Sunday, June 26, 2016

Updates, Changes, Explanations

Yep.

Not a bad weekend spent pretty much hiding from the world, isolated from what's been going on. I think it's been restful :-)
I'm still repairing, my dad looks like he's repairing too. He's the one I was worried about on Thursday, hopefully he's out of hospital by now. We're a hardy bunch my family, although that can be a curse as well as a blessing as we won't seek help when we need it or change when what we're doing is causing us problems.

We're the sort of people who will put in our will something like : Put a tape recorder in the coffin, set to play repeated knocking followed by a shout of "I ain'ted Dead yet" as they're putting us in the ground. Now there's an idea ... where did I put that will that I haven't actually made yet.

So - still worried, but not as worried as last week.

Changes ?

This desktop now has Windows 10 on it ... I pulled the trigger on the upgrade yesterday and so far I'm happy. There was a little hitch where it claimed my processor wasn't compatible, almost as big a "What the HELL !" as my old laptop claiming the screen was incompatible. The problem was a self protection system that I'd turned off.

It feels a little quicker, a little smoother. The UI is different, more boring compared to the shadows and whatnot that Windows 7 puts on the screen. That might be why it feels quicker, because the machine isn't busying itself with unnecessary prettiness.

One thing I did miss was the sidebar and Windows Gadgets. I have a few of those that tell me about things like how busy my network connection is, how much space is on my discs, how hot and busy the processor and graphics card are, how much memory is being used. Things like that.

Any more changes ? Dunno there. I will admit to daftness though. Most of my clothes and stuff is dark and I can do one of those washes every 2 weeks. That fits for washing machine capacity and stuff like how many different shirts I own. I don't use much white stuff, so the white wash is fairly infrequent. But ... I always forget some things like ... dishcloths. Oops. Even though they're next to the washing machine. Double oops.

Explanations ?

I feel I owe a little bit of explanation for how I reacted to the referendum vote. There was a Facebook post of "England what did you do and do I still want to live in you".

I'll come out now and say I voted Remain on Thursday. It seemed the lesser of two evils. Here's how I saw it :

Remain - would keep us tied to meddling busybodies in Europe who came out with all those regulations and then ignored them when it didn't suit them. But they have introduced some happy regulations that make life a lot easier for us. Things like Working Time Directive and a lot of other employment law.

Leave - were being fronted by a bunch of untrustworthy scumbags who have since been proven to be completely untrustworthy as they break all the promises they made during their campaign.

Immigration - I think this was a red herring to be honest. When I'm out there amongst the public (it does happen), most of the non-UK people I see seem to be imported from Asia to give the call centres an authentic Indian accent sound. (Is that racist ? Or observation ?). The KFC girls are Eastern European and they're nice. Perhaps I notice the Asian people because they look different. I don't see that as a negative. In fact, I know one Very Pretty Lady who is ... very pretty and has those bubbly chuckles.

But we are seeing idiots harass non-English looking people in the street. That's abhorrent and it's a shame we don't have an overseas colony to send them to any more. The harassing people. There's no place for those people in a civilised society.

Economy - there's one constant in economics - the people who have control the reins are utter cowards who will run screaming into their SELL bunker at the first hint of trouble. The stockbroker people break good companies and the economy with their ways. Yeah. I don't like them.

Stupidity and Arrogance - from the EU commissioner bloke who probably swung the result by at least 2% by saying there would be no renegotiation of terms. That nearly changed my vote.

But it's that outright gullibility that drove my reaction to the referendum result. People voting for those who have already proved utterly incompetent (Gove), those who's ideals are absolutely counter to the "We'll help out the common people" he was claiming to believe in (IDS) and the one who is a fascist lunatic (Farage). And that hostility to immigrants that's being reported.

We'll see how things work out over the next few weeks. There is already talk of a House of Commons rebellion voting counter to the referendum result, which would keep us in the EU.

We shall see.

I'm back to the cooldown time which is watching a HeyChrissa stream. She's playing one of my favourite games at the moment, Mass Effect 2. And it'll be interesting to see how she plays through.

And that's cooldown from running my Happy Hive empire in Stellaris. So named because I've gone for happiness this time as the thing that makes the race stand out. Sometimes it's good to go for science, sometimes for military strength, sometimes economy. But ... happiness works on all of those a little bit. It seems a powerful combination so far. The Happy Hive has eaten (figuratively, not literally) one competing empire, assimilated another and has taken over half of another.

They should steamroller over another one ... soon. But not tonight, chill out time now :-).

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mixing up the emotions

I have them all at the moment I think ...
Let's see :

The best one is a HAPPY BIRTHDAY ! to someone special who I hope will see this and have a read. I was going to do another Alphabet post today but with the news I've had, heart's not in it now. I need to think.

That's the next emotion - thoughts of futility.

To be honest, I've had the thoughts of futility for a while with the condition of my outsides. I keep saying I'm improving but I never actually get better. The condition seems to evolve and change over time. I see improvements in some areas (some of the deep cuts have healed !) but more damage appears in other areas.

