Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 31 - Review year

Whatever pic could I use for this one ...

Here's one :
Credit to the artists there - it's one I acquired off Google. Doesn't he just look as if that's a gleeful rubbing of paws before a ceremonial burning of the tree ?

Here's another, just for you all who are going partying tonight :
If you're heading out, have a great party.

How's this year been ? It's been a slowly recovering year. I'm feeling my age in more ways than one with a sore skeleton joining in with the ongoing skin damage. But ... That outside damage is steadily improving. I hoped to beat it and be back to normal by Xmas but - not to be. It is steadily showing signs of improvement though, when I let it. It's still ridiculously easy to do damage to it in seconds that takes days to repair.

Personally, things have been in a holding pattern while I fix. Both professionally and personally. Well, for most of the year at least. Professionally, I have a chance to move out of a job which I'm not all that happy about doing at the moment. It keeps me with eyes on how things are developing technically but it's a few steps away from having any useful influence on that.

Personally, a lot of the year was spent wasted chasing a Pretty Lady off the internets. If you're a regular, you'll know how much I've written about little lady Kim and you'll have seen my increasing frustration with the lack of any feedback or responses. She is a remarkable little lady but, I'm increasingly wondering if the private face is somewhat different to the public face. No. I don't really think that's true as her colleagues all speak of her in glowing terms ... and no one with a brilliant smile like that could have any nastiness in her soul.

No - I think it's more a case of comfort zone. As in, she'll interact with those who she knows but to break into that small circle ? Not possible.

It won't stop the occasional mentions of her and her colleagues. I use this blog to write about what I enjoy and I still enjoy watching their content. Or at least some of it. Their output is heavily dominated by Minecraft and that's suffering creatively. It's soured in the last few months and I've stopped watching all of the Minecraft content. That's leaving Hannah's playthroughs and Rythian's playthroughs. There are also party game (Mario Kart) videos but the secret of their success is that their commentary includes the viewer in the fun, I find that the party game videos exclude the viewer.

That's a pity - but there's still plenty of content to enjoy. And as my health picks up, I'm back to looking at doing my own gaming. (Later).

Talking personally though - I have to mention another little lady who I've been calling Cupid's Gift. She's lovely. I hope to see her again soon. She has a lovely chuckle and getting one of those messages through from her warms my heart and makes me smile.

Yep. I hope to see her again soon and from there ? Who knows !
Poor pusscat.

Fingers crossed for a happier 2015 than 2014 has been.

Oh - I mentioned games - I've been enjoying the new Elite Dangerous game. It's a space game that's a full, proper follow up to the original space game, Elite. Happily, it's like the fully Newtonian physics that wrecked Elite 2 and 3 (Frontier) are gone, with gameplay being king again. It's a fairly pretty game, although that's beauty in the eye of the beholder talking again. It's early days for me, with me still in the starter ship steadily earning the credits to upgrade to something better. Oh and getting distracted by an almost disastrous bit of gun running too. Haha. Oops. I haven't done much combat yet but I'm hoping that my skills haven't eroded to the point where I get on the wrong end of it.

Yep. Whereas it took 5 minutes to realise WoW is no longer my game, it took about 5 minutes in the combat tutorial for me to start getting addicted to Elite again. I've also had some amusement out of a game called Plague Inc, where you evolve a Nastie (bacteria, virus, fungus etc) to destroy the world. It's tough to succeed. Oh my, Steam sales are dangerous ...

But - Real Life People beat Games beat Videos. And I'll be hoping to getting out more or ... possibly staying in more (with a certain person staying in with me ? ;-) ) in the next year.

Stop the Press ! One pic just in that missed yesterday :
Last pic - now that Xmas is over, it's time to look forward to that other great holiday of the year :
Bring on the Mini Eggs !

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 30 - You

Almost at the end of these.

I'm going to miss this meme when it completes. One thing I struggle for is ideas when I post. But when I get one, it's Wall Of Text time. This meme has had me posting daily on fairly random and varied topics which has let me indulge myself. It's also let me indulge myself in finding funny pictures.

