Saturday, October 29, 2016

Simply The Best

Have you ever listened to a song and thought ... This is their best, it cannot be beaten.

I have ... and here are a few of them. They're some of my favourites from a multitude of artists but beware, most of the songs in here are in the list because they provoke an emotional response. Some may require hankys !

Oh and there are a few artists I listen to a lot who aren't here ... If you have some amazing music to suggest for me, please leave the track name and artist in the comments. I'm always on the look out for more to listen to. A lot of what I do listen to is due to suggestions from other people.
Bring 'em on ! Oh and this post was mostly inspired last night by me going "I'll just listen to Ting Tings The Wrong Club and go to bed." That track is possibly the best they'll come up with, it's got the words, the message, the music and an excellent video too. It's a track I'll keep going back to.

Labelling something as "the best and they will make nothing better" is a little sad though. It's better when the group constantly surprises you with more and more excellence. Bat For Lashes is a perfect example here. You hear songs like What's a Girl To Do ? (Dat video) and you think it's amazing. Then she beats it with the beauty of Moon and Moon from her second album. And beats it again with the powerful Laura.

But it's best when the groups constantly change their style. Madonna does this with every album, Goldfrapp do to a certain extent. I don't think Goldfrapp have beaten the Metropolis inspired Utopia. I'll keep going back to Alison Goldfrapp's incredible voice that's shown off in Utopia and the weird and wonderful Voicething. And then there's the chill out of Road To Somewhere.

It's a little sad when groups seem to burn out early or they do one song out of character that has total beauty. Here are a few :

T'Pau's - China In Your Hand
A-Ha - Take On Me (still more brilliance to come but nothing got close to this)
Cranberries with Linger, Shakespeares Sister with Stay
Stairway to Heaven ! (I hope they didn't copy)
Dirty Vegas - Days Gone By (perhaps it's the acoustic style)
Alisha's Attic - The Incidentals - I was hoping for much more from these ladies, 3 albums were not enough.
Massive Attack - Teardrop
Morcheeba - The Sea
Snow Patrol and the Martha Wainwright combination for Set The Fire To The Third Bar
U2 with Beautiful Day ? I don't listen to much U2. Too disconnected from reality.
Evanescence with My Immortal

And an advert just gave me a teaser of Kate Bush's forthcoming live album. I'll pick that up at some point but she's a good case of an artist who was incredible for a long time but then seemed to lose the touch. For me, her albums after The Sensual World just aren't nearly as good as what came before. The advert was for a track from Hounds Of Love but I present here, This Woman's Work.

Other groups who have gone away from an earlier style or perhaps ran out of inspiration are people like :

Pink Floyd's style changes with the decades but they were most inspired in the 70s with tracks like Wish You Were Here.
Arctic Monkeys had a brilliant first few albums but have gone off a bit. But then you listen to songs like A Certain Romance again and remember their magic.
Similar with Seal, the voice is still there though but has he ever bettered songs like Future Love Paradise ?
Dire Straits seemed to run out of ideas after Brothers In Arms. Indeed, they split after the following album. Mark Knopfler still makes amazing music and excellent soundtracks.
Air's magical All I Need.

I'd include Portishead here with songs like Roads. You see the intensity in live performances like that and you wonder how they can pull it off so well without collapsing into a mess afterwards.

There are also artists taken from us before we heard all they have to give. I still like Eleanor Rigby best from the Beatles but there was more to come after the Beatles with songs like John Lennon's Imagine and George Harrison's My Sweet Lord. And then there is Thriller by Michael Jackson, he definitely had more gifts to give.

You know. Songs that make you sit up and listen. The Veronicas did that to me with their song Untouched. Very powerful, very dramatic. And the ears always perk up with Little Boots comes on too. I don't think she's bettered Remedy. Paramore's wonderful The Only Exception is always a sit up and listen highlight.

That's a lot of music though. Lots for people to listen to ! (I have been pondering investigating Spotify playlists ... would it be worth it ?)

There have been a few bands who keep coming out with new and even better music than we've heard before. Nina Persson still has it, after starting in the Cardigans, moving through a very dark phase with the Cardigans, transitioning to A Camp with songs that speak to me like Song For The Leftovers and now going solo with tracks like Animal Heart.

