Monday, June 30, 2014

Like A Girl

I keep a reasonably close eye on the various social media out there and occasionally see things that touch a nerve.

The latest is from one of my favourite Youtube people, Kim from the Yogscast. The tweet was : "This video is important and explains my despair over the phrase 'like a girl' FYI... I hit pretty damn hard"

After witnessing the feistiness on the videos, I definitely believe that last bit !

Go watch the video, it'll hopefully challenge some of how you view other people.

The key thing is - why do we use derogatory terms ? Why do we turn ordinary terms into derogatory terms ? Gay used to mean happy people, now it's used as an anti-word. And that's just one example.

I use the word "girl" to describe a few people. In the old team we had the BM girls (Business Management), some of whom were older than me. And I'm getting on a bit. I've had the pleasure to work with and learn from a few different groups of Finance Girls. A couple of whom are retired now. So why do I use "girl" ? For me, it evokes : Youth, Keenness, Energy (and yeah, a definite amount of Pretty too). Our BM and Finance Girls were also highly competent at what they did and gave us immense support.

Oh - there's the Little Canteen Girl too as another label I used. Wonder how she's getting on now ? Haven't seen her for ages. Anyway, that term was meant affectionately, I hope she'd have taken it that way.

My reply on the Twitter was that I throw like the proverbial girl. Which is both correct and incorrect. I can still power throw ... but if I do I'm highly likely to follow it with a scream of pain as my arm tries to follow the ball. I was down to maybe half a good throw by the time my cricket career was finished last year. That's down to a torn rotator cuff injury which did actually heal to some degree but got reinjured a few years later (badminton again).

My answer was to try and avoid fielding in positions where I'd be out of range of my throwing ability. That worked out because I'm more suited to being close due to agility, speed and general crazy/idiocy.

I'll continue to use the word "girl" as a descriptor but hopefully it'll always come across as a mark of respect instead of the opposite. I used it as a mark of Youth, Keen, Energy, Pretty.

For the Little Lady who sparked this all off, there's a couple of people in the Yogscast who need a mention here. I watch almost all of what they come out with. They're the Kim and Hannah I've mentioned before. Why do I highlight them ? Because they consistently come out with videos I think I really high quality. They make me laugh, they make me sad. All as appropriate for what's happening in the game. I've enjoyed watching their playthroughs more than I have enjoyed playing the game.

It's not just the commentary, it's the emotion that they inject in there as well. And a huge sense of Fun too. They pull that off in a way that the Yogscast boys struggle with.

So yeah - if it's a case of saying which videos I prefer, I say #LikeA(Yogscast)Girl. (Zoey's included there too but hasn't been playing games I've been interested in lately)

I do think there is a place for some derogatory terms though. You can't have helped see that there's a World Cup happening at the moment. And what does that bring ? Footballers ?

Cheating, scheming, foul mouthed, pathetic and a bunch of other words I could use !

Compare - Prasana Jayawardene - he broke his hand in the First Test against England but continued to play through that game. He ground out a few runs to help his side to a well earned draw.
Any Average Footballer - they'll go down like a shot if someone even waves closely at them. They'll try and trick the ref into thinking they've been fouled. They'll play act serious injuries in order to get opponents cautioned.

That's why I don't support football, I have no respect for the players. Don't use Like A Girl as a term for weak, use Like A Footballer. It's far more accurate.

Cricket gives another example. The ladies in cricket don't have the power of the men but what they lack in power, they more than make up for in skill. When their world cup was first televised, you could tell that some of the commentators had a "why are we here, this is a joke ?" attitude. Until they saw the girls play. And what we saw was a lot of Smarts being applied to game as well as lots of skill. Deftness and agility replaced power. It's a different game and equally good to watch.

Women are physiologically more suited to jobs like flying fighter aircraft. On average, they're shorter which makes them more able to resist g-forces (fact). Plus there's that multi-tasking thingy. So why don't we see more women flying in the military ? You'll have to ask our politicians and senior military people about that.