I would like to be back to the normality of properly healed skin, I just don't know when that's going to be and it's extremely wearing mentally for a bunch of reasons. The first is having something wrong with me that doesn't appear to want to fix.

But it is steadily improving. The news I had today is about someone who may not improve and my first thought on hearing that is to either find someone who is willing to give me a hug for a long time or to curl up in a ball on the bed and shut the world out for a while. It's added a bit of weight to a feeling I've had for a while about someone.

No more about that for here though. Let's just say I'm rattled and my first instinct which is to help people knows that I can't help in this case. My outsides even mean I can't be around to give a little support. (Need a quiet weekend and would really prefer not to go into work tomorrow).

I'm still tired too. My body doesn't want to sleep at the moment. I'll be tired and yawning my head off in the evening with no energy but when it comes to bed time, I just can't sleep. I may actually be having broken sleep but it doesn't feel like that.

Ouchies - my shoulder has decided it wants to be out of place for a while, which is ... ouch. I haven't found the way yet to pop it back where it should be. Oh well, if it wasn't the shoulder it would be something else (my back dislikes me at the moment).

That's enough here about the bad stuff though.
I may go off and hide for a while at the cinema tomorrow afternoon to watch Independence Day;
Thoughts are with the person the news is about;
More thoughts are remembering a happy smiling birthday person face;
I've been happily addicted to Stellaris ...
... and my Happy Hive race was doing well*
(I'm restarting to remove a mod and to add some more mods)

And I'm hoping that 2016 will actually turn around and get good at some point. It's been a horrible year so far.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Petrolhead ? Indulgence

After watching most of Le Mans over the weekend, I'm currently watching another kind of motoring ...

Definitely better than what's outside the window !
Yep. Spotted this one on the Facebooks this morning and it's too good to not steal/borrow/recycle. Although, I think there is a trace of sun outside there ... Could be my room light reflecting in the window again.

Yep. Le Mans was pretty good this year. One thing they've introduced is a Slow Zone, effectively a virtual safety car where if there is an incident, the cars go through the incident area extremely slowly (for race cars capable of 200mph+). It lets the marshals deal with the incident with less fear of someone else being caught out, lets them get cars out of gravel traps and back on track and lets them fix the safety barriers.

Would something like this mean that a driver like Max Bianchi would still be with us ? (He crashed into a tow vehicle that was extracting another crashed car - was he speeding under yellow caution flags ? We shouldn't speculate, that doesn't change anything). Maybe he would be - the slow zones definitely make for better racing as they can keep going with the ZOOM on the other areas of track without the SnoreFest which is a full track safety car.
Oh and I was putting the Lego Le Mans car together as well. That's the basic chassis together, with engine firewall ahead of the engine and rear suspension/differential assembly. It has pistons ! That move !

Lego Technic has changed a fair bit - when I built the Lego Technic car maybe 30 years ago, Lego hadn't evolved much past the rectangular blocks. There were pins and axles but the special moulded components like the hubs at the back there, weren't in the Lego component set.

Just like the real cars ! Hybrid race cars have ruled Le Mans since they were allowed in a few years ago. They aren't as advanced as the Formula 1 hybrids (they have restrictions on the amount of hybrid energy they can use) but they're getting there. I think the Porsche has a MGU-H, which harvests power back from the turbo.

I was anticipating some car-carnage at Le Mans and the Formula 1 this weekend. From Le Mans, the weather conditions were bad enough (heavy rain) that the teams didn't have enough time to get all of the practice and qualifying in. The Formula 1 was on a circuit which was a mix of old roads and new roads, where some of the old roads were very tight.
I don't think that one is coming apart any time soon. The pins that hold it all together are pretty intricate. The back section even folds back on itself to fully frame the engine bay. Here it is with the mechanicals in and the bodywork starting to appear.

Notice the shadows and the potential daylight ... I was getting more and more tired on Saturday and didn't trust myself with adding more bricks, clips and gears (as demonstrated by me missing whole pages and finding out later!), so I gave in and had a short sleep/nap. Yep, still not managed to watch through a whole Le Mans. Must be getting old !

How was Le Mans ?

It has its usual classes, LMP1 for the fastest cars, LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype) for not quite so fast non-road race cars and 2 GTE classes for very fast road cars (Aston Martins, Ferraris, Ford GT40, Corvette, Porsche). The GTE classes are divided up into Pro and Amateur with the drivers allowed to race being controlled more strictly now than in the past. Remember I said about an incident which cost Ant Davidson a few fused vertibrae ? He's still racing but the idiot who caused the collision isn't.

The race started under safety car conditions due to heavy rain making the track dangerous but that cleared up after an hour. But ... what's this ? An Audi in the garage with major difficulties. A blown turbo ... and they get it back on track within 20 minutes. It's miraculous how quickly they can repair the damage on these cars. And because it's Le Mans, a blown turbo doesn't mean end of race, it just means they're a few laps behind and still in with a chance.
Quicker even than the time it took to put the Green Machine together.