I think that's a new year's resolution - find at least one funny pic for each post. Not a bad resolution I hear you say ? Yep. I agree.

Pics ?
There you go. That's me. In a surprisingly decently smiley happy selfie. Wearing a hat of course. And that hat's popular too, I've had many an envious glance looking at that hat. It's waterproof ... Oh and that pic is the one I've been using on that dating site. It's had a few people looking my way :-)

Although - does it make me look like a bit of a scarecrow type person ? Needs more straw.

That's not actually the photo I'd picked out for today. This is it :
Sums me up perfectly don't you think ?

Bit more about me ? Apart from my mind, I'm so average that I rarely get that second look. I see this as a good thing, it means I can hide. And when I want to be noticed, out comes the crazy. Or the mind. Or the being nice. Yes, I can hide but plenty of people know and remember me.

That's a situation I like.

Something else I like - I've been doing some early days playing of Elite Dangerous today. I've had to bring out the flight stick for it, although I'm rapidly getting up to speed with the basic piloting for it. Docking is always interesting in games like this. Most space stations need you to fly into the inside through a small, narrow slit and then you find and land on your docking bay. It's a curious challenge to get the alignment done properly. Must find a Free-Look function to help out with that alignment.

Yep. Interesting game so far. I'm still in the starter ship, looking to jump up into an Adder (most of the ships in Elite are named after snakes, mine is a little Sidewinder) for extra cargo capacity. I must find a Cobra at some point although I have my eye on the fast Asp instead.

Wait ...
Will that sum up some people's thoughts tomorrow at New Year's Eve parties ? Haha :-) I'll be here enjoying some internetty type stuff, unless an offer comes up at the last minute.

Real People beats Internet, every time. Cya !

Monday, December 29, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 29 - Scarf

Warning ...

Selfie alert :
Yep - tis I. Not sure if I've posted a modern day pic of myself here before. There you go ! :-)

Question - why am I always so serious when taking selfies ? My camera doesn't like me I think. I have a better one to come tomorrow.

The scarf is my only scarf, bought at Wembley in the summer when I took my dad to see his team play in the play off final that saw them promoted to the second tier league of football here in the UK.

It's a Rotherham United scarf and I bought it mainly in anticipation of having to stand at cold bus stops waiting for the bus. I've had to use it less than I thought but I'll be on the bus again from the start of January. Oh well. What that does mean is lots of walking, which my legs will definitely appreciate.

How have I been doing ?

Well, over the last week or so, lots of healing ... Good times. Genuinely good times. It's still silly easy to set the healing back but it looks like my body is finally getting on top of repairing the damage. The bad bits are being steadily reclaimed and skin is feeling genuinely good again. You can probably tell it has been a good break so far.

I'll say a bit more on Wednesday when I do a bit of reflecting on the year. I think.

And I just spent a couple of minutes searching Google for "Funny Scarf". Found nothing suitable ! Ah well. I do need another picture though.
Yep ! You ! If you're reading this, see above. I like you :-).

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 28 - A Beautiful Sight

There's so much potential here ...

But we'll start with :
That's actually from what may turn out to be my last ever game of cricket. After two dim and dismal evenings for the first two, this one had brilliant sunshine and it wasn't hot but I remember it being warm.

Cricket on a sunny day, truly a beautiful sight.

Although I'll take your point, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But everyone must agree, there's no more beautiful sight than that of a Pretty Lady smiling. And that goes for all sizes, all shapes. I wish I had more of those pics !

Come to think of it, I need more pics of a certain little lady I've been calling Cupid's Gift. Cos when she giggles, that face just lights up. It's a very beautiful sight that I retain in my mind. I wouldn't post pictures of CG here though. She knows about the blog but I wouldn't post a pic without her permission.

Oh - special mention to SteamGirl too - she bought me stuff ! The three Bioshock games to be precise. She's someone I met in a games store, which is where common interest comes in. We've chatted on and off over Steam chat since then and occasionally buy each other stuff. She's a good friend. Sadly no pics but I can still remember that cheeky, chirpy smile from ... gosh must be well over 4 years ago now.

