Friday, December 30, 2011

Just Chillin'

Been back since Tuesday now and I think I've pretty much got the "only be awake during night hours" thing sorted now.

That's something I seem to be very good at in holiday periods. I seem to work off a daily cycle that works out to about 26-27 hours a day. The day is literally too short for someone who likes to stay up really late in games or forum surfing but still needs 7-8 hours of sleep in the average day. I blame highly addictive games - they don't take anything out of you physically so you just keep on going playing them. It doesn't help when those addictive games are broken up into phases of activity, where "just one more" kicks in ...

It's been a Steam holiday sale period and while I haven't gone berzerk with getting stuff, I've grabbed a few bargains ...

Space Pirates And Zombies - yep. Bought this before from Impulse/Gamestop but I actually bought it again for a couple of £ from Steam. Why ? I remember it being a really good game ... Which it is.

Plus I really didn't want to install the Impulse/Gamestop client on my new machine. Something to do with them insisting on sending over lots of offers which I couldn't do anything with because they were for the wrong market. It's also unnecessary software, which is Bad. Never let software on a machine if you're not intending to get full value out of it. It's not the software you intend to buy that tends to cause issues, it's the baggage that comes with it. Like a certain freebie antivirus program that wanted to install the Yahoo toolbar (no ta) or one of the bits of software that came with the new machine wanting to inflict the Zynga button on me all the time.

Uhhh - sidetracked again ...

Terraria's an interesting little game. It's a sideways scrolling platformer based in a procedurally generated (always different and random but based on rules) persistent world that your character inhabits. Simplicity tends to be King in terms of good game play and this one really hits the mark with ease of figuring out what's going on. Ok, the crafting system and "What do I actually do here ???" need quite a bit of looking up to figure it out but the gameplay proves you don't need killer graphics to make a highly playable game.

In fact, as a Neverwinter Nights addict, I much preferred the simple NWN1 graphics and playstyle to NWN2. I could never get into NWN2, although hardware and software issues (it was the last game I tried on my last machine before realising the Windows XP install on there was terminally broken) didn't help me there.

I'll see how deep I get into Terraria. There's hidden depths there just begging to be whacked at with a pickaxe. Or a hamdrax. Terraria is built as a multiplayer game but also has solo options. I first became aware of it through the TotalBiscuit & OMFGCata series on Youtube. They have an absolute blast streaming that game exploring their world, although they never seem to achieve anything ...

Next up is Mount & Blade - Warband. This one has you riding around on horseback introducing bad guys to pointy objects. It's on a Totalbiscuit recommendation, not that convinced I'll spend that much time in this one but I thought I'd give it a try.

Star Wars Old Republic wasn't from the Steam sale but it's been getting some play time now that it has gone on general release. I like this one, although I've not done much group stuff yet (outside of the beta). The guild we hoped to have just didn't happen so I've been playing solo and so far resisting overtures to get me into Gutted Ewok. I'm just a little choosy over who I band together with. Conversely, World of Warcraft got cancelled. Dunno if I'll miss that, it just doesn't have the same challenge that got me interested in it all those years ago. Too much pandering to the wrong part of the playerbase has made it lose something.

Not spoken to many real people since getting back.

I have ventured outside the house (Wednesday) to go bargain hunting at the Mall. Also needed supplies ... Spookily a song called Communication has just come up on iTunes DJ. I like being around people, although Wednesday was definitely too much of that. The Mall is a very busy place at the moment and the crowding on Wednesday was triggering the "get out of here now" instincts.

So much so that I came home for coffee + munchie instead of hanging around overpriced places at the Mall. Didn't even do a peek in PC World for keyboards (the new one has got the sack after "key hit nothing happened" issues in a second game).

I guess it's not so much being around people in general but being around people you like. Facebook is one tool for keeping in touch with people you like but it's a bit like shouting into a crowd sometimes. That said, I've not put much in the way of status updates on there lately. The typical FB status doesn't tend to fit the Wall Of Text I like to do. I'm missing people but not enough that I want to be back at work yet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back again

Tinkering done,

Xmas dinners (multiple) eaten

No presents this year alas (we've run out of things to get), although I'll get myself something with cash from my nan.

Lots of driving (the Volvo is mostly forgiven). 550 miles in mine plus however many we did in the Volvo.

