Monday, September 14, 2020

Top of the Galaxy and other news

Hello everyone,

There may be lots of screenshots tonight ...
There's one. I followed the speed run to the galactic centre with a trip to the top of the galaxy. There will be a certain amount of cheating* going on with how it shows the galaxy but it does still look pretty.

*(that isn't several billion entities being simulated, that's a skybox generated from a prediction, the skybox background is then oriented according to how the camera is looking at it) TLDR - looks pretty.

I think I've caught a cold ... hopefully not anything more sinister than that. I have no idea how catching a cold could happen, although I definitely have the sneezing, runny nose and blocked ears. Odd. Could be hay fever, probably is hay fever because I'm very susceptible to that and can't take anything for it for various reasons.

Looking forwards to watching Le Mans this weekend, although I won't try staying up for the whole 24 hours. Same with Nurburgring the week after. I like to watch teams that are a little way down the field, or teams that have suffered some kind of misfortune and are fighting back. That's usually far more interesting than boringness that can happen up front.

I need to get out and about some too, despite the hayfever and apparent cold. But I won't be going anywhere while I have cold symptoms (I have supplies until at least the weekend, am ok).

Apart from that, I'm managing hands issues again ... The internet spaceships seem to be reasonably neutral with it but more traditional first person shooter type games may be causing issues. So no more Final Fantasy XIV yet but I did have a look at The Outer Worlds.
I'm not sure about this one, it isn't holding me in like I thought it would. I'm actually feeling like diving into a fresh Mass Effect Andromeda playthrough instead (that'll be Fuzzyfreaks and her return to Mass Effect) and there's also the Deus Ex Adam Jensen games (Human Revolution, Mankind Divided).
But there's also the internet spaceships. Depending on how I play, these are better and worse for my hands. I didn't cause that dent by the way, it was there before I landed, not when I landed.

Time to come back down though and that was another pointer from Kamd, a moon with just the right amount of inclination in orbit above its parent planet to really show off those rings. Also geysers ...
And what I could only describe as pipe trees. Tight landing too ...
On to a system called the Eye of Fire, with lovely copper coloured gas giants and rings. But ... there was more ...
I travelled round a little more until the planet was giving me an eclipse and there's a second gas giant there that can be seen through the rings.
Moving on again though and nebulae are pretty. As must be the view from this science station :
At some point, I'll watch the movie The Black Hole again which has the research ship Cygnus perched on the edge of a black hole. It's a Disney scifi movie from December 1979 and as such, there's a lot of silly about it. But I can remember enjoying watching it.
My stopping point for the evening was a place called the Dryau Awesomes ... There's a white dwarf star shining out there and in the lower centre right, you'll see the telltale whorl of a black hole lensing the background.

But that's not where the Awesomes come from :
That's a bit close isn't it ...
There's a fleet carrier nestled in there too, the Buurian Anchorage. I stopped off here to repair the hyperdrive and hand in my exploration data before attempting what's said to be a very hazardous landing. I think I was ok, although landing on that smaller planet there so close to the big one could be a bit hairy.
There we are, perched on a ledge looking at the big planet.
But I moved on a bit from there because I wanted a picture with the star in the background.

Back later in the week. It's been good to see the galactic news service make a return as well. It's back with a bang ... literally ... as several space stations have been attacked.

It's a good alternate world to fly around in, definitely a rather pretty escape from what's happening in this one !

Stay safe everyone, be well.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Defensive Baking and Speed Running

Hello everyone,

Book today ! Internet spaceships later.
It wasn't that book. Although after seeing it in my search for a thumbnail today, I kinda want to read that now ! The pic above is The Great Dragon Bake Off by Nicola O'Byrne and here's the Goodreads link.
Nah, this semi-review is about A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking by T.Kingfisher, aka Ursula Vernon.
After switching to this one after giving up on the tedious Existence (David Brin), this book was a wonderful breath of fresh air. It's written in a light style and it's always half a sentence away from an inventive bit of humour that'll keep you laughing all the way through the book and quite often, bursting out into uncontrollable chuckles.

