Thursday, April 02, 2020

Thursday Thank You

Hello everyone,

Something is emerging as a Thing for Thursdays ... It first happened last week and the first I knew about it was seeing people dropping messages on Twit/Book saying well done for the thanking clap. And it happened again this week.

I didn't hear anything round here this week or last but that could easily be down to competing noise from in the house. (The introvert part of me stops me joining in).

But I did want to drop my own :
There we go. The world is going through a rough time at the moment and there are quite a few people who are putting themselves on the line to help us all through it. Let's see :

The doctors, nurses and other medical staff who are literally putting their lives on the line to care for those who have this virus. You're amazing. Thank you.

The people still working in the shops, designated as essential workers, who are also in the firing line as they maintain that vital supply line that keeps the rest of us from starvation. When I resupplied on Monday, the lad on the till was quite philosophical about things. Whereas the rest of us are staying at home, they're still out there in contact with a multitude of people.

The delivery people who bring us what we need*, still hard at work on their rounds. We can't go to shops at the moment, they bring the shopping to us.
*(hopefully this stuff we need and not stuff we want ... I've been tempted to Want buy a few things but I'm holding off because I know they're overstretched at the moment. I don't want to make that worse).

The lorry drivers who will be keeping those supply lines running.

The people being required to keep working away in conditions that shatter the social distancing protocols. Hope you're ok. You're awesome too.

The military people keeping at it still protecting the country (like shepherding the Russian fleet that went past the country a few days ago) or being retasked to aid with the logistics of responding to the demands this virus is going to place on the country. You're lovely.

The bin men came today doing their rounds, collecting the rubbish so we don't have to head out to the refuse heaps.

The people who are carrying on keeping us amused and entertained through the crisis. Mental health is as important as physical health. Currently listen/watching to a Tashnarr stream, she's raising money for the Cats Protection League. Earlier it was Fuzzyfreaks with more Mount and Blade 2.

The cleaners who are doing a storming job keeping public services disinfected. It should all help in putting a lid on this thing.

The Police who are charged with monitoring the streets and ensuring that those people who will prolong the situation through their stupidity are sorted out.

The people keeping the services going. Like our power, our water, our gas, our internet, phones and all the rest.

And everyone helping to combat this virus in their own way by observing the social isolation protocols.

You're awesome. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Dragon Racing

Firstly, before I dive in too much ... this was originally going to be a set up for my traditional April 1st daftness but I'm going to skip that this year.

Too much going on. Plus part of the story was going to include "So while I was in isolation ..." Hopefully next year for daftness again.

The dwagons have been busy !
What could it be ? Oh and as always, click for bigger.
As always, it's a humble beginning. This is the back of the vehicle, with a differential gear and independent suspension.
We add on the chassis frame, plus there's the front mechanical bits waiting to go on.
There we go. The sills went on at this point as well. The various Lego Technic mechanical bits are pretty well packaged and (disclosure note - kit bought on sale, not provided by company) they operate nice and freely with very little resistance. That's one thing about Lego Technic, it's expensive but the moving parts work and move very nicely.
There's another look from the front end.
Every race car needs an engine and here we have a traditional Porsche Flat 6. It's a fun thing that the building blocks can be set up either flat like this, or in a V as for the Le Mans car.
Someone suddenly gets interested as the steering wheel goes on.
Tuning up the engine.
With the mechanicals complete, construction moves on to the body with one side completed.
And the other side. The car has working doors too. (And I need to tidy up the stuff that's been hidden!)
I thought I'd try something there. That's actually the car (bit of a topless convertible at this point!) on my chair, pointing upwards and I'm holding the camera looking down at it. I think it actually worked :-D.
From a more traditional angle.

A little later and it's time to :
Make an inspection.
Looks quick.
Sounds quick. (Something was making brum brum zoom zoom noises).
Can we take it for a test drive ?
Go on little fella, try it out.
I do hope he can see over the steering wheel.

There we go. Happy smile.
Last one.

I tried some different photo techniques for the final pictures too. I still had a little daylight to help out, plus they were taken on my bed upstairs, using the sheet as the backdrop. Most of them are in natural light plus my rather yellowish (energy saving) room light but that last one had me holding a torch in one hand and camera in the other. Think it worked ?

I hope you enjoyed this post. I've enjoyed tapping the buttons to make it happen. I'm glad/relieved that I've abandoned the April Fools idea for this year, I don't think my heart would have been in it as I'd have been typing. It's not the right time.

But I have been chuckling at putting some of those words around the pictures.

