Friday, November 30, 2012

Movie watch : Puss In Boots

Just finished watching one of the more characterful and charming movies of last year :

I reckon this was one of the more underrated movies of last year. It was a bit lacking in plot and you could see the twist coming from a mile off but ...

It never forgot something that's absolutely critical :

It entertained. Oh yes. It definitely entertained.

It didn't have that much but it definitely had fun coming out of every second of its set piece sequences, led by the main two characters :
Soundtrack's good too. It's mainly by Graham Hancock but there's a couple of tracks in there by Rodrigo y Gabriela which have caught my attention. Here's a link to one of those called Hanuman. Think I might be going collecting ...

Oh, here's a memory coming back - I think my toes were tapping all the way through this one when the Crazies saw it in the cinema.

If you haven't seen it yet, buy it !!!!! And then save it for when you're feeling low, it's guaranteed to cheer you up.

And ... how could I go without :
ooooooooOOOOOOO ??


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Old game, new game

I've had my attention well and truly caught by something on Kickstarter. But a little history first.

When I was little, there was one game that I played above all others. It was called Elite and was a truly groundbreaking achievement. Here's a wiki link to more about it but the short summary is :

Free roaming space combat game
A game engine which was a thing of beauty
Not just 1 big galaxy to play in but 8
Unparalleled depth (for the time)
And a far off goal to head for - be one of the Elite

I have to admit, I wasn't so addicted that I got a pilot to Elite status which shows how much grinding you would need to do to get that. Elite status was determined by a hidden kill count score, which went from Harmless and Mostly Harmless all the way up to the final 3 ratings : Dangerous, Deadly and Elite. I gave up the grind typically at Deadly. To get Elite, you'd need to get 25 x 256 combat kills. (Lots!) A certain other game called Revs was getting my attention instead.

For the time, it was a truly awesome game that's never really been matched to this day. There's been efforts but nothing as engaging as that early stellar achievement.

From the same stable came the two Frontier games. This translated the original game into our known galaxy. We could take off from London and fly to the base on the Moon or Mars. It had a wholly Newtonian physics engine - This Is Not A Good Thing. The best thing about the original was the combat, the worst thing about the sequels is that the combat was either jousting at silly speeds or restricted to space around starbases.

The sequels were also infested by bugs. Many bugs. To be honest, they were unplayable garbage. But they did have lots of potential and when they worked, they were gorgeous (for the time!).

We've also seen the Freelancer game come to PC. This was a game I played through a few times. It's another fairly open world space combat game and had a pretty decent storyline backing it up. But - it wasn't a truly open world game, due to the hefty Plot Hammers that chased you around the systems it was set in.

The one hope for space combat games lately has been the X Beyond The Frontier series.

These did pretty well but ... they seemed to be missing something. I could recognise how good the game was but I knew that to progress in it, I'd need to become industrialist as well as space cowboy. I'd need to set up and babysit a network of space stations to build what I needed to beat the games.

I didn't want to be space industrialist. I wanted to be space captain, cowboy, pirate.

What's next ?

Well - the thing that caught my eye the other night was something called Elite : Dangerous on Kickstarter. It's by the same fella responsible for the first Elite games and it seems quite promising in contrast to my impression of Star Citizen, also on Kickstarter. I don't know why but the hype alarm dinged for Star Citizen, possibly due to the Freelancer "open world promised, didn't happen" effect.

If you have a look at that Kickstarter link, you'll see tiers of rewards for pledges made. I'm looking at the £45 tier which would give me :
£5 - get a decal : meh.
£10 - get newsletter and updates : meh
£15 - reserve your commander name : meh
£20 - get a digital copy in March 2014 (ish) : yey ! finally something of value
£30 - get digital copy : oops, one for when the early pledger £20 tier runs out
£35 - get digital copy of the sequel to the Dark Wheel novella : interesting ...
£40 - have your name included in the NPC random name database
£45 - get the digital soundtrack

The really interesting stuff starts at £40. I'd put my actual surname in there for that in expectation of seeing a Non Player Character agent with my surname. That's like Bounty Agent Pete Sleepy (sub actual name) wants you to do stuff. How cool is that ? And my surname is unusual enough to enhance that coolness factor.