What's it about ?

This book is centred around the 14 year old Mona, who lives in a feudal medieval era world blessed by a light touch of magic. Wizards are rare ... and our Mona has an affinity for bread and baking. She can make gingerbread men dance and animate dough in various other ways.

However ... not all is well in this world ...
There's been a Murder ! This is one of those lovely books that's extremely well paced. You don't get bored but happily get drawn gently into a tale of skullduggery and then heroism. It builds to a natural climactic finish too. Quite possibly a bit dark with what one of the characters gets up to ... but you probably need a bit of evil to balance all that fluffy goodness.

I think I had all sorts of bread puns lined up when I was talking to someone about this the other day but the internet spaceships thing today has banished them a bit ! Let's see ...

A nice fluffy story. It rises satisfactorily throughout, it tempts with goodness and the humour and characters are the icing on the top. Oh and it's consistent within itself too, coming out the oven with a lovely texture throughout.

A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking by T.Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon) - wonderful book, will definitely be checking out what else she's come out with. Humour throughout and delicious inventiveness.

Internet spaceships ? I may have to be a bit more careful with these because my body wasn't liking what I was doing with them today. (Oo-er?)
I left things last time with the Hand of Caledorn doing a different type of mining ... After one more quick session, I've switched over to Zoomnarr, aka 5K-L4H. That's Zoomnarr in the picture above. She's my second Krait Mk II ship, with that type selected because there hasn't been a record run done with them yet. Mission ... head to the Core.
After a little shakedown cruise first. Seen here checking a decidedly second hand science ship.
The speed run thing is to see how quickly you can get from the Sol system to Sagittarius A* at the galactic centre. It's been done in 86 minutes 57 seconds ... in a ship with greater jump range. They're probably seeing 75-77 light year jumps there, Zoomnarr can do 61.1 light year jumps. I think they have a much craftier route as well than the ones the Spansh plotter gives me.
The things they look for to register runs are 3 screenshots ... the one above which proves you started on the same day you arrived (they changed the info in the next one). The time of departure :
There we go. 12.58.00 in the top right. And time of arrival, using the Galaxy Map to prove that you're at the Core :
This time it's 16.08.49 in the top left, making the run time 3 hours, 10 minutes and 49 seconds for my fastest time yet. I thought I had a chance of breaking through to under 3 hours but made a few errors at neutron stars :
That was the worst, where I bumped into the exclusion zone which drops you out of hyperspace. To go really far and fast, you drop into the streamers of the neutron stars and that lets you jump 4 times the distance that you would without the boost.
One thing about the trip is that as you get closer to the centre, the star density massively increases. It's pretty. And I'm definitely liking the new colour scheme.
And another visit to Sagittarius A* ! I think this is the fifth time I've been there on this character and it's still a treat seeing the stars lensing around the monster in the middle there.
But it was time to put the ship to bed and there she is coming to rest in Explorer's Anchorage. The trip back will be a lot slower and I'll be checking out places to see as well with a new rover.

Next objective - to have Zoomnarr on screen with Cmdr Drew Wagar's next Elite tour, starting in October. I should be back in the bubble for that :-).

Hopefully with limbs that have forgiven me by then too ! The speed run play style is a bit reminiscent of MMOs, where you feel pressured to keep at it when you'd normally step away for a moment or take it a bit more chill. I was feeling this trip in my hip (strange I know !) and I'll have reminders from the arms over the next few days.

But the setting of a new time and the screenshots I'll get on the way back will make it worth it.

Stay safe everyone, be well.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Mining, Reading, Working

Hello everyone,

What have I been up to for the week ? Feels like time is flying by still at the moment.
I've actually turned the Seti sums back on again, because it's cooled down enough here to be putting the jumpers back on.

Let's see. Work's been fairly intense lately and it really should have been a bit more intense. I should actually be in a different country at the moment under quarantine ahead of a little period away. But I'm not, partly due to physical condition, partly due to mental condition.