Be well everyone, stay safe.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Meme time

Hello everyone,

I spotted another meme and the meme addiction grabbed me ... Here goes !

1. What was the last thing you drank? Diet Pepsi. It's actually still there, I don't seem to be drinking stuff that fast at the moment, probably due to not using that much energy at the moment.
2. Where was your profile picture taken? At home, on my computer chair :
Haven't changed from the chocolate dwagonsaur yet. It's a good one isn't it ?

3. Worst pain ever? Poorly back is the sharpest acute pain when it flares. But I actually think that constant low level pain is actually worse overall. Acute pain tells you "Don't do that !" and you stop doing that and don't have pain. Constant lower level pain like I'll get when my shoulder is bad or now when my wrist is giving me reminders is, in my opinion, worse.
4. Favourite place you've ever travelled?
That was a fairly special looking place. Oh wait ... I sense this means in real life.
The period in Canada was good but actually ? I think Legoland for the moment.
5. How late did you stay up last night? I think it was 2am but that's a bit deceptive because the clocks changed. Probably 12.30 tonight depending on when the video I'll watch ends.
6. If you could move, to where would you? To a barge on the Gloucester and Sharpness canal. (For access to Worcester and Gloucester). Kennet and Avon canal has potential too.
7. What do you collect? Dwagons.
There's a few from so long ago, there is a CRT telly in shot. This was when I had to find another place for them because a change of telly meant they were being evicted.

8. Favourite day of the week? Saturday because I can have a regenerating lie in without needing to mind when I go to bed in the evening.
9. Amusement Park or Concert? Hmm, last time I was at a concert, I was at uni.
10. When was the last time you cried? It's been a while ... not sure when actually ! Although I sense there are some really rough days coming.
11. Who took your profile picture? Me !
12. Who's the last person/animal you took a photo of? I attempted to turn this into one of those Animal Crossing QR codes but it didn't work out to anything near satisfaction.
13. What’s your favourite season? Cricket season !
14. If you could have any other job/career what would it be? Astronaut
15. Who’s your celebrity crush? Marina Sirtis, Rekha Sharma, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Claudia Black.
16. Are you a good influencer? Hahaha, depends who you talk to really and whether I've been amusing myself leading people into things that'll give me amusement.
17. Does pineapple belong on a pizza? Controversy time - yes. You should have what you want on your pizza and not be judged for it. I don't have pineapple on my pizzas though, because I like other toppings better.
18. You have the remote, what are you watching? Something something scifi. The last was a somewhat disappointing Star Trek Picard. It was superbly well made with great characters in there with Raffi and Captain Rios (and his holo people). But having another AI enemy arc following on from Discovery Season 2 was a waste of potential. Especially as it seemed to steal pretty much all of its arc idea from Mass Effect.

I should watch Discovery again ! That said though, there is other stuff out there that I haven't watched yet and it's a shame to rewatch when there is new stuff to see.
19. Who do you think will play you? I'd be honoured if it were someone like Santiago Cabrera (Rios) but he's too charismatic. I do like what Anthony Rapp does in ST Discovery.
(Having trouble thinking of actors though)

Talking of spaceships ...
Needed to catch a taxi earlier for reasons ... (An engineer that could only be unlocked from an orbital base that Tiamat's Chariot can't land at). I'm not counting that one among the fleet although it was nice to be in something quick and responsive again. That said, the Tiamat's Chariot is very quick. Several pirates have attempted to cut and run ... None have survived.

See you later in the week ! The dwagon's Secret Project has been continuing.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Shiny Spaceship and ... a teaser

Hello everyone,

Social isolation is continuing although I will need to head out on Monday night to restock the cupboards. I'm trying to pick a time when I can go in and out without having to queue too much. Because, why queue when you can pick times when the queue shouldn't be there.

I've been having far too much fun with the Animal Crossing pattern editor. I've made a few patterns for people, none of which I can share here because they are versions of emotes. However ...
There you go.

If anyone wants to use that, go right ahead.

Outside of the working from home, I've also been continuing with the Motorsport Manager. My team won the drivers championship in the season just finished but we haven't won the car championship yet. I sense this campaign might be heading to a close because the team is too powerful ... Balance means more interesting races where you have to out think the AI in order to win.