Modern Le Mans cars are built like that, they're built modular so they can be repaired and put back in the race quickly before they drop out of contention. The stricken Audi finished a few laps behind and ... because of certain other events, almost finished on the podium.

Lots of incident in the race, lots of changes of leadership and position. A very even race all told, with the leading 3 cars being on the same lap until ... (I'll get to that) with the Audis keeping them honest. The lead in LMP1 was changing with every pit stop and on the track too as cars were in different states of tyres.

Toyota were incredibly confident and while it looked like they didn't want to jinx it by celebrating early, you could tell the excitement bubbling up from under inscrutable Japanese engineer faces. I wanted them to win too !

How cruel it was then that with only 5 minutes to go, after 23 hours 55 minutes of racing, that the lead Toyota (with a Porsche only a minute behind) would suddenly break down. There are no prizes in Le Mans unless you cross that finish line after 24 hours with a car that can run under its own power. And the Toyota broke down just after crossing that finishing line.

Heartbreak for Toyota, jubilation for Porsche and their surviving car. And very close finishes in LMP2 and GTE as well. No wins for Aston Martin this year - boo hoo.

After that kind of epic racing, the Formula 1 with its processional nature and foregone conclusions was a bit meh (as usual).

I've been watching Top Gear too, I'm warming up to it. Matt Le Plank is thawing out a bit (although his section with the idiot in the muscle car around London last week was stupid) and the other presenters are more than earning their place too. They had a Tesla Model X on this week and I think I know who I will move to after Lexus don't do it for me any more ...

Alternative fuel cars like the all electric and the hybrid are definitely the way forward for me.

Hybrids are the best of both worlds at the moment, with electric power supplementing the fuel engine. But ... they do have an extra cost and the mechanicals take up a lot of space and add weight. You have two propulsion systems in the car, with some of the bad bits of both. Like a big lump in the front that takes up space and, in mine, a propshaft that means it's a 4 seat and not a 5 seat.

Electric cars, like the Tesla, are hugely interesting. They're solving the range problem, they're getting massively more acceptance now (because cars like the Tesla go fast) and because they're just electric, there are none of the compromises on interior space that come with the hybrids.

Perhaps soon ? Maybe 5 years in the future ? We shall see.
Saying that though, I could make the Lego Le Mans car electric now, albeit just for the doors and engine cover.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Forgot a Title Again

Actually I think it's the first post I've done where I've forgotten a title !

It actually borrows from a little bit of fun I started having with myself a few years ago when labels appeared on posts. If I couldn't think of an adequate label and didn't want to start a new label off, I'd use "forgot a label again".

I'm currently enjoying watching Independence Day again, ahead of watching the sequel that is coming soon.

Crikey it shows its age ! But it's still accurate for the time.
Cathode Ray Tube tellies and monitors.
Bakelite telephones. Landlines and hardly any mobiles !
Ancient cars.
World Trade Centre.
Pretty good but still "you can see the seams" computer generated animation.

I still think it's a good film and I'm looking forward to the sequel. Will probably watch it next Friday pm, time permitting. I thought about heading off to the cinema this pm to watch either Alice or Warcraft but ... tireds. Oh well. I think I'll be missing both of those but will definitely catch them when they get to Sky Movies.

I was going to put a post up yesterday mentioning a little about a pic I found.
I don't usually pollute this page with anything political or near-political but this one made me chuckle. It's poking fun at our current referendum campaign. The internet world which it's from is far more sane.

The context ?

Lave is the system that you start off at in the very original Elite and it's been carried through into the current Elite Dangerous game too. Lave Station is a Coriolis station, like the icon in the pic.

So by Voting Lave, you're voting to have fun in a game.

I'll be voting on Thursday and I've made my mind up as to who to vote for. I won't tell you who, it's your own decision and I trust you to cut through the absolute garbage that we see on the telly and the rest of the media about it.

There are so many agendas out there at the moment and so much spin. Who can you trust to tell you what you need to know instead of how they want you to vote ?

Yep. A post like this one nearly appeared yesterday but I held off due to the shooting incident that led to the death of one of our MPs. Very sad indeed. Remember the name Jo Cox.

Erm - Independence Day ! It's nearly finished. Then I may well go back to a little bit of Internet Spaceships before a tomorrow and Sunday which will be Le Mans and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. I suspect there will be a lot of broken cars by Sunday :

Le Mans had storms yesterday that made the circuit an ice rink, plus there was a fair bit of mechanical mayhem before them.
The Azerbaijan circuit looks like one of those where racing should never have been considered. It's very narrow in places and the run off areas are wholly inadequate.

Hopefully no one gets hurt in those races ...

Oh ! Before I go, more daftness. I thought I'd resurrect my old laptop for ... reasons. This would involve putting Windows 10 on it. Apparently ... the screen is not compatible with Windows 10. Everything else - fine ! But the bog standard laptop screen is not.