Bit more weight lost (despite the multiple Xmas dinners)

Tired now. Although that won't stop me raiding supermarket and sales tomorrow or Thursday. Kinda missed Tesco today, I don't think it would have been good turning up with only half an hour or so to go until early closing.

Back to the games later, the only game I've had a go of over the last few days has been OpenTTD. That's a rewrite/remake of an old classic, Transport Tycoon Deluxe. I'll head back into SWTOR later when I've caught up on some telly.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hibernation time - almost

Started my Xmas leave today.

It was supposed to be tomorrow but a long period without bugs has caught up with me so I took today off ahead of a few days of travelling 150 mile + each day. Yep - Sleepy's on tour ...

Kinda. It's actually a cunning plan to make sure we have an Xmas dinner.

Trip 1 - up to see the parents. Hopefully the iPod will cooperate and give me tunes all the way. (I'll have the cd player ready if it doesn't)
Trip 2 - pick up munchies for Sunday
Trip 3 - take munchies to Sister's place on the Saturday
Trip 4 - take dog to Sister's place on Sunday morning.

We'll use my car for most of it (more comfy) but Muttley will go in my dad's Volvo, the boot is somewhat bigger. The CT is an awesome piece of machinery, in a cushycomfy kind of way. But ... one of the compromises made for having petrol and electric drive is less boot space than you get in most cars. It's actually not that bad, I should be able to get the cricket bag in there comfortably come next season. Oh - the Cunning part of the plan involves not putting Dog + Xmas Dinner in the same car at the same time. We don't want "Muttley" turning into "Barrel". Not decided when I'll come back yet, although it won't be that long.

Which takes me to :

Diet - this is going ok. I've not gone nuts with weird food, I've just enacted more discipline in what I consume. At work, I'd usually have a teacake in the morning, lunch plus something unhealthy in the afternoon. I still have the teacake (cos I don't have breakfast at home) and lunch but I've managed to cut out the cookie hunt in the afternoon. Biscuits are also lasting a lot longer at home.

I've not dramatically shed weight (that's not the plan, it's unhealthy to lose weight too fast) but I've arrested a trend of gaining and reversed it by losing almost half a stone. We'll see if that continues while I'm away.

Leg - is improving steadily. I still need to give it an occasional dose of the steroid/anti-biotic cream but those are becoming more occasional. And I think the need for it was being driven by a reaction to what I'd been wearing. I.e. my occasionally worn jeans which were last washed with stuff I think I'm allergic to. I have a new pair to test that theory.

The leg still isn't at the point where I'd want to wear a knee pad and therefore isn't ready for cricket, however the skin is all intact now instead of splitting when I walk ... It's in much better shape now and has time before the season starts again. Will the shoulder be ok though ?

Techie tinkering - Thought I had an idea to sort out the sound skip on dvd's being played back through the blu-ray players. Alas, while that's sorted out the sound problem, the video now skips. Oh well. Back to another idea, which is to use my Xbox to play dvd's and blu-ray player to play blu-rays. So far, it's through over an hour of Return Of The King with no audio or video blips.

So yes. I'm away from work for a little while now, time to rest & recharge the batteries ahead of a busy new year. I will definitely miss a few of the people at work though. People like Thelma & Louise (yep - new codenames I didn't think I'd use :-) ), the Canteen Girls who know what I want for lunch before I do and one very special little lady in particular who I'm hoping will stay in touch over the break.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Old games, new games

I have my new PC fully operational now :-)

It still doesn't (quite) have Office on there but that's not something I call completely necessary on my home PCs. All I look for are internet browser and security, games, games, more games and an email client so I don't have to fire up the laptop in the morning. Thinking about it, I could do with a picture manipulation package ... but I have one of those on this laptop.

One thing about Windows 7 is that it is more restrictive about what it will allow to run on it. That's meant the card games my dad likes and the ancient strategy games I like don't want to run. How to get around that ?

Firstly, there's a gem of a piece of software from a company called VMWare. It lets you run a PC within a PC as a virtual machine, up to a point that is. I wrote a while ago about being able to have a Windows XP installation using an old licence inside to be one of those virtual machines. It works pretty well, with a limitation or two. It's great for the card games but while Moo2 works, it's fixed to a 1:1 pixel ratio with no scaling. Translation - postage stamp picture lost on big screen.

So. What to do ... Can't be without Moo2 for long !