And I like having soundtracks which would make me put in that extra £5. Tempted by another £5 for beta access but I've always found beta access underwhelming and spoiling for the release game.

Any higher than that is where it starts getting silly.

Yeah - very curious about this particular kickstarter campaign. I'm not going to sink cash into it tonight but I'll keep an eye on it. It's currently at almost £600k pledged out of a target of £1.25m with 38 days to go.

Monday, November 26, 2012

On the buses

I wrote something yesterday about being forced out of the car and on to the buses ...

To be honest, I didn't like yesterday's post. Too much whinging.

And to be honest again, this isn't the first time I've been forced out of the car for an extended period. There was a period a couple of years ago where broken bits on my last car led to 3 weeks on the bus. Oh - if you're in the market for another car, don't go to Carcraft. As well as insanely high interest rates, I got suckered into buying one of those warranties that doesn't actually cover anything. That 3 weeks was due to Carcraft incompetence at fixing the poorly car.

So - bus this morning saw me getting out of the house a little earlier (10 minutes or so) than usual, although I'd like to be a little earlier than that still. After a little wait for the bus, I was in work at about usual time (my pattern is 9 to 5, although I can vary that as need be). So I didn't actually lose much time.

I object to the cost though, £4 for an all day ticket, which works out to just over 50p a mile (3.6miles door to office by the bus route). That's only slightly less than my current car costs to run all in and that car is almost new. It's a ridiculous amount of money and that's before you think of the lack of freedom and convenience that comes with being tied to the bus.

The affordability question goes further with public transport in general. Not only does that bus trip cost 4x per mile than my (admittedly economical) car does on petrol alone, other public transport is also excessive on cost. The last time I took the train for a London work trip, it cost the organisation £200. We have to get clearance from team leaders for that level of travel expense. In my car, it costs the organisation £60 on 25p a mile. Incidentally, we've been on 25p a mile for the past 15 years with no consideration for exponentially rising petrol/diesel cost but that's another point entirely.

So yeah - my main objection to public transport is the excessive cost.

The convenience for me isn't too bad. I live very close to one of the bus routes which has 3 buses I can use. And they come reasonably often.

I thought on the way back that a Kindle or similar device could be handy, although the trip isn't actually that long. That thought came from seeing someone else use a Kindle for the entire 5 minutes he was on the bus. (There was worse, another couple were on the bus for precisely 2 stops - why not walk ?)

Home time trip was good - After clocking out from work at just about 5.05, I was home just before 6pm. And that's with a Sainsburys and chippie run on the way back.

Just in time to have the "will I, won't I ?" temptation again for the Total War games !

Steam Sale at the moment. Which means lots of games with lots of insane discounts.

I've been reasonably reserved so far. I've not bought as many games as I could have done. The latest games are :

Endless Space - space grand strategy. Early look = promising but big learning curve
Star Wars KOTOR 2 - loved KOTOR 1, avoided KOTOR 2 due to bugs. But those have been sorted out by fans.
Transformers War For Cybertron - curious about this one, courtesy of Totalbiscuit videos. I was also a Transformers nut before the Michael Bay abominations came out.
Trine - which I'm a little annoyed about because it advertised a soundtrack with it. It does have the soundtrack ... but it's awkward to get to.
F1 2012 arrived before the sale. I had a look last night and ... my joystick isn't really suited to it. The stiffness around the centre point is a bit too high and the flightstick configuration doesn't have the precision of a wheel.

I have been fairly restrained :-) Other games on the list were : Borderlands 2, Total War series (I'm wary due to the developer not really finishing any of their games), Torchlight 2 and a couple of others.

But - I'm not playing games nearly as much as I used to, so getting them on speculation or because they have a reputation for being an awesome game is a bit of a waste.

Closing time ! Spotted this story on BBC : "Seeing someone scratch an itch makes you itchy too". That puts me in trouble if I see anyone scratching !

PS The bus will have hidden benefits. I benefit from natural fitness which sees me get away with not much preparation for cricket. But the walking to and from the bus will have great benefit in getting my legs conditioned again.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Moody Movember

Been quiet again lately.