I've always kept an eye on Tori Amos too, she just continues to give us new albums with more brilliant music. And there's usually a surprise in there too. Just when you think she couldn't beat Silent All These Years or Space Dog, out comes an I Can't See New York or a The Beekeeper.

All About Eve too, kicking off with tracks like Martha's Harbour, indeed all of their first album was amazing. Then there's Scarlet and Are You Lonely to finish off their third album. And then she comes back with the Mice album ! Love the Doctor Who inspired Blue Sonic Boy.

That's an awful lot to listen to though. (And I'll be catching up the links too !)
One last song. The way an album starts and finishes is very important. Arctic Monkeys did this with A Certain Romance but the one I'm really thinking of is Sleeper. They seemed to be interfered with somewhat by labels wanting to split the singer from the band and never really bettered their first album which finished with the song I'll close on : Click ... Off ... Gone.

Anyone got any more song ideas for me ?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

That was the Bake Off that was

Whew !

I only started watching the Great British Bake Off a few years ago but I've really enjoyed it while it lasted. I think some of that stems from watching stuff Mel and Sue have been involved with since I went to uni. They're a naughty pair those two but they remember they're there to entertain first and foremost.
That's something really important, the viewer is the person who is absolutely key. The entertainer has to bring the viewer (or reader for here !) with them and include them in what's going on. And that shows in the viewing figures this show gets. You can guarantee it'll be the highest watched show in GB this week.

Mel and Sue have always been like that. They'll bring in the naughtiness to add some fun but in the end, programmes like Bake Off are all about the contestants and the tasty creations they cook up. And it was the same 20 years ago with their Late Lunch and Light Lunch chat show programmes. The inclusiveness is why I watch people like HeyChrissa and why I've gone away from watching a few other people on the internets.

This is the last year of Bake Off as we know it though. It has gone away from BBC and 3 of the 4 presenters have walked away. I don't think I'll be watching the Channel 4 version, they're a much more trash tv kind of channel, although BBC can be pretty trashy too. Bake Off is about the only thing I watch(ed) on BBC lately. Oh, Doctor Who and Sherlock as well.

Oh and after that mention of the HeyChrissa earlier ... I have her stream on in the window behind this one. She is playing Playstation VR at the moment (looks fairly decent and promising although - Job Sim - nah) and is edging closer and closer to the window ... chat thinks something may occur ...

Oh - job thing. I'm on holiday this week to regain some energy back and get some healing in. I did think about heading out at some point but ... I don't think I will be to be honest. (I'll get to that in a mo - nothing bad).
I have been on and off enjoying the games and generally chilling out over here. I'm in much better condition than I have been, although it's still silly easy to set that condition back again. The aim is to be a little bit better than the day before. Continuous improvement of how my outsides are. No backward steps.

My ankles are almost right but not quite there yet. And even then, there will be more healing time needed before they're tough ankles again. (There's more damage than just my ankles but the ankles are safe? to talk about). Switching to mostly using moisturizer (Aveeno for the win!) and only very sparingly using that HC45 healing gunk seems to have helped a lot.

So no heading out this week. I'll be ensconced in front of the cricket again from Friday. Protect those ankles some more. After so long with this condition, I have extreme wariness about doing daft things and setting back the healing. It's kinda inhibiting.

That said, if an offer came up to drag me out of the house then I'd jump at it. Real Life people are far better than games. And getting used to new mobile phones ...

I've been on an assortment of the games this week :

Darkest Dungeon turned brutal. It switches between the town and dungeon adventures. Every game week sees another 4 venturing into the dungeon. It was ok up to 20 weeks, fairly easy apparently even. And then it developed a taste for Adventurer Blood. Perhaps my own fault for putting a torch in something that said "Put torch here to taste oblivion".
It's a very simple looking game. That's from a different encounter which my heroes survived ... barely.

And then there's the Stellaris and Hearts of Iron strategy games. I haven't actually taken one of those to their full conclusion yet. I'm avoiding getting the new Civilisation game, from watching a few gameplay videos it seems to need a patch or two. Problems like overactive barbarians and weak opponent AI.

I tried a new one today, a free to play (with many non intrusive microtransactions) game called Path of Exile. It will be very familiar to anyone who's played a Diablo game. Plays well too, although I think I would get bored of it quickly. It's not really the type of game I get hooked into.