Enter Dosbox. This is a PC in a PC again, although a lot less sophisticated than VMWare's applications. I don't think you can Windows (even 3.1) on this although it's spectacularly good for ancient Dos only applications. It'll even run the hardest to run of games like Master Of Magic, which was beyond the means of even some contemporary machines due to certain arcane memory thingys.

Trouble is, it needs familiarity with Dos to get what you want out of it and Dos is dinosaur territory in terms of PC programs. At least its programs weren't written on punchcards.

That's Moo2 back operational :-) Plus I'll have another look at Master Of Magic at some point. You'd have thought that with all the Civilisation clones and retreads, they'd have done a Master Of Magic 2 by now. MoM1 was effectively the Civ city and strategy engine with a fantasy tactical battle engine attached. With spells & stuff.

It's a sad reflection on the new games that I go back to Moo2 so much. This is after trying games like GalCiv (tainted by its developers' attitude on forums) and Sword of the Stars and a collection of other space strategy games. Moo2 has X factor. I'll fire up XCom again too at some point, that's definitely got something special about it. Other games are short term fun but these have a long term addictiveness to them.

I've also been on a new game, Star Wars Old Republic (SWTOR). I've been a Star Wars addict for years, although the depression of the New Jedi Order series of books broke me of the Star Wars reading habit. (SW Empire At War is another game that didn't grab me). SWTOR is a massive multiplayer online, instantly familiar to anyone who's played World of Warcraft. It's basically WoW in space with blasters and lightsabers.

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.

I've been enjoying SWTOR as a Sith Inquisitor called Morrd, hopefully some more of the WoW people will follow me in and make themselves known. I've solo played so far and done fine. Its world is less seamless as WoW, with loads of loading screens breaking up the maps. I'll take that minus as a cost of the story and character progression being so much better than WoW as a plus that more than makes up for the non-seamless world. You're playing a living character, instead of just ploughing through levels.

What else ? I've written a few posts about League Of Legends and while I acknowledge it's a good game, it's critically let down by its players. 9 out of 10 games can be fun but the 10th will be tarnished by offensive idiots. The idiots are what you remember. I've not been back in LoL for a good few weeks now and I haven't missed it. There's no future in that game unless you always play with the same 4 friends so I won't waste any more time on it.

Not been back in WoW either, although I still have the subscription active. Dunno why as the only thing keeping me in WoW lately has been the wonderful guild people. Need to cycle the mailboxes ...

Settlers IV is another one I keep going back to. Surprisingly, it was happier in Win7 than it was in WinXP working straight off the cd instead of needing tweaking. I've had beta invites for Settlers Online. Trouble is that the publisher, Ubisoft, believes in using vicious forms of Digital Rights Management to protect their games. It treats the paying customer as a criminal, acting under the assumption that the honest customer will steal their stuff. My answer to that is to boycott the company. There's plenty of other games out there of similar or better quality and they won't affect the stability of my PCs the way stuff like Starforce did.

Any more ? I've been doing a Mass Effect run again :-) I've got about 80% through Mass Effect 2 after finishing Mass Effect 1. It's the first play throughs on the new machine so I've been collecting the achievements again. These are seriously cracking games. Looking forward to Mass Effect 3, due in 2012.

There's something about Bioware that has them consistently coming out with games I'll play forever. SWTOR is the latest from the stable that brought Neverwinter Nights, KOTOR and Mass Effect. And games like Baldur's Gate which is amazing but which I've never finished. Their competitors are missing something ... perhaps its the ability to resist calls of "Release now!!!" instead of waiting until the game is actually finished. Bethesda games are a horrid example there, Skyrim is still having trouble after a couple of patches and I'll not say anything about their bugridden Fallout 3 games.

There again - I'm avoiding anything spawned by a certain bad software company as I know it will lead to disappointment. DICE (makers of Battlefield 3) are on that list as well now, as are Sports Interactive for releasing numerous unplayable (bugs) versions of Championship Manager (now Football Manager).

Uhoh - ranting detected.

I think I need to get back to Moo2, the Krogan horde are about to be unleashed on the Silicoids who foolishly declared war on me at just the time I was ready to build my first warships ...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Party season

Work's Xmas party today :-)

It's a fairly annual thing, where we will descend on an unsuspecting restuarant in the middle of Bristol before hitting the town. With 66 of us going today, that's quite a few. Mrs Sunshine (organiser from last year) was quite glad not to be organising that number of us again this year. That duty fell to the Snow Queen and the Queen Bee, who adopted the dictatorial (monarchial?) approach of telling us where we'd be going.

