Sunday, July 25, 2010

Change of routine incoming ...

Back to work tomorrow, so it'll be back to the old routine of oversleeping and then rushing out to get to work before they run out of teacakes.

Or more appropriately, to get out of the house at that certain time that gets me through the traffic easier. It works out to me clocking in between 9.05 and 9.15 most days, safely within teacake supply timings.

I'm always curious the evening before returning to work after a break. What's happened ? What's the gossip ? Has the Big Stick (tm) come out ? (When the IT Girl speaks, we obey - well, I do at least). Have the wheels come off ? How has everyone been ? IS THE CANTEEN STILL SELLING TEACAKES ?

The wheels do that you know, they can't survive at work without me. Honest. (Yeah right! I iz small kog in Big weel)

Anyway, it'll be good to go back. There's only so much hometime downtime I can take before I start clawing the walls in boredom. That hasn't actually happened yet this time, I bet because I've been picking music up again. This time, it's a double Dubstar album (Goodbye) joining their Make It Better album. I first heard Dubstar by catching their track Anywhere on early Saturday morning telly, the same as how I picked up on Alisha's Attic. I was impressed with the Disgraceful album but initially hadn't thought much of Make It Better.

Opinions change though, with time - my music tastes have got a lot more varied lately :-) (I blame the Sister)

Doh - missed one of my traditions. Can't talk music without a video link, here's Stars.

I've had a couple of objectives this week, fairly simple ones because they involved not doing much. Objective 1 - chill out. Think I've managed that. I have the borderline insomnia that I get when I'm not tired when bedtime comes around.

Objective 2 - injury healing. Dunno there. My shoulder isn't in pain but we'll see how it is when I stretch for something. Ankle is bad news, I reckon I'll have to take it to the doc's because when dancing out the door of the pizza shop (it made sense at the time), it wanted to go Crunch again. Won't keep me out of cricket but it's a bit of a pain (sic) not being able to put power through it on hard ground.

Objective 3 - clear the box of recorded stuff. Check :-) It was at 27 hours recorded on there before Sherlock started recording. It started at about 16 hours free ... Plenty of X Files and Deadliest Catch watching going on and I was very impressed with how they closed out the Dollhouse.

Objective 4 - listen to lots of music. Oh yes. Definitely. iTunes tells me I've listened to 669 different songs lasting 1.7 days over the past 7. Not bad :-) Oh - joining Dubstar on iTunes was Plastic Beach from Gorillaz and an old All About Eve live album.

Plastic Beach is definitely the better of the three, although I have a feeling I haven't gotten to the standout tracks from Goodbye yet. I think it's the variation I like in Plastic Beach, plus the better ones start slow and then build. It's good stuff. It might be next weekend though before I get to listen to it as an album, cos I like to listen to individual tracks first before running them through as an album.

People who know me really well will be wondering about me & gaming ... There's no objective 5 : Game As Much As Possible in there :-). I guess I must be getting fairly reformed there. I've been in the games occasionally, with a few runs through Settlers IV and a bit of Borderlands tonight. Not much Eve though ... apart from a little bit of redeploying ships. Strange. Possibly more confirmation that my games addiction has been replaced by a music addiction.
(I'll be covering thoughts on that in a blog post about personality change ...)

Ok. There was an Objective 5 : "Get through the Turtledove book". Which I succeeded in :-) Funny - a 500 page book needed months of hard slog to get through. The next book was a 320 pager by Jack Campbell which took just under 48 hours to go cover to cover. I still want to get that Turtledove series read ... even it takes me the next decade. 4 down, 4 to go - home straight. Current book is Storm From The Shadows from David Weber, I'm 300 pages through that out of 1000.

I'm sure I'll have plenty more reading to do when I get back in tomorrow ... Wonder if my inbox has survived the assault it'll have been getting this last week ?