Oh dear.

That laptop had had its time anyway, in using it for a brief time I remembered why I had moved on from it - it suffered quite badly from when I was in a really bad condition and would need an extreme clean out before it is properly usable again. (Keyboard ain't happy and the trackpad was always inadequate).

But - no Windows 10 due to incompatible screen ? The mind boggles !

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Truck's been back ...

Crikey !

Feeling rough again. But still surviving.
I've been struggling on a few fronts lately :

Sleep - as ever ! I'm pretty sure I'm getting some sleep but it doesn't really feel like it. Energy is lacking and my self discipline slips when I'm failing to sleep, which makes me attack my arms again.
Tiredness - definitely ... This is manifesting as a lack of energy. I throw myself into doing what I can at work and then go Splat when I'm home. This is one reason* why I've not posted much here lately, haven't had the energy to drive the inclination.
Dehydration - I think this is from my ongoing condition with my outsides. They're needing the fluid to help them repair but I don't seem to be getting enough water on board. And when I do, off I pop to the loo every 10 minutes.

Frustrating, especially as it seemed as if I was getting really close to getting healed up before the problems hit again on my week off. I have been steadily recovering again but it's still so easy to set the healing backwards.

*Reasons for being light on posting ? Part is having ideas for posts. I have been having the ideas that could be the genesis of posts but when I get tired like this, those thoughts tend to be fleeting and will exit my brain before I can turn them into posts. I am overdue another Alphabet of the Human Heart post though, I'd like to have a bit more mental energy before I do another one of those.

Oh the dehydration hits me in other ways too. My muscles hate it when I get dehydrated, leading to cramp and sometimes even torn muscles when they do cramp up. Yep. My muscles tear themselves when they cramp heavily.

I have been steadily recovering though, it's just frustrating that it's taken all this time and that it's had such a deleterious effect on my general health.

But apart from feeling bad for myself, what else has been happening ?

Hmm - tough one ! I've been attempting to sleep more by going to bed a bit earlier. (Hasn't helped).

Weekend - more Planetbase. I thought I'd go for it with that last planet and ... yep, all objectives completed, albeit with a reload or two due to a disaster when armed intruders got in and proceeded to wipe out all of my colonists because I hadn't built the security room that tells your colonists to all pile in on the bad guys.
Erm ... don't pay any heed to all of the Low Oxygen warnings on all of the domes. There was enough for the Pixel People to breathe ... in other parts of the base. Just not so much in the overcrowded main areas.

That's one nebulous thought I had for a post - Games being accidentally educational. I learned budgeting by playing the very first XCom game. If you built too much too quick, you would run out of money, which isn't fun. And then the aliens would wipe out your guys. Budgeting was very important ... In Planetbase, you have very limited resources at the start, so you have to limit what you build. And then you have to balance several resources like Water, Power, Storage, Oxygen, Food to have a successful colony.

I found Planetbase to be a quite compelling game. It has just been updated too to add in challenges for more variation in how it can be played.

GoG.com have a sale going too with some very interesting looking old games and new games going cheap. Very tempting, especially as I'm looking for something to keep me busy after Planetbase. I haven't been on the Internet Elite Spaceships much lately, the inclination hasn't been there.

Candidates on GoG are games like :
The Flame And The Flood - an explory game
Satellite Reign - a tactical cyberpunk game
Shadowrun - more cyberpunk, I'm waiting for these to go cheap on Steam though
80 Days - Go round the world - I'd prefer this on iPad though.
Duskers - a tense space explory game.
Pillars of Eternity - a role playing game, not sure I'd get on with it.
And some golden oldies like Starfleet Command, XWing, Tie Fighter.

However ... as tempting as they may be, the price isn't right yet and I haven't bought anything. Besides, I have other games to dive into like Rebel Galaxy and a couple of others that haven't been given the time they deserve.

I have something else to draw my attention this weekend ...
I've made a start already. Couldn't resist. The rear suspension assembly is together and is reminding me how good Lego Technic can be.

I'll put the rest together while the Le Mans 24 hour race is on. It'll be a congested weekend actually ... Le Mans on the telly, also Formula 1 which I'll watch around the Le Mans. Perhaps a little cricket too. Maybe even the football ! Although football watching doesn't appeal to me too much. There's a Guy Martin memepic about that which I buy into.

Motor racing can be pretty mixed too. The crashes are exciting, although you hope they don't happen too much because the drivers do get hurt ... And it interferes with that whole thing of Who Is Fastest Should Win. With Le Mans, it's also which cars survive relatively unscathed too and we've seen miracles happen like the Audi car that got repaired from a heavy frontal impact ... before the crash barriers were fixed.

I have the qualifying on at the moment which I have to admit, is pretty much background noise to me.

I will enjoy seeing that story of the race unfold though. That's the thing with these races, I read back on a few older races and can remember how I felt when I saw them happen.

