Wednesday, October 29, 2014

World Psoriasis Day

This post is about a particularly nasty condition ...
Now be warned, I may dip into descriptions that you may not want to read if queasy, sensitive, squeamish or just eaten.

Ok. I probably won't be that bad but I've been pretty moderate with the descriptions of what I've been living with.

What is Psoriasis ? (wiki link)

It's not fully understood but the usual sign is that the body's repair system starts to go nuts. Lesions appear on the skin, itchy lesions. These then accumulate extra skin cells courtesy of that damaged body repair system. These are unsightly and itchy. Sometimes they get worse on their own, often (like me) they'll get worse courtesy of the victim wanting to get rid of the surplus dead skin.

That's the core of my particular problem. I think I'd have been repaired by now, if not for that compulsion to attack the bad bits. I attack them so much, they bleed. I literally can't help myself when I start, it's a blemish, I have to get rid of it. And when that happens, the bad bits expand.

You might be thinking - how do I get this ?

The cause is not known. It can afflict anyone, from any age. Personally, I believe mine was caused by allergies to lettuce amongst other things. I'm countering that with 2x 8 hour Benedryl (Acrivastine) per day which serves as anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory.

It is not a contagious disease. You cannot catch it from someone afflicted with the condition. Proof ? I have some amazing friends with the condition who have lived with partners, wives and children for many years after the condition becoming apparent, their partners have not contracted the condition.

Fear not - it is not contagious. REMEMBER that too, because a subconscious belief that you may catch it from contact etc does very bad things to the psyche of a Psoriasis sufferer and makes a bad condition even worse when that rejection is added in.

The treatment can sometimes be worse than the problem itself, because to mend the body's repair system also means suppressing it with drugs like Methotrexate. That suppressed immune system makes it much easier to catch bugs that most of us would shake off, or secondary infections that our bodies would normally laugh at.

I'm lucky, my body appears to be recovering on its own when I allow it to. When I'm not attacking the bad bits. I actually feel a bit of a fraud around my PA suffering friends because I don't think my condition is actually true Psoriasis.

My repaired skin is actually pretty good. People have given the usual recommendations of "try some E45" and "use moisturiser". Yep. Did that. My shoulders turned to bark. I was Groot ! Sadly without the raccoon or the adoring hordes. But yeah, my body is doing it's usual thing of responding opposite to what it should :
Moisturiser - dries it out
No moisturer - soft, smooth skin

I'm also lucky because :

So - it's just a skin disease right ?

Nope. Psoriasis can develop into Psoriatic Arthritis (PA), which is a truly evil condition. Psoriasis attacks the outside, the same condition can attack the insides. It'll brutalise the joints causing severe, chronic pain.

Personally, I'm suffering from :
Continual cramping in my fingers which makes it difficult to write.
The damage around my right hip.
A really sore and stiff neck.
An uncooperative upper back.

If I thought I had PA, then I'd attribute the neck damage and the finger damage to it. Possibly the back as well. The hip is an artifact from when I was treating the infections that took a while to get rid of (too much sitting on the floor). The fingers are from continuing fluid imbalance, which I think is a sideways symptom/artifact of my body repairing itself. As in, the body is using fluid to repair damage first and keep muscles in balance second. I think the back problems are more from disuse though.

I have a number of friends who's lives are crippled by the effects of PA. The continuing pain on a daily basis is almost unbearable. Yeah, I scream out occasionally when my hip tells me it didn't like what I just did and flick my fingers when the cramp hits them but that's occasional acute pain. I can deal with that. It's not something I have to take pain medication for.


I'm very lucky. The condition has only lightly touched me on the shoulder, yet it's put my life on hold for over 3 years now. I think I'm nearly out of it, the massive swelling on my feet, ankles and knees has gone and they're back to bony again. (Means my knees are complaining that they don't have the support jacket they demand !)

I expect I'll be repaired again by next cricket season. In theory, I could play again. My joints etc would support that. I won't though because at (a certain classified age!) my reactions are pretty well shot and I'm not the effective player I used to be. Sad but true.

But there are so many others who are not lucky. Psoriasis and PA have wrecked their lives.

Give them your understanding please, not rejection. Help them, support them.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Favourite movies - Pacific Rim

I mentioned this one yesterday in the O's+abit post ...

This one didn't get the best reception but ... I really like it. There's just something about how it all comes together which, in my opinion, make it a really enjoyable fun film.

But first - there's another Big Monster movie that's just coming out on bluray and I'll hope to escape the bounds of the house tomorrow morning/afternoon to go buy it - Godzilla. Perhaps at the same time I can :

Perhaps catch Maze Runners (or Annabelle)
Definitely buy Godzilla to watch tomorrow night
Replenish the biscuit and popcorn supply on my last day off
Meet someone and buy her noodles ?

Ok, ok, that last is a bit wishful thinking. This rhyme kinda sums it up :
Lady has me under a spell
His wish, take her to Annabelle
But alas, Pete she does not see
No film, therefore for me

Yep. All in 140 characters as per Twitter limits. But I do want to escape the house, partly cos the insides of my legs really need to get back in condition and wandering around Bristol for a while will go some way towards that. (And there's an email address in the profile that should still work)

To the film !

Pacific Rim is a Big Robot, Big Monster Movie. Massive alien Kaiju are invading from under the sea and to fight them, man has created massive Jaeger piloted robots. They are absolutely huge. Larger than life. It's set in the now or very near future, so the technology is firmly grounded in today. Ok, maybe a little more advanced, there is mind interfacing involved after all.

This is coupled to a marvellous soundtrack as well but while the effects make the movie, the characters share the stage equally.

My eye is particularly drawn to Mako Mori, who is introduced quite early. She is initially very shy, very reserved but you can see that inner confidence waiting to come out. It's the eyes. The eyes tell you a lot about a person.

