Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blog block usually means ...

Distraction ...

I think that's the key word at the moment. Wish it were distraction of the good kind, like spending every evening talking to someone special (we'll leave it up to the imagination as to what happens after that). No such luck lately, although I think I've been keeping our Craziequeen amused over Facebook chat :-)

The distraction at the moment involves pain and management of it ... Usually, I can cope with my various aches and pains by distracting (that word again :-) myself away from noticing them. Often by nefarious means :-) Ok - in this case nefarious means thinking about chasing girls, although not quite in the way you might think.

I call it "positive mental reinforcement" and it's based around how you want other people to see you. On the one hand, you can wallow in the aches and pains and go for being the cripple. Even though I've broken a fair proportion of myself over the years, that's not my style. Especially as I'm fully aware that even with the collection of broken bits, I'm not nearly as badly off as some people :

I can manage my depression without chemicals (literally in the case of avoiding the hayfever pills that cause it !)
I've only had surgery once to fix an injury (if a borken nose counts :-)
Can't bowl no more cos of shoulder but I still have 95% mobility there
Lots of leg and back muscle trouble but I have 90% of the old power still available
(that'd be 100% if I exercised!)
Only underlying medical condition is too much tummy acid (managed by no alcohol and giving my tummy something to do when it complains)

So even though I do sometimes (like now!) have muscles that suffer from the after effects of too much running around a few years ago, does that mean I have to be defined by it ?

No !

One of the books I was a big fan of as a teenager was the Keill Randor, Last Legionary of Moros series. That character had a great way of dealing with pain, he'd focus on it, understand it and then would shunt it away to a lockbox in his mind and throw the key away. It works too ! (except for headaches - the technique needs concentration which gets nuked by headaches)

Needs a kinda "Reset Button" hitting though to take the step to recognise (or Grok, as Valentine Michael Smith would say it) the pain though. Then you can figure out how bad it really is, or how insignificant it really is. And then deal with it as appropriate. Gotta admit, I'm not as good there as I should be. I deal with the pain by ignoring the symptoms, instead of attacking the cause.

I guess this post is a bit like hitting that Reset Button. It's recognising "yeah ! I feel ow". But it's also recognising "am I a cripple ? hell no" before moving on to a bit of "get up off the floor ya muppet and stop feeling sorry for yourself". And that last bit is precisely what I need every so often. Gets me back to that word "nefarious" too :-) What's the more attractive ? Dealing with the issues or letting the issues take control ...

I dunno there but if thinking I have to look strong to others helps me actually Be strong, then I guess that's a good way of managing the legacies of that running around thing. Bit like the sore tongue I have at the moment. I'm overweight, so I could do with missing a few of the teacakes and muffins I indulge in at work. But no - I'm still hunting them down as a way of telling the tongue exactly what I think of it (bacon sarnie day tomorrow - not missing out). And it gives me a chance to grin at the Canteen Girls too.

Ahh - sore tongue that's making it unpleasant to eat at the moment - I better close this one and put some dinner on. Can't stay healthy unless you eat proper, although I wouldn't call my diet "proper". Seems to work for me though :-)

Before I go though, quick mention for a special person. Our Snow Queen at work is an absolute wonder. Honest, smart, devious, lots of fun and always willing to lend an ear. Hasn't told me to go away yet either, which shows tolerance for geeks that goes beyond the call of duty. She's one of the better things about where I work and I'll be having fun keeping her guessing about the other better things there :-) We help keep each other sane at work, although sometimes it probably feels like I'm attempting to send people into the Huggy Jackets.

That bright beaming Snow Queen smile has been really helping out while I've been struggling.

PS The back would appreciate a little bit of TLC to go with the "ignore it and it'll go away" theory. Just need to find a willing volunteer to give me a good pummelling ;-) And if you're in a pit, then having a hand there really helps when trying to climb out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Trying to figure out which is luckier ...

Me or the cat ...

Coming back from gaming, which means a cruise up the motorway. Not many others around, so it's an easy 70mph cruise hoping not to fall asleep (had a couple of mugs of coffee so no problem there). So I have one eye on the road and the other on the Audi that's about to overtake me.

Hmm ... what's that white thing on the road just ahead ?

CRIKEY ... SWERVE ... BOING ... (that'd be the suspension on the car sorting itself out after the swerve) ... *!*%*"%£££$ ... Phew !

White cat, in my lane in just about the right place to get flattened by my passenger side wheels. Think we both got lucky, as I saw the little blighter in time to do the big swerve, with not much time wasted in the "CRIKEY" part :-)

Anyway - white cat goes left, I swerve to the right around him, Audi in the middle lane has kittens as I nearly take his nose off, end result one live cat and an intact set of bumpers.

I reckon the biker on the way there has his days numbers though. He was doing a steady 80mph cruise in the outside lane. Except when a car in the inside lane was about to overtake something. Then he'd move into the middle lane. Good job I was keeping an eye on the idiot (standard procedure, assume all others on the road are idiots and it'll mean less dents for you) as he chose to move into my intended lane while technically in my blind spot. Watched him do the same to another car a minute or two later as well.