Monday, July 19, 2010


Week off this week ! Hurrah

Looking to stay off my feet as much as I can get away with and generally take it e-z. Looking for the various niggles to settle down, so I can get back into haring around a cricket field like a mad thing. Also looking to get the brain recharged so I can plan what I do instead of just reacting to the next firefight task.

Went up to see the parents on the weekend, sister was there too. Bit of a whirlwind weekend, definitely with some strangeness cos the sister was the one fixing my dad's laptop and not me ! It's another Acer, which has been very sturdy over its mebbe 3.5 year life but has been slowing down lately. It's another victim of Kaspersky ... Which has now been removed. It's a dog eat dog world in the area of computer software and if one company's product disappoints, well there's plenty of other companies out there gagging to sell you stuff.

So Kaspersky has been ditched due to issues with its IS 2010 product (false alarm reports are not good if non-IT people see them) and because it's another of those products that gets in the way. Avira is on there now and the laptop is a little quicker again. Still 3 and a half years ain't bad. There's only one sign of hardware failure and that's a flickering screen. I'd buy Acer, as shown by me tapping this post out on an Acer laptop. (Which is a turnaround, as Acer Labs hit my Blacklist after disappointments with a previous motherboard)

We went up this weekend cos we were going to see Yorkshire play Notts at Trent Bridge. That's only about an hour away from where my mum & dad live, not too far at all. The best cricket matches are close run things, where from start to finish you don't have a clue who will win. This wasn't one of those, as Yorkshire's batting got blown away by good bowling quite early.

Our side lost ... but that was ok cos - I got to shake the Hand Of Bumble ! Spotted the legend that is ex England batsman and Sky commentator David Lloyd making his way around the ground. Called over "Good afternoon sir, we've just been listening to you on the car radio" (which we had !) And the proffered hand was duly shaken.

Made my day :-)

Right - I fell asleep last night wishing I could spend more time in my current Jack Campbell book (finished Turtledove no 4 - finally...), it's nigh on time to get back to it accompanied by the first of what's going to be a LOT of iTunes listening.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Things that make life worth living

A good friend, Cyberkitten got asked during a theological related debate what makes his atheist life worth living. He answered "Brunettes". Which is something I whole heartedly agree with. CK then expanded that to include 20 items, which has given me an idea ...

Here's CK's original post (linky) and here's mine :

(I'm trying not to steal too much)

1 - Brunettes - definitely. I tend to go ~wibble~ when asked for help by brunettes.
2 - Blondes & redheads - see above.
3 - Cricket - sport of kings and it suits me down to the ground. Man's sport, not a sport for babies like football.
4 - PIZZA - I think I'm part Ninja Turtle.
5 - Chocolate - Dairy Milk. And I seem to be able to eat Giant Buttons now with no ill effect :-)
6 - Music - all kinds, see my Thursday 13's for more there :-) (Iron Maiden at the moment)
7 - Games - I'm a very competitive person.
8 - Scifi - gives an escape from this rather humdrum world.
9 - Driving round corners way too fast - guaranteed to give me a Silly Grin.
10 - Making people smile - The Grin (tm) is almost guaranteed there.
11 - Being able to help people - cheers me up, makes me feel useful.
12 - Ooh La La ;-)
13 - Books - and anything that says "new experience".
14 - Gadgets - I'm not an Early Adopter but I do like to see things Work. The more Efficient, the better.
15 - Teacakes & bacon - pinching a bun in the canteen (40p for a teacake) is always a great way to start the day.
16 - Flirting - comes with that making people smile thing.
17 - Milkshakes - definitely partial to an occasional strawberry milkshake.
18 - Mischief & misdirection - I love making people think completely the wrong thing.
19 - Good friends - I don't count myself as having that many close friends but those I have, they are awesome people who are truly treasured.
20 - HUGS - what better thing to look forward to getting ?

That's 20, so it's time to indulge at least 2 of those ... I have a box of Maltesers in the fridge that ain't gonna survive the night.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Game time, maybe not

One of the unwritten laws of cricket goes something like :

If it's likely to rain, it will. Or rather, it'll rain until the game is called off and then the sun will come out.