I think mine show age - both young and old
Depth - a certain little lady who has huge expressive eyes that draw you in
The twinkles of the shy people when they smile
Crinkles when we are in pain
The scanning that comes from curiosity
The firm challenging gaze of confidence

And Mako has those big eyes with the curiosity and a certain challenge that also shows the confidence within.

And you see that build through the film.

Erm - am I talking a little too much about the cute, smart, asian actress and not enough about the film ?

Yes. It's a very silly movie. It does however, remember one vital thing about scifi - stay consistent with your story, both backstory and the main plot. A lot forget that and lose you halfway through in nonsense.

I love it. And I better get back to it now the popcorn bucket is refilled !

PS I seem to be emphasizing pretty Asian ladies lately. I wonder why. It's not really the "Asian" bit though, that's just a coincidence. All ladies have their own particular beauty. Sometimes it's wrapped up in ethnicity genes that build their appearance a bit differently. Some don't think they have that beauty but they definitely do. And they really shouldn't blush when random strange men tell them "You're even more incredible off screen than on and you are adorable on it." A pretty face helps but it's in their character, their personality. And that's what makes people truly beautiful, when they have a wonderful personality.

Yes you ! You ! Reading this now ! You're gorgeous.

And when a lady has that wonderful, beautiful personality, that's what makes them worth knowing, worth chasing.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A to Z - O is for ... Opera ?

Don't worry - I don't have much opera in the collection.

Before I dive into the O's though - I have some feels to get out the way ...

I think I'm feeling a kind of hangover from Comiccon. Part of my psyche involves being quite comfortable on my own but I also crave, require, demand human interaction. And that goes beyond just the simple FB poke or seeing what people are saying on FB or Twitter. It's needing to see what people think of what I write either here or on FB/Twitter.

I dunno - I guess I must have a kind of restlessness coming on from being in better condition on my outsides. Either that or I'm feeling severely short on hugs and am feeling the need to see some smiles answering my trademark grin. But a lot of what that does say is that I enjoyed Comicon quite a bit, so there is that hangover now.

On that feedback thing, I know people look at what I put here. I see the signature of hits coming in from individually tweeted posts, although that isn't quite the same as Google telling me "Wonderful person clicked here". It definitely doesn't tell me what they thought of what I posted or wrote about them and I think that's what I'm critically missing.

So yeah - slightly down at the moment :
Missing hugs
Missing smiles
Restless from wanting to get out and do things (the skin is improving but I wouldn't have wanted to leave the house yesterday or this morning)
Missing seeing what people think about what I write

I write to make people happy but I have that Need to know whether it makes them happy, mad, cringey, interested?, blushy. Any reaction at all. Not having a reaction opens the way to the depressive part of my brain thinking they hate it. Some of that is tied up in knowing what/who I want, knowing from the information out there that she's available but getting absolutely nothing back. (And in the meantime, there's a very busy Pretty Lady on Okcupid who has my interest)

But saying that, it sounds above like I'm Demanding feedback on what I write. I don't have the right to demand that feedback. I can expect it and look for it but I shouldn't require it. Now to get my subconscious thinking that way too !

To the music ?

I don't have many O albums, so I'm going to sneak a few P's in here too ...

O is for Oldfield and Ommadawn. It's not his signature album (that's Tubular Bells) but it is a fantastic album. Well worth picking up for some chilled out instrumental dominated pure music.

Dire Straits last album was On Every Street. Still a really good album but I think they were maybe getting a little tired. The classic track is Planet Of New Orleans.

Buffy brought teen vampire fiction back to our screens with a massive bang. Hugely impressive series while it lasted. It also brought in musical episodes with Once More With Feeling. Great episode but it has the highlight of the entire series with Under Your Spell. Sung by actress Amber Benson, it is definitely one of the very best tracks of the 13000 in my library.

I think that's one reason for my restlessness. I like to do nice things for people and even though I've reached out to a few, I'm not really getting the chance to do those nice things. I'd like to be under someone's spell.

Next up is Kings Of Leon with Only By The Night. They're not bad but very male mainstream and I don't really go for that. Still, Sex On Fire is a pretty decent signature track.

I'm more into those female singers with the amazing voices and there aren't many better than Amy Lee of Evanescence. Their second album, The Open Door, is full of amazing tracks but I'll pick out Good Enough. First impressions are key but with music, it tends to be the last track you listen to that forms that lasting impression and Good Enough closes out this album.

An album I've had for ages is the Original Soundtrack by 10cc. This has some great classics like the eternally amazing I'm Not In Love (I'm in love with people in general but wanting to be in love with one special person). But you all know I'm Not In Love, so I'll link over Brand New Day instead. Love that track.

Last two for the O's are Overexposed by Maroon 5. Not bad ... but the best track on there is the well flogged Moves Like Jagger. And the last one is Oxygene by Jean Michel Jarre.

P's ? I have to mention a film here - Pacific Rim wasn't everyone's favourite. I liked it for being over the top silliness and the so sweet, so cute, so gorgeous Rinko Kikuchi playing Mako. I may have to watch this one again, for the action, the hot asian chick (I seem to be chasing those at the moment for some reason, on Okcupid too) and ... the excellent soundtrack.

Coldplay sneak in with Parachutes. I have a few Coldplay albums but on the whole, find them a bit meh. Must be that male bland unspecial thing again. I dunno, I don't find the current male bands to be that special.

Paramore come in here with their reboot album. Again, pretty good but I think they've lost something. There's no track of the quality of The Only Exception here.

I'll close out with a Lisa Hannigan album. I think my phone was having fun with me on Saturday. When I pulled out of the service station after topping up with munchies, guess what the first track it played was ? Lisa Hannigan, with Safe Travels (Don't Die) from the Passenger album. Those lyrics ...