My brain has been doing its usual thing of thinking about all sorts of things, usually at random but when it comes to seeing and clicking that "new post" button, it hasn't quite happened.

I think I'm still in a hide mode, where I'm thinking more of recovering than anything else. But it's not just that. I possibly suffer a little from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is one where the turn of the season switches something in your mind towards "It's dark out there, you should be sleeping." There's a bit more to SAD than that but that's the basic premise of it. I'm quite tired right now and in need of a break :

Been fighting this skin thing for a while and it grinds you down
Breaks from work not giving me much benefit
Treatment sometimes being worse than illness
And that tendency to SAD

Does that read a bit like "Sleepypete needs a hug" ? Per'aps.

I do feel very much worn down but that's mostly from not recovering from what ended up being a nasty situation at work. You expect your bosses to take an interest in what you're doing and to steer you in the direction they think you should go in. But when that steering becomes outright interference and later direct sabotage of what your stated objectives are, that's when the stress level starts to ramp up.

What I do depends on a steady flow of information. And what this particular individual was doing was to systematically remove me from the meetings where I could get that information. His last act of doing that came directly after hearing one of the other people at his level pass on a "Pete really helped me out in that meeting" with me then being immediately removed from attending the next review. I saw my role in that particular review as support, feeding information to the people who needed it, while drawing in information to discuss with others who were not a part of that review. I'd not be totally quiet though, I'd be reporting on a few of the defects that were our organisation's responsibility.

And sabotage like that had been steadily increasing over his period in post (note I do not say "in control" there).

There's a lot of distinct styles associated with meetings. There's the type that have to be constantly saying things. It doesn't have to make sense, it doesn't have to be related to the subject actually under discussion. But they have to be seen as actively involved in the discussion. That's the Long Screwdriver type that cause huge amounts of interference and damage in projects.

I'm a much quieter person. I will listen hard to everything going on in a meeting and will be actively collating all that information together. I'll make judgment calls as to whether I need to pass something on to people outside the meeting. And that often happens because meetings can't involve everyone because they're a time sink.

I'll talk when I need to, not because the Long Screwdriver instinct says I should be.

The problem comes when the Long Screwdriver person's behaviour gets reinforced by apparent progress made when they're around. They don't seem to realise that we'd have been getting on with it anyway and we'd have got on with it better without their interference.

Case in point - several problems we're tackling now have their roots years ago when a collection of these Seen And Definitely Heard people were involved. (There's been quite a number of them)

This all sounds like a rant doesn't it ?

There's a definite separation between Professional Behaviour and how people actually are.

The big target of the rant above is actually a great person. He inspired a certain kind of loyalty, despite all the interference. A long time ago I worked directly for one of the other people I've vaguely referred to above and would defend him without question. I saw his workload back then, the documents he worked from and I'm not surprised deeply significant critical details were missed out (because the source documents were misleading). But I know how hard they worked and could see how much effort they put in to getting things right. His only fault was to not get his helper (me!) involved when he was getting overwhelmed.

That's one thing I'm struggling with at the moment - summoning the energy to put in. And I think that's showing with the tendency not to hit that "create post" button here. I'm ok at work when I'm powered by Coffee, Crunchies and Pepsi Max but the crash comes at home. (Not needed the Crunchie & Pepsi Max for a while!)

I'm still battling the skin thing, although it's hugely better than it was a month ago. I'm nearly clear on all parts of my body, with the red inflamed bits steadily receding. There's still a few holdout bits but the treatment gel stuff is very effective with those. However, I'm having to balance treatment with looking after the rest of me - hip hates me right now.

This weekend has been a chilled out one, filled with sport. Yesterday saw As-Live coverage of the cricket from India, it starts at 4am and finishes at 11am so the hours are hostile for watching it in the week. But it's ok for a weekend. Follow that yesterday with England v South Africa rugby and then the Grand Prix qualifying. Today it's As-Live cricket again, which will finish neatly before the Grand Prix starts. I'll be able to watch a little of the build up too.

There's also Strictly Come Dancing too, hopefully Michael & Natalie will keep going, although I suspect they'll be in the dance off. There's a lot of great dancers in Strictly this year, any of the ones left in now could win the whole thing, it's that open.