They did a grand job today too, despite all our efforts :-)

Last year's was memorable too, with stories from last year still being told today. I'll remember walking through the streets accompanying someone singing football songs :-) Not saying who that was because it might mean tears and I'd hate causing that. All that matters is that she had lots of fun last year and we were enjoying tagging along.

Had fun today, although I had to escape rather earlier than most of us. Think that's a combination of being around too many people and muscles that were one turn or one bop away from Ow. You'd think that lonely as I am at the moment, I'd want to be around people as much as possible. I guess there's such a thing as too much therapy.

I introduced a new person to the blog & the Zombiedwagon on the coach too. She's not been with us that long (feels like ages because she's someone you can get to know quickly but I don't think she was with us last year). No codename yet though. I don't like to talk about people here unless I can hide them behind a codename and inspiration has been lacking ...

Question from the coach was - how many people read this ?
Answer - I know I get about 10 hits a day on average. I know who some of them are but have no clue about the rest. I know I have a few regulars :-) And it makes me smile when I see the signature of a regular appear in the hit counter.

I'm very curious as to who some of you are :-)

Back to party. I felt the deep need to disappear a bit early, which was a shame. It was good to see the Snow Queen enjoying herself as she's another one who's had a very rough time of late. I feel guilty there as if I'd realised how alone she'd been feeling, I'd have adopted a mission of "Let's make SQ smile", with no limit on craziness. I'm feeling a little better too as well, certainly better than the deep well I was in when I wrote yesterday's post.

One of the commonest questions this time of year is "Have you got all your Xmas shopping done?" I actually have none to do ... Although I need to find a card shop. No presents this year, Xmas seemed to creep up on the Craziemob unawares and the family have been giving up on them. With no significant other, I have noone special to buy stuff for. But it's not just that, I enjoy the subterfuge around surprises. A surprise is sweeter if the subject has no idea what's on the way.

I think that's part of what's maintaining the depression cycle - not enough subterfuge happening.

Time to put this post to bed. I have to end on a downer though. One relatively new addition to the wider team is a little ball of feistiness we'll call the Little Warpath. Wouldn't want to get in her way when what she wants doesn't align with what we want. Anyway. The Little Warpath was waiting for news this morning. It was supposed to be wonderful news but has turned out to be a case of the OMG. Desperately sad for their loss. Thoughts are definitely with the family.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Get up and ... gone ...

Really struggling at the moment.

I depend on feeling valued and a part of things. If I don't feel either of those, I start wondering what my place is in things. Bit like in the Fear post below (which was supposed to have the "The only thing to fear is fear itself" quote in it). I've been feeling isolated, the opposite of being part of what's happening.

I have a deep seated need to help people and if I'm isolated, then I don't get the opportunity/reason to satisfy that need to help out. And with the team situation at the moment where my old (fantastic) team has been disintegrated and splintered into numerous other teams, that isolated feeling has been growing. The team my section is currently in don't want us there. They see our project and shrug, while we shake our heads at them ignoring the incoming trainwrecks we try to tell them about.

Doesn't help that there's quite a few objectionable characters in there who set a bad tone. Whereas my mini-section escapes them in a few months with the next shake around, I feel bad for those who are being prevented from having the option to escape what is a bad team (with a selected few certain personalities forming some wonderful exceptions). It's strange how the culture of two teams doing the same thing, albeit a few years apart in progress, can be so utterly different.

It also doesn't help that it's gone cold, so as well as the psychological issue there's a physical issue as well with cold related pain coming through.

I don't have a total lack of appreciation, a little "VMT" (very many thanks) from the real boss for helping him out with the info he needs goes a long way. And I don't feel a total lack of value because I know I'm still contributing to the project going ahead. But it's being a strain for that to actually register in that part of my brain that governs my motivation.

I guess it's also tiredness, definitely needing the break over the Xmas period.

What I should be doing right now is getting happily addicted to Star Wars Old Republic (my early access code came through) but all I'm really wanting to do is curl up in a ball. And that's not me. I think I need either a burst of adrenaline or the confidence that would come from someone wanting to know me for my personality, not what they can use me for.

I guess I may be seeing some futility in what I Want to be doing, which suggests I should be looking at doing something different in both personal and professional life instead of what I traditionally do : wait and see what happens. One problem I have is that while I can put Wall Of Text here, I'm usually dumbstruck when it comes to actually saying things out loud.