Apart from that, I've been steadily adding apps to the phone ... It has a decent selection on there now although I am skipping the First bus mTickets app. It's always useful to look at reviews for apps, especially when they warn of it taking your money and not giving you tickets. Poor show First Bus, which is exactly in line with their level of service in Bristol lately. They're not helped by our traffic planners but ... apps should work and the buses should run on time.

I think I'll be admitting defeat for now with the Android iTunes sync. The Doubletwist app depends on a file transfer method that has been out of Android for a good few versions now (surely they should update their program ?) and I'm not paying the £7 for the wifi sync verson. Nope. I'll keep the old iPhone around for now. It'll be happy bluetoothing the music across to the car and I can run it without a sim card.

Back soon. Still more healing to do, still energy to catch up on. And sleep too !

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sleepy Deeds

I've done the deed ...

The sim card is now out of the old phone and into the new, for good or ill. But first !
Yep. That sums up a few of my intentions for this coming week. I have the week off work for a repair and recharge. Definitely need it, I've had that confusion over what day of the week it is lately, which is usually the most prominent sign that I need to chill out and hibernate for a while.

So far, I've had the cricket on for most of the day plus there has been a Grand Prix on in the evening. It was a reasonable GP but to be honest, I barely watched it after seeing a couple of very compulsive viewing days of cricket. There could still be either result tomorrow, England win or Bangladesh win. We've had all sorts in this game, batsmen have never been comfortable, bowlers have still had to work (really hard in the heat over there!) hard for their wickets.

I started yesterday morning fast forwarding through in an attempt to catch up with the live play but quickly abandoned that because there was just too much going on in the game. I'll be looking forward to watching the finish of the game tomorrow, hopefully it'll be a win for England.

I haven't been getting up for the actual play, hell no. They're a good few hours ahead of us here so I've been watching it time delayed ... and attempting to avoid the inevitable spoilers that will pop up on Twitbook.

I've also been in a couple of games :

Darkest Dungeon on the Friday - this is a grim dungeon crawl game, very simple to play, that I find quite compelling. The mechanics, outside of the usual dungeon crawl stuff, include sanity and stress. If things go badly for our adventurers, they get stressed. Past a certain point, they'll have a mental break and react in random ways. Sometimes it is to fight harder, other times they become abusive, masochistic, fearful or other stuff that's bad ... and somewhat comical too.

Yep. I've been enjoying Darkest Dungeon. I'd recommend checking it out if you have something suitable to play it on. It has that magic combination of being easy to play, being unexpected, not becoming boring ...

Stellaris has been the game over the weekend. They've just patched it and made an expansion available. I have a curious relationship with this game. I do like its space strategy theme and the mechanics work pretty well with that. My empire has been building gradually and is now at the point where I could execute a grand campaign where I race across the galaxy like an avenging horde, conquering all, burning what refuses to be conquered ... you get the idea. The empire has the supremacy and no one local is strong enough to challenge it.
But ...

This is also the point where the game gets boring. I've never actually taken a game of Stellaris to its end game where it shakes things up with invaders from another dimension, AI rebellions etc. I haven't taken it to a galaxy purifying conclusion either. It has improved with the patch but there are also new annoyances, new bugs.

I think I'll set the Stellaris game aside for a bit. I do enjoy the early game but games of this type can outstay their welcomes and become boring. There are other games.

And lots of videos to watch and books to read. I must get reading again.

Wait ...

I said something about doing the deed didn't I ?

I have upgraded the phone ... No longer am I an Apple Fanboi. I have the droid I was looking for. It's a Samsung Galaxy S7. Not the Note aka Bombphone which was on display at one of the Three network shops (oops), although I can believe the Bombphone stories now. The S7 gets warmer than I'd like. Perhaps that's a symptom of thinner shells and that I haven't bought it a case yet.