And then there are the internet spaceships ... I left it on Monday with the first outings of Tiamat's Chariot ... She's been out and about a bit more since then.
I visited a crashed ship. (Not guilty). As per usual, click for bigger.
Had a good look around, harvesting components left around the landscape.
Curious that some lights were still on.
It was time to move on though and Thursday saw me pay another visit to this place. I'd been to The View before, a system named for this lovely purple ringed planet with the neutron star over there. It's a heavy (3g) world though, so I didn't land last time. And this time the landing takes the ship to 17% hull ... Oops.
Time to visit a starbase for repairs ...
With another view from a planet's ring.
Admiring the paint job from inside the repair base.
Job done though for the exploration route, it's time to take the ship around the Empire in the quest for unlocking the best shields. Here we are coming in to land at Abel Laboratories.
Before heading off to another engineer to boost up the power supply. Tiamat's Chariot is now a heavily armed trading ship that's already made one pirate reconsider their life choices.
And a last stop for that session, just a short hop around the planet to a place where I'll pick up cargo at the start of my next session.

But I'm having to somewhat look after my body at the moment and it wouldn't do to wreck my hands playing a game such that I can't still do working. No games tonight, mostly because my back is complaining after doing more on Secret Project today. That one's getting closer and it'll be unveiled this week.

The dwagons have been working on something ...
Not done yet. Soon !

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Best Sci Fi on the Telly

Hi there,

Another day another meme and this time it's scifi shows on the telly ... Bit of a late post because I've been catching up after going in to Motorsport Manager again for a little while tonight !
I'm pretty sure I've done this one before not all that long ago but even though it's an older meme it still checks out. No Star Wars in here though because a) haven't seen The Mandalorian and b) other scifi is just better ... Although the Clone Wars animations were actually pretty good.

So - Top 10 in no particular order except for how they pop out of my brain.

Firefly ! It had far too short a run and was ended well before its time. There were many more stories to come from the universe of Firefly as well as Serenity and her crew. It was fun, tense, interesting, emotional and you never really knew what was coming. It didn't always go the way of the crew although they usually found a way to come out on top.
Next up is Doctor Who. This has been a highlight for pretty much all of my life and a fair few people in the UK would say that as well. At least those who watch the show. It's perhaps suffering from script fatigue again but apart from rolling out the old enemies time and again, there's usually some handy variation in each series. Enemies like the Family Of Blood, the Mummy Child, the stories where the Doctor and People have to recover an impossibly lost situation.

They're still doing ok with it.

Star Trek is another I grew up with and the choice here will be incredibly divisive : STAR TREK DISCOVERY ! There. I said it. Best Star Trek ever. HA ! The various other series had their highlights but they also had inconsistencies and just plain filler. DS9 had the best arc ... hid it behind Ferengi filler. ST:TNG mostly predated story arcs. Voyager ... best of the rest. TOS was also incredibly inconsistent. Enterprise was messed about with too much. Picard is ... good but feels stretched and is just going over old well trodden story arc ideas. Discovery is just better.

Why Discovery ? Because season 1 was a masterpiece in setting up story arcs early and with immensely impressive subtlety. There were things set up in the early episodes that didn't pay off until right near the end of the series. It was interesting, mysterious and extremely well made. Season 2 wasn't as strong but Captain Pike played by Anson Mount was a huge, huge highlight.
Wait. Wrong Gene Roddenberry invention.

Next up is the universe of Gerry Anderson and I'm going to go to Captain Scarlet here. Why that one ? Because you never knew what was going to happen in that series. Usually the main characters win. Not in Captain Scarlet, sometimes the Mysterons would win. And the various series were very well made too, in their own style. It's a shame Space 1999 didn't get the scripts but UFO was a fun one too. Thunderbirds managed to inject far more drama into a puppet show than anyone would have thought possible.

I really enjoyed Farscape too. If a series ends its run with you jumping out of your chair and shouting NOOOO at the telly, it's done something right over its run. I'd never done that before or since. It's the story of an astronaut who is flung through a wormhole into far off unknown space and then brought on board a ship full of escaping mismatched convicts. Will he survive ? Will he find his way home ? This is also the series that introduced the amazing Claudia Black.

The list that inspired this has The Prisoner on it. A favourite choice of a fair few. I watched this a while ago and was wondering what was going on with it. It challenged so much around its time. Possibly too clever for its own good but very well made and the questions it asked are still relevant today. Perhaps even more so in this time of plague and isolation.


Battlestar Galactica old series. Yes. This was daft and silly. But it also had drama mixed in with the fun. Especially original Starbuck. This was probably the first attempt at doing a long running plan for a series. So much of the special effects were reused, over and over again. Didn't matter. The modelling worked great.