I'll close out with Movember - I had a head start here because my face was a bit torn up by the spreading infected excema. I cut the beard but kept the 'tache for Movember. It's a fairly decent one too, maybe I'll grab a picture :-)

But - I promise - in a week, it's gone. Lol. It's annoying and is getting in the way.

And I suspect that promise to remove it will come as great relief to all who know me.

Right ! Back to the cricket and firstly, enough munchies to see me through a few hours where I'll want to touch as little as possible. And then - more gunky treatment ... (Cross fingers I stay warm!)

PS I'm on the busses to get into work next week, which is due to more of those Long Screwdriver people ... We have a huge site where I work but. The Long Screwdriver mob are insisting on squeezing more people into it than can fit so they can close other sites. That's in terms of how many desks we have for them as well as car parking space. Yet no one of sufficient seniority has raised their flag to say "What the hell are you playing at ?". They just accept the squeeze as normal business. Instead of going "Ok, we'll make this happen by abusing our workforce" it should be "There is no more room on this site, stop squeezing more in". We're expected to cope with about 75% of the room needed to fit everyone in. It doesn't work. And they wonder why the workforce keeps giving the senior management votes of no confidence in the yearly surveys ...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stepping forward, stepping back

(Yep - I know I've used that title recently, different theme this time - honest !)

Noticed a trend with technology ?

We seem to be taking as many steps backwards as we are taking steps forward with our tech.

Yes. Our toys do more than they did years ago. However ... they're also far less reliable and don't always work the way they're supposed to. Another issue is expectation. We expect the technology we buy to live up to its claims.

I can think of a few big examples. The biggest is software ... It used to be that software driven items would arrive in a fully tested and ready for market state. As the complexity of the software increases, so does the potential for error in that software. Especially now, as instead of effectively being hand crafted, our software is built by automated compilation systems. If the compiler has an error, that error infests the final compiled software.

And that brings me to amusing example 1 of today : Bad news for any Android people looking to book in Xmas ... That's an example of one of those software errors that we didn't see much of. But because the internet opens the possibility of fixing the errors that should never have been exposed to the public, that increases the likelihood of those errors being allowed to slip through testing.

Testing is nowhere near as comprehensive as it should be these days. It doesn't help when the underlying operating system is just plain broken. (Vista, WinME ?) Oh - what happened at that link ? A basic software error meant that one of the people contact apps couldn't understand the month December. That's right folks, Google cancelled Christmas.

It's a simple error but one that I can't remember seeing much of before the ability to easily patch meant that proper quality control became unaffordable.

It's not just Android though, my suspicion of Windows phones is being justified ...

You know how people used to joke that if anything went wrong with Windows, the cure would be to restart it ? Well - that's transferring to their attempt at making a smartphone too ... If you have a look in that Register story, it tells of phones rebooting at random. There's a term for that, rooted in the Sales of Goods Act - "not fit for purpose".

Yet it's becoming standard that we accept stuff that's just not finished.

To keep the balance, it's not just Windows that's bad. One big reason I'm looking at iPhones is because my Android mobile is not the 100% stable thing that it should be. And I know I'd be inheriting a few bugs with the iPhone. Anyone remember the antenna problems with an iPhone that meant that if you held it in your left hand, you'd short out the antenna ? Apple aren't the best either ...

I dunno. It's just annoying that defective items are becoming the accepted norm. Our toys do more but at the cost of complication and ever increasing gremlins.

In other news ...

That steering wheel acquisition is getting closer. I was in Curiosity Only mode until last night. When I spotted F1 2012 on offer on Steam ... Couldn't resist. So I now have a racing game and no wheel to play it with. I have a decent joystick but that's best on flight stuff, not so good with cars.

And it wouldn't be a Sleepypete 2012 post without something on health ... People are telling me I'm looking significantly better than I was a few weeks ago. I guess that's true :-) 3 weeks ago I was pretty bad. Now the skin thing is mostly cleared up.