That's today's story :-) To be honest, I really shouldn't be on a cricket field at the moment anyway as the little injuries are starting to gang up on me. What's up ?

Ankle's still bad, the first step of a running stride will lead to CRUNCH. It's passable for cricket though because I can run on soft ground. I just have to be careful and disciplined with how I use it. No CRUNCH = full running power available = no problem. I just have to remember before I go running across the road to avoid trucks.

Sore back. Yet another of the long term injury lists. It hasn't bit me yet but it's thinking about it. Same again with being disciplined, I know what movement makes it reallly bad, I just won't do them.

Shoulder. This is the worry at the moment. I had 3 catch chances in the (rather eventful!) game last Thursday, the second of which led to Big Ow. Drop 1 - running in from the boundary, I got fingertips to it so I think I should have caught it. I thought I had a bit more room ... Which shook my "Is the ball really landing there ?" confidence for the second. I stand in the right place, get under the ball but second guessing and too much time to think lead to me blinking at just the wrong moment.

Result - one bruise on my bicep like a flesh eating bacteria's got to it. And a very sore shoulder as a result of me getting angry at myself and overthrowing. My shoulder's quite weak as a result of a dislocation and throwing in from the boundary doesn't help. I'm not in true pain, just low level reminders of it. And a feeling that if I reach too far, the arm will come off. I've probably damaged the tendon or ligaments at the back of the joint again through the repeated overthrowing.

Oh - catch 3 was held, just in off the boundary at long off. It was pretty dark at this stage, to the point where if the ball was coming along the ground, you couldn't see it. Red ball against cloud was ok :-) We won a rather close game, short handed at the start which got worse early on when one of our opening batsmen tore a hamstring. Due to a poor shot (I blame my Demon Soul Bat!) and possibly some jinxing, I joined him shortly after. Cue one hospital trip to get sore legged person some attention ...

Doh - was talking about the injuries. That I'm noticing them more probably shows that I'm a bit worn down at the moment. Looking forward to a week off work next week, it should be a good chance to chill out, take it easy, let those injuries have a chance to recover.

Left hamstring is just annoying, as is a knee that likes to click in and out as it feels like it.

Time to put those injuries away again, as focusing on them is a cause of depression. I'll be going back to ignoring them :-)

PS I promise not to put myself in a position to have to run away from trucks in the near future !

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Emergency DIY

Got home yesterday, tried to get in the house. Door lock felt a bit strange but it let me in and I thought nothing more of it ...

Until I got back from gaming later ... Key goes in the lock and I turn it. Key spins but doesn't achieve much more than that. This is accompanied by me going "uhoh" (well, words to that effect). I manage to get in, before I start going for the breaking in solution.

That's right - I keep the tools at hand for breaking into my house. And they're simpler than you'd think ...

It's 11.30pm right now, so out comes the toolkit for a bit of impromptu DIY. Latch comes off the door and I start a-peeking at it. First thought - should that snurgly be loose ?

The Right Handed Toothy Snurgly (labelled "Bad Snurgly" above) was what was loose. It's a bit of metal that looks like a washer, except it has a pair of teeth on the outside and another pair of teeth on the inside. The way the lock works is :

The bolt is on a spring loaded frame. When there's nothing acting on it, the spring will push it outwards, latching the door.
The inside handle has big teeth on the inside that pull the latch in when you turn it.
The outer lock has a bar that comes in through the door, which acts on the Snurgly.
The Snurgly is retained by the Circly Grip.
When rotated, Snurgly acts like the handle above, pulling the latch in.

What had happened was that Bad Snurgly worked its way off the Circly Grip, so the outer lock had nothing to work on to pull the bolt in.

Five minutes with a Mend Stick (hammer) later ...

And Bad Snurgly has been persuaded to play nice with the Circly Grip again. Lock gets put back together and is put back on the door. All seems to be working ...