I don't think it could have picked a more appropriate one to start that leg of the trip off with !

PS Huge thanks for those who do give me feedback, even just the hitting of the Like button on the Facebook linkage. It gives me a big lift, more than you might think.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Comic Con adventures

Off to Comic Con in London yesterday ! Gosh that was a long day. No hold ups on the road but 2 hours drive plus 1 hour underground adds up eventually. Enough about getting there, how was the show ?

I have to say it's lightyears ahead of how I found EGX Rezzed but then again, Rezzed was focused on showing off games that I wasn't really that interested in. Lots of stalls to spend your money at (I exchanged all mine for t-shirts), lots of things to look at. And ...

You know I like dwagons ?
You know I like hats ?

What could be more awesome than :
And I will definitely be wearing that t-shirt in work on Friday. There is a picture of me wearing the Dwagon Hat, it's on Facebook but I won't post it here cos : The camera hates me and I took it at maybe 11.30 last night when Sleepy Pete was being Very Tired Sleepy Pete.

I've been writing a decent amount about the Yogscast youtube video people lately and one of them in particular (more on Kim later!). It's amazing how they've exploded into being one of the biggest channels out there. There's a few reasons for that :

They're really good at what they do
They have huge variation so there's something for everyone*
They have a fantastic Public Face

*(I'm a big fan of Kim and Hannah plus Rythian, Duncan and Zoey but not so much for the rest, they don't tend to play the games I look at)

I think that Public Face is really important. It's the first impression that everyone sees first, before checking out the videos. There's a key theme that runs through the illustrations that make up that Public Face : Craziness, Fun, Icons that pick up the character of who they represent. They're immensely clean high quality, they achieve that big objective of selling the brand and they're simple and clean enough that you Remember them.

And I got to meet one of the lovely ladies who is responsible for a lot of that artwork. She was good enough to keep chatting away too, while her comics and posters were merrily disappearing off the stand into people's bags (compensation paid for of course).

She goes by the tally Nina Serena (@NinaSerena on Twitter and comic link, tumblr link) and here's an example :
I hope she doesn't mind me grabbing that from tumblr. It's from the Lelatte comic, which is about a Dark Elf that isn't your normal Dark Elf. This one is super happy, hyper cute and bouncing around like a Sleepy on Espresso. And all she wants to do is hug the unicorns.

Go on, have a read - I did and was chuckling from page to page. Great illustrations from Nina and funny writing from her Partner in Comics and life.

Oh and she thought I was younger than 30. That's guaranteed to make a Sleepy Pete go Bouncy Pete. There might be life in the old dog yet, although I'm feeling the after effects of Comic Con this morning. I need that conditioning back in my legs.

I have a shoutout to an absent friend too, Nina talks about being a twin to another Yogscast linked person. That'd be Kaeyi who's been going through some horrible sounding health issues recently. She's not been served at all well by our health service. Kaeyi wasn't well enough to go to Comic Con but I hope she'll be able to get to the one in Birmingham NEC. She's being nursed back to health by her Kitty Nurses and it's been encouraging to see the progress over the twitter feed. It does give hope to people with long term or chronic illnesses. Yeah, I feel a bit drained now and my outsides aren't happy but examples like Kaeyi's strength give more hope.

And I really hope she makes it to Comic Con escorted by her Dream Prince Martyn.

Last mention before I close - I'd promised Kim over twitter that I'd try and smuggle some noodles her way. Sadly I lacked the courage to do so on the day. One thing about their popularity is that they can get somewhat mobbed, so they have an escort guy to keep the crowds under control. Let's just say he's very fit and since I lost the weight, even bigger than me now. So I left them be.

I do think it would be nice for them to be able to experience the show anonymously rather than be a part of it.

And for random strange men to get the chance to send noodles their way. Well, I missed the chance yesterday but would be overjoyed if I got the chance to make good that promise and get noodles (or other dinner type munchies !) for our ever wonderful, ever adorable Kim. Especially as :
Yey ! I love you too Kim, you're awesome.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

1000 - looking back, looking forward

When I started this blog up way back in 2005, I had no idea I'd reach 100 posts, let alone 1000. When I had the break from the blog between 2006 and 2008, I didn't think I'd come back. Glad I did :-)

It's curious to look and remember back to see what happened over those years.

2005 - I'd just come out of a relationship that had run for a few years. I should have seen the end of that coming really, the warning signs were there. I just couldn't figure a reasonable way out until the shock "I can't bear to live like this any more" came from the other person. The second half of that year involved making the arrangements to decouple what we had, namely the house.

She also took more than half the Pocket Dragon collection ! Fair enough really, she'd bought most of them :-).

2005 also saw me writing about cricket a fair bit. I was still running the indoor cricket team for my project. That was ... fun, educational, challenging, expanding. I'd never really been in a regular leadership role before, outside of being thrust into captaining the cricket teams at certain points. The indoor cricket saw me as a full time captain and I like to think I did pretty well at it. Our team didn't have the strongest players but regularly ended up in the top 3 of the league. But I ended up spending more time at work organising the team than actually working - that's not sustainable so I wrapped up that team.

There's quite a number of posts about World of Warcraft through 2005 and 2006 as well. The end of that relationship saw me filling the void by being the Guild Master for the Mercenaries Of Darkness. That lasted for about 6 months before various psychological pressures ended up ripping holes in my psychological state.

That's another recurring theme actually - I don't handle being alone too well. Ok, I've been ok living on my own for the past 9 years but when it comes to reaching out to people, I don't handle a lack of response very well. That's one of my own personal flaws. I think I interpret it as a "Why don't they want to talk ?" "Is it something wrong with me ?" which hits me pretty hard. Yet the reason can actually be "Oh sorry, I was really busy and didn't notice your message".