My head's ok now, my mental state picked up considerably after I was stood down from going away. But there is that nagging sense that I've let the mental issues win this time. Some of those issues come from the frustration I was having with arranging my end of the trip. (Arranging for me seemed to be much more of an unknown than the other people - can't go in to why here) A big one was the prospect of over a month away from home. I get anxiety when I'm away. Some of it was the conditions I'd be going into. Again, can't say why here.

What caused the decision to be made though was that the mental issues were causing tensions that were manifesting in physical conditions. My back has mostly repaired itself now from when it tried to decouple itself and I've been back in the internet spaceship piloting seat as well (more later). Mining has been a good activity there, feels productive. I haven't attempted a shooter or MMO style game for a good while though, if the spaceships are close to aggravating the wrist, then the shooter / MMO games are likely to activate that issue again.

Oh and I also needed to take a moment when I was picking up shopping last week and my hips were  getting crunchy ...

Things do feel a little like making excuses though and I'm not sure if I like that. That's one thing about mental issues, the person with them will feel as if they've let themselves down ... which just acts as negative reinforcement.

It's ok to talk about the mental issues. In fact, I'd heavily encourage it. In being able to express those issues with a few people, it's let me bounce back quite a bit from when they were affecting me so much that the tension was manifesting as the physical issues.

Reading ?

After abandoning David Brin's Existence after 100 tedious pages, I've been reading A Wizard's Guide To Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher. More to come about that in a later post (when I've finished reading it !) but I enjoyed its first 36 pages so much, I had to share part of why I was finding it a fun read :
It's been light hearted fun so far, very readable and the early parts quite happily drew me in to the story and I was wanting to continue despite it getting late.

Existence was a bit different. The first couple of chapters were ok ... and then we hit one with a travel journalist experiencing the Mixed Reality rich areas. That was tough to read, not for subject but for readability. I don't like the Wall of Text tendency that I can have, this was Wall of Text to the extreme. And then it goes into intermission sections between chapters, some of which were a talk show type set up that I was essentially just skipping over. There's a lot of self indulgent stuff in there, it was distracting heavily away from any semblance of plot and I gave up on it after 100 pages, perhaps 15/20 of which felt plot related.

Internet spaceships ? I've been mining again ...

Mining is a bit broken though, so fairly soon I'll be switching ship again. ZoomNarr is potentially next, although I'd like to open up a little more engineering first for weight savings ...
That'll be what Zoomnarr looks like and I'll be aiming at around 3 hours to get to the Galactic Core in this one. My record is 3 hours 6 minutes ...
I'm not switching ships due to a lithobraking incident though ... honest. (All the dents came out from this planetary approach).
Gotta say, the colour scheme of Hand of Caledorn was fitting in rather nicely with the surroundings she was mining in. However, mining has suffered a little lately in the metagame area. Low Temperature Diamonds were the main highly lucrative item, these are now scarcer than scarce. As a knock on to that, the Painite I've been mining has lessened in value as the market saturates. So ... time to test something new :
Mining with explosives ! Charges set ...
BOOM TODAY ! (Well. Yesterday.)
Hmm. More boom needed.
That's better. The idea is that you use the seismic charge launcher to embed explosives into the rock and then ...
Pick up the goodies exposed from the insides, find the high buyers and profit. I cut the session short a little because I was struggling to fill the hold ... and also because the wrist issues were threatening again. Still, it was a nice 128m credits from the session although that took 4 hours to get, rather than the 2 hours that a Painite session currently netting 121m would take.

So I think I'll leave the mining aside for a little bit. Next up will be a brief combat session again in a Mamba. Not the best ship but the only useful role I can see for it is mining. A Beluga Passenger Liner will happen at some point ... and also the Anaconda class explorer ship Searching For Dragons will go round the galaxy. That'll be all of the ships owned at the that point, although the Admiral Luperza hasn't been out of the hangar yet.

We'll see. Perhaps even a little FFXIV as well, although that was a catalyst for the wrist issues so I may have to just cold turkey drop that game.