Pics - Public domain stuff (interweb + twitter) - different story :-)
That's Rhianna Pratchett, who's been treating us to some excellent stories in the gaming world recently.
And that's the Hannah who's been playing them on the youtube's for us. Not just a beautiful sight, also a truly beautiful voice.
And you can't mention Hannah without mentioning her partner in horror, Kim. That smile.
That's Ming-Na Wen, who I first started following from her time in ER. She also voiced Aki Ross, scientist in the Final Fantasy movie (lovely purring voice) and is now being totally kick ass in Marvel's Agents of Shield.

And talking kick ass ladies, I'm currently (half! cos I've seen it a few times now) watching The Librarian. It features another ER actor, Noah Wyle, being charming as always as a modern day Sherlock Holmes type character. He's not a detective, the character has the observational powers of a Holmes but they're put to a different use. It's a charming mini series that has developed into a tv episodic series and I'm looking forward to catching up. The kick ass lady in this one is one Sonya Walger :
Also with brilliant smile.

I think that's enough pics for one day. Although there can never be enough beauty around. It comes in all sizes, all shapes (and although I rarely* mention it - all races). And it's not just appearance, it's the voice as well. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the intermingled voices of The Staves again the other day. Check out the Day 16 Favourite Christmas Songs for an example of a beautiful sight combined with a beautiful voice.

*(I mention it today because someone's just tweeted about a nasty racist comment directed her way and I'm hoping a mention above will counteract that)

Last one ?
That's an old one. That's actually me, if you can believe it. But the beauty here is in that athlete of a puppy, aka Goldie the lab. He was fast. That athetic body of his hid muscles that propelled him ultra fast. He was faster than me ! When I could run Mega Warp Speed too.

A happy dog giving a bit of love to his master is also a thing of beauty. I miss Goldie as I miss Scruff and as I miss Ben when I'm not around him. Wonder when I'll be in a place where I can have a pooch partner ?

Cya tomorrow :-)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 27 - Snow

Dunno if I'll be back today but am queueing this one up anyway :-).

Today will probably be when I travel back actually. I'm pretty sure we won't have snow, unless a surprise Arctic blast sweeps across the country. It's been a very mild December here.

Snow ?
It is not a myth. That white fluffy stuff on one of my older cars (long gone now) was snow. Honest.

More snow ! That's from a while back too, the car in the first pic is my old detested Focus. Not had that one for a while ...

Last one for today :
A gift from CK that still makes me smile when I see it.

Edit - addition - more snow here !
Back properly soon, not checked the traffic situation yet but am confident I can punch through.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 26 - Favourite Quote/Bible Verse

Gosh, this is a tricky one.

I was chuckling away with Cyberkitten when he was saying he'd be interested in seeing what I'd come up with for this one. Here goes, what pics have I got that fit this ?
Haha - when you quote, get the quote right. Or the grammar police will be out to get you.
At least I have medical reasons now :-)
Always. Focus on the positive, it'll help you deal with the negative.
Yes. This is an excuse to pull out some of those wonderful funny pics that I haven't used for a while.
Last one. I see Ben the Staffy again today ! (ed - actually when I wrote this on Weds 24!) He's a loving, loyal dog is Ben. Ok, one more :
Cya !

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 25 - Your Christmas Day

Christmas Day !

Happy 25th December - hopefully you enjoy this day and have some people to be around. Not sure what I'll be up to today (I'm writing on the 24th ...) but it'll involve :

Being with family
Chilling out
Possibly watching Doctor Who
Maybe watching Strictly
Seeing what Cupid's Gift got me

We'll see.

But ... I know that a lot of people will be out there doing the christmas thing on their own. Parents and friends elsewhere. Hopefully you have some people to be around. But if you don't, this is my gift to you :
Even if you are around people, I send this hug as my gift to you.

But especially you. That's you. The one who is missing friends or family.

I send that hug to you. I hope it gives you a smile :-)
Happy 25th.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 24 - Family

I'm going away for a bit, so it's going to be a few short posts ...

I'm actually writing them now but asking Blogger to delay posting them until the right day.