Went away this weekend just gone to see the parents for the birthday weekend. Met someone who's likely to effectively be the little Brother-Out-Law. Sister's been going out with someone for a bit over a year now, a fella who has a son. I think of them both as brothers now, having met the son this weekend. Good kid and he has a brain that means I can talk to him on a fairly equal level because he'll understand or figure out the techie or mechanical stuff. Awesome.

Decent weekend but it's told me one thing - I am improving but not sufficiently improved yet to be healing on my own. There's a few patches that were coming back. They responded well to a gunking last night though :-)

Prospects are still looking good, I just have to maintain the discipline to do that gunking. Which also means pain because it involves sitting in positions which my right hip doesn't like ...

PS One last techie thing which I'm hoping won't strike now ... Virgin media still has broken Youtube ! Seems to be spreading into iPlayer too. Watching Strictly off iPlayer yesterday evening was ... frustrating.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Targeting : Pasty White

Birthday yesterday. Yey !

Perhaps. I'm definitely feeling older on the inside these days, although I try and hide that as much as possible.

So - what did I do ? Went to work as usual. There's two different ways people approach work on their birthday. Some come in, some take it as time off. I prefer to come in so I can grin at people. I much prefer being around other people than being on my own.

Ok - so how does that tie in with living on my own so much ? Yawn. I get by with keeping up with what's coming over Facebook, not so much blogging these days, by watching the amusing gaming related videos, by trying to make people laugh over online chat. (I kinda miss the WoW chat, there's some amazing characters there)

It wasn't all work yesterday though. I had the follow up appointment at the doctors. I have to say, the experience has improved since the first visit :

Visit 1 - waited over an hour past the appointment time. Saw bloke doctor. Meh. Sure, I'll look at a male athlete's body and think it's attractive but my thoughts are mainly "How can I be like that ?"

Visit 2 - waited a while again, saw lady doctor. Impression ? Brain the size of a planet but a little disconnected from reality. As in didn't quite perceive the universe the way the rest of us do. Cute from that certain point of view though.

(I'm sure there's a few people who think much the same of me)

Visit 3 - shorter wait, more normal lady doctor. The sort of person who would look stunning if they made the effort. Better drugs too, they cleared out the infection although there's still damage to repair.

Visit 4 (yesterday) - shorter wait again, different doctor again. Total - KNOCKOUT. Wow. She had the sort of looks that would have nightclub bouncers letting her not just bypass the queue, they'd be paying her to go in. Oh and she was chuckling at my vague attempts at humour too.

Yep. I believe I managed to remain rational and intelligent in the face of all that beauty.

Prognosis ? Recovering steadily. Doc didn't think I needed any drugs this time (reckon the infection has been dealt with) but she was worried about the remaining bits of me that are still angry looking. So I'll keep doing the Hide & Treatment thing until I'm all pasty white again like a proper geek should be.

Keep that Yellow Face away. It burns.

So my birthday evening was spent watching stuff on the telly while hiding in my main room trying not to get the gunk I'm treating the damage with on anything.

That sounds pretty bad doesn't it ?

Yes. From a certain point of view. However. I look back to a fortnight ago and remember all the damage I had then. I remember how wretched existence was getting. I remember having to remove work outfits as soon as possible when getting home. I remember trying to keep the ickiness of the infection under control. I remember trying to keep it hidden while at work and to avoid it affecting my performance there.

And then I think - I'm now far more healthy than I was then. I'm getting the most important birthday present anybody can get - my health.

And that's far more valuable than anything monetary or material. Although hugs would be awesome too.

Cakes tomorrow ! I have a visit to the contractor's place but on the way back, cakes will be acquired for work.

PS I also have to thank everyone who's been giving me support (or just treating me normally) when I've been down.
PS2 Trolling contractors is far too amusing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

(Not) Spending cash again

Apologies in advance cos this is gonna be a scattergun post :-)

Headed up to the Mall again tonight. Just ... felt the urge to wander. Plus there's a kinda novelty back to it now.

I'm not totally healed up yet but I'm hugely improved from where I was just 2 weeks ago. That's best summed up as "wretched". The thing that was consistently dominating my thoughts was "must get home, must get the self-treatment done". I'll spare you the icky details but heading out for a Mall run was the farthest thing from my mind. I missed a few leaving do-s in town (including the original Finance Angel's one) because my skin condition was quite frankly, embarassing.