We shall see ! Apart from that, Le Mans is coming up, having been moved to September. Nurburgring 24 hour is the week after. I'll be watching someone down the field and hoping they do well. It's boring to support the winners. Better to urge on the cars that have had terrible luck at some point and you can watch them battle back through the field after repairs. I was doing that with the Lexus cars last year, sadly they won't be at the Nurburgring even this year. But there's a custom sports car, several GT86s and some Aston Martins to keep an eye on.

Should be good.

Stay safe everyone, be well.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

20 Bookish Questions

Hello everyone,
I just spotted something over at Cyberkitten's blog and thought I'd join in too. Here's the link to CK's answers.

20 Bookish Questions :
One: How many books is too many books in a book series ?
The book after the series ran out of steam. A few cases here ... Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern books were excellent ... up until the main story was told and the direction was lost. It was flogging the dead horse after that. With David Weber's Honor Harrington books, these were fantastic in their earlier days when it was all about the space navy action. Where these ran off the rails was the steady escalation into a more political sphere. The politics and espionage were boring and it dragged the stories out way too much.

But with James S.A. Corey's The Expanse series, I'm wondering if they can finish off their story in the last book ... Could be a big book. They've been clever with that series too, with it feeling like a trilogy of trilogies, where there's a time step between books 3 and 4 and another skip between books 6 and 7. The authors will finish The Expanse on Book 9, even though there's a lot of fan desire to have more books in that universe. I think they have the right of it.

Two: How do you feel about cliffhangers ?
The best cliffhangers are the ones that provide a step or a break between books. The previous book tells its own story to completion and then sets up the scenario for the next book. Done well, a cliffhanger leaves you satisfied and hungry for more. The Expanse books have done this pretty well. Another of Anne McCaffrey's though (the Freedom's Landing ending) felt like a padded first book of a set of 4 that could have been just one book.
(Translation - it's all about the book and the narrative)

Three: Hard cover or paperbacks ?
Paperbacks because they are cheaper and lighter. But ... if I'm in a book cave and they have a hard cover copy of a book I'm interested in, I won't pass up doing the collecting thing just because it's hardback.

Four: What is your favourite book ?
While it wouldn't be my Favourite, I keep going back to The Martian. It combines the space scifi that I love with a joyful style. It's fun to read. The books I've enjoyed most over the past year are the first two Murderbot Diaries books by Martha Wells and Fleet of Knives by Gareth L. Powell. Now those two books set up cliffhangers well.

Five: What is your least favourite book ?
Farnham's Freehold by Heinlein. There are probably others (Rama II) but this one came to mind recently. It's about a family who dive into their nuclear shelter and find themselves transported to the far future. And then the racism starts ... This is possibly the most racist thing I've ever read. Heinlein has his great moments ... but he also let the fascism out a bit too much and it's joined here by really offensive racism too.

Six: Love Triangles - Yes or No ?
If it's good drama, go for it. However, if the book gets mired in the love triangle to the distraction of everything else then I'll get bored. This is one of the things that drove me away from Rama II. Too much bad interpersonal drama between poor characters. But there's also a lot of potential for interesting drama here too.

Seven: What was the most recent book you could never finish ?
Rama II by Arthur C. Clarke Gentry Lee. Rendezvous with Rama was an excellent book. It had mystery, it rattled through its story, it kept you interested ... and it was over in a flash. 10/10 would consider reading again. However, I abandoned Rama II after over a third of it was tied up in tedium before they set foot on the artifact. I then did a bit of research, finding out about the Gentry Lee thing where someone else wrote it under essentially endorsement.

Eight: What is the book you're currently reading ?
Existence by David Brin. I'm not too far in so far. Tiredness and the recent heat were keeping me away from reading. But I've also not really been engaged with the writing style so far. Early days, must get back to it.

Nine: What is the last book you recommended to someone ?
I think I'll say "A Big Ship At The End Of The Universe" by Alex White here. I really enjoyed this one too. It's space fiction again but the New Thing here is that while science is in play, this book is all about the magic in the universe. Oh and motor racing too, plus fun characters. Angry characters, evil ones, good ones, naive ones. I'd definitely recommend this one.