Anyway - end 2005 saw me hand over the reins of the Mercs to the fella who eventually killed the guild. I don't blame him for that, he was going through his own problems which were messing with his head but he should really have passed on the reins to another person before it was too late.

2006 saw a massive milestone for my last project and it was an awesome sight. The one post that says what I do is in there. Why don't I talk about my work too much ? Cos it gives away a little too much personal information and one thing about the internet is that once you put info on there, it can be very difficult to remove ...

The blog kinda fizzled out over the course of 2006, I just ran out of things to write about. Or perhaps I didn't want to write about some things. There's only so many "We raided the Core" posts people can handle before pulling out the massive yawn (It wasn't called Molten Bore for nothing).

A recurring theme here has been the meme and the reactivation in 2008 very quickly saw a Thursday Thirteen appear. I've not done one of those for ages, perhaps next week.

I just looked at Feb 2008 and there's some good ones in there. Remembering the Scruff is one I always go back to. Scruff was an amazing dog. He was our faithful four legged adoring friend for many years after turning up on our doorstep in Ireland. He would have died literally that night if we hadn't taken him in. And he rewarded us with total devotion for the rest of his days. Rescue dogs are the best dogs.

I talk about the gadgets a fair bit too. And that's things like going from IpodFM where I had my iPod sending the music to the car through an FM retransmitter. That didn't work so well, I needed to take the aerial off the car so the retransmitter wouldn't get jammed out by commercial radio. I also tried iPaqTV where I wanted to send camera video from a laptop to my iPaq (precursor of iPhone from HP). The main reason was to be able to see the satellite signal strength when I was up a ladder adjusting the dish but ... somewhat doomed due to lots of lag between camera and iPaq. It wouldn't have solved the problem anyway, I was losing the satellite signal due to a big tree growing right in its path. I switched back to cable TV to get around that.

I got into trouble with the Mercs around this time too by saying a few negative things about them here. The hotheads reallllly didn't like that. I found a new home in the Violence Reborn guild as that Swedish dominated group happily took me in. They're still going now, some old faces, mostly new faces and the relationships have evolved too. I enjoyed my time in VR.

Closing out 2008 was the Xmas party and coining another nickname. One of my biggest friends and most trusted confidantes over the years has been the Snow Queen. Well, this year she appears in a new haircut, shiny and glistening framing that little smile of her's. And in an outfit, the combination of which stole my heart at least for that party. (She's married, so that's as far as that goes). The original Snow Queen story was on Sci-fi channel at the time, which gave me the idea for that name : The beauty that steals the heart of the bellboy.

Looking at 2009 and it's strange to think that the world's ecomonic struggles go back that far. They seem never ending. Perhaps 2009 is the last time I had a pay rise ? We were prepared to tolerate that for a few years but it's been too many now. Dissatisfaction is rising, particularly as the politicians continue to vote themselves rises.

2010 sees more technology issues - I bought an Xbox 360 which was fairly fortuitous with what came later. I enjoyed games like Forza Motorsport but thought Final Fantasy XIII was a bit lame (still need to play FF 7) and Dead Space on the console was quite poor, having come from playing similar games on PC. Mouse and keyboard thrash a controller for these games. Forza was good because the controller was better for that game. Anyway, while I didn't use the Xbox for games that much, it lets me play Dvds at high quality without the annoying silent blips I get from the bluray player.

I came back into cricket this year too, having had a few years off. There were two reasons for the break :
1 - my old partner was going out with another member of the team and I didn't know how I'd react. It was still too raw.
2 - me saying "I'm not in great shape but pick me if you're short" led to me getting ignored and the team playing shorthanded. I really didn't appreciate that and gave up on that particular selector. This was the real reason for the break and I came back in when the team organisation changed.

Oh I blew up the old groin strain during that first game back too - it's a funny injury. I can go Warp Speed in a straight line with it but can't turn or go sideways quickly ... Anyway, that old groin strain is still slowing me down now, it's in the same place as that poorly hip problem. But ... it wasn't the biggest injury woe of this year, I got smashed on the shin which I believe caused a hairline fracture. I could walk and put weight on the leg but putting power through the leg hurt like hell. Also had a bruise about 8 inches long !

2011 saw me entering the wonderful world of the hybrid car. These have an engine and an electric motor, which share the load between them. I'd thoroughly recommend them for power, economy and flexibility and they've also been totally reliable. And with Lexus also comes high quality interiors. Yep, thoroughly recommended.

Looks like 2011 is also when the problems with my skin started. Hard to believe it's been 3 years and counting. But I finally seem to be coming through that as good, soft, delightfully smooth skin is reclaiming the broken bits.

And that skin has been the ongoing theme ever since. The "Wall Of Text Megapost" alarm is now going off so I think I'll summarise the most recent bits :

Infected leg became major skin problem, hopefully now fixing.
Cricket - fun for a while but bit old for it now.
Cars - now on my second hybrid.
Gaming - turned from playing to watching.
Relationships - tried, failed, now back to hoping.

But the dominant thing over the past few years has been bad health and the struggle to get better again. I hope I reach 2000 posts :-) I'm pretty confident I will. And one change I'd like to put in :

I love to write nice things about other people. It makes me feel better to think those thoughts and I hope it makes the target smile as well. But I'd like to write about one person in particular.

Who will that be ? I don't know yet. I know a few people I'd like it to be :
The Pocket Lioness if she'd have me;
The Okcupid lady I mentioned yesterday if she wants to meet me for a coffee;
Possibly Miss Barbara if she's available ?

Closing thought - one thing I have noticed, the skin thing seems to affect other people more than it does me. I have to live with it so perhaps I'm used to it. But with others, I've seen people stop talking to me when they realise I have the problem and others will demand I make sure the desk is clear. Yes, I make more dust than average people but ... my desk is still clearer than most people ! Including those who complain.