Horror when McNish and his fellow Audi drivers had horror crashes which meant changes happened to the shape of the cars to make sure they wouldn't fly again.
Outrage at Ant Davidson's crash, caused by an idiot amateur driver.
Sadness at the Aston driver who died because he happened to hit the only piece of crash barrier that couldn't serve its function as a crash barrier due to being too close to a tree.

Am looking forward to Le Mans. Who knows ... maybe a post or two this weekend ?

Struggling ... but surviving and steadily getting stronger. I think ;-).

Friday, June 10, 2016

Tera-ble Gaming

I've been kinda looking around for another game to grab my attention.

I'll keep an eye open for what the various online people are playing, they can be really good at showcasing the new games as they come out. And some not so old games too. Plus as you watch them play, you get an idea for whether you'd enjoy the game and whether it has flaws that would really wind you up.

I'm likely to get another strategy game at some point, as I did enjoy the space strategy epic which was Moo2. The current candidate is Stellaris but ... it's a bit too new, I have no intention of paying full price (£35) and it looks like it has a few critical bugs, including AI bugs, which make it a "chuck it back in the oven and wait a bit" game.

What's the latest attempt ? I'll just leave this picture here :
There's a certain type of game. Games that looks pretty stunning in their own right. Games with ... excellent character models. Games with certain other ... assets.

After World of Warcraft made MMOs really popular, other Massive Multiplayer Online games have been coming in. There's a lot more competition for them these days. The latest trend is to take advantage of the Asian market. Koreans are nuts for their games. The Japanese too. And they have a different character to more Western games.

Some of it is the level of grinding;
A lot of it is the look;
Some is the story;
And then there are the character outfits ...

I had a peek at Guild Wars 2 when it came out but it didn't really grab me. It did have the archetype of Very Tall, Very Thin, Very Big Eyes, Huge Cutes. The anime and manga market is promoting a certain look.

Blade and Soul caught my eye too for a short time but I didn't actually load that one up. It didn't seem to have much new over older games plus I didn't like the look of the rhythm based combat system.

Gotta get on with the gameplay if you're going to enjoy a game.

The latest is one called Tera ... Which is very definitely inspired by the Korean look. My gunner character, Icegelanna (Iceangel was taken!) looked pretty smart (although there was barely any character customisation available) and had a walk that looked like she was bringing trouble. Lots of trouble.

Oh and the outfits are like the picture above.

I did try to get an outfit that covered up everything ! Honest ! Go ask google for "Tera gunner outfit" and see what abominations are available ... for a heavy armour class ... and how little they cover.

It is sexist, very much so. But that shouldn't really be important for a game, although I'll come back to that in a bit. Pretty graphics enhance a game but they shouldn't be its core reason for playing.

Gameplay ?

I looked at Tera in the hope that it might satisfy a few things : combat system, exploring a new world (big thing for me) and good character progression. The character progression and exploration are usually a given for MMOs. They have a lot of areas to venture through on your way to maximum level. Story is a great aspect of Warcraft now, although the character progression in skills and gear is very broken now (in my opinion) compared to how they used to be.

Tera's combat system is supposed to be far more hit and move than other games of its type. But ... could I get on with that hit and move ? You should really be able to do stuff like double tap left to dodge roll to the left. That should be an essential part of this game (I remember it being in Guild Wars 2).

Nah. Couldn't get on with the combat system, other gameplay and the systems for leading you into learning the game are nigh on incomprehensible. Disappointing. It's already been uninstalled.

Back to the sexism ...

Pretty graphics do not make a game. Putting ladies in there in a state of undress gives you something to look at ... but does not enhance the game in any way. Having that as a major selling point (like it seems to be in Blade & Shopping), is a massive put off point for me.

Not just games either. You know the cds in the shops with the lady on the front in a provocative pose ? I avoid those too. Cds are about listening to the music, they're not about looking at the singer.

Sex does sell ... if that's what you're buying. I'm not, I'm buying something audible or I'm buying a game.

In this case, I'm avoiding Tera and have already uninstalled it. The combat system and the systems that are supposed to lead you into the game ... are poor and I don't get on with them. If you don't think you'll enjoy a game, don't play that game. Find another one.

Not sure what that next game will be, although GoG have a tempting sale on at the moment. I do have a library full of unused games though. I kinda miss the early days of WoW with the challenge and exploration of something new. It has gone a bit gear checkish though. Item level is king. And you need to crunch through all the levels (if not the content) to get the gear.
Poor fella.

Also watched XMen Apocalypse today. I enjoyed it, it was a good continuation of the XMen series with the most spectacular bad guy. It stretched belief but ... it's an Xmen mutants movie, it's supposed to. I have no clue where they will take the franchise from here though.

Hmm - someone better drag me away from GoG ...

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

254 Pages

That's either a lot of pages or not very many ...

And of course, everything makes more sense with context.
In a story driven book, it can be a pleasant collection of short stories. I've really enjoyed a few of those collections, especially :

Anne McCaffrey's Get Off The Unicorn;
Heinlein
Larry Niven with the Known Space short stories
And many more too.