Ten: What is the oldest book you've ever read ?
Not sure here. I think it'll be an H.G. Wells, although I'm having trouble remembering there. H.G. had a gift of writing in such a style as to avoid the danger of having their books appear dated, even now.

Eleven: What is the newest book you've read ?
I wonder actually, could be A Big Ship At The End Of The Universe, could be Embers of War. I tend to wait a little until the price has come down. I've got a big list of unread books, so it's rare that I feel that need to immediately pay full price for the newest book. Thinking about it, this could be Tiamat's Wrath, book 8 in the Expanse series.

Twelve: Who is your favourite author ?
Hmm ... I think I'll put Timothy Zahn here, for what he did for the Star Wars Expanded Universe by giving us a much better set of sequels to the movies than we got in cinema ... Oh and there's also Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston for their XWing books, James S. A. Corey for their Expanse books, Gareth L. Powell and Martha Wells. There are too many books to lock it down to just one author :-).

Thirteen: Buying or Borrowing Books ?
I'll happily borrow a book, dive through it and hand it back but I do like to own my own books. It helps the author, probably doesn't give them much cash but the more people buy their books, the more likely we are to get more books from the author. And more people support artists, the better.

Fourteen: What is the book you dislike that everyone seems to love ?
Hmm ... Ignoring that the author seems bent on destroying her own reputation at the moment and intent on turning herself into a pariah, I'd pick Harry Potter. Yep, went there. I couldn't finish the first book. Perhaps I'd been seeing the issues inherent in her universe before they were brought out and highlighted. Maybe it was thinking Diagon Alley was a name completely lacking in originality rather than something clever or cool. And while I liked the character Luna Lovegood because she was an interesting character, I don't think the name Lovegood was an appropriate name for a child character in what's supposed to be a kid's book. Another one that may have sounded "cool" but ... pick something else. It sounded like it was inspired by the names given to Bond Ladies.

Fifteen: Bookmarks or dog ears ?
Thou shalt not dog ear.

Sixteen: What's a book you can always re-read ?
The Martian, due to the sense of fun running all the way through it. The simple intelligence in how the author develops his character and his answers to the problems he faces. It's a very enjoyable book to read through.

Seventeen: Can you read and listen to music ?
It's very rare that I don't have music on ... However, depending on the book, I might not be paying much attention to the music while being enthralled by the book !

Eighteen: One PoV or multiple PoVs ?
This can work really well either way. In The Expanse and Fleet of Knives books, the PoV changes between chapters as the book wraps together threads as seen from the different characters. It works extremely well for those books. However, others work very well from a single PoV, like Starship Troopers or Old Man's War by John Scalzi.

Nineteen: Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days ?
I don't read fast enough to read a 600 page book in one sitting :-D.

Twenty: Who do you tag ?
Nope. I don't do that. If you enjoyed reading this as I did with CK's version, feel free to grab the questions and tag yourself in. But I don't tag people like that :-).

PS In other news, I did the internet spaceship thing today ... I think there's mixed feelings there. I didn't have any wrist spasms but I have more stiffness in my shoulder now. Curious ...

Thursday, August 20, 2020

A Cause, Some Pain And a Relic

Hello everyone,

I'm a little overdue about promoting a cause !
There we go.

Long time readers will recognise the little lady on the left there. She'll be taking part in a stream on Friday 21st August that's dedicated to a fundraiser for ending the virus of racism. In this case, it's focusing on the endemic racism we've been seeing directed towards pretty much anyone of Asian descent.

Here's the fundraiser link :

This isn't just about the plague that's out there at the moment either. The racism has been out there a lot longer than that. It's a fear of Different.

Sod that. Difference is good. Difference is strength. Difference is interesting. Difference gives us new perspectives, new stories, new things to learn. New ways to do things. It should be a positive, not something to bully people with.

If you're a regular reader, you should know me well enough to know that I hate it when people can't fight back. This particular cause has roots in how the media is presenting the Coronavirus. Even our BBC pretty much always has the Asian person in a mask as a symbol for the virus.