Time to wrap up - I hope the route to 2000 sees lots of good news :-) But for now, it's back to relaxing for me ahead of Comic Con tomorrow. Cross fingers for good selfies to post here :-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

999 Emergency !

Haha - apologies for that over dramatic title ...

Post number 999 and I'm still wondering what to do for that number 1000. Oh and 999 just happens to be our emergency telephone call number over here, bit like the 911 all the US drama series people use.

No emergencies here though. At least, none that are immediately apparent.

However, I am reallllly looking forward to the long weekend break I'm about to dive into. I'm in work tomorrow (Wednesday) but off on Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday. I think I need that mini break before diving into the madness which is the Pre Xmas season.

I'm looking forward to being out and about more over the weekend. Especially as that's a signal that my outsides are improving to the point where I can be pretty confident the night before that I'll be in a fit state to be out in public the next day. I'm not properly healed yet but I can see my outsides gradually reclaiming the bad bits. I'm more and more confident that if I manage to leave it alone, I'll be clear by Xmas.

Good times.

I also happened to break into a run today ... I still have those inner feelings of Old from creaking bones, joints no longer protected by unhealthy swelling and muscles that seem to want to tear themselves in two. I was in HMV the other week, standing up looking at the Bits N Pieces and it literally felt like my hamstring was trying to tear itself in half. I wasn't doing anything !

But ... when it comes to actually using those muscles, I was able to run quite easily today. I had to catch someone up before he escaped. That run wasn't anywhere near Warp Speed but it was the proper toe technique, just not with Warp Power. If I use Warp Power indoors, with my speed I'll bounce off the walls before being able to stop.

Or maybe not ... having lost that weight, I may have the brakes back again :-).

It does feel good being able to run again. I must start conditioning the body again by doing actual exercise. I never really needed to do that, I was one of those obnoxious people who could turn up at the first game of the season and still keep up and play at a high standard. That said, I'll be avoiding the cricket next year. Too many legacy injuries that remind me of the abuse with Pain.

Where was I ? Oh - getting out more.

Comic Con is Friday and unless something dramatic happens, I'll be on my own bombing around the place at my own pace. Which is good in terms of less complication, sad for closing the book on the other person. Depending on how I find London Comic Con, I may go to the one in NEC Birmingham in November as well. I have a dwagon that needs to be passed on ...

Talking of dwagons :
Isn't that adorable ?

So adorable, that he's now my avatar everywhere. I usually only change the avatar in Facebook or Twitter but he's gone to Blogger and Steam as well. It's a Groom from the kiddie series Room On The Broom.

I think he may be my avatar for quite some time.

I'll hopefully find the excuse to be out more over the long weekend. I have a camera that I desperately want to try out. And ... I hope that a little lady I got in touch with via Okcupid will break the mould and strike up a conversation. From what's there, she seems quirky, unusual, funny, smart, INTERESTING. And you know I don't use that I word with too many people.

Wish me luck. And if you have any ideas for that 1000, let me know.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Where there's a will ...

The entertainment world lost one of its loveliest people today, Lynda Bellingham. I watched her in series like All Creatures Great and Small, Second Thoughts and ... I'm surprised that it's not more.

She'll be missed. But one thing I wanted to natter about today is something different - but first :

I'm pretty sure I'll be on me own in the car for Comic Con on Friday. Although ... there is room in there for all 3 people who are going that day. It's a decent sized car (peek at the Fuelly link - shininess is there!) and there would be two big lads along as well as the special little lady who I think will be drawn to that noodle shop.

Ok, perhaps I've given up hope of helping them out (and it would be a pleasure to do anything to help out the little lady) for the Friday but I've not given up hope overall. I hear a little lady (need better nickname, Pocket Lioness fits) talk about loneliness and say things like she's not looking forward to being alone over Xmas, I know how I feel ... and I know she'd be welcomed in with my mob if she gave us the chance.

But that's way off in terms of expectations* - it's like I know huge amounts about our Pocket Lioness but she knows very little about me. Just what appears in the Twitter feed (which submerges under thousands of other followers), what she sees here and what's assumed from the wariness about strange men getting in touch over the internet. There's a certain amount of trust that only comes from knowing someone face to face.

*(my mind tends to rush off and make projections which are usually utter fantasy at the time, although they could happen if everything went amazingly perfectly - bad habit I know, don't count chickens before they hatch and all that)

I think this will be the last post I put here hoping that she gets in touch before moving her from that "I hope she could be" to "It could have been great but ..." category. I'm now remembering back to another lady, aka Bright Young Thing, who I was also crazy head over heels besotted with. I never heard back from her too, despite a number of attempts to get in touch. (There's only so many channels you can try before "Mad Stalker" tag hits)

It's sad but if they don't want to know, then you have to respect that and stop bugging them. There's no anger, no bad emotions like that there, just regret that I've missed out again on my primary goal in life : Helping people out.

So that's my message to the Pocket Lioness - there's someone here besotted with you who would be in dreamland if he was picked to be that person you could turn to. To be that person first on the list to call when you're sad. To answer the "whatcha doin' ?" if you're lonely. To hide behind for horror films. To be that person to lend you a little strength and do things for you if you're struggling.

And all the rest.

Actually, I hope I do keep that strength going. I've been improving on the outsides and things like my ankles are bony again. I only mention that cos they were the last bits to settle down in terms of being swollen and unhappy. Things are improving as I give them the chance and I'm now more hopeful that it'll be clear by Xmas.

But ... Definitely feeling older. I slipped and fell on the stairs today (need new shoes soon, the soles on mine are getting slick) and apparently hit harder than I thought. As in, edges of stairs biting into my bad hip, my ankle and the shoulder that's damaged. Not so good. It stiffened up to cause ouchiness over the day.