Popping in a Blakes 7 too. This was made in the days when BBC were still getting away with actually being a bit subversive.
I loved the ship, the Liberator, partly for its just plain silliness in how it looked. The design appeared in games too later. When it originally came out in 1978, I was definitely probably too young to really understand what was going on with this series. But I loved it and it almost certainly set me along the path to happy scifi addiction.

Last one to write (cheated a bit with B5!) about is The Expanse. This one is set in a reasonably distant future where humanity has spread throughout the solar system. There is no Space Magic, outside of the mysterious stuff from forerunner species. It's a series about the people again. I did like the character of Miller and I especially identify with the pilot, Alex Kamal, probably because that's the part I'd see myself playing in that universe.

I've read up to book 8 and watched the first 4 series. The telly version is probably better than the books, because it's cleaned up some of the messier aspects of some books that were probably too drawn out. On the other hand, the books get a chance to breathe more with a timeline that lets the story have a chance to tell itself. I'd thoroughly recommend watching the books and reading the series. Or is it the other way around. I'll be reading the books again after the series is complete.

But the last and best in its time has to be Babylon 5.
Not just for the 5 year story arc that introduced a new universe, built the scenarios and then exploded into a most spectacular epic. No, the big strength of Babylon 5 was in the characters. The interplay between Sinclair and Garibaldi. Pretty much everything Garibaldi did. And G'Kar. Humble Zack and Dr Franklin. I'm mentioning all those who were played by actors who are lost to us now but the rest of the cast were amazing too. Like Sheridan and Delenn. Ivanova is a legend, Lennier was as tragic in his own way as Londo. And there has been no character more alien than the enigmatic Kosh. All of them.

Babylon 5 will be my favourite for quite some time just because of those characters and how they amplified how good the story was. It looked incredible for its time as well. Work of genius.

Other mentions to :
Stargate - Atlantis. Not SG-1 because O'Neill is actually kind of a scumbag in that series overall. Universe was curious but was infected by the grimdark scifi trend.
The Mandalorian is supposed to be amazing. But I'm not intending to sign up to the Baby Yoda Channel to watch it.
Battlestar Galactica new series. No. It gets most of its core ideas from the 1978 series. Its thing was to expand upon that but ... it started up the grimdark phase of scifi which I was most definitely NOT a fan of. It also spectacularly lost its plot after New Caprica and the writing massively suffered after that.
Dark Matter was one I was massively enjoying ... but it also got cut off before it really kicked off. Perhaps they took too much time to get to that point. Perhaps it would have been worth it.
Ulysses 31 - an animated series that was doing the long series arc even before Babylon 5 brought that in ... Need to watch this again. Actually, most of the animated series were doing the long arcs before they came to normal telly.
Space Above And Beyond - I was immediately caught in this one from the very nicely done pilot. However, it was another one that didn't get the chance to tell its story.
Defying Gravity - again, lovely setup but stopped too early.

That's it for me ! Sleep well, be safe and ...
Nite !

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

50 Things You've Never Been Asked meme

A meme ! I used to post a fair few of these but haven't seen suitable ones to steal for a little while, or I've just plain missed them. Until today !
Here goes !

1. What is the colour of your hairbrush? It's a yellow comb.
2. Name a food you never ever eat? Bananas and anything that's been near cucumber.
3. Are you typically too warm or cold? Too warm. I struggle to dump heat.
4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago? I closed the work laptop just over an hour ago, 45 minutes ago I was lurking in 2 streams. Fuzzyfreaks on the laptop and Xaliiah on the desktop. Xaliiah's just getting started again in streaming.
5. What is your favourite chocolate bar? Mini Eggs and big Toblerones. That reminds me ! I have a big Toblerone that has not yet been opened.