Fun gaming session, no dents, a smile and a Teacake From Heaven from the Little Canteen Girl, good day all round. Oh and I'm still getting mileage out of making things explode inside the computers at work.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Huggable music

Yey :-) Music post again. Facebook people might want to open the original post in Blogger to get the full benefit of all the Youtube links I put in these posts. Hopefully the linky I'll put in will get through the FB import ...

Another music post ! I do these to show off to other people what I've been listening to. There's some great music out there that you may not have heard yet. Here's your chance ! (helped of course by lots of Youtube links)

Anyway - this music special brought to you and inspired by the word hug. Or rather the iTunes following a Bat For Lashes track by a Garbage track :

Wants a Hug : Bat For Lashes - Sleep Alone. This one's the new single out and I'm hoping there's some good B sides on it. May have to start buying singles again cos of the outstanding stuff coming from this gifted (and highly cute!) artist with the voice of an angel.

Would Stab if Hug Attempted (sorry Shirley!) : Garbage - You Look So Fine. Great voice again, interesting cos it's a bit different. Bleed Like Me was an excellent album, hoping for more soon.

So that's the inspiration, what else have I been listening to that's Hug-Related ? Here goes - and enjoy :-)

Too much hug ! (is that possible?) : Duffy and Mercy. Another "different" voice, not sure how it'll go with non-Duffy music (the coke ad is terrible) but with her own stuff, she's incredible.

Will make you want a hug : Portishead and Roads. Portishead have that quality that, when their stuff comes on, you stop and listen. Piercing, pure, primal vocals matched with a distinctive style all their own. And they're from just down the road too.

Will not stop dancing long enough to get a hug : Little Boots and Remedy. Another amazing voice in an utterly adorable package. Bit of a contrast with what I'm usually into cos her style is more Boppy Disco but the sheer quality of that voice and how it fits the style means it's one that often hits the iPod. Her album got released a month or so ago and I'm already hoping the next one comes out soon.

Talking of hitting the iPod - a "Don't let me go Hug" : Goldfrapp with their cover of It's Not Over Yet from BBC's Live Lounge. This song sold my sister and I 4 albums. Well ... it started it off and then Seventh Tree sold the other three. A definite touch of beauty to offset all the ugliness on our screens at the moment.

One for me to practice in my quest for hugs : Chris Isaak (plus 1) singing Blue Hotel. CyberKitten already posted a link to Wicked Game but this is a pretty good track too from that album. Cheers to CK for reintroducing me to this voice and that guitar play :-)

And talking of guitars ... Hug From History : Dire Straits with Romeo and Juliet. Probably the best guitar player I've heard, with a voice that anyone would be happy they could sing along to. Currently listening to Mark Knopfler's Sailing to Philadelphia but anything from Knopfler is extremely high quality.

Watch Out ! These girls will run you down and then hug you : Voice of the Beehive and I Think I Love You.

Double Hug ! Alisha's Attic with Indestructible. Caught this one Saturday morning as I was on the way out the door. Thought : "WOW" and then bought every album and cd single I could get my hands on. Two sisters, subtly different voices, same charm.

Long Distance Hug : Lene Marlin with Here We Are. Almost got me remarking to the wonderful Sandra that this lady would be a fantastic reason for learning Swedish before I realised she was Norwegian. Doh ! Flexible artist, the voice matches up well both with ballads and more boppy tracks.

Have Hug, Will Travel : Tori Amos taking a Taxi Ride. This one's from the Scarlet's Walk album which I've linked more from over the years.

Wow, that's a fair few tracks listed now so it's time to close ... but before that, a few mentions to those I'm also listening to a lot (but can't figure out Hug Links for :-). I picked up Queen's A Kind Of Magic (Thanks Wormtongue !) a few weeks ago, plus I've been enjoying Avril Lavigne, Gloria Estefan, Paramore, a lot of KT Tunstall and an Old favourite in George Harrison too. First heard him as a non-Beatle with I Got My Mind Set On You, which stuck in my mind for 20 years. More timeless quality music here, with his Let It Roll collection album being one I've recently acquired through iTunes.

Last one - All About Eve with Pieces Of Our Heart from the Scarlet and Other Stories album. This one really shows off the distinctive voice of Julianne Regan which I've been in love with for 20 years now. The first 3 All About Eve albums were excellent and the not so well known MICE album (New and Improved) is also well worth picking up, although you'll probably only find it for download.

Hopefully not too long before my next music post, I really enjoy doing these and hope people find something new to listen to from them :-)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Hey ! Who switched the battery ?

Couple of things to talk about before I put the dinner on :

Wow. I was doing fine this week, hyper to the point of having to work hard to bite down on some of the weirder comments that pop into my head. Some of them escaped and there's a particularly nutty email waiting for someone when she gets in on Monday. (Work related !) But on an afternoon where I took flexi leave to watch the cricket, I just crashed ... Going for a little SleepySession upstairs while the cricket's on type crashed.