Most medical conditions can be hidden away. People either fight through exhaustion, mask depression, conceal illness or isolate their sneezes at home. Skin conditions are different. There's an intense feeling of embarassment associated with it. It's out there on the surface to be seen by all. With me, it was under my right eye and on my ears. It was also on my arms and legs. A skin thing is something that makes you want to hide away, not due to fear of infecting people but due to knowing how icky it is.

Waaaaait - Post Derailment Alarm triggered !

Things have much improved now, to the point where I can quite happily head off to the Mall on a whim for a wander.

It's kinda dangerous though, because I haven't bought myself much yet for my birthday. Ok, so I did pick up the Space Above And Beyond series from (ultra low price - had to). I've not bought anything major though.

One big thing from tonight : "Smile and the world will smile back at you"

I've been having pretty ladies smile at me. Not sure why. Perhaps it's because I look like a human again and not someone you see on those disease outbreak movies. I caught one of the girls in HMV looking at me (she was on till and bored cos no-one was buying anything) and sending a smile my way. So she got the Big Grin (tm) when I spotted her.

Been getting lots of opportunities tonight to use that Big Grin. Wonder if it's down to what's working out as a Wolf Man look. My hair's about as long it has been right now, plus I've joined in with the Movember thing.

Maybe I should keep the moustache ? :-) :-) :-)

Hey - spending money. I have 2 big items on my I Want List at the moment :

iPhone 5 - I'm definitely thinking about pensioning off my current phone and the iPhone 5 is very tempting. Especially as I'm already locked into iTunes. But ... £269 up front and £15 more a month than my current contract ... not so tempting.

Steering wheel for PC - This is being held off at the moment more from people not wanting to sell me one than it is from me procrastinating too much. With these, you have to spend a certain amount or what you buy breaks within a couple of months. But ... the various techie shops at the Mall don't appear to want to sell the next tier up. I may get one eventually, although I don't actually have anything to race with one yet.

I feel the Need For Speed again. Forza scratched that itch for a while but the Xbox360 platform is getting very archaic now.

So - spending big cash tonight : resisted. But - it was good to escape the house for a little while tonight, although I'd kinda like to have tagged along with someone with the excuse of buying them dinner. There's stuff I need to buy but I just don't think of looking in the places that sell the stuff I need to buy.

Doctor's again tomorrow - I'm not completely healed yet but things are improving. I'll be curious to see what she says.

PS I did buy something at the Mall tonight, collection cd's from Texas and Johnny Cash have arrived :-)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Wheely Obsession

I feel I have one of those "must buy widget" obsessions coming on again.

What is it this time ?

A steering wheel. Yes ! A steering wheel. This particular obsession started after watching a Youtube video by the Yogscast, where they were trying out Forza Horizon (racing game). There's a bit of history to it as well :

In the BBC micro era, I was addicted to a game called Revs. It was a Formula 3 car simulator which was groundbreaking. It dates back to when computers were archaic compared to what they can do now. If I emulated a BBC on a modern PC, it would barely register on the cpu need. I believe Revs became the foundation for the first F1 games on PC.

One of the things distracting me at uni as Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 3, which could get some quite hilarious crashes going. It offered a decent challenge. I didn't think so much of the Porsche game though or the first Colin McRae rally game.

Games a far more complex these days though, with the simulation going as far as modelling how the wheels go up and down with the suspension. And all sorts of other crazy stuff like that.

When I bought an Xbox a couple of years ago, the game that caught my attention most was Forza 3 (the Xbox's signature racing game). Dead Space and Halo 2 were boring next to PC shooters and Final Fantasy XIII was a tad meh. But I definitely enjoyed Forza. The controller works well with it, using two analogue triggers for brake and throttle and a joystick for steering.

But - it's missing something ...

The building obsession is with finding a cost effective steering wheel. And I think it's going to be a PC steering wheel because it'll be easier to attach it to my desk than to have it on my lap in front of the telly. Plus the PC is far more powerful than the Xbox 360.