Impressions :

A case will be essential. The outsides are super smooth and likely to cause breakage incidents from the phone slipping through my fingers.
UI - Apple's iOS 6 was genuinely better. There are a couple of features I will miss like "Tap the top of the screen to go to the top of the page." Is there an Android equivalent ? The back button is on the bottom right of the case, it's usually on the top left of the screen on iOS. This makes it far easier to press back when you didn't want to.
Google's interface to its services - is GARBAGE ! It took me ages to get to my blogger page.
Vue's app is still broken.
Battery life is surprising. I gave the phone a full charge on Friday and it is still at 49%. This is really good, although I haven't actually used it that much outside of starting to load it up with apps. Why use the phone if you have better devices to look at the internet with ? I'll be curious as to how the battery holds up to a normal day though.
Transferring settings - was far easier than expected. They provide a wire and an interface that copies everything over, text messages, contacts, all sorts of stuff. I did have to set up my mail app again though and because I'm not using the Safari web browser, I'll have to rebuild my internet bookmarks too.

The great music hope - Doubletwist - hasn't worked yet. This is to get the phone connecting up to my iTunes. I haven't bought the paid side of the app yet but I should be able to connect up with a wire, this isn't working. The paid side lets you connect up via wifi but if that fails, I can still use the iPhone without a sim and have that as an intelligent iPod.

But I'll wait until I do that.

Early days impressions are pretty good and it'll be good to be freed from the curse of broken backwards compatibility that Apple force on their indentured customers. Apple used to be extremely good but I think they've reached that point where you can be happy with Apple stuff if you have it but don't buy anything else from them ... And be very wary if you update it !!!

This week will mostly be a rest, repair and recover week. I am healing much better now but there are still a few hold out bits. My ankles are actually much better now !!! The moisturiser is helping, especially as I haven't used any of the Magic HC45 gunk on them lately. Other bits aren't responding quite so well, they'll need a bit more TLC. But I do have my hopes.

We'll see how it goes ! I think I'll need to consult a doc at some point this week. Perhaps something will arrive from Amazon too as an early birthday present to ME at some point ? A little early but ... if I'm in anyway :-).

To be honest, I'm just looking forward to a really quiet week regaining my strength before the run in to Xmas.
And there's that too !

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Shooting Trouble

So I realised yesterday evening that I'd been a bit behind in making sure my Tivo telly box doesn't record all the wrong things.
The way I've been controlling that Tivo box, for setting up programmes to record at least, is through the app on my iPad. The actual remote is very clunky and takes ages to navigate. The iPad app is far easier to use. But ... apparently ... also broken.

What I think has happened is that a power cut incident last Friday has damaged some of my network gear. The way it is supposed to work is :

iPad talks to router. Works ok.
Router talks to Powerline widget 1. Works ok.
Powerline widget 1 talks to Powerline widget 2. Wasn't working so well.
(The Powerline kit means wires run around the room instead of across the floor).
Powerline widget 2 talks to Tivo. Nada.

So the chain was breaking at around Powerline widget 2. That one is also supposed to bring wifi as well, which I used before I got my latest router. (Complicated explanation cut short - needed it so my printer would work, got another solution now)

Before any fixes, one tool told me that the two Powerline bits of kit were talking to each other at 11Mbps. This is Very Slow. One reset to defaults later and it was talking at 337Mbps. That's more like it !!! But still no wifi signal. And the Tivo isn't talking yet.

And then I look at the diagnostic tool again and apparently it's showing traffic going one way but not the other. Can't really explain that, it could be that there was no traffic to go the other way. I could turn the lights on it on and off remotely though, so something must have been working.

After some headscratching (and frustration that the configuration tool is on a cd that is lost under much clutter !), I try another solution ...

I have more widgets ...

I use an Apple Airport Express (aka LittleWhiteBox) to transfer my music from laptop to hifi. It talks to the router via wifi, so that's another wire that I don't need stretching across the room. It's really good with transferring that music too. (Almost cd quality bandwidth and keeps the signal digital when sending it to the amp).

It can also (allegedly) act as a router on its own, or as a network bridge to extend a wifi network. As in, you tell it to talk to your main wifi and can also plug a network cable in to hook up something without wifi (like the Tivo).

This actually worked last night. But not tonight. Grr. Apple are steadily destroying their reputation with me for competence in the software market, which is very silly because they control the hardware as well as the software. It should do what it is supposed to do.

