Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekend of sport

Got one of those heavy clashes today.

All day - England v Aussie cricket
1pm - race start in the Grand Prix
3pm - kick off in English Footie Players XI vs Germany

Thinking of breaking out another laptop for all of that :-) The cricket will rule the big telly all day, with the football and formula 1 coming via the marvels of the internet. Things have improved tremendously there in the past year or so. Iplayer has revolutionised access to programmes we've missed, as well as bringing in live streaming.

Progress is good :-)

So - how are things going at the moment ? Ankle is still being troublesome. I can happily ignore the shin now but putting power through my left foot makes it feel like there's glass grinding around in there. However, that's not stopping me from being one of the faster fielders in our work side :-) I'm not as quick as I'd like because I'm having to think about protecting the ankle when I'm accelerating. Still saving runs though :-) Which is what counts in the field.

Had a first in the game on Thursday - I actually fielded a ball while upside down with the only bit of me in contact with the ground being my head. I checked for a grass stain on the hat but it must have been knocked off early.

Good job too - it's dry clean only !

Only 2 runs though for me on the night, I got out early trying to push on the scoring with a drive that was mistimed and went up in the air. I've stepped back into cricket with most of my limited selection of shots doing ok but the drive has been very poor. Needs some net time to work out the High Left Elbow technique. (High Left Elbow keeps the bat straight)

Right - the cricket is developing and it's moving rapidly towards the start of the GP, so it's time to sign off :-)

And a bit later it will be over to iPlayer to again watch the climax to an outstanding first Moffat led series of Doctor Who.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Panda Paw

I have a Panda Paw !

But I earned it - another bruise that I can show off :-) I know - sucker for punishment.

First game back after the big shin bruise last night. I knew I'd be suffering a bit in this one, as the shin bruise and lower leg swelling was stopping a sore ankle from recovering properly.

World Cup is competing with Cricket on telly is competing with actual Cricket at the moment. I've been remembering why I'm not a great fan of football (although I watch pretty much every other sport), the players have no honour or integrity. They'll complain if opposition players aren't sent off and will writhe in agony if they break a fingernail. I've got no respect for people like that.

I enjoy playing the game when I occasionally join in with kicking a ball about but the attitude of the so called professionals leaves a lot to be desired.

So while USA are playing Slovenia, I have domestic Twenty 20 cricket on the telly :-) (With World Cup on the little laptop screen too, cos I still want to know who wins)

Actual cricket takes precedence over everything else though. I'm getting on a bit in years, I carry lots of injuries but I'll still keep turning out for the team. Weekend games might be a bit long for me but the midweek evening games are just about perfect.

Yesterday's game was the first one in a fortnight and the first one after Monster Bruise. It's not quite gone yet and the ankle is tender still but that didn't keep me away. Sure, makes me think a little more about how I play but thinking around your limits helps you push them. People have been remarking about how my fielding is being pretty decent at the moment, so I must be doing something right.

And this is after me ducking out of the way of one that had my name on it last night ... Picture - batsman hits it towards me. It's coming reasonably quick, nae bother. Long barrier comes out to stop it if my hands didn't. Ball comes, bounces once, bounces twice. Oo eck ! second bounce is a bit lairy ... and a ball that was coming to my hands is now heading straight for my nose !

Instinct took over, better part of valour got me out the way very quickly. Muahahaha - bobbles and bad bounces like that happen in cricket, makes it more interesting. Especially if the missile coming your way is 5 and a quarter ounces of damn hard cricket ball :-)

I didn't get a bat, which I really don't mind seeing as the guys who did hammered 197 runs. That's quite a bit for those games ... On to the fielding. I'm a pretty vicious critic of myself. While others think I'm throwing myself around and being effective, I'm seeing someone who is pulling the punch on throws and missing runout chances.