There's a few things to think about though :

Robustness. It's pointless and frustrating to spend money on something for it to break in a few months. And most of the affordable wheels seem really bad for robustness.
Price. Think I may have to go as high as £70 to get on the bottom rung of acceptable robustness.
Fit. Not sure if this is relevant now, as wheels have been around long enough that they've evolved into the ideal.

So there you have it - Value For Money and Robustness > features.

Will I indulge this obsession ? Maybe. It'll depend on availability as well. I'd likely have to special order a wheel in order to get to a minimum acceptable level. And it'll depend on being able to get a suitable game to play it on too. I've not actually used my new joystick that much, mainly because I haven't got a good enough game to take advantage of it. (Need to check out Planetside 2 still).

Need to get healthy as well though. The health has improved, people think I look early 30s again plus most of the patches have recovered. There's still quite a few bad patches though and my ears have definitely not recovered yet. I need to figure out how I can leave them alone more to recover. And I'm back at the doctor's place on Tuesday too.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Boom ! Recovery

I've been writing a lot lately about the infection that had hold of my legs and various bits of the rest of me ...

Hopefully that little segment of my life is coming to a close :-)

Since the doctor trip on Wednesday there's been some quite dramatic improvement. I'm not clear of signs of inflammation yet but it's getting so close that I'll soon have difficulty picking places to put the medicine cream. It's improved that much and that's coming from it affecting maybe 20-30% of me.

I hadn't said exactly how much it had affected me had I ? Well, as well as the big patches on my legs being joined by patches around my elbows, the infection had spread to my hip, ribs area, bum, ears, a patch under my eye. Probably about 20-30% of me, some bits worse than others.

But it's now considerably better. I'm hoping that when I next see the doctor in 9 days, I can walk into her office with a big grin and show completely healed legs and arms. But I'm not counting my chickens just yet, it's improved before and then come right back. Hopefully I've identified why with thinking that I'm allergic to a few things :

Orange Juice - think I have a citrus allergy which was setting off bad breathing and the excema.
White bread - I can mostly avoid this because brown bread seems fine. Pizza's a problem but as long as I keep that in moderation I'll be fine :-)
Office - dry air is promoting the excema I think. Can't do much about that except try and get moisture in to me.

So yeah - I'm hoping this little chapter is coming to a close so I can concentrate on getting things done and moving forward again :-) I've let a lot of things drift lately because I've had my whole essence focused on trying to get healthy again.


We had our annual Crazie Fireworks combined with birthdays last night, hosted by the BionicDwarf. I'll hopefully get this house in order for a bit of hosting soon, that's another thing put on hold by the infection.

I have to say, Sainsburys rockets are much better than Tescos rockets although we did get one "interesting" rocket which hangfired. And we had one of the mortar boxes decide to start shooting sideways.

Great little display though, CK, BD and I chipped in with £270 worth of fireworks which gave us just over half an hour of :

Cracking fireworks too.

We followed that with pizza (yey!) and a couple of movies after handing out of a decent selection of birthday presents. Tis birthday season at the moment, with BD, CQ and mine coming in quick succession. Mine's not until the 13th (born on a Wednesday). Oh - movies, I'm watching one of my new ones at the moment : Beastmaster. Old classic.

After that - Strictly results. Yep. I watch Strictly Come Dancing. First year watching it as a regular and I'm quite enjoying it.

And with that admission (coinciding with the dinner gong from the kitchen), time to sign off with the shreds of leftover dignity :-)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Something old, something new, something different

I've managed to almost get everything in the library listened to :-)

There's a full 1.6 days of new stuff in the library, or so iTunes tells me. Maybe I kinda went a little overboard in acquiring all those soundtracks ...

It's not all soundtracks though - here's some of what came in :

Tori Amos - Abnormally Attracted To Sin. Not bad, kinda more of the same. Tori Amos is a very talented singer songwriter and also extremely prolific. Being prolific isn't always a good thing, as it can mean that too much of the not so good stuff gets unleashed. Abnormally Attracted to Sin is better than American Doll Posse but isn't as good as some of her best material. Still worth a look though.

Smash Mouth - All Star Greatest Hits. Lol :-) This is fun. Again, nothing classic here although the I'm A Believer cover excels.