The daft thing is that the LittleWhiteBox worked as a network bridge last night but tonight ? Audio stream broke. Fixed now by taking it back to the settings before I started playing but ... I'd like to use all of its facilities, not just those that decide to work on the day.
Actually there are more daft things but I'll get to those in a bit. For now :

I can't control the Tivo via my iPad any more. But I can control it via the web on the desktop. So that counts as a victory.
My audio streaming works again ! My ears are saved.
Powerline kit will be plugged out soon or at least until I can find the configuration cd.

Daft stuff :
Virgin Media really need to sort their stuff out. Dunno why the iPad app can't talk to the Tivo any more. Perhaps they've updated the software again and broken it ? Highly likely.
Virgin Media really need to sort their stuff out. Yep, again. When I got the Tivo, it worked pretty well. The menus were quick and ... all important ... it could record while on standby. A recent update broke the recording on standby ... so I leave it on.
Virgin Media ... you guessed it ... A 2016 network enabled device should really have wifi on it if it is designed to talk over a network.
Apple device working one moment, breaking the next.
TP-Link's Powerline configuration utility staying on the cd instead of installing itself to the machine.

And there's probably more Daft Stuff too. (Like a 2013 Macbook Air with a half broken wifi - known issue that the 2.4GHz antenna breaks, it's perfect on the 5GHz).

Yep. There was more frustration tonight and a few factory resets of the LittleWhiteBox to get that working again. Disabling the network bridge thing sorted that out. And I can still control the Tivo from the desktop, even though it isn't on the home network any more.

I think that counts as a win ?

Other news ... I've gone to a Plan B ... The HC45 Magic Healing Gunk was great but one of its effects can be to thin down the skin. So using it too much can lead to similar problems to what I was trying to fix. As in, I've been back in the ankle protector this week because my ankles were worsening.

It's not all bad news though. Plan B means using a fair bit of the old Aveeno moisturiser again. My ankles and left foot are damaged still but I'm pretty sure they improved over today and yesterday, despite me doing the typical amount of movement around the office. They should appreciate me skiving off the work next week.

Other other news ... I had something to say here and I can't remember !!!! NOOOO !!!!

Ok. What was it.

I know !!! The new phone is likely to be a Samsung Galaxy S7. I still give them the Arched Look Of Suspicion but it seems like they're the best phone on the market at the moment. The Honor phones are cheaper but ... you tend to get what you pay for. Or less. I had my eye on the HTC phone but ... it's too expensive. I.e. it's more expensive than the Samsung for questionable value.

Yep. Voting with me feet and starting to walk away from Apple ... Soon !

PS You can probably tell that I'll be sticking with my current mobile phone network instead of taking up Virgin Media on one of their offers ...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Phoney Hacks

A couple of things on my mind at the moment are ...

Phones and Hacks.

I'm thinking heavily about updating my phone soon ... I currently have an iPhone 5 and because Apple want to force people to use the software versions they push, I can't update it. This means apps are gradually becoming unreliable and nonfunctional. The latest is the Vue cinema app, it can't get data since Vue downgraded their site with a new look which honestly ... isn't very good.
Let's talk about that ...

How come I don't want to update the software on my Macbook Air ? There are a few reasons actually but the biggest is that I'm rather attached to the iTunes DJ function that was removed after v10.7. Actually, a lot of things were removed after 10.7 most of which were to do with basic usability ... v11 and onwards are a mess.

Oh and the newer versions of iOS don't talk to 10.7 any more, so I can't update my phone.

Not just that, Apple updates are getting notorious for breaking things. Like changes to firmware making the laptops much slower. I hear the new MacOS Sierra breaks battery life by making the machine work too hard. I can well believe these stories because pretty much every time I updated iTunes on Windows, it would break.

So yeah - the phone is getting less and less usable with the apps, so it's getting near time to replace it.

Except I don't know what to get ... The elimination part is proving easy :

Not Apple, definitely not Microsoft for the phone.
Not Sony, the Xperia mini phone I had before failed as a phone (calls frequently being just static noise) and couldn't have its software updated.

Apparently not Samsung either now. I used to have quite a high opinion of Samsung products. They made perfectly functional tellies and monitors that just did what they were required to do and they did that extremely well. But ... their quality has been slipping lately. I think my current telly is contributing to the trust issues that my amp and bluray player have. My last monitor was ... not as good as it should have been. The AOC one is way superior. And then there is the Galaxy Note 7 debacle to top it all off ... I'm not mentioning what I read in an article yesterday but ... if industry people don't treat their people right, the customers suffer as poor quality and deliberate mistakes come in.