It's definitely not a physical issue, our FNC Girl (Little Lisa) could easily run rings around me and I'm quick. I gave a little cheer when I heard that our Lisa would be involved with us again as she definitely fits that Youth, Energy, Keen collection of tags.

So yeah - derogatory terms. Think before you use them. They may hurt people in all kinds of ways you never considered. They attack confidence. They hold people back.

I'll close with - Yogscast went to E3 recently. Who did the serious reporting there ? The Yogscast Girls. And it was good, informative stuff too, covering the questions we wanted answering.

May all our reporting come at the quality #LikeA(Yogscast)Girl.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sale season

Otherwise known as seeing what's got the big discounts on Steam and and trying to resist buying Stuff.

I've been ... neutral so far I think. I've not been a good boy cos I've actually bought some stuff but I've not gone into Crazy Bad Boy territory either. Well. There's still time.

I think I'm actually more curious about what goes on sale, rather than actually acquiring some of the things that hit the sale. The places I keep an eye on are :

Steam - this is the number 1 digital distribution network on PC. Most games are available on here, up to a point.

It pays to do a little research though before buying anything on Steam, as there's a lot of garbage on here. I like my space strategy games and there was one that came out recently called Stardrive. From what it promised, it looked like just what I was looking for - a modern and much better Moo2 with a very well sorted ship building system. Just the ticket. But ... it was a buggy, unfinished mess. And it's just one example of where stuff like that slips through the quality filter. I have a few Early Access (unfinished) games in my wish list but wouldn't consider buying them until a release quality version came out. I just have them in the wish list because of their promise. is my other place - they sell a few new games but mostly concentrate on the older ones. They go beyond what Steam do by offering freebie extras with their games. Things like manuals, reference cards, artwork, maps etc on pdf and soundtracks in MP3 and sometimes FLAC. They typically don't have copy protect either, which is a bonus because copy protection schemes can really spoil your gaming by getting in the way.

What have I acquired so far ?

Age of Wonders III from This is another fantasy strategy game. It's quite a heavily populated genre, with the Warlock and Fallen Enchantress games popping up as well. I went for Age of Wonders III because it looks finished, whereas Warlock and Fallen Enchantress have been steadily adding more to a starting game that ... wasn't. Oh and the version gives me the soundtrack which I've been enjoying.

That's one thing about that lets me be selective, if there's a soundtrack I'm more likely to get the game. No soundtrack means I'll ignore it. And there's some pretty good soundtracks on like all the Baldur's Gate soundtracks.

Il-2 46 is another from It's a combat flight sim from the World War 2 era, based on the Ilyushin-2 Sturmovik flying tank. I find flight sims a step up from the space combat sims I cut my teeth on. A plane flies through air. Yep. That seems obvious doesn't it ? But what makes that interesting is that there's an interaction between the wings and the fluid that makes up the air. It's not quite as simple as pointing and going. Go straight up, plane will stall. Lose too much speed, plane will stall. It's a challenge to keep some in the air and even more of a challenge to hit anything.

Looking forward to trying out a bit of flight again. The last time I spent serious time in a flight sim was Falcon 4.0 (horrendously bugged) which did a very accurate and deep model of the American F-16 Falcon jet fighter. Taught me a few things about how the weapons worked too.

Over to Steam ?

The resistance has broken with 3 games (so far) on Steam. I've reacquired Dragon Age, plus a couple of indie titles called Infested Planet and The Banner Saga have appeared.

Dragon Age Origins is a game I enjoyed a fair bit when it first came out - but never finished. So why reacquire it ? Seems a waste of money right ? Maybe. But the game plus all of its downloadable content (including the Awakening expansion which I never had) was only £5. And it's a pretty good one too. I'm looking forward to hearing Claudia Black as the acerbic mage Morrigan. It also looks better due to higher quality textures being provided by people who make mods for the game.