Alone In The Dark soundtracks - I grabbed all three of these games in a cutprice ultra bargain deal at Good Old Games.Com. IIRC it was about $3 for all three. We weren't convinced about AITD 2 but the first game kept us busy at uni for months before we had it cracked. This was in the dim and distant days before Wiki captured all the walkthroughs and before the Internet and Google really took off so it was tougher to find hints and tips. It's from when Hint Telephone Lines could make money.

I'm listening to the AITD3 soundtrack at the moment and it's ... got character :-) Liking it.

Morcheeba's Charango - Morcheeba are pretty different to what I usually listen to. They'll be different to what most people listen to. But that's mainly because they put a lot of variation into their albums. Charango is no different and there's a good selection of good tracks here. Check them out, there's a good chance they'll have something you like.

Fallout soundtrack - another from, this time I saw a "sign up and get this game free!" So I did. The Fallout games have always had their own unique character charm to them. They're set in a Post Apocalyptic alternate reality Earth where those kitsch 70s ads hung around way past their time. It lets them put a certain degree of very dark humour into their games to offset the post apocalyptic thing.

Faster Than Light soundtrack - this one is available on Bandcamp from Ben Prunty music. Game soundtracks have a specific job to do - they set and reinforce the mood and then submerge under the game to become subliminal. The Mass Effect and Deus Ex HR soundtracks are very good at doing that and this one is the same. Will be looking out for more from Ben Prunty in the future.

The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan. Another very different pop group. I first listened to their Elephant album. Different is definitely good when it comes to music, it sets groups apart from mainstream tat and gets them noticed. I've definitely noticed The White Stripes and will be looking for more, they're worth it. This album appeared courtesy of Head doing offers :-)

Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man. It's good. There's some decent tracks here but not as many stand out tracks as on her previous albums. I've yet to listen to it as a pure album though, maybe in the next few days when I get round to it.

Independence War soundtracks. These are another couple of game soundtracks picked up for peanuts from One thing about GoG is that you get lots of freebies with the game. Things like pdf copies of the manuals (when game manuals were worth having), pictures of material like spellbooks and best of all - soundtracks. Oh ! I-War 1 + 2 - two games that unfortunately for them came around at the same time as when the X-Wing games were going strong and which therefore didn't get the chance they deserved.

Last Night Of The Proms. I'm a Prom fan, I try and watch every year's Last Night if I can. I like music and this is as uplifting as it comes. Perhaps this recording isn't as good as most though, I suspect it was the one where the organisers went "We're recording this, keep it quiet" and therefore missed the whole Audience Participation thing where the off-time audience additions make the whole show.

Lisa Hannigan - Passenger and Sea Sew. Oh. Character. This girl has it. Lisa Hannigan had the misfortune to emerge at the same time as Little Boots, who at the time was on a mission and was blowing away all the competition. Yet here was delicate and very precious Lisa Hannigan coming along with that unique and deliberately fragile voice. Little Boots doesn't hold my attention as much now but Lisa Hannigan singing I Don't Know ? You may have heard that one so here's a different link : What'll I do ?

Very glad I gave Lisa Hannigan a second look courtesy of some cheap Amazon deals :-)

Oh dear. I seem to have been distracted into listening to as many Lisa Hannigan videos off Youtube as I can find. Time to close and maybe leave room for a Part 2 of new stuff :-)

But before I go :

Something old - Red Dwarf's back. Not quite sure what I think, the concept is extremely tired now and overdone canned audience laughter detracts from the comedy value.

Something new - watched the first couple of episodes of Arrow tonight. Not convinced I'll stick with this one, it has great TV actors in it but the concept is weak ...

Something different - watched the first episode of Elementary. This one has more of a future than Arrow I think, if the networks stick with it. But ... concept has been overdone, there's about 4 different Sherlock Holmes going on at the moment - the BBC one, Elementary, the films and the really bad ones we see on the movie channels occasionally.

PS I think they gave me Strong pills this time. They've certainly had a very fast and decisive effect. Need to figure out something to have with the ones I'll have tomorrow morning ... (6 little pills with food that masks a nasty aftertaste)