I'm currently thinking HTC but would prefer a Google Nexus. I don't think I can get a Nexus phone on my current mobile network though. The HTC is expensive too compared to the Samsungs. I may be forced to go to an earlier version of the Galaxy ...

Hacks ?

I've had a couple of warnings over the email today and odd behaviour from the Apple account ... They've only come from GOG and Apple so far but it's enough for me to start changing passwords.

GoG - a couple of 2 factor authentication requests. Bit odd as I don't think it is me initiating that.
Apple - Facetime ID. That could have been the laptop doing something strange.

What's also odd is that they have different usernames on the log in ...

Just what password to choose ! Most password systems are pretty crazy now. You have to beware of simple stuff like dictionary attacks where the cracker system will go through the dictionary trying to break in. Number and special character substitution tends to demanded. I like using recognisable words but to get around the dictionary attack, I use combinations. Like Hack4Evah. Mis-spelled words can be good too.

(I have never used Hack4Evah !)

So yeah - new phone soon and a few new passwords too I think. The important stuff like bank is kept safe behind all sorts of multifactor authentication. Most stuff I have online is protected by two or more factor authentication.

But I did get hacked once ... my Eve Online account was hijacked and the only way I could explain that was that the keylogger that captured the credentials got in through the people who run the game. Had to be ! It was the only thing that got hacked.

It'll be a little time until I switch the phone. I'm evaluating options at the moment.

Me ? I'm ok still. Hanging on in there somewhat until I go on leave in a week but still pretty good. My outsides are gradually reclaiming themselves, when I let them although there are some hold outs. I still have my hopes, although I'll go see that doc on my week off if I'm not happy with progress. Kinda want this outsides thing done now so I can move on and away from it.

Monday, October 10, 2016

World Mental Health Day

Apparently it's another one of those Days again today !
As per usual though, this kind of thing is not a Thing for one day. When Depression gets its hooks into you, it's something that's with you for life.

I have it too, although mine is mercifully not a permanent imbalance with my brain chemistry as it is for many of the people who I know who have depression. Saying that though, I do notice occasions when stuff I've had has been affecting my mood probably due to upsetting that brain chemistry temporarily.

Let's see :

Multivitamins and Iron tablets. This is a long time ago but after maybe a week on those, I went evil. Dark Sleepy was well and truly out. I had gone well grumpy. When I realised, I ditched the tablets and my mental state recovered after a week or so. I'm now on basic multivitamins, which seem ok.

Last week's hayfever tablets. Mounting exhaustion was contributing to feels of being down and it was needing to be up and active for work which was keeping me going. My Happy State has been improving since I ditched the hayfever tablets again.

Coffee ... oh yes. The demon drink. I get headaches if I don't get a reasonably constant supply of coffee. That said, I managed to steer clear of the coffee this weekend albeit after topping up on the Canteen Co**a coffee. That's strong stuff. You could probably melt metal in it.

Exercise ... and lack of it. This can do funny things to the mind but I found it was more inability to do exercise.

I'm always a little confused about the people who do so much exercise but that's partly lessons from my own experiences with the exercise. Yes, it feels wonderful when you're running around and when your brain is filled with the endorphins (natural painkillers) from that but ... for every mood upper, there is withdrawal. You have to keep exercising or face that withdrawal. And there is the inevitability of injuries that will prevent the exercising.

I learned a lot of that from realising that my big strength, power legs, were also my worst enemy. The injury I got most often were strains and mini-tears from my legs, either from cramp or muscles that couldn't cash the cheques I was trying to write with them.

I had the bad feelings from when the condition of my outsides was really bad too. I'm still not fixed but I am far better than the times when I had zombie patches under my eyes, chunks missing out of my ear lobes, inability to shave cos of a torn up chin and lots of very messy bits that kept on leaking.

Yep. I was in a bad way and don't really want to look back to that.

I'm preferring to look to now, where the leaky bits ... aren't leaking (no leaks today !) and my outsides are gradually improving.

But I still look back to the Dark Times where I could easily do damage in seconds that will take weeks to fix. I'm still doing a bit of that even now. It's just too easy to damage delicate half healed bits.