Family ?
Wow - that's an old one. (hence the couple of spots). It's from well into last century, it's from when we were growing up in Northern Ireland.

I don't think my sister has actually changed that much since then, you could probably recognise her still from what's up there.

Family is where I'll be going - it'll be the first time I've seen inside the new house that my parents have moved into. It'll be a quiet christmas, we don't really do much for it any more, except gather together as a family and celebrate still being that group.

No presents, although I still have the present from Cupid's Gift that I'm looking forward to opening tomorrow and discovering what's inside. I think I'll be picking up something from around where the parents are to hopefully get to CG in time for New Year.

That's it for today ! Short post but ... I'm about to write some more while I still have access to all my pictures :-)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 23 - Fun

What's our definition of fun ?

For me, a lot of the definition of fun is to be doing things that make people smile. To enjoy. To smile, to grin, to laugh. Sometimes there's some running around involved too. Perhaps a little danger.

I know one thing that made me feel much more involved on the cricket field was fielding close in where you depending on your reactions to avoid getting hurt when the cricket ball came zinging in at your head. Ok, it was more using those reactions to quickly gather the ball and ping it back in. A competition if you will, where my skill is put again the batsman's speed. If I win, they're run out and heading back to the pavilion. If they win, they score another run and come back for another go.

I used to really enjoy fielding close in, it was where I'd feel most involved in the game. Of course, a bit of sun helped out too, until it got in your eyes. But ... warm sun beat dazzle any time.

Pics ?
I couldn't mention playing in the sun without using that one.
Watching stuff and playing stuff counts for a lot too. Going through that A to Z :

A, D, E, G, K, M, S, T, V, W, X - I'm a huge sci fi fan, including all those represented by these letters. That'd be Star Wars, Star Trek, Star Gate, Battlestar Galactica*, Doctor Who, Firefly and Babylon 5. I've had lots of fun with the games, the books, the telly stuff and the movies.

*(I still think the old one was better - but then again, the new one was tarnished for me by them running out of ideas for how to continue after New Caprica - their artistic well ran well and truly dry)

Bebop is one anime I've never watched, although I am looking forward to watching Outlaw Star again.
Challenger was sad, both for the two lost shuttles and for the fact that we don't seem in the business of space exploration seriously at the moment. Hopefully that will change with Orion.
Fireball XL-5 was good fun. It was a Gerry Anderson series before Thunderbirds, which featured the Zero-X.
Heart of Gold is from Hitch hikers Guide to the Galaxy. Must watch the BBC series again.
Ishimura - don't know that, although I suspect it's anime again like Space Battleship Yamato.
Jupiter II is from the Lost In Space, which was pretty bad but I still enjoyed it all the same.
Lexx was weird. Very weird.

Normandy is the star ship (and its replacement) from one hell of a game series, Mass Effect. This is the story of an Earth marine almost 200 years from now. It's a great galaxy set up and Bioware made a great story matched to a decent game engine. I really enjoyed these games, although the third kinda killed the want to play through it again.

Don't know Pillar of Autumn (ah - it's Halo). Don't know Unity either ...
Quinjet is from the Avengers, I'm really looking forward to Age Of Ultron. I think I'll be rewatching the other movies over this break.
Red Dwarf is a legend, although perhaps its writers ran their well dry too.

Fun for now is continuing to watch the Yogscast livestreams, they had a great one last night with Kim and Playstation Access. Lovely enjoyable chill out.

I need to have a good crack at Elite Dangerous too, hopefully those pilot skills will come back.

Pics ?
I'll need to lose weight again after Xmas is finished.

I wonder what people are doing over the break ? I wonder what Cupid's Gift is getting up to ... must ask. I know she's working a lot of it. But at least she won't be on her own. I had a chance to offer someone else some company over the break, actually have made a few offers ... but the messages were not returned.

I'm not going to dwell there. I'd rather focus on the potential positive rather than the definite negative and I'll be hoping I get a chance to see Cupid's Gift again soon.

