another person see this place. I have been too tired though to make a start, which is daft again because the place needs a good vacuuming and I'll be sensitive to the amount of dust in the air here.

But my problems are very minor though compared to those people who suffer the depression, the anxieties, the social fears, the phobias.

I have a negative feedback type feeling where if I don't get acknowledgement on things I do for people, I get sad. Especially when it's people who I'm desperately trying to reach out to. People like the Internet people who just don't acknowledge anything these days. I think there has been a certain shield or armour gone up due to having to insulate themselves from the worst parts of the net.

I do have all sorts of people keeping me nodding towards Happy though. There are the people in Chrissa's stream chat who banter along with the craziness. Crazy is fun. There's the Chrissa herself who will burst into chuckles if she spots something especially crazyfunny.

And there are those lovely people associated with work and outside too. You know who you are ! People who get my daft messages and ... actually reply and join in the fun.

Those people are awesome.

Even those people who just see my daft grin and reply with smiles of their own. A smile is ...

There is no easy cure for depression though. It's insidious. It's repressive. It's obsessive, relentless and all sorts of other words.

But we can help. We must listen but not assume we have answers for the other person. Sometimes the best answer is no answer, it is to listen and try to understand what the other person is going through. How they are being betrayed by their minds and bodies.

Make a difference. Be there for someone who is struggling. Just ... be there, that's what they want.
I've said it before but I would be so honoured if someone chose me to be their tinie pokkit listener.
Yep. Even if you don't think you are, you are. Awesome that is.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Torture of the Tummy


I've acquired what feels like lightly torn or at least heavily strained stomach muscles ... I think I know what's done it, Thursday night's attempts at going to sleep ended up in more frustration and some very dodgy feelings.

You know when you have that nasty feeling of having thrown up ? Yep. That's the one. Drinking water wouldn't get rid of it either. The really frustrating thing, I'd gone to bed early in the hopes of getting a better than usual night's sleep !

I wasn't actually ill, if you thought that. Just had that after effects feeling and the potential of actually being ill being held at bay which made further attempts at sleep difficult.

That tummy though ... it genuinely hurts when I use the muscles to move around, when I cough, when I laugh.

I'm ok. But it's events like that that make you look back, think and wonder "what caused that ?" Let's see ...

Possibly pizza from the Wednesday. Yep. I weakened again. I haven't been that interested in cooking for myself all this week (thinking of that, I must put the oven on after this post for dindins !) and on Wednesday it was the pizzas ... Thursday was KFC but that doesn't usually cause me problems like that.

Nah - I think it was the hayfever tablets I started taking again. The Acrivastine based hayfever tablets were causing me an unpleasant side effect which I won't go into here, plus I don't think they were doing any good. So I stopped those. The ones from the last week or so were the older, more common Cetirizine based hayfever tablets. I've had those before and they caused me various side effects (more in a bit) but when talking to my mum, they sounded like a good idea again.

Reason for taking them - as an anti-allergy tablet, the idea is that they target the skin irritation and help reduce it. Did that work ? Maybe ?

What I've seen -
Eyes watering in the morning again. I think this is a reaction to walking around in cold air and it has genuinely got colder this week. But you'd like to think hayfever tablets would stop your eyes watering.

Getting a little worse - I think this is coincidence to be honest, although a couple of the bad bits have been improving again since I came off the tablets.

Weak legs - when I played cricket, I would occasionally take a hayfever tablet before an evening game with the intention of it opening up my lungs for better breathing. Often, the result was the opposite, I'd have trouble catching my breath after running around plus I'd have difficulty getting that Spark of power out of the legs. I'd be Slow instead of quick and that's something I hated at the time.

Wheezy lungs - see above.

And apparently nausea has joined those symptoms too ...

That's the only way I can explain the nausea symptoms ! Oh and that other side effect from the Acrivastine based tablets was threatening to come back.

I'm ok though. Just rather tired and looking forward to having a week off in a fortnight. That's the way I work, I can make that extra effort to see me through to a break and then I'll collapse and rest up for the week. Cricket watching will happen ... England are in Bangladesh at the moment.

And it feels like I've been returning to what seems to count as normal since coming off the hayfever tablets on Friday.