I get the depressive feelings when looking at the mess in the house too ... and the amount of work that needs to go in to clearing up before I'd be content to let another person see this place. I have been too tired though to make a start, which is daft again because the place needs a good vacuuming and I'll be sensitive to the amount of dust in the air here.

But my problems are very minor though compared to those people who suffer the depression, the anxieties, the social fears, the phobias.

I have a negative feedback type feeling where if I don't get acknowledgement on things I do for people, I get sad. Especially when it's people who I'm desperately trying to reach out to. People like the Internet people who just don't acknowledge anything these days. I think there has been a certain shield or armour gone up due to having to insulate themselves from the worst parts of the net.

I do have all sorts of people keeping me nodding towards Happy though. There are the people in Chrissa's stream chat who banter along with the craziness. Crazy is fun. There's the Chrissa herself who will burst into chuckles if she spots something especially crazyfunny.

And there are those lovely people associated with work and outside too. You know who you are ! People who get my daft messages and ... actually reply and join in the fun.

Those people are awesome.

Even those people who just see my daft grin and reply with smiles of their own. A smile is ...

There is no easy cure for depression though. It's insidious. It's repressive. It's obsessive, relentless and all sorts of other words.

But we can help. We must listen but not assume we have answers for the other person. Sometimes the best answer is no answer, it is to listen and try to understand what the other person is going through. How they are being betrayed by their minds and bodies.

Make a difference. Be there for someone who is struggling. Just ... be there, that's what they want.
I've said it before but I would be so honoured if someone chose me to be their tinie pokkit listener.
Yep. Even if you don't think you are, you are. Awesome that is.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Torture of the Tummy


I've acquired what feels like lightly torn or at least heavily strained stomach muscles ... I think I know what's done it, Thursday night's attempts at going to sleep ended up in more frustration and some very dodgy feelings.

You know when you have that nasty feeling of having thrown up ? Yep. That's the one. Drinking water wouldn't get rid of it either. The really frustrating thing, I'd gone to bed early in the hopes of getting a better than usual night's sleep !

I wasn't actually ill, if you thought that. Just had that after effects feeling and the potential of actually being ill being held at bay which made further attempts at sleep difficult.

That tummy though ... it genuinely hurts when I use the muscles to move around, when I cough, when I laugh.

I'm ok. But it's events like that that make you look back, think and wonder "what caused that ?" Let's see ...

Possibly pizza from the Wednesday. Yep. I weakened again. I haven't been that interested in cooking for myself all this week (thinking of that, I must put the oven on after this post for dindins !) and on Wednesday it was the pizzas ... Thursday was KFC but that doesn't usually cause me problems like that.

Nah - I think it was the hayfever tablets I started taking again. The Acrivastine based hayfever tablets were causing me an unpleasant side effect which I won't go into here, plus I don't think they were doing any good. So I stopped those. The ones from the last week or so were the older, more common Cetirizine based hayfever tablets. I've had those before and they caused me various side effects (more in a bit) but when talking to my mum, they sounded like a good idea again.

Reason for taking them - as an anti-allergy tablet, the idea is that they target the skin irritation and help reduce it. Did that work ? Maybe ?

What I've seen -
Eyes watering in the morning again. I think this is a reaction to walking around in cold air and it has genuinely got colder this week. But you'd like to think hayfever tablets would stop your eyes watering.

Getting a little worse - I think this is coincidence to be honest, although a couple of the bad bits have been improving again since I came off the tablets.

Weak legs - when I played cricket, I would occasionally take a hayfever tablet before an evening game with the intention of it opening up my lungs for better breathing. Often, the result was the opposite, I'd have trouble catching my breath after running around plus I'd have difficulty getting that Spark of power out of the legs. I'd be Slow instead of quick and that's something I hated at the time.

Wheezy lungs - see above.

And apparently nausea has joined those symptoms too ...

That's the only way I can explain the nausea symptoms ! Oh and that other side effect from the Acrivastine based tablets was threatening to come back.

I'm ok though. Just rather tired and looking forward to having a week off in a fortnight. That's the way I work, I can make that extra effort to see me through to a break and then I'll collapse and rest up for the week. Cricket watching will happen ... England are in Bangladesh at the moment.