Only one therapy for that ! Activity ! Bumps and bruises like that tend to appreciate being walked off, to avoid them stiffening up. I may be in for a bad day tomorrow but survived today. (Enough for a Mall run actually)

Hey - I mentioned "will" in that title and something different ...

The radio conversations talked at one point about people having a Will tabled, in case something should happen. Bad things do happen and it's wise to have preparations in place to make it a little easier for those left behind. I have to admit, I don't have a Will and should probably make one. If I did, it would read a bit like :

Car - to my sister. Although it does have too much roof.
House - to be sold and the proceeds to the sister again. Or more like 80% to sis and the rest split between a few extra special people : CK, CQ, SQ, BD.
Computers - to a certain Diablo.
Surround sound gear - to the sister again.
Bluray player and blurays - to CK
Books - also to CK
DVDs - to divvy up between the local mob : CK, CQ, BD
Plushies and dwagons - there's a Pixie in Birmingham who's helped me out considerably over the past few years and I know she'd look after the dwagon collection.

I think that's the major bits accounted for, with some switching about to be done too cos I know there's duplicates among the books, dvds and blurays. Anything left over or unwanted should be sold off and the proceeds sent to Help For Heroes. It would, of course, change if a special someone entered my life. But - I'm not feeling there's much chance for that at the moment. Mostly because :

I mentioned I flirt with a lot of ladies but there's another limit there - I only chase one person at a time. At the moment, that's someone who's not given anything back. Which means I don't try to get to know the others I find "interesting" and "available" better.

I don't know very many people I'd call "interesting" and even fewer who might be "available". What can I say ! I'd like to grow old with someone who can keep me on my toes and keep up with what I'm thinking. And you know me, I'm strange ... not many can follow what I'm thinking.

But I think that the Pocket Lioness could. And she definitely keeps me on my toes by coming up with comments in the videos that have me bursting out laughing unawares at the latest insanity.

PS Whatever I say about wills, I'm not going anywhere. There's my poorly outsides and tortured bones but I fully expect to last a good few more decades, to hopefully at least see humanity escape this planet and live on the Moon, Mars or further. That's one of my dreams, although I was born too early for it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Moving on and making plans

I wasn't sure a week ago but it looks like I may finally be seeing the back of this skin condition.

That's been a long time coming !

I don't think I'll ever be totally free of it but it'll be good to be over the worst of it. Quick summary time ?

It started a few years ago as a leg infection. I think I got bit while on holiday and it was literally eating away my calf. It took some persuading for me to go to the doctors and even then, the infection wasn't wholly cleared out until a few visits later. Between those visits, I decided to do something about my diet and introduce some Green Stuff.

Bad move.

Critically bad move. Turns out I was allergic to the orange juice I added to the diet. That critically affected my breathing to the point where I should have gone to the doctors because I could barely breathe, even when lying down to sleep. I also added lettuce to my sandwiches, which lasted six months before I figured I was allergic to that too. But not before the infection was spread from my calf to a significant amount of me.

Hence me referring to multiple Zombie patches.

However - I'm seeing the bad bits clear up a little bit each day now. I'll be staying on the Benadryl and will be keeping on those pasta bake things too. Partly cos I like them but mostly because that diet change has helped me out a lot in general. I won't be all clear by Comic Con but I'll be much closer.

Which means - time to get on with sorting a few things out and making a few changes which have been on hold for way too long. This has literally been years where my prime focus has been on getting better and it's led to a few things being neglected.

First up - Comic Con - plans and thoughts are coming together on this one. I'll be there on the Friday and I very much hope that I'll have at least one someone with me. One thing I've learned over my far too many years is that you can never neglect what you eat on long days out like this. It's critical or you flake out halfway through and don't appreciate it all.

If that special little lady I keep talking about does accept the offer, I know where lunch will be - apparently there is a Noodle Shop there. If she spots that, I may have to entice her out of there with something special (I'm betting there are Groot models, that may do it). And there's plenty of proper eating places around the venue too. That was my big fear, I consider it dangerous to drive on an empty stomach after a long day. If you fade out while driving, you're in a 70mph missile. So me offering to buy dinner is not just a friendly gesture !

Still not sure about whether I'd take the car all the way in or use the Underground to avoid negotiating the traffic.

A near future priority is sorting out my boiler. It's still making very nasty noises and isn't effectively heating the house. Definitely a near term priority. Crossing fingers that it doesn't cost too much. It can heat the water so I can have showers but the hot water isn't reaching the radiators.

There's more than a few other tidying up jobs I have to do around the house as well. It's not in a shape that I'd want visitors to see it in. Definitely not in the shape I'd need it to be for selling up and moving on to the Sleeping Dragon narrowboat.

New job - I need more cash (I'm ok - just would like to build savings quicker). Plus it's about time I changed where I work. I've been there way too many years. That's another effect of the illness, it put me down to maybe 50% of my capability (still better than a few people I see) and I was concentrating on the day job, instead of looking wider. Actually, that's far better than some I've seen too, where they're concentrating 95% on their MSc and screwing up the day job in the remaining 5%.

Before anyone thinks that's them, it's someone who left the organisation many years ago and they're not someone I've mentioned here.

But yeah - new job, new things to do. Just one problem, limited choice of interesting places to work in the organisation. That's a topic not for here because my reasons are FAR too sensitive to put here ! Let's just say I work with very exotic toys that you sometimes hear about in the news.

Finding someone to share it all with - this has been something I've wanted for a very long time. I keep thinking I've found someone special but outside of 2 ill fated long term relationships, I've not found that right person. Yet. Or at least I don't think I have.