Doesn't help when you're desperately in need of a hug.

But for the moment, I'll settle for a hot shower in the hope of warming up enough for my back to survive the team(s) Xmas party tomorrow.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gamers behave !

Yep - 2 posts today. The one below is too unfocused to stay at the top :-)

Made me laugh seeing a story around the media about how gamers should be forced to follow the Geneva Convention. The link goes to a short article by Metro, which sums it up nicely. At least the FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) spin that came out originally. The original "Red Cross is anti-gamers" article got refuted quite quickly. Here's an MSNBC article.

I'd like to think that the people who play games still know the difference between right and wrong, although there are a bunch of games out there which are just sick. They usually have an 18 certificate on them, so the only way they should be able to get into the hands of impressionable youth of today is if a parent ignores the question "Is this suitable for my child?"

It used to be like that when I grew up, with me being shielded from things like Evil Dead and other video nasties. I watch stuff like it now and I can recognise it for being silly and most important : Not Very Good. Mortal Kombat when it came out originally was infamous for its gore but when put next to the gameplay of other fighty games, it just Wasn't Very Good.

Just because I've played Carmageddon (briefly, it didn't hold a candle to -> ) and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, doesn't make me into a nutcase on the roads. Hot Pursuit was actually a great laugh, the premise was 1v1 car races on public roads with Police getting involved.

Yep - NFS was a hoot but driving like that on public roads would get you arrested (boring) and cost money (less left for toys).

So - I'd like to think that some sanity is out there, although I know that's not actually true :
Parents keeping the 18 cert games away from children like what used to happen with Video Nasties
Gamers being able to tell the difference between pixels and people
Recognition of what happens when addiction takes hold

I've been addicted to gaming, although I think mine was more a hurting person retreating from a drab uncaring world. I think I'm clear of gaming addiction now, I just fire up the game as "something to do". Heh - I'm probably more addicted to reading forums now (anti-isolation again). I'm not someone who will fire up a game as soon as they get home, with them then being in the game until they go to bed. That's not healthy but I see it happen. It's why the Mercenaries fell apart, people got burned out, didn't recognise that their addictions were making them different people and got into fighting with their friends in game. And I was on the wrong end of that a few times too.

There is a question of trust : can the parent trust the child to know right from wrong or to figure the difference between real world and virtual. Sometimes I'm not even sure the parents know. Remember though that anything you see in a game has usually been done on film and usually even just at 15 certificate. And it's usually more graphic than what the game allows too.

Right - this was supposed to be a really short post to knock a bad one off the top :-)

Time to get back to seeing how many Human/Alien/Strange Life Form Rights I can wipe my tentacles on, although I won't be giving the Death Star treatment to any planets tonight. I ran out of those over the weekend. (Seriously!)

PS I'm actually going to read a book, with as much incest, sex, violence, human rights abuses and other nasty stuff (Game Of Thrones) as you'll see in most games. It's just presented a different way.

Thinking about - Fear

(warning - long post, lots of rambling! Think I needed to talk through some stuff, not convinced it's all "out there" yet either ...)
There's a lot of "scared" out there ...

I was thinking and wondering about how other people see me. One random outside observation was "do I show fear ?". Yep, true thought. Completely random observation but it got me thinking about stuff ... I think it came from talking about what's happening in the future as work's going through changes at the moment. What happens when the current project work runs out of things to do ?

I prefer to worry only about things that I can change and accept the change that I can't influence, while trying to make the best of what I have. One issue there though is the change that's coming might end up being a change too far. We shall see.

I came to the conclusion that other people probably see me as fearless, as I refuse to allow fear to have any trace of control over me. That doesn't mean the fear isn't there, I've just quantified it, analyzed it and figured out an acceptable risk level. Risk can be fun too.

Talking risk - my fielding in cricket used to be pretty rubbish. I was scared of the ball. It's a reasonable thing, as a cricket ball hurts like hell if you fumble what you're doing around them. I've had amnesia from a broken nose and I've seen someone knocked out by one. I've regularly broken fingers and have a chipped elbow bone from one. I think I fractured my shin last year.