It can be the length of a novel with a good story which rattles through its tale and leaves you very satisfied by the end (Man Plus was an excellent 215 pages), or the length of a short story that has been thrashed out far beyond what it should have been (like the various Mass Effect books).

It could be part of a series of books which just keep getting better as the series goes on with the cliffhanger at the end of one book leaving you eager for the next and cursing the wait until you get your mitts on it.

(And then there are the books that start around this mark but then fester, grow and mutate into pretty crummy books. Yep, I'm looking at you Mr Weber with the Honorverse that went on too long).

254 pages is about what you get in computer magazines now, it's a far cry from the 1000 or so you might have got with your PCW mag or Computer (spit) Shopper where you got a massive doorstop which was excellent for a variety of reasons : many adverts that were worth reading and collapsed the price down. The last time I bought a Computer Shopper (yep, I know, never again), it was 4 times the price and a quarter of the size. And one reason I got it was to find out about computer bits sellers. The ads in these mags are actually useful ...

But the reduction in ads in recent times for those mags is probably a sad reflection of the industry, where instead of huge numbers of suppliers, the bad ones have died leaving fewer suppliers to fight for your business. Margins are tough and so is the business. Means we get stuff cheaper though :-).

The 254 pages refers to none of those though - but I am going to tease it out some more ... cos I'm like that :-).
Yep. Evil.

And I will be wearing that other t-shirt at some point.

After having a bit of a collapse last week, I'm actually much better this week. I'm not back to as good as I have been lately, not yet. But a lot of the angry red has been reclaimed by Healthy Pasty White. Not fixed yet and I could very easily set it back again by being careless. But it is a good sign that my outsides have been reclaiming the bad again. Gives more hope.

Good signs. Must see if I can keep that improvement going with things like drinking lots of water to balance the hot muggy conditions we have here at the moment.

And no, 254 pages is probably not how long my doctor's notes are. I have mixed feelings about missing seeing them last week. On one side, I made a promise which I didn't manage to keep. On the other, I was so heavily affected by the allergy problems that an allergy test would have been a waste of time ... again.

Wonder if 254 is anywhere near to the number of orders I've put in with That Delivery Place Which Does Not Pay Taxes. I think you know who I mean there. They're big and the EU branch is based in the tax haven that is Luxembourg. I put in an order for Something Large and the delivery option I chose said to expect it Friday or Saturday when I'd have a chance to be in to accept it.

Imagine my surprise when an email pops up saying that it was arriving today ... when I was committed all day at work. Cue an email to the customer service people, who allegedly acted and moved delivery back to Friday. Nah. It still came today as a happy surprise with a knock on the door around 8pm ish.

254 pages ?

That's how many pages are in the book for the Lego Le Mans car.

It is in its box, silently taunting me. I can hear Vroom Vroom noises in my mind. Yep. And it's not the neighbour with the deliberately broken exhaust either.

It's going to be so tough to resist the temptation to put it together ahead of the Le Mans 24 hour race, which is 10 days away.

There ! Such a tease tonight. And I am so completely unrepentant.
And I'll leave it there before another group of people joins that list of those who are going to hunt me down and murder me in my sleep for deeds done. My current boss will probably do that if we go through with the idea to get him a Metal Earth kit (DEFINITELY!) or a Nanoblock Titanic (cos - reasons) for his leaving gift.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

So Much For The Metal Earth

I've actually done it !

I've given up on one of the model thingies ... But not this one :
That's actually Amazon's pic because I'm not quite recovered enough to want to pose the model for the camera. Yep. Lazy. But I have improved since Thursday. More later.

The Nanoblock models are usually pretty easy to put together. Just like Lego, they're based on rectangular blocks with bumps that fit into the block above plus a few other blocks that allow angles to go in. It can be awkward for the two following reasons but they're not too bad apart from the challenge of fingers on small items.

Difficulty one - colour matching. The colour on the paper isn't always the same as the colour on the block. This was especially true of the Pirate Ship.
Difficulty two - aligning one layer with the layer above. Actually not too bad when you get used to how the instructions are laid out and the occasional confusing bit of perspective.

So on the whole, the nanoblock kits are really satisfying to put together. And you can find the bits with a torch when you drop them on the floor. Because you know that's going to happen.

Metal Earth models are a whole different ballgame. Reminder of what one is ? Here we are :
Looks ok doesn't it ? Actually looks pretty shiny. And all that comes from a couple of laser cut sheets of metal that in theory, snap together into the Shiny Thing. The complication comes from the multiple different angles involved in the model. Instead of it all being right angles like Lego and Nanoblock, the angles are all over the place and the order is also non-intuitive for snapping fixing lugs into holes.

Very tiny, very difficult, even with the freebie long thin nose pliers acquired for the purpose (for free happily as I wouldn't recommend them - the spring is the type that breaks frequently).