One last pic ?
Because hugs are fun too.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 22 - Cookies



I'm going to miss the Happy Cookie Place when the German Market completes :
Those cookies are large. Think 4 inches in diameter (maybe - mine are all gone so I can't check) and about a centimeter thick. I know ! I know ! Mixing units in the same sentences is naughty.
I apologise. But not for the cookies. They're awesome. Cupid's Gift has been liking them too, really glad I picked up on the marble cake hint to prod me into passing on some cookies :-)

I didn't escape the house today but hopefully will tomorrow. And then I'll pick up even more cookies. Other cookies just don't really compare. And they have cake too. Cake that is bigger than my hand. And to prove that the cake is not a lie :
Yep. Big cakes.

Holiday stuff ?

I've been trying to remember how to pilot again ... I've beaten the combat challenges on the Elite Dangerous tutorials (at least up to the Sidewinder vs Cobra one - got bored after) but it was a bit of a job relearning how to fly ... Crikey that's been a while. Space combat is very different to air flight maneouvres. It's free in 3 dimensions and the controls in Elite : D at least means you're pitching up rather a lot (because the turn rate is better in that axis). To follow someone you'll roll so they're on that vertical axis and then pitch to get them in your gunsights.

Air combat is totally different - you're fighting gravity and you're also interacting with a fluid (the air). So whereas in space combat, going up causes no problems, going up in air combat means you're turning your speed into height and you're subject to the g forces that space games forget about. You lose speed, which means you're likely to stall. So in air combat, it's either done at range with missiles or you're rolling and using the elevators to turn. It's done on the flat rather than in the vertical.

But it's taking a while to get used to the game again. And ... so many keys ...

Been listening to music, I'm steadily getting my way through the library. Although, there's still new stuff appearing in it. I've been enjoying listening to the legend that was Frank Sinatra crooning old classics. He was amazing. There's 588 tracks to go, or 1.4 days of listening. I might get close by the end of the holiday. It's only been ... 14 months so far since I reset the library when I moved it to the Macbook ?

Oh - mentioning that ... I get a lot of frustration with my Windows 7 desktop. Things like it not wanting to talk over the network to my phone or the printer. So for the Elite keys, I was printing from the Macbook after giving up on the desktop. Meh. Windows has always been daft when it comes to connectivity.

Cookies ?
Clever dog. Last one :
Gonna have to lose some weight again in the new year. I blame a combination of winter SAD and immobility. But I'll be walking to the bus again in the new year, so I should shift some of the weight.

Make that a new year's resolution !

Cya tomorrow :-)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 21 - Santa

I've already done one Santa pic, way back for day 5 - Red.

But, today - here's one I've been using as an avatar all month :
Dragon Santa !

Had to be done. I'll use him as my avatar all through December.

I've treated myself today. I had a mad moment where I paid the (probably exorbitant) price for Elite : Dangerous. It's £40 at the moment, which I consider a bit hefty. But I paid it anyway because I remember all that time sunk into the original Elite. Need to get my flightstick out again for this one and to dust off the printer for the keyboard layout.

On gaming, I've just watched a lovely chilled out stream from Pippa Warr (@philippawarr) about a game that's coming out very soon, called How To Build A Snowman. It's a simple puzzle game, utterly charming. And I got a lovely chuckle when I linked over the Internet Hug pic :-) (there was a bauble related reason). I think I may be tuning in for more if she does more.

More pics ?
One more :
Muahaha. Have a good evening everyone.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 20 - Snowman

It could only be ...

Return of the Snow Thing !
I made him a number of years ago. We hadn't had snow for quite a few years, so when it started falling one winter night it was a massive novelty.

So of course I had to head outside at 11.30 to build a snowman. You can probably tell by his size that we didn't actually get much snow that night. But it had to be done ! I bet I got a few funny looks from the neighbours too, which makes it worth it.

More pic ?
Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbes is an absolute legend. And one of the staples of Calvin & Hobbes was always the snowmen scenes in the winter.

Utterly hilarious.

Now for some chilling out - on the telly we have the Strictly Come Dancing finale. I have no clue who's going to win. Once the also rans were eliminated, it's been an incredibly strong field with 6 potential winners. I hope Caroline wins, although it would be good to see Mark win as he's come from nothing to be something pretty special.