The cautionary note is - if you are self medicating with stuff like hayfever tablets or the healing gels I'd been trying, keep an eye on your condition. Try to overcome the placebo instinct and ask two questions :

Is this doing me any good ?
Is it making me worse ?

The healing gel was giving me a placebo instinct where it felt like it was making a difference but I suspect it was actually making my ankles worse. The HC45 cream is way better and had a dramatic effect.

Better still - go see a doctor !

Doctors know best.

And I'll hopefully get the chance to take some of my own advice soon. While most of me is recovering when I allow it (by not worrying at half healed bits), there are still a few problem bits which aren't healing as I'd like. They're trying to but not quite finishing up that healing.

We shall see how they go. Hopefully that Hc45 continues to help out.

But for now ... I'll be chilling out to videos before stream starts later, I did do gaming yesterday (the Planetbase Dark Moon challenge was completed with just a couple of days to spare) but I've steered clear of it today. Watching the videos is amusing and more chilled out than playing.

Oh and it's time to put that dinner on too I think !

Monday, October 03, 2016

All About Those .... Song Requests ?

Currently waiting for stream to start.
I do enjoy watching the streams, they've been great for relaxing both for watching the game, listening to the streamer and having fun with chat. It does vary, chat, sometimes it's manic fun. Sometimes you get the trolls come in and cause trouble (our mods are excellent). But most of the time, it's awesome.

Good enough in fact that I signed up to a Twitch account to join in with this chat and ... subscribed ...

Because supporting people who do Good Things is the way to keep them doing Good Things instead of, you know, having to get a different job in order to pay the rent and the other bills. Same goes for people who make the music we love. Pirating the music means the artists won't be able to continue making the music. (Bit like using ad-blockers when watching streamers !)

Anyway. I was hoping to watch the stream tonight but it looks like tech issues might win. Oh well. That'll mean ... early night ! I'm much improved on the outsides but still really tired. I suspect that might have something to do with my last couple of leave periods being disasters for trying to rest up and get some energy back due to my outsides reacting and getting much worse. Hopefully I'll have better from the week off I have coming at the end of October.

Tonight would have been a Subnautica and chill stream, where the subscribed people can request songs to be played. I have a few queued up. It would have been bad to waste them. Ok. Maybe not bad. Perhaps it would have been a service to not put these links up. Maybe.

Ok. Here they are :

Opening request would have been Hello Kitty by Avril Lavigne. Because our Chrissa was promising truly obnoxious Kitty style headphones tonight which have apparently broken her whole streaming set up. It'll be fixed :-), these things happen.

Next one lined up was Hanuman by Rodrigo y Gabriela. It was used in the Puss In Boots movie. Great bit of instrumental guitar music.

And the last of the cat theme ... Everybody Wants To Be A Cat from The Aristocats. We have one of the regulars in the chat who hates Disney. And we remind them of the Disney at every opportunity.

But as well as the more trolly stuff, I'll pick stuff I really like plus stuff I know our Chrissa loves.

Bring on the Spice Girls ... tonight's would have been Goodbye. Gotta admit, Spice Girls was something that passed me by while I was being addicted to Alisha's Attic.

Talking of gorgeous songs, here's one from Tori Amos - Bells For Her. It's from the amazing Under The Pink which was all about soft sad songs with piano. Fantastic album.

Because our Chrissa was starting to feel a bit sorry for herself (tech problems are awkward), out come the Cardigans with Beautiful One. A hug in a song.

Although she might be a little more Angel of Sadness at the moment. (Ouch - just listening, it's her own channel and she's murdering her own song !)

Anyone got any more Cat themed songs for us ?

I hope you have some lovely chill out evenings lined up, wherever you are. Me ? I'm off to watch a few more gaming videos. Mentally, I'm not really there at the moment to want to dive into games at the moment. Tiredness is putting me off. But it's been awesome to :

Watch the various videos of people playing the games, enjoying what they're playing with them.

Better to watch the streams, where our Queen Of The Salt Age entertains us with the quality gameplay and how on earth can she keep up with the chat like she does !

Have a great evening and ... random hug for those who may need one :

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.

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 !


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



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 !


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 :

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.