I've actually given up on my Metal Earth XWing, as it wasn't going together particularly well. Lots of frustration and I think the metal was close to fatigue cracking ... That's another thing about metal models that involve bending, they'll fatigue and crack eventually especially if you take multiple goes (like on these) to get them together.

I still have an AT-AT walker and the Normandy from Mass Effect to put together ... soon. Not today though.

One thing that you may have guessed is ... I wrote on Friday that I was having a particularly bad period where I just wasn't interested in doing anything. Thursday was particularly fuzzy minded. But ... As is normal for me, since acknowledging that I've managed to turn around the downward cycle and have actually improved a bit.

I'm not fixed totally (more in a bit) but a few tortured bits have almost recovered back to normality again. Is it warmer today ? I've been warm enough to take the jumper off instead of freezing under the fleece. My legs have improved nicely. They're not fixed but almost there.

Arms are still ripped to shreds but they're better than they were too. I need to invest in some tubigrip stuff to put on at night to protect them from my own worst enemy in this, me. Mittens have been suggested but I don't think they'd work. I don't think I'd keep them on.

My energy levels have improved a bit and should be up to going back to work tomorrow. I suspect that brisk walk to the bus and into work will wake them up. Knees are still battered but that's another of those historical injuries.

But those pain levels receded to the point where I built the R2D2 yesterday and attempted to put the XWing together today.

Close out summary ?

Still wrecked. That hasn't changed much. But a bad downward cycle has reversed and I've been improving again.
Metal Earth models are nasty.
Lego and Nanoblock are awesome. And the Lego Le Mans car is on its way to give me something to put together while the 24 hour race is on.
Been light on gaming over the past few days - haven't wanted to attack that last Planetbase planet and Elite is definitely an In The Mood game.

One thing I'd like you to try and take away from this is - if you think you are on a downward spiral, stop. Think. What is happening ? How can you address it ?

For me, some of that is looking at what I do and asking myself - "Do healthy people do this ?" And in the case of me attacking my outsides, healthy people definitely don't do that.

There's a bit more to it than that. I've been drinking much more water over the past few days and I've been treating my outsides with some more Fucibet healing gunky cream. It's good stuff that is and is the one healing gunky cream that's worked over a long period for me.

Work should be fun tomorrow. Wonder how many emails I have waiting for me ?

And when is my foot going to find the XWing pilot that I dropped earlier and can't find ...

Friday, June 03, 2016

Feels like I been hit by a truck !

Crikey.
Holiday time is supposed to be when you rest, recover and recuperate. But this one seems to be having the opposite effect ! I can't really remember too much of what I was doing yesterday. Perhaps it's an ill ? Maybe. I think it's actually the effects of me attacking myself a bit too much lately.

I don't get that. I don't think I've had anything of what was causing me to have bad reactions. Perhaps it's actually something related to work. As in, the teacake and lunch may have been giving me the Stuff I needed to keep going.

The attacking of self is a major factor though. I really do have to figure out how I can stop that because I won't get properly better until I can leave my outsides alone enough to allow them to fix. It's actually my insides as well, although that can be chalked up to dehydration. I think I'm drinking enough (lots of water) but what I do drink is probably getting soaked up by repairs to my outsides, leaving not enough to keep the muscles happy.

I'm cold as well ! Unfeasably cold ! I suspect my metabolism has slowed due to not doing very much. Sometimes it does feel as if I should be wrapped up and trapped in a blanket like Kitty up top, until I heal.

I am healing though, the various damage I have will typically heal in 3 days or so, if allowed. I just keep redamaging it. It's really frustrating to know that you might be that close to healing for good, except for your own efforts.

Enough about me though. What have I been up to this week ?

I did tell someone I was going to see the doctors again. That didn't happen. Grr. Yesterday was a cloudy blur (plus I was waiting on a delivery that didn't arrive until 4.30 ish - pictures of what that was when I put them together). Tuesday was also waiting for a delivery (more later!). Wednesday was lazy and today, I was too late. Appointments go very quickly at my local docs and you can only get them on the day. Monday was a chill out day part recovering from the long Comic Con day (so worth it) and part getting my old TV cleared off ready for :

Tivo arrived on Tuesday.

I have never met a piece of electronics that is so keen to do its job. It's a cable TV box with a bunch of tuners so it can record multiple things and some intelligence built in to let it suggest recordings. The suggestions are a curious feature but may well get disabled due to annoyance.

One feature I like is that I can control it from my iPad via home networking (I have had to recommission my Powerline bits n bobs to make this happen). You know how clunky a TV remote interface can be ? Perhaps still clunky but a touchscreen can make it a bit smoother to do stuff. It's definitely easier to delete all of the suggestions.

I watch my stuff in order. I won't dip in randomly midway through a series, I'll watch the story unfold over the course of a programme's entire run. I'll series link stuff that I want to watch.

What I don't expect is for the suggestion to override what I'm watching. I don't think the Tivo box likes the cricket as it has tried to change the channel away from it a few times. It needs more training and possibly that Suggestions feature being disabled.