That's wrong. It promotes a stereotype that gets people hurt. It's rare that I get angry about things but I'm angry when I know that people I know and care about are facing abuse born from the ignorance of others. And I'm even more incensed because the people triggering this abuse are the media, who are the voice that dominates opinion.

It's tough to fight a message if the abusers have all of the megaphones.

They'll be on Kim's channel at 2pm BST (GMT+1) tomorrow, which is really convenient cos that's around the time I'll close the work laptop up (I work longer in the week so I can wrap up early on the Friday). Here's the link :

I can guarantee it'll be emotional. There will be many stories that will hopefully open your eyes. It'll be powerful.

How about me and the Some Pain ?
(credits in the picture)
I'm still struggling at the moment. The perverse thing is that the pain I have in my arm and wrist is ok for working at home but is likely to be very bad in games. I've been in games only a couple of times in the evening this week, once for a Battletech session, once for Motorsport Manager. They're both fairly hands off games.

I may have to abandon Final Fantasy XIV early. I've been liking it ! But that MMO playstyle seems to be really bad for my wrist.
I'm looking at alternate control methods for the internet spaceship because the yaw mechanism is triggering occasional spasms.

The issues I'm coping with at the moment are mainly :
Back - the lower lumbar area that I hurt when I was 17 never really fully healed and occasionally flares again. I think it got activated by stress tension and the muscles reacted. Anyway, that one can give the "My Strings Got Cut" feeling that I guess people with a bad back all know about. It also causes soreness in my left leg, as the damaged area impacts the nerves going into the leg.
Shoulder and arm - I think I said something about this a few weeks ago. I think the joint moved again and the arm settled into the Not Quite Right place which means I get numbness in the arm and the impacted circulation will amplify that RSI tendency.
Hips - this problem started with the cricket again but massively increased in the worst days of my skin condition (99% fixed now) when I was sitting on the floor. My hips are wrecked ... I can walk around ok when I can actively control the movements but standing and turning can lead to screaming.

But apart from that, I'm ok. As long as I'm managing the issues and avoiding the activities that make them worse, I'm not needing painkiller assistance to cope with them.

I'm in a far better position than a lot of people there and I have to remember that because if I have the pain now, it'll inevitable worsen when I'm even older.

On another note though ... Relic ? Nah. That's not me. Check this out :
Perhaps a preview of something I have in mind for December's Advent series ...

The game is Neverwinter Nights, which originally came out in June 2002. This was a quite flawed but brilliant game. It had many critics who came from the Baldur's Gate series and they were upset because it appeared dumbed down with only a couple of characters in the party, compared to the 6 of the earlier Baldur's Gate Infinity Engine games.

My response to that is that while I bounced off all of the Baldur's Gate games (and the new Pathfinder Kingmaker game) due to the micromanagement you had to do in those, I took to the simpler Neverwinter Nights and played the hell out of it.

The big step onwards that it took between Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 and Neverwinter Nights was to turn the play area from 2d predrawn backgrounds into a mostly 3d environment. that had its critics too because the environments and models were pretty crude.
But that was the technology we had at the time. I think I'd have been playing this on either a 450MHz machine or a 2GHz Athlon XP and a distant ancestor of the graphics cards we have now. (Probably a 3dfx Voodoo2 with a whopping 8MB of memory)

I didn't particularly care about the graphics though. They tended to be a bit fuzzy anyway because that's how cheaper cathode ray tube monitors were. LED/LCD monitors are so much better.

Nope. I was drawn into the story much more and massively enjoyed it. I even have the walkthrough book somewhere. So I just had to go a bit further and acquire the two expansions when they came out in 2003.

This was a game from the days when they came in boxes with goodies too. In this case, a manual, 3 dvds and that map you see in the background as well.

Good times. (Although these goodies pale in comparison to what came with Falcon 4. Hopefully I can find that before December !)

People still play Neverwinter Nights too. The stream I have on the laptop is Distracted Elf (Twitch link) playing on a multiplayer Neverwinter Nights server. They made an excellent platform here.