Could be a Friday thing, could be a Body-Needs-Minerals thing. It's probably conditioning but I'll attack the minerals thing later by grabbing a Fish Supper. The thyroid works by using Iodine, which is an element that it uses to make the hormones that contribute to regulating energy levels.

So where does the fish come in ? Well, there's a couple of ways to get your Iodine, supplements or natural. By natural, that's foods that have a decent Iodine content, like seafood. Supplements will do a job too but they can have other effects too, less desirable ones. Things like the multivitamins I had to stop taking because they turned my personality into one most people wouldn't want to know.

So it'll be codnchips tonight :-) After a bacon sarnie and turkey sandwich from the lovely canteen girls earlier. I eat well at the moment, perhaps too well ;-)

What's number two on things to talk about today ?

Well - the dinosaur that work can be (hey - all organisations can be slow to wake up to a rapidly changing world and slow can be a good thing, it means we haven't done a Knee Jerk reaction) has woken up to all the Social Engineering stuff we can do nowadays. That'd be Facebook, Blogging, Twittering and all the rest.

Spotted the reaction on the work internal news pages today and to be fair to them, it's actually a good one. They've split it into two, Sponsored and Personal. Sponsored is where you actively declare what you're working on and effectively become a mouthpiece of the organisation. Personal is like what this blog will remain, a non work use of a way to say Hello World. And for me, another way to sort out thoughts and get them out of my head before my head explodes.

I read the info on it today and to be even more fair, they've called it Guidelines instead of Rules. Sponsored is a little heavy (too much editorial control, seems too much like a job) but I reckon they've done a decent job with the Personal guidelines. They're actually looser than the ones I operate already, which boil down to :

Talk about the Good, rant elsewhere about the Bad.
Keep the anonymity going,
Look for fun Codenames, only talk about people if you think they won't mind.
Don't let slip any personal information - always sensible.
(like - "hey ! I'm away with work for a week, come steal stuff from my house!" would be bad)

There's a lot of great people where I work but I only mention a limited selection cos my imagination has failed to come up with decent codenames for some of the others. Quite a few people at work know about my blog now (including my boss) and I think my boss's boss had his eyes opened by how much information can be picked up when you go to a website due to me using Sitemeter as an example. Your IP address can be a goldmine and if you run a website or a domain, your true name and home address could well be publicly available.

Looks like with the new guidance I can happily keep on going the same way I have so far :-) But I won't be starting up a Sponsored one. The rules there have way too much editorial control taken out of the hands of the author, which is fairy nuff but it's not something I'm interested in getting involved with. Oh there's also a "no endorsements" rule in there, which I've broken a heap of times already cos I like to say when I see good stuff and me saying I use HP laptops or Ford cars is technically an endorsement.

Right - getting hungry now, so it's time to chuck the fish in the oven (maybe a little garlic bread too :-) and pay more attention to the 4 Eleventh Hour episodes I'm watching tonight :-)

PS The Iodine thing is something I've figured out - everyone's body is unique and we all react to stuff in different ways. I've figured a link between crashing and Iodine from fish and it could well be psychosomatic. If you know yourself, then you'll be able to fix the various imbalances we suffer from. Like my current upset tummy - it's not something it's eaten, it's more like it's shouting "EAT SOMETHING!", time to put the oven on so I can do just that :-)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Geek frustration


This time a few days ago, I was looking forward to having a first look at Windows 7 before giving it a good n thorough going over ...

I'm a bit frustrated though, my Inner Geek is looking for wayz n meanz to keep itself amused. The Windows 7, short as it is, has gone on to my techie blog but to save technophobes deciphering what's on there it took one look at my desktop PC and burst out laughing :-). Probably a good thing too cos you could sum up the Windows 7 flirtation as :

Objective of trying Windows 7 - to answer the question "is it worth buying this software ?"

To which the answer is a comprehensive "NOOO!". Lol. Nothing to do with Windows 7, more to do with the hardware that I have available. It's actually been one of the better Testing Things I've done because :

The objective has been answered (muahahaha - I'm carefully avoiding the words "success" and "achieved").
There's been zero disruption to my PCs.
I've got my answer with the minimum of time, effort & hair loss.
I've saved £80 that I can spend on pizza, movies and popcorn.

Result !

But my Inner Geek is now a little put out at being frustrated out of an opportunity to look at something new, which is probably why I spent a fair bit of the Cricket-Watching-On-Sofa time yesterday reading the Ubuntu installation manual. Ubuntu is a piece of absolutely free software that runs your computer but it's a little different to the Windows stuff everyone else uses. I've seen what it's based on before but that was over 10 years ago.

Shame about no result in the cricket today, although it does put us one game closer to regaining the Ashes. 1-0 up with 2 games to play. If England win either of the next two, then we win the series. If the weather beats the teams, then England win too. Fingers crossed for England winning it the right way, which will have us giving the Aussies a thumping in the next two games.

No pen & paper gaming tonight sadly, so I'm now chilling out to Paramore on iTunes (Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygene is queued up for later) and if I have enough time later, it's Queen's A Kind Of Magic.