Almost. As with any DIY stuff where you're effectively making it up as you go along, it doesn't quite work the way it did before. But I'm not complaining, I can now get in my front door without resorting to my unconventional lock picks.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Looking forward to a break ...

Looking forward to having a break soon. It's booked for a fortnight's time and I definitely need the downtime. We've got a few big events coming up in the project in the next couple of months and it'll be good to get a bit of recharging in.

I have a few things that are causing me stress at the moment :

Ankle is still bad.
Very busy at work.
Too darn hot.

And when I get stressed, the things that would help me calm down a little don't work so well. Like games, I could normally bury myself in one but which game ? Must crack on with Forza and all the other Xbox games. I've fallen back into an old favourite in Moo2, partly because I don't want to expend the mental effort in masterminding a JA2 or XCom campaign. Music definitely helps, I now have just over 4000 tracks in the iTunes library. One of the newest is the third Dubstar album with one line : "Sarah makes it better". It's a better album than I remember.

Ankle is still bad. I can walk on it and reasonably treat it as ok but as soon as I break into a running stride on hard ground, it'll crunch up again. Will have to keep a close eye on it in case I need to take it to a professional to check it out. Cricket was fairly ok with it, I just need to turn and then hit the gas. It cuts my fielding range down a little but I've compensated for that by coming a little closer and diving around more.

Busyness at work is normal and I prefer it that way. I've been where I am long enough to have not just The Knowledge but Deep Knowledge. Comes in handy when we need to collect information on something rapidly. Deep Knowledge lets me apply a bit of quality control to the forest of information we have available on subjects to just select the most appropriate for the argument.

But every so often, I'll feel the need to escape work for a while so I can chill out. There is a downside to that though, work has very special people like the Snow Queen, Lady P & The Angel, Sunshine, Little Canteen Girl (and her mates) and The Boss when she gets back. I miss having the chance for a natter when I'm not in.

Oh it's also very warm in Blighty at the moment.

I don't do too well in hot weather. I tend to kick out a lot of heat when I'm doing stuff, so when conditions are hot, I tend to wilt. It's not been nearly so bad this year though. Hot weather provokes the allergy stuff, so people tend to hit the anti-histamines. That doesn't seem like an option for me though, as the anti-histamines I used to use have been giving side effects ... Think 36 hour chemically triggered grumpiness combined with absolutely no power available in my legs. Not good when I'd take an anti-histamine to prep for cricket and the first sprint I go for, no petrol in the tank.

I've been better this year by avoiding all medication and tackling causes instead of symptoms. Like eyes that stream because glasses are filthy. Clean the glasses, the eyes settle down. Not much I can do about the sneezing though :-)

Always in 2 camps with hot weather. I enjoy the sunshine but suffer if it's too warm.

Gaming has been interesting lately. I've been tempted by another look into WoW but that'll wait until Eve has calmed down a little. Cos of an incident where a pair of spies inserted into our alliance caused a muppet to lose his expensive supercarrier (he was pvp'ing on another character while his supercarrier was earning him cash).

That led to us leaving our deep space home to return to Empire, where the usual problem is "what do we shoot ?". Not so much of a problem at the moment, as a griefer alliance declared war on us. Pity for them, we're now organised and know where their expensive stuff is. It won't be there tomorrow :-) We've found that the most effective way to get griefers to drop a war dec is to blow up their stuff.

Oh, there's also a little something called the Curse Of Volt, where alliances that have taken a shot at us tend to not last that long afterwards. We're rarely the ones pulling the trigger (we're not really big enough) but it's been a curious pattern so far. Wondering if it'll continue with our ex landlords who are currently making themselves look silly by claiming we've done stuff that we've had nothing to do with.

The editor team also pushed out the latest Voice of Volt, which tends to keep me quiet towards the end of the month because I work on content as well as trying to jump on all the typos. If you look in the link and download the pdf, I'm the one in there called "Keela Danne".

Go read VoV ! And if you find anything that goes over the Too Geeky line, drop a comment and I'll try and de-geek it.