Hopefully Kim's platform tomorrow will be super successful too. I'll bid you good night there, one more linkage !
Twitch stream :
Crowdfunder :

Good night everyone, stay safe, be nice to people you meet.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Health and .... Spaceships ?

Hello everyone,

Another week ! And it's been a hot one this week, changing into heavy thunderstorms ... They hit here on Thursday evening (I think) and they were shaking the windows ...
I was rather relieved when the weather did break, because the heat was being a massive struggle. I don't handle heat particularly well, probably a symptom of tending more to the hyperactive side (although I've been really struggling for energy as well lately).

That drawing above happened rather quickly on Wednesday over a lunchtime when I was really feeling the heat. My temperature gauge is back down to 46 degrees C now, it was hitting 49 earlier in the week and it's still feeling a little warm to wear more than shorts and a t-shirt. The usual comfy temperature is about 43 degrees C.

That's not the actual room temperature, it's the readout from the graphics card so it's a little above ambient. It's a decent readout though. Most of the time, the card is sitting idle and isn't doing much so it steadies out to something indicative of how relatively warm it is. When it's working for games, it'll go up to the 70s. The processor temperature isn't a good indicator, it goes up and down quite a lot as the processor suddenly switches into doing work.

It was good seeing England turn the cricket around last week, although this week's game will go to a draw tomorrow because most of the available time has been lost to rain.

Back to health - I'm struggling a bit at the moment. Some of that is down to work and reasons I won't go in to here. We're still working from home by the way, we have been since the situation erupted in March. Apart from printing, we have the facilities we need and the network has held up pretty much all the time. Switching to working from home hasn't affected us that much. But the situation as a whole at the moment is interfering with getting things done, which is contributing to stress levels.

I don't like expressing when I'm in the struggle mode, although sometimes you do have to just say "I am really stressed at the moment" so that it's registered when all other signals are normal. And the struggle signals don't translate very well over the computer screen.

I'm struggling in other ways as well :
Not much internet spaceships happened this weekend because I've been suffering not just from wrist pain but also spasms. That's not a good sign. So the last time I flew was Thursday. I've opened up Battletech again and have been enjoying the tactical battles in that.
My back has decided to come out on strike as well. I have an old injury from cricket which never properly healed. It's in my left lumbar area and affects my left leg. So after that flared on Friday, I've been slightly restricted in movement and I'm attempting to not aggravate it further by keeping twisting movements to a minimum.
I've been getting pins and needles and numbness in my right arm too with some activities, which is usually a sign that my shoulder isn't in the right place.

And there's probably a few more issues as well. The back isn't critical at the moment but you have to listen to those warning signs. The wrist is probably critical and I need to actually pay heed to those warning signs. I haven't been in Final Fantasy XIV since last week, not sure when I can go back in.

I have a Lego Lunar Lander as well which hasn't gone together yet. The hot weather would have been a good excuse there as it doesn't include making heat like the games do. But it involves twisting (to get stuff out of bags) and fine hand movements ... so it'll stay in the box for a bit.

But it's not all doom and gloom. I do have a few screenshots to show this week (plus there's the dwagon up above) ...
Towel of Space was still doing well but I've switched to another ship now. A mining session with Towel of Space needed about 4 hours to pull in 256t plus another 10 in the refinery. Here is the new one :
She's the Hand of Caledorn. The new plan was a smaller ship, with more collectors to speed things up. A mining session is about 2 hours in this one, bringing in 192t plus the 10 in the refinery. The quicker mining rate is an answer to the problem of the wrist ... and because 4 hour sessions after putting the work laptop away were making dinner be a bit late :-D.
There we go ... mining collectors at work. It's a very compromised fit for a number of reasons but it's doing the job pretty well.
Looks good in the dark too.

Still enjoying the game ... plus mining is being a somewhat cathartic activity with a definite result at the end of it. Lots of money coming in. Battletech has been good too and Motorsport Manager. I have a Horizon Zero Dawn video on in another tab at the moment and that one is incredibly tempting ... but I'll save acquiring that for when I've finished The Outer Worlds (on break due to wrist), played Prey and maybe looked at Alien Isolation.