I still have my hopes for one special little lady. I watch the videos and listening to what she says triggers all sorts of responses (of the conversational kind ...). Or she comes out with something that makes me laugh loud enough that the neighbours can hear it (over the noisy boiler and the stereo)

No - I haven't given up there. I rarely do give up on people. Leave 'em alone if it looks like they don't want to know me but give up ? Never. Never Give Up, Never Surrender. Name that film ! (Ok, I got reminded about Galaxy Quest through a twitter convo last night and added it to the list of films I seriously need to watch again)

There have been a few interesting looking ones on Okcupid but I rarely get replies to messages. Ok, I got one who declared "I'm looking for a serious man for a serious relationship". Yep, that's what I think I am and it's what I'm looking for but ... it has to be as equals and this seemed like anything but. The lady I grow old with has to be someone I respect and I wouldn't be respecting someone with the minimal and poorly worded mis spelled (beyond your yours your's) info on her profile.

I'm rambling again aren't I ? Stuff from tonight :

Illness - getting better. About damn time.
General condition - losing weight :-), rest of it - could do with work.
Comic Con - really looking forward to it. On my own - fun. If Steamgirl comes - it'll be good to meet up again and get swept along by her. With the special little someone - AWESOME
Job - I have a cool job with great people but I need something new and technical again. The current job is dominated by process - yawn.
Soulmate - hopeful always but still on my own. I miss regular hugs. I miss the chats. I miss the bickering if you can believe that. But most - I miss doing things for other people. The little things that they appreciate way more than their apparent significance.

I think that's me about rambled out. I'll close with a bit more on that general condition thing - as my outsides improve, it's highlighting where my insides are struggling. The swellings have gone, which in places where protecting bad bits like my knees. That's ok, I just remember to walk in a way that doesn't stress the knees. I think I may need a new hip in my 5th decade. Legs that used to be good for push starting cars are lacking their power. I've leant on and abused natural fitness for a very long time now and need to supplementing that with some conditioning work now.

I think that conditioning work would help out everything else to be honest. I suspect most of my inside aches and pains are down to bits not being used very much. There's been a few times where I've been doubtful for cricket due to a stiff back and ... once I got on the field and did the warm ups, the stiffness in the back went away and I was back to zooming around at Warp Speed.

A little running around can be very good for you.

Especially as I can dodge again now.

Hmm - is that a good thing considering that it tends to be Pretty Ladies at work that I tend to be dodging most ? (lots of blind corners - honest guv)

Monday, October 13, 2014

A to Z - N is for Neverwinter

What's Neverwinter ? Another game ! But more of that later.

This is post 996 and I threatened that 1000 might involve singing ... Tell you what, it sounds really strange when you listen to your own voice being played back from the outside. Mine isn't a great booming voice. It's quite resonant and tremulous. Our voices sound very different to other people. We hear our voices directly through our skull, it's bound to sound different.

Mine sounds like it's coming from someone lacking in confidence. That's fair actually and it's something I should try and do something about. And when I sing, to get a decent note out I have to sing loud, that being a function of getting enough air going over the vocal chords to vibrate them properly. Urk. Science bit.

The 1000 post may involve singing but it'll have to be of way higher standard than what I tried out tonight. Voice wasn't really playing nicely. Yep - I have my mic working again :-). And I have the Audacity software too, which turned the Edge Of Darkness tracks into how they should have been off the album.

On to the N's !

First up is Naked by Talking Heads. Not my favourite of their's (that's Stop Making Sense). It has their character but that's submerged beneath ... bland. Not one I'd pick out for special listenings.

Unlike ... Never For Ever by Kate Bush. Ms Bush has a talent for creating true albums. They're not just a collection of tracks, they come together to make something greater than the sum of parts. Many favourites here, including The Infant Kiss.

Carly Simon sang the theme for The Spy Who Loved Me, one of my favourite Bond movies. And she's in here with her greatest hits collection, Never Been Gone. Favourite has to be the acidic You're So Vain.

Nirvana have to be in here and it's Nevermind. I have to confess, I never saw what the big thing was with Nirvana (I know - burn the heretic). They made great songs but submerged the beauty of them in dirge and noise. Smells Like Teen Spirit was the best but Tori Amos' version was better. Come As You Are is the best by Nirvana.

On to the soundtracks ... the original Neverwinter Nights (NWN) published in 2002 was Bioware's latest Dungeons and Dragons game. Their original (Baldur's Gate) was, appropriately for the time, pseudo 3d isometric (the background was set). NWN was fully 3d. Which helped ... and hindered. There was less party interaction, which was the main criticism. It was also 3rd edition DnD, which was ok ... but many people think that the DND rules have been on a slide since the 2nd ed set used for Baldur's Gate.

That said, good game. Lots of replayability as it's feasible to play through it with all the varied character classes, which are extended by the PRC pack which brings in all the silly prestige special classes. I'll be building a dual wielding specialist in my current playthrough. That'd be 2 weapons all with heavy sneak attack damage for really silly damage potential. And it'll be to a classic soundtrack too. Look out for this one on

I've been a fan of All About Eve from my early teens. Their lead singer, Julianne Regan, has a distinctive voice that's in my range. (Or at least the range I think I have !) She had a collaboration with a group called Mice, which brought forth the New And Improved album. Lots of good tracks here but I like the story told by Miss World.

Another soundtrack ? Nexus The Jupiter Project was effectively Imperium Galactica 3, a sequel to 2 games that had promise but didn't deliver. Nexus was supposed to be a bit more focused and had some good reviews. I think I got it as part of a bundle. Soundtrack ain't bad.

Queen are next with their very best album - Night At The Opera. Yes, this is the one with Bohemian Rhapsody ...

Tori Amos has been ultra prolific over the years. I've lost count of how many albums she's come out with (which means I ran out of fingers). Her N album is Night of Hunters. Not bad but I didn't pick out any highlights.