And it feels like I've been returning to what seems to count as normal since coming off the hayfever tablets on Friday.

The cautionary note is - if you are self medicating with stuff like hayfever tablets or the healing gels I'd been trying, keep an eye on your condition. Try to overcome the placebo instinct and ask two questions :

Is this doing me any good ?
Is it making me worse ?

The healing gel was giving me a placebo instinct where it felt like it was making a difference but I suspect it was actually making my ankles worse. The HC45 cream is way better and had a dramatic effect.

Better still - go see a doctor !

Doctors know best.

And I'll hopefully get the chance to take some of my own advice soon. While most of me is recovering when I allow it (by not worrying at half healed bits), there are still a few problem bits which aren't healing as I'd like. They're trying to but not quite finishing up that healing.

We shall see how they go. Hopefully that Hc45 continues to help out.

But for now ... I'll be chilling out to videos before stream starts later, I did do gaming yesterday (the Planetbase Dark Moon challenge was completed with just a couple of days to spare) but I've steered clear of it today. Watching the videos is amusing and more chilled out than playing.

Oh and it's time to put that dinner on too I think !

Monday, October 03, 2016

All About Those .... Song Requests ?

Currently waiting for stream to start.
I do enjoy watching the streams, they've been great for relaxing both for watching the game, listening to the streamer and having fun with chat. It does vary, chat, sometimes it's manic fun. Sometimes you get the trolls come in and cause trouble (our mods are excellent). But most of the time, it's awesome.

Good enough in fact that I signed up to a Twitch account to join in with this chat and ... subscribed ...

Because supporting people who do Good Things is the way to keep them doing Good Things instead of, you know, having to get a different job in order to pay the rent and the other bills. Same goes for people who make the music we love. Pirating the music means the artists won't be able to continue making the music. (Bit like using ad-blockers when watching streamers !)

Anyway. I was hoping to watch the stream tonight but it looks like tech issues might win. Oh well. That'll mean ... early night ! I'm much improved on the outsides but still really tired. I suspect that might have something to do with my last couple of leave periods being disasters for trying to rest up and get some energy back due to my outsides reacting and getting much worse. Hopefully I'll have better from the week off I have coming at the end of October.

Tonight would have been a Subnautica and chill stream, where the subscribed people can request songs to be played. I have a few queued up. It would have been bad to waste them. Ok. Maybe not bad. Perhaps it would have been a service to not put these links up. Maybe.

Ok. Here they are :

Opening request would have been Hello Kitty by Avril Lavigne. Because our Chrissa was promising truly obnoxious Kitty style headphones tonight which have apparently broken her whole streaming set up. It'll be fixed :-), these things happen.

Next one lined up was Hanuman by Rodrigo y Gabriela. It was used in the Puss In Boots movie. Great bit of instrumental guitar music.

And the last of the cat theme ... Everybody Wants To Be A Cat from The Aristocats. We have one of the regulars in the chat who hates Disney. And we remind them of the Disney at every opportunity.

But as well as the more trolly stuff, I'll pick stuff I really like plus stuff I know our Chrissa loves.

Bring on the Spice Girls ... tonight's would have been Goodbye. Gotta admit, Spice Girls was something that passed me by while I was being addicted to Alisha's Attic.

Talking of gorgeous songs, here's one from Tori Amos - Bells For Her. It's from the amazing Under The Pink which was all about soft sad songs with piano. Fantastic album.

Because our Chrissa was starting to feel a bit sorry for herself (tech problems are awkward), out come the Cardigans with Beautiful One. A hug in a song.

Although she might be a little more Angel of Sadness at the moment. (Ouch - just listening, it's her own channel and she's murdering her own song !)

Anyone got any more Cat themed songs for us ?

I hope you have some lovely chill out evenings lined up, wherever you are. Me ? I'm off to watch a few more gaming videos. Mentally, I'm not really there at the moment to want to dive into games at the moment. Tiredness is putting me off. But it's been awesome to :

Watch the various videos of people playing the games, enjoying what they're playing with them.

Better to watch the streams, where our Queen Of The Salt Age entertains us with the quality gameplay and how on earth can she keep up with the chat like she does !

Have a great evening and ... random hug for those who may need one :