And yet I still play cricket (or I will if my leg recovers fully!). One question I asked myself was "Do I want to be ruled by fear or do I want to have fun?" I enjoy my cricket too much to chicken out. Another fear is the fear of injury, I have a pretty fragile body because I haven't put the training in the harden it. I realised that good technique and preparation is the way to counter that fear of injury (although there is one ground I refuse to play at because it's deadly). If you catch properly, it doesn't hurt. Drop a catch, you'll break something. Warm up and warm down well and your muscles will thank you. Drink fluid to replace what you lose and you'll be less prone to cramp.

There - fear of injury confronted, analysed and accepted. It'll still happen (like accidents) but preparation means the risk is lessened to the point where Fun > Risk.

Actually, I don't think it's a fear of injury, I think it's fear of letting people down. Season before last, I had 2 injuries that took ages to heal : Groin strain plus the shin. The groin meant I wasn't that agile (and it contributed to the shin injury) and the shin injury meant I lost a lot of speed and reaction. But - I managed it so I didn't let anyone down and I did that by fielding even closer than most sane people would ...

Ok. That's enough about cricket. How about other fears ...

I think that fear of failure is what dominates me. I love helping people out, I'll break out of the routine stuff happily if a challenge comes along. But if the answer doesn't come easy, then I'll go nuts banging my head against the question until I figure it out.

Fear of change. This is one of those where I've accepted I can't do much about the incoming changes at work because the people enacting them don't listen to my immediate bosses. So - I figure out where I'm going to fit in and see where I can get best advantage for me and my work.

Fear of being isolated. Being alone is boring. And I hate being bored. But with the team situation at the moment, I feel somewhat isolated. I'm away from the techie side and in with a bunch of people who don't care about the project I'm on. However,  It's great being able to natter to (and hopefully make laugh) people like our wonderful Snow Queen. And there's others on and around the project too who alleviate the sense of isolation. I suspect that's because of helping them out with problems.

I think I'm a herd person at heart. I like being around people. Maybe that's part of the "help people" thing.

There's a few other fears too. I used to be scared of going down escalators. I think I've conquered that one. Same with a sense of vertigo. Not so sure about the "fear of losing control", I had to walk away from an idiot last week who accused me of stealing milk. I think he got an education in manners from the line manager for his temporary placement.

I'm rambling aren't I ...

I think I've conquered or accepted most of my fears and I'm pretty good at hiding the rest. So people may think I'm "fear-less". That said, I still have that fear of letting people down. And I'm pretty wary of the idiocy level on the roads these days, although Fun Of Driving > Fear Of Idiots. I also have a fear of having things stolen, don't we all.

There's a lot of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt out there. Some people even make a trade of rubbing in FUD to make money out of scared people. (I find that abhorrent).

If you have a friend who needs help to work through their fear, don't make fun. What seems funny to you will be very real to them. Fear is paralysis. Help them through it. They'll thank you later.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Spoilt for choice

Cheers Cyberkitten :-)

Had a birthday present from my very good friend and neighbour CK tonight, an iTunes voucher. Now ... what to spend it on.

First up - Edie Brickell has 2 albums out that I don't have in my collection yet, Volcano and a self titled "Edie Brickell". Can't get the second on iTunes so it's just Volcano for now. Hopefully there will be something on there as good as No Dinero from Stranger Things. That's another slow burner that I wasn't sure about at first but it's a standout track from the album. Makes you think of abandoning your cares and just chilling out, ignoring the outside world.

I would like to get the Elkie Brooks collection, which is a semi-discovery from a Driving Songs collection of cds. I'm saying "semi" cos I always knew Elkie Brooks was a good singer, it just took an hour or so of scanning Youtube to find out just How Good. Check this out ... A pity that the compilation is £10 on iTunes (or about £4 on Amazon). Oh well, will restrict the Elkie Brooks just to Fool If You Think It's Over for now.

One thing that's kept me in WoW all these years is hearing the voices over the comms. There's some great people in the guild aka the Hot Swedish Girls. It's not just the accent, it's the attitude. And that accent and attitude came together for quite a few wonderful albums by The Cardigans. They split though, with the lead singer forming up into a new band called A Camp. Their second album (Colonia) is the next purchase.

And while I'm there, the Ping popup in iTunes is Piggin' Annoyin'. Even though I've disabled Ping, it still insists on telling me that it's ready to annoy me.