Wednesday also saw me heading into Planetbase again to get the rush colony achievement. I have plans now for how to win at that game, the certain order of what to build in order to get things going quickly and keep them going quickly.
That's curious, the Steam overlay thingy for the achievement isn't on the screenie. The conditions needed were 100 colonists inside 30 days and ...
250 colonists in 60 days for the other rush colony achievement. Sorted ! I only have the achievements from the Storm planet (lightning, limited solar, limited wind, limited build area) to come and then all done until they add some new challenge features.

I also found time to fly the Internet Spaceships again in Elite. It's just had a patch which has changed a few things. One of those is the charity donation mission things to buy navy rank to let you have bigger and better faction only ships. They've changed all that, instead of it being 10k ish cr to buy about 1% guaranteed, it's more like 250k to 1m credits. I'm being more economical there and only contributing when it's value for money. (Context - typical profit per tonne is 500cr but I have been seeing 3000-4000cr per tonne occasionally).

They've also expanded the equipment and customisation considerably ... Which has caused much angst. Beta testing is supposed to catch problems before they occur but I've been seeing videos of one shot kills on pretty potent, tough ships. There is also talk of the Plasma Cannon (big ball of slow moving, slowly reloading fire) working like a heavily overpowered machine gun.

Things have gone imbalanced, to the point where I'm just running from fights at the moment instead of sticking around. It doesn't help there that my second Cutter (yep!) doesn't have its full armament yet or full defenses yet. Need more in game cash. It doesn't help that the ships that have been after me have been the big Anacondas.

Big Elite Ships :

Federal Corvette - best ship for combat. Not so good for anything else.
Imperial Cutter - best ship for trading, should have some combat potential. Fast enough to easily outrun pirates.
Anaconda - best allrounder, pretty good for combat, trading and exploration.
Type 9 Space Turd Freighter - best ship for trading that you can acquire without doing the grind to get the Cutter.

I said "second" didn't I ... IMV Min Max died to a smaller ship as I tried to go toe to toe with a pirate. Usually I can run away before the critical point but ... oh well. Not this time. Oops ! Enter Cookie Morning :
Yep. I went for the black pain job as mourning for the first Cutter. I did have a happy surprise though today when the 12m cost for the insurance was reimbursed due to the craziness of the non player character ships.

Only 376m away from properly fitting it out. Could take a while. But I have been enjoying the game and it is a fairly relaxed playstyle which suits my current level of energy.

Shinies ?
There's a preview. These are supposed to be really tough to build so I didn't really want to start while I'm having lots of pain. Perhaps the Nanoblock R2D2 first :-).

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Comic Cons And Hunting The Cosplayers

I think it's taken me a day or so to recover from the Comic Cons !
Many lovely sights were there, including the lady with the book above. Possibly the best costume we saw on the day.

I was over there with Cupid's Gift and I hope she had a really good day. She was definitely hunting down the cosplayers for pictures, although she was being incredibly shy with asking for the pics. (Haha, the shyness didn't last - pics are on my Facebook but I don't put pics of me or friends here).
In we go, past the gauntlet of Imperial Stormtroopers. They let us past, saying something about droids. Some people like the ones above ... not so lucky. But everyone knows stormtroopers can't hit anything so I'm sure they got away unscathed.
We spied a couple of warriors locked in mental combat, waiting for their opportunity to strike the deadly blow.
While others carried on the memory of those who came before us. Remember your veterans ! They sacrificed to make this a better world. The Sergeant there was doing his people proud.

(As always, click for bigger, these were taken from my proper camera with far more pixels than this screen can show !)
There were lots of people there, possibly too many for me !
They're still sizing each other up.
Could the lady with the book have them under some kind of spell ?
Definitely plenty of people to bedazzle, even at the early time that this pic was taken.
Including those taking a little time off from defending the galaxy from the overwhelming threat of the Reapers.
Perhaps they were looking for Shinies to take back to the Citadel ?
They did have help on hand, in the form of this majestic Imperial warrior standing perhaps 8 foot tall there in her armour. Serve the Emperor with all your heart and soul and it will give him the strength to stave off the forces of the ever insidious chaos threat.
Could they be protecting us from the Cat People ? Meow.
Definitely looking forward to the movie this lady will be in later this year (Suicide Squad).
And I wonder if this Bonnie Lady had her outfit inspired by the lovely Kaylee from Firefly ? One of the more beautiful outfits on display on Sunday. She was incredibly shy with it though.
There's one outfit I'm looking forward to wearing soon.
I wonder ... This fella has a movie coming soon too. I have high hopes for that one.

It did become time to leave though and we had a lovely meal at Westfield Wagamamas after (really heavy traffic to get there though !)
And I think they're still locked in that mental combat, waiting for the other to strike ...

Really enjoyed the day out over at Comic Con :-).

More soon ! Been playing with a new Tivo and ... my Internet Spaceship was destroyed. RIP IMV Min Maxer. I need suggestions for the name for the successor ship.