And when I'm looking to give the back issues and wrist issues a rest, I have the streams and videos to watch. Plus scifi stuff to watch too :
Star Trek Discovery - I enjoyed watching season 1 again as much as the first time, including looking for things they set up early that had big payoffs later.
Lost In Space - watching s2. Interesting ... not the best stuff but it's been holding the attention.
Umbrella Academy - watching s1. Curious again. It indulges in Netflix's tendencies to make things a bit bloody though.

Hope you've all been having great weekends. Mine has mostly been looking outside to see if it's raining, keeping an eye on the lightning tracker, watching Stuff. It was good to see World Endurance Championship back on again, although there's little doubt in who wins there at the moment.

Before I close up this post which discloses some of my struggles, my message is :

It's ok to struggle. Especially at the moment. These are extraordinary times. The equivalences would be the two World Wars (ok, not that bad) and the Spanish Flu pandemic. It's not over yet, not by a long shot. The long term effects on we who live through it won't be apparent for a long time.

I've got a few communities and people that I can reach out to and talk about my issues. Hopefully you have those outlets as well and that you can pay it forward by helping out other people as well.

We can get through this ... perhaps not together in person but we have this virtual world now that comes to us over the internet. It's a big help.

Hang in there everyone. Stay safe, be well.

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Spaceships, a little racing, a little rescue and back to work

Hello everyone,

One week since my last, feels like it's flown past ! It's been one of those weeks too where I can't really remember what I was getting up to either. (Yes I can, cracking on with work stuff and doing spaceship mining in evenings)

It's a bit warm here at the moment ...
I was looking for the melted dog pic but that'll do as well. I struggle in the heat. Probably a lot of that is a metabolism that tends to the hyperactive states but I'm also carrying too much weight and British houses are set up to be heat traps. It's not been quite as hot as previous years but it's still been pretty toasty.

Internet spaceships ? I've been doing more of the mining ...
As usual, click for bigger. I'm playing in 1440p, so there's lots more detail available than is in the thumbnails. Here we have the good ship Towel of Space, hard at work again amongst the asteroids. The little lights there are collector drones that go out to fetch the bits you blast off the asteroids.
The good stuff is in the rings around planets.
Loads of asteroids to have a look at in there.
It speeds things up if you get close, although you're probably not supposed to get that close. Spot the shields activating to stop an impact from the rotating asteroid !
But something unusual happened yesterday. One of the pilots on the Kolo discord reported that they were in deep fuel trouble, as they'd been disadvantaged by getting moved by the game and got stuck without a fuel scoop or a station to refuel at. So off I pop to a station to get a small module refit ...
And we're off to the rescue. There's an organisation called the Fuel Rats which does this as their thing that they do in the game. It's the first time I've run a rescue like this.
Felt good too. And apparently the people on the discord liked catching up on the story as it was unfolding last night (we were using the discord to coordinate before getting online).

I've been in the Motorsport Manager game too, starting again with an open cockpit racing team (think F1). I've been curious about the mods for that game which essentially do a total conversion. I haven't gone for those yet. There are a heap of mods that are essentially massive cheats for the game, I avoid those as well because I've figured out how to win at the game without that kind of assistance. My team was up to 5th in the lowest (of 3) championship in the third season and the races are being enjoyable to run the strategy on.

I had another little look at FFXIV again today. It has an effect on my neck and shoulder, so I haven't been quite as addicted to it as I could have been. But it has a certain draw that's kept me coming back. I'd rate it as being well worth a play if you enjoyed your levelling time in games like WoW.
And my little punchy catgirl has outfits that I can show off on camera again !
This is checking out Gridania.
Looking at the scenery around the town.
And being taught new dances by the locals. Need to get more outfit though. That one was provided by a quest again.

That's one of the things about this game, there's a certain joy that comes over in the actions of the characters that come up on screen.

Both this one and Elite have been good ones to disappear in this week. I'm finding the mining in the internet spaceship to be a calming experience that I'm enjoying. It was great to run the rescue last night. And FFXIV's Eorzea was being charming again today.

Stay safe everyone, be well.