Oookay ... must not rant :-)

Few random tracks seeing as it's a certain time of year :

Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews - Baby it's cold outside - sure is !
And that's it for the random Xmas tracks. Just listened to Kylie's Santa Baby off Youtube which put me off the idea. Muahahaha
Although having just seen a version of "Fairytale Of New York" sung by Ronan Keating (don't care) and Moya Brennan, voice of Clannad, I'll couldn't resist that.

Another for the "not getting that just now" : Evanescence are back with a self titled album which I'd like to get ... But. £5 for the normal album, £11 for a deluxe version that has 4 extra tracks plus a remix and a video. I could upgrade the normal album with the extra 4 tracks for £1 each but that stinks of profiteering, which is something I go to lengths not to indulge.

What else, what else ... Having a peek through Amazon's recommended feature for ideas and it really wants me to grab that Elkie Brooks collection ...

Just watched the video for Laura Marling's (new artist to me) New Romantic. Love it, tempted. After watching a couple more though, the videos are better than the music and considering I listen to stuff as audio only most of the time, won't get this one for now.

Last one for now will be Snow Patrol's new album, Fallen Empires. Well, it will be if iTunes decides to cooperate ... I need to boost the available credit by a measly 6p before the transaction will go through ...

PS I fixed it by buying more stuff - Emmerdale by The Cardigans has some tracks I already have plus some I don't. I'm the sort of person who likes to have everything done by the bands I consider special, hence one nickname (old) of "Alisha's Addict" after me buying all the Alisha's Attic singles for the excellent B-Sides.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Hairy legs and shiny nails

Oh and bad tech too.

I think I needed somehow to balance the excellent tech buy with the new machine (still rock solid stable). Bestbuy are getting out of dodge at the moment (retail sector's not so good here) so they have a lot of offers on at the moment. Pretty attractive offers too. Good enough to tempt me into a new keyboard and mouse. That's been on my list for a little while now, as it's a pain to move the old ones around if I'm wanting to put the desktop PC on the telly.

So I picked up a Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse combination. Oops.

Immediate comments - the mouse isn't up to the job compared to my old MS Razer mouse. I've actually switched back. Intellipoint gives a fair number of customisation options for the buttons but none where it really counts. There's no real option to change the sensitivity or to disable mouse acceleration. I like some sensitivity in a mouse, although that doesn't mean seeing the pointer go crazy across the screen at a twitch. Getting it balanced means I don't kill my wrist overcorrecting.

So I've gone back to my old mouse. The keyboard is similar although I've not fired that yet. They layout is mostly fine but there are little or no relevant markings on the function keys. I'm a touchtyper so I don't like to have to look for some keys. There's also very little definition to the keys, with them being much flatter than the chunky keys I grew up on. Qwerty is ok, function keys are not and you need those for gaming.

Anyone want a keyboard and mouse ? Still, as they're wireless I can use my old ones for gaming and use the wireless ones for Pooter-On-Telly. I have one more bit of the puzzle to go there though, need something for sound.

Getting my leg back :-)

After its wound that wouldn't go away, the red bit is now much reduced. It's still there but the skin looks in much better condition. While it was still healing, the skin would actually split again when I walked which has helped to make healing real slow. The real sign of progress will be when I get a hairy leg again :-). All the hair came off as part of the wound but it's starting to come back as bristles.

Dunno how it got caused, although I have a big suspicion that I was allergic to the washing machine blobs I switched to. I've switched back to what I used before. Weird that my mum & sister developed similar things with our skin at about the same time, can't figure a link there except from genetics.

Hopefully I'll get that hairy leg back soon. Otherwise it's totally ready for speeding across cricket fields, although I need to lose a little weight to get back the speed I used to have.

Last bit. I didn't move fast enough when passing the cosmetic seller stands at the Mall earlier. There was a very pretty young lady asking if I had a minute and while I was going "gaaaa", I got shown how a bit of buffing would make my fingernail very shiny.

And it's still shiny now ...

What can I say, pretty lady smiles at me I'll pay attention. Although she was pretty in a "OMG IT'S A RUSSIAN SPY" kind of way. Yep, I'm a sucker for a pretty lady but I also have defenses that come up and start to have fun with them in a "how can I drive 'em nuts" kind of way. Or I'll look in a completely different direction to the one she wants me to look in.

Not that I'd object to being at the beck and call of a pretty lady. As long as it's the right pretty lady. Hopefully when I see the next pretty lady who actually has a reciprocal interest in me too, it'll be Third Time Lucky.