I just hate seeing runs being given up if I think I could have done something about it, so if someone's shouting "take your time" and "easy" and I then look up to see that it was actually a run out chance, I get a little peeved. Makes you wonder why the Field Marshal is telling the fielder to pull a punch on a throw when there was a genuine wicket chance. Irritating. Maybe they're trying to avoid bruises even though they're wearing gloves ?

Anyway - bit of irritation coming perhaps from a touch of personality clash. On the one hand, you have a fielder who is used to controlling an area by moving to anticipate where the ball is going to go. On the other, you have the Field Marshal who likes fielders to stay exactly where they are put. You can probably tell that I don't think he knows what he's doing ...

I need more practice really so I can ignore the shouts of "Easy" and chuck in some hand stingers in the hope of getting run outs. I look for at least run out from my fielding over the course of a season.

Apart from that stuff though - did pretty well. I managed to ignore the ankle and saved a decent number of runs by stopping boundaries. Ankle survived for most of the game, before the ground opened up and grabbed it. REALLY ! That's what actually happened when I took that tumble.

Honest :-)

Panda Paw ? Got a couple of bruises on my left hand due to stopping one that would have rocketed for 4. I think I put more than the required effort in and the Panda Paw gives me something I can show off.

The best bruises are the ones you can show off as badges for putting the effort in.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fitness struggles

This year is going WHOOSH !

Can't really believe it's Day 12 of Da Bruise already. It's going, just not as quickly as I'd like. It was spectacular, now I'm bored of it (although I'm still showing it off at every opportunity!) and want it to go away.

Reason - no cricket last week but there's potentially a game for me tomorrow and definitely a game Thursday. At the moment, I can't consider myself properly fit as I still appear to have the twisted ankle problem (on top of bruised shin) from a fortnight ago. However, I'll do my usual thing of ignoring injuries. I'm down as a reserve for tomorrow, hoping I'm not needed as it'll give me another No Sock recovery evening.

"No Sock Evening" ? You can actually see the dent on my leg where the top of the sock has pushed in what is otherwise the leg swelling up ... Weird :-) I seem to have most of the mobility back though, so I should be able to Wing It as usual.

This weekend - enjoyed a well chilled out day on Saturday, where the full Crazie Mob gathered (with more friends) to wish Aginoth a happy birthday. Mr Piggie was invited along as the guest of honour for dinner, he left rather smaller than he started.

Hmm - bacon.

Not been gaming that much lately, evenings are mostly filled with having Cricket on the telly (Twenty20 season) and World Cup on laptop. Or World Cup on the telly with the sound off due to the cursed Vuvuzelu horns. Atmosphere at a game is good, incessant noise is bad.

World Cup as a whole has lived up to expectations, which were sadly low. The football World Cup is just a bit too Big. That means the first half, when all the buzz is at its height, is heavily dominated by filler matches where there's no interest in the result. Too many easy games or too many unimportant games. And this is in a sport that's not that great to watch for the not so interested person anyway ...

Ah well - I have the T20 domestic games to keep me interested at the moment :-)

All in all - bit worn out at the moment, looking for a bit of downtime but will keep heading on as long as I need to. That's my way, always has been and hopefully always will be. Bit battered but the cricket that got me battered is well and truly worth it.

Last bit. Shopping craziness ... Did the occasional shop at Big SuperMarket Chain tonight, was hoping to pick up some long socks so I could wear a shinpad on Thursday to protect the bruising. Saw just about every type of article of clothing on sale there except ... socks. They had kiddie socks but they ain't gonna fit my size 10s, let alone be long enough to hold in a shinpad. Time to invoke an old rule : "if a shop doesn't want to sell me what I want, go somewhere else"

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Book meme

Saw this on Cyberkitten's blog and had to steal :-)

Link to original CK meme and ...

Do you snack while reading ?

Depends how well I'm doing with the "only eat when hungry" discipline. Not too often (I cheat by leaving the biscuits on the pooter side of the room, out of arms reach), never anything icky though as that might get on the pages.

What is your favourite drink while reading ?

Diet coke

Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

Mark a book ? HERESY !

How do you keep your place? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book open flat?