Suzanne Vega is another who's been a favourite since my teens and Nine Objects Of Desire is another of her consistently high standard. She's another very pure and perfect with the timing female voice which shows in tracks like Caramel.

I listen to metal too ... Iron Maiden's No Prayer For The Dying was one of their last albums. Still a good one with tracks like the Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter which brought massive disapproval from the Establishment when it went to the top of the charts. Need more like it.

Little Boots sprang to attention after doing a series of Youtube cover videos, recorded in her bedroom. Nocturnes was her second album and it's interesting to see this diminutive dance diva evolve into a true superstar. She's got an amazing voice in there and is applying that to catchy tracks like Shake. (And here's one of the YT covers too ...)

It's approaching Christmas ! Whether we like it or not ! And this is the N post, which means there's a Noel hiding in here. This one is from Joan Baez, another of those amazingly pure female voices.

Not so pure but oh so sexy huskiness is the character of the Norah Jones voice. I'm a firm fan of Norah Jones and will pick up her albums as they come out. (Hint Hint - I haven't got Featuring ... Norah Jones yet!). Her N is Not Too Late which has superlative tracks like Wake Me Up and the highly political My Dear Country.

Garbage returned to commercial music with Not Your Kind Of People. Not bad but it irritated me by being overpriced for a long time. It's a decent album, perhaps not as inspired as their earlier work. The title track is one of the highlights.

And the last one is a Now ... album. That has all sorts of favourites in, like Heart's Alone (not A Loan although I did grin at that ad), Cameo's Word Up but I'll go back to Kate Bush with Running Up That Hill.

And that's it for N ! I don't have many O's so that one might be out soon. Cya later !

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Coming up on milestones

I have two of those coming up actually ...

One is for here. This post will be number 995. Of those published at least. There's another 11 that are languishing (forever!) in the drafts box for various reasons.

One is for me - I'll hit one of those age milestones in just over a month.


But I'll still be hoping people will guess hilariously young ages if I can get a guess out of them when I bring in the donuts and cakes. One person thought I was still in my twenties last time. I loved that. I guess that comes from what I look like on the outsides (and losing some weight has taken another few years off) and how I act.

I'm out for the fun.

I'm an easy going person. Live and let live and all that. I like to think I love the world and everything in it. Even those things that aren't particularly lovable. (I have to watch myself when driving though, the demon horns come out). I'm one of the smart ones too, although a defense mechanism learned early means that smartness sometimes gets concealed. Not very well apparently !

I can be serious and pro when I need to be but I keep that for when it's needed. The rest of the time, I'd rather be the grinning fool trying to make others chuckle. At least, when the depressive tendencies aren't kicking. We have to be serious sometimes in my line of work though. I won't say what it is but lives genuinely do depend on the quality of it.

That's enough about work - although if you look in the right place here, there's 1 post that mentioned the project I work on last ...

Milestones ?

Birthday is one of them and it's close enough that I'm stopping buying things. Adding stuff to the wish list ? Sure. But ... you have to leave stuff for people to buy ... Although there's not many people who buy me stuff. /sob. Oh well. Can I buy some more friends ? Do they come from Rent-A-Friend ?

That's a really silly thought. I don't have many people here who I count as real friends but those I have, I value hugely. I love 'em to bits. And I wouldn't ask anything from them that they wouldn't be prepared to give anyway. That said, I'd like to find an extra special friend who I could share my stuff, troubles, strength, weakness, laughter with. And the rest. I thought I'd found that special friend a few times but ... still looking.

(Although I am still hoping that a special little lady will let me take her to Comic Con)

I have bought myself something for my birthday - and it's for Comic Con. I got me a camera ... It's a Canon Ixus 265 and I have to say, the feature that's impressed me most is the ability to control it from my phone. Love that, although it does depend on wifi and I'm not sure if that would be too available when out and about. I'm looking forward to trying it out. And there's another reason for that :

My outsides are steadily improving. That makes it freer to do stuff like randomly go to unusual places. I don't get out enough and that's been a legacy of the problems with my outsides. It's still not sorted but it's getting closer.

Other milestone ?

I've been thinking. And this is the point where you prepare to run. Because :

I love my music
I love my singing
I love writing about music here
And I thought I could combine that ...

With me singing a few of my favourite songs and linking the results here. That depends on a few things though : getting a mic input again. Figuring out where to put it (no web camera will be used). Figuring out what to sing. Figuring out how to do it while having the prompter going (I can sing well when accompanying but badly when there's no backing) And getting the right day to do it. My voice can be pretty variable, some days it's amazing, some days I can barely croak out a note.

Songs ? I have a few ideas :
Cardigans 03.45 am No Sleep - this was the original Sleepy Sings song when I got drawn into joining in with 2 very sweet Swedish ladies from the WoW guild.
Moon River - for that special little lady who I keep mentioning.
All About Eve's Apple Tree Man
Mindy Gledhill's I Do Adore
ABBA - Thank You For The Music - of course
Alisha's Attic - The Incidentals
Bat For Lashes - Laura (perhaps)
Caro Emerald - something from Stuck or A Night Like This (maybe not - she's way too good)
Edie Brickell - loads here, perhaps Buffalo Ghost or Ghost Of A Dog
It's Not Over Yet (from the Goldfrapp version)
Thunderchild or Forever Autumn
Kate Bush - Oh England My Lionheart

I think that's enough for now. I'd suggest Beatles but I think they get nasty over copyright. (If you haven't watched Across The Universe, I'd thoroughly recommend it). And listing those was, of course, an excuse for me to listen and sing along to them yet again.

The song post maaaaay happen ... If you'd like to see (hear?) it happen, chuck in some ideas for songs in the comments :-)