Oops. It has now been opened.
(pic note - be very careful with anything chocolate like given to animals, it may well be toxic to them)
6. Have you ever been to a professional sports event? Several. If the Interservices T20 games count, that's the last one. They're professional at other things though, not at the cricket. Otherwise, it's Wembley and football.
7. What is the last thing you said out loud? I just mumbled "Hmm". Can't remember actually, I'll often unconsciously talk out loud if I'm thinking through something.
8. What is your favourite ice cream? Mint choc chip.
9. What was the last thing you had to drink? I currently have coffee.
10. Do you like your wallet? It is my wallet. There are many like it but this one is mine and it does the job I want it to do and hasn't fallen apart yet. This is good.
11. What was the last thing you ate? Erm ... I may have discovered an unopened Toblerone but it is nearly dinner time so something involving chicken soon.
12. Did you buy any new clothes this weekend? Erm ... nope ! I started my isolation early.
13. The last sporting event you watched? Live ? Formula 1 testing and I think that's one of the last sporting things that'll happen for a bit.
14. What is your favourite flavour of popcorn? Buttery popcorn ! But the health people have pretty much shut that down in GB so it's salty popcorn for me as a preference.
15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to? The Sleepysister.
16. Ever go camping? Not for a couple of decades but I was contemplating whether it would be the option for the eventual Le Mans 24 hour trip.
17. Do you take vitamins? My diet sucks so vitamins and Magnesium tablets it is.
18. Do you go to church every Sunday? No.
19. Do you have a tan? My friend who donated this meme answered : "IN the UK in March?!!". Seconded.
20. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza? Pizza is better. But the Chinese is within walking distance and has someone where who likes to sneak extra prawn crackers out to me.
21. Do you drink your pop with a straw? I'll use a straw if it's provided but normally no.
22. What colour socks do you usually wear? Black, although I've been varying the socks I buy because it helps to match them up when they come out of the laundry.
23. Do you ever drive above the speed limit? No. I got trained out of doing this by old cars that could be favourably described as bangers. If you went too fast, something would drop off them.
24. What terrifies you? People being hurt by my actions, especially if it was a conscious action and not something I didn't realise was bad. Particularly pertinent in this time of virus lockdown.
25. Look to your left. What do you see? Laptop with Fuzzy playing Mount and Blade on it.
26. What chore do you hate? Pretty much any type of cleaning !
(usual thing applies with copyright - I raided this one from Amazon. I don't think they or the seller owns the copyright and I have no idea who does. If you recognise this, please let me know so I can attribute and link)
27. What do you think of when you hear any Australian accent? Hello Mr xxx ! We have an Aussie on the team, he's a good guy.
28. What’s your favourite pop? Something something coke/pepsi related.
29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru? I'll sit in their place and munch it there. I rarely take food away from them.
30. What is your favourite number? Not sure I really have one ! Although I avoid letting prime numbers if I can.
31. Who's the last person you talked to? With voice, it was a fella called Jim. In text, it was a prescription of tea as the lovely Xaliiah was wrapping up her stream.
32. Favourite cut of beef? Medium rare steak.
33. Last song you listened to? Little Light of Love from The Fifth Element soundtrack.
34. Last book you read? Old Man's War by John Scalzi and I'm in the first quarter of Ignition! now.
35. Favourite day of the week? "Any day I am not at work." Same, same.
36. Can you say the alphabet backwards? Yes. But ... w.w.w.why ?
37. How do you like your coffee? In a mug. Also warm and milky.
38. Favourite pair of shoes? Probably my work shoes at the moment ! They're good shoes. The fuzzy cold weather boots did me well too, although they were a pain to put on.
39. Time you normally go to bed? Not until midnight and then usually a bit later.
40. Time you normally get up? About 7am ish.
41. What do you prefer, sunrise or sunset? Depends if you're having to drive in to either. Driving in to low sun is a pain.
42. How many blankets on your bed? Quilt only.
43. Describe your kitchen plates? Orangey with a pattern on the outside.
44. Do you have a favourite alcoholic beverage? I don't really drink alcohol much at all. White wine is what I'd mostly likely to be caught with.
45. Do you play cards? Very little. There are a selection of competitive card games on the computer now but it's not a genre I tend to go in for much.
46. Car colour: Shiny and Red.
47. Can you change a tyre? Yes. I sadly don't have a spare though, I'd be using a repair thingy which essentially destroys the tyre.
48. Your favourite destination? Places with interesting things to see. Comic Con is always fun, although I think it'll be delayed this year. Lords for the IST20 is always a good day out and I enjoyed the semi random outings like Raglan, Legoland and SS Great Britain. Need to find some more places to wander around when the lockdown finishes.
49. Favourite job you’ve ever had? Probably the first long term one in my current organisation. I was able to learn, absorb knowledge and see something amazing taking shape. The current one is pretty good too and I'm hoping things I'm seeing and analysing will lead to changes that will improve the final product.
50. How did you get your biggest scar? Most of the damage has healed but there are still leftovers from the long term skin condition, so this is probably : An infected bite.

One last picture before I hit post. I found this while looking for another and really, really want an excuse to use it :
Haha ! As far as technology goes, I've had to abandon attempting to stream sound to two separate Bluetooth devices from my laptop. It can do it ... but the Bluetooth device stuff was starting to crash and otherwise have issues. It hasn't had a problem since I stopped using the Bluetooth speaker, so I'm assuming that sending to two devices was over working it. Which means I need another solution for the music !