Dog ears come under the same category as "Mark a book ?" ;-) Laying a book open flat is similar, as it tends to break the spine. That then leads to your book falling to bits ... I use a soft leather bookmark, which will leave a book looking as new after I've read it. Mind you, if I end reading two things at once, I'll fall back on using a piece of paper :-)

Fiction, non-fiction or both?

I'm a fiction reading person. Science fiction mainly, although I have a place for fantasy swords & sorcery type fiction too.

Do you tend to read to the end of a chapter or can you stop anywhere?

I'll almost always go to the end of a chapter. Which can be reaallly annoying if the author goes for long chapters :-)

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?

Nah - I channel my aggression out in other ways (cricket helps a lot). If a book gets annoying, I just do something different, which usually leads to me taking absolutely ages to read the book. Besides, chucking a book across the room usually leads to more self inflicted annoyance at needing to find your place again.

What are you currently reading?

WorldWar Striking the Balance by Harry Turtledove. Book 4 of a series of 8 and in that "annoying book" category. It's taking ages to get through cos of the author's style. The narrative has crawled through 4 books which might have been doable in 1 or 2. Must apply a bit more belligerance to reading it so I can get on to :

What is the last book you bought?

Victorious by Jack Campbell. Space Opera, where an Alliance Captain who's been in cold sleep for 100 years is awoken to lead a fleet out of enemy territory. Victorious is the final book of 6 and I have number 5 to read too. If anyone's interested in trying it out, the first book is called Dauntless and will have you ordering the other 5 by the time you're halfway through. Unlike Turtledove, the narrative moves on very quickly and it's very easy to read.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?

At home, evenings. Or while "watching" cricket :-) Reading combines well with cricket, you can be go sentence by sentence and look up for that 10% of the cricket time when there's action. I.e. when the bowler is about to deliver the ball.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?

It really depends on the book. Some stories are too big for a single novel and the cliff hangers at the end set up your anticipation for the next. However, other series tend to run on and on, eventually getting spoiled by going rotten at the core. Anne McCaffrey's otherwise stunning Dragons of Pern series suffers here and David Weber's Honor Harrington series is in danger of going the same way. The Star Wars books most certainly did, the New Jedi Order series cured me of any interest in that series where before I'd been an addict.

The most key aspect is Beginning, Middle and End. If that can be done in one book, that's great. There's some extremely compelling single volume novels out there. If they then grow into a series ... that shows evidence of a good scope in the background. Larry Niven's Ringworld is a good example here, the initial book stands up very well on its own and is improved by the addition of 3 more books in the series. Timothy Zahn's The Icarus Hunt and many of the Robert Heinlein books are very good examples of excellent single book stories.

The Jack Campbell books and Anne McCaffrey's Planet Pirates collaboration with Elizabeth Moon are good series, which stand up better because they have a Beginning, Middle and End. Same as the David and Leigh Eddings books. Then you have the Kim Stanley Robinson Mars books, which has a fantastic beginning in Red Mars, a decent middle in Green Mars and a disappointing dribbly out ending in Blue Mars.

Next question !

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?

Larry Niven, whether it be future sci fi or current time scifi. His Known Space universe set a few hundred years in the future is excellent. Huge scope for mayhem and mischief in these. Timothy Zahn, although he can be a little hit and miss. Robert Heinlein ! Iain M Banks for the Culture novels, even if Matter was a bit of a disappointment. Michael Stackpole tends to jump in on universes started by others but always does an excellent job. I've read books by him set in Star Wars as well as Mechwarrior, all stellar.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

One book ended up with me researching chemical weapons and nerve gas.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

How do you organize your books (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)?

Errrmmm ... The functioning of my brain is deeply rooted in chaos, which is reflected in how my books are sorted. I used to be better at it but I lost my desire to get everything in order a while ago. That said, it's my chaos and it would make me nervous if the chaos got tidied away ...

Background noise or silence?