And on the desktop, we have Yogscast doing (or trying to do - the game is a bit broken) Civ V on the livestream. That's usually good for a laugh as they ally, betray and backstab each other in an otherwise friendly game.

But I better wrap - I've been hearing the dinner bell going off in the kitchen. Better rescue my munchies before the smoke alarm tells me :
Cya !

Friday, December 19, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 19 - Pine Cone

Ah well - having to cheat on this one again :
I have to admit, I don't go too many places there are pine cones. I do have one of my own pics for tomorrow though.

My Xmas leave starts here ! By golly do I need it too. The physical and mental batteries are drained, the outsides need some healing time and there's a few things I need to sort out around the house.

Plans :

Head up to see the mum & dad at some point for the Xmas day festivities;
Hopefully see Cupid's Gift again if she's free (am missing that chuckle);
Watch lots of movies and recorded stuff;
Perhaps see a few movies with the Crazie mob ?

I'm kicking it off tonight with pizza and by watching Blade Runner. It's a Ridley Scott directed movie from the 80s and it is ... stunningly beautiful in its own dingy way. I have the blu ray edition Final Cut and for an old movie, it does look amazing still off the bluray. The sound isn't maybe as good as bluray quality but it's still really good.

Harrison Ford leads this movie incredibly well, ably supported by Sean Penn (ed - erm, make that Sean Young). And the soundtrack by Vangelis is out of this world.

Still tired though. I may not be up long after the movie finishes.
I'll hibernate over the weekend but I will head out early next week. There's a few errands I have to do. Like get my jacket fixed ! There's not much damage but the zipper has gone which means ... coooold. It's an old jacket and I may actually retire it ...

I also need to get HMV to sort out a couple of blurays I bought. Plan A tonight was to watch XMen Days Of Future Past but the girl in the store was too confused to remove the anti-theft tag. So early next week will see me visit the store (with receipt) to sort that out. Ha ! First World Problems.

Back to the movie :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Photo Challenge Day 18 - Stockings

Whatever could we use for stockings ...

Well, I can think of something that ends up being very photogenic in stockings ...
Haha - I suspect you were thinking of something different ...

Ok. You thought it, you asked for it (beware mental scarring again)
Yogscast strike again :-)

Gotta admit, I'm really flagging at the moment. It must be the after effects of yesterday's Xmas party but I'm quite drained now. Definitely looking forward to the Xmas break now. Just one more day to go. So what happened yesterday ? Can't remember what I wrote actually (brb).

I drank wine ... That doesn't happen too often. I tend to avoid alcohol due to unfortunate ill tendencies ... I was the only one on our table drinking the white wine and ended up having maybe 4 glasses, most of the bottle.

Oops. I wasn't ill or anything. I didn't actually notice the wine too much. I definitely noticed the freebie rose wine we had before going in for the dinner.

Nah - it's the walking that got me. I went on a rather strange route, Google reckoned it was 2 miles, I reckon I must have walked at least 3 on that leg, plus another mile after that. It just happened to take me past the Happy Cookie Place again ... All those miles have settled into my legs and made them rather stiff and sore today.

However ... one thing I'm happy about is that I'm able to do that indefinite walking thing again. That would have been difficult a month or so ago when there was still swelling in my legs and ankles. Pretty much all of that's gone now. Hurrah ! I'm still looking like I've been dragged through that thornbush but at least I have most of my mobility back again.

Wow - this post has ended up longer than expected. Tiredness meant I thought I'd just post the pictures and run. But not before saying ...

I may be tired, fatigued and waiting to collapse tomorrow night but - Cupid's Gift is still making me laugh out loud with the random text messages.

Beware - I may end up being insufferable with mentions of Cupid's Gift :-) The image of her lovely bubbly chuckle is one I'm desperately trying to retain in my mind !

Before I go, if anyone sees me doing this at work tomorrow :
Or just tell me there's been a text come in from Cupid's Gift. That'll wake me up.