Although I can Go Robot if I need to, I'm very bad at doing just one thing. Like at the moment, I'm tapping out this post while listening to Sky News. (No music yet, will be hitting the shower after hitting Post). So if there's nothing on the telly in the background, I'll have music on.

Tonight if I read, it'll be Clannad's Landmarks followed by some random stuff.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Games and Fire

Thinking about burning the cap I got at the weekend ... It's a luck thing honest ... and the best way to purge luck you're not wanting is with a nice fire. Plus Fire = Nice n Warm.

The cap got bought outside Wembley last Sunday, during a Bank holiday weekend trip to see Rotherham play. It was a good day out, Wembley is a very impressive stadium that should be reserved for football only so the pitch can live up to the same standard as the stadium. Bit of an issue with the referee though, as it was one of those classic 11 vs 12 men things.

So - Sunday game : Rotherham vs Dagenham and Redbridge in the playoff final, whoever wins gets to play in a higher division next season. Quite a close game, Dagenham scored against the run of play, immediately followed by a Rotherham equaliser. 1-1 at half time. The same happened in the second half, Dagenham score followed a bit later by a Rotherham equaliser. Felt that if Rotherham had taken the lead, they'd be clear but that wasn't to be. Dagenham win 3-2. Good game, enjoyed the show but disappointed at the result.

However, when you look at it logically, Rotherham will lose half their team before next season due to loans finishing and transfers. Time to rebuild and look for more next year. Good day out, I got to see an uncle I haven't seen in years.

How's the cricket going ?

New bat has arrived :-) And it's felt good straight away. It feels so good that I appear to have gone a leetle nutz with it. When I use technique like the square cut, it comes off great. Hit a couple of very nice boundaries that went very sweetly. For everything else though, I'm over hitting. I have a decent pull shot but have been missing them, plus I should have a decent drive but my left elbow form disappears when I try and use it. I've had two bruises now from wearing balls that should have been whacked by that pull shot.

Head back, WAAHOO and a waft at fresh air.

Still getting runs, actually quite a few. The new bat has earned 14 in its first innings and then 32 retired hurt tonight. The 32 top scored but took far too long to get. I have two major rules when I bat :
1 - Don't get out first
2 - Score at a decent rate
They're both aimed at not letting the side down. I've been succeeding with the 1st rule (my last two opening partners have both been run out !) but letting people down with the second.

Erm - I said "Retired Hurt" there ...

Felt better tonight, the hip trouble that slowed me down in the previous games was much less tonight. Daily Injury was sore shoulder (snafu) and sore ankle. Fielding was better, although I allowed one run through that shouldn't have been scored. I hate giving runs away when fielding. Makes me angry, which makes me faster :-)

Gave another one away though, which led to that retired hurt. Took a reasonably well struck ball flush on the shin, will have an Omelette on there tomorrow. I got one on the shoulder too, which I may well be able to show off tomorrow :-) The best type of bruise is one that doesn't hurt but can be shown off. Like the 2 inch carpet burn on my elbow or the vampire eyes after Nose Job 2.

Anyway, shoulder one was due to a bouncer that lifted unexpectedly, I was able to get my helmet out of the way and wore it on the shoulder. Looks like I got bit :-) Cool bruise and no pain from it.

Shin is more serious. I have this instinctive pain block thing where adrenaline lets me ignore pain, up to and including broken bones. I was able to finish fielding and could open the batting. Lasted a while too, before being hit on the other leg distracted that pain blocking thing.

Meh - think I needed to get something out there ... Summary is :

Team earned a win, my slow batting made it too difficult. Sucks, feeling quite bad about it. Time to move on.

Last note - why does the cap need to burn ? Luck ! After hitting a wall out there, I started looking for ways to get out. After a while, my arms and legs go and I have trouble getting the ball off the square. Nothing worked ! I padded up, looked for lbw. Not given. Didn't have enough in my legs to run myself out. Tried to miss a straight one, ball goes over the stumps.

Ho hum. Definite luck thing going there, dunno what kind though :-)