Infested Planet looked interesting. It's about a squad of marines who have to survive attack by waves and waves of alien bugs. Not quite Tower Defence but close. It's a genre I seem to be drawn to ...

And the Banner Saga was a role playing game that caught the attention of Youtubers for a little while. Story looks good, replayability doesn't seem so good. But if it's on sale for almost nothing ? Mine :-).

It won't quite stop there. I won't get much more but Assassins Creed IV might appear as an Assassin-y Pirate-y Stabbin' Cannonballin' adventure that will show off my system. My PC is a few years old now but with the graphics card replacement, it can still keep up with most modern stuff.

I may also get 2 games called Chronicles Of Riddick and Blackguards on Riddick is more likely. I don't think I'd play the game much but they're offering it for $3 (maybe $2 - it hasn't quite gone on sale again yet) including the soundtrack, I'd pay that for the soundtrack.

And I do believe I hear that fantasy world calling.

Cya !

Will try not to get eaten by the dragon.
Oh ! Before I really close, I've been playing with the Gimp again. Hey ! Not that type of Gimp ! This one is an image processing program. I've needed one of these since giving up on an ancient copy of Photoshop Elements that I used to use (had no Mac version). The Gimp is decent but I wouldn't recommend it. The selection method boggles my mind. But - here's one thing I made from it :
That's the one I can use - it's for my favourite Youtube person. I'm maybe 80% happy with this one. The first 4 characters are great but the rest go a little too wiggly. I'd prefer them to be in a straight line. That manufactured U could be better too. But ... I keep getting fed up with that selection method in Gimp and give up before I get a result I'm 90-100% happy with. Still - not bad and I think it would look pretty cool on a t-shirt.

Can you guess who's badge it started as ?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Coming back to work ...

... is always better when you are greeted by Pretty Ladies who wave at you.

Mind you, I did have to edge around, jump up and down a bit and do manic-mini-wave at them before they noticed. (Not quite, they were nattering but not quite that engrossed).

This week off definitely did me some good. When I downed tools, I was absolutely mentally and physically shot. That's from time catching up to me as well as a lot of missed sleep and some of the implications of my physical condition.

I'm definitely improved energy wise (although I did have a little stress attack this morning which my legs didn't appreciate). I was a lot more engaged at work today and the random thoughts were coming out again. That's my key strength at work. While I can follow the orthodoxy that Good Business Practice tends to demand, I'll also throw out the rulebook and make it up as I go along. As long as the mental energy is there to spark it off.

I like having that spark. The randomness keeps me unpredictable.

So what have I been doing on the break ?

Listening to lots of music. Hey ! It's me. Ok, I've not made that much of a dent in that battery of unlistened to music but I've taken a bit of a bite out of it. It was at 9 days unlistened before, now it's at 8.3 days unlistened. That's cos I'll listen to tracks one by one before listening to the whole album. I get a better appreciation for the individual tracks that way.

Some artists make outstanding albums, some artists make outstanding singles. I'd put Arctic Monkeys as an album maker and Ellie Goulding as a single maker. And then there's the Cardigans ...

I have a new Super Ultimate Mega Favourite Song. It's Song For The Leftovers by A Camp, who were led by Nina Persson of the Cardigans. I linked it in the What The F A to Z post (at the end). I guess it touches a nerve "We are the best leftovers of the night" ...

Been watching sport. Lots of sport.

The week started with Le Mans. I didn't watch all of it, the mental exhaustion put paid to that. I was totally and utterly beat. That weekend turned out to be :

Cricket on the telly - hours of play are 11.00 until 18.30. England vs Sri Lanka. Decent game, very close at the end. Glued to the finish, which was a well earned draw by both sides.
Le Mans on the desktop - 3pm BST until 3pm BST the next day. It was a good Le Mans this year, with Porsche, Audi and Toyota providing the leading runners. They all had problems, Audi won despite losing one of their cars to a rain induced crash and having to change the turbochargers on the other two. Never really knew how it would work out.
Footie on the telly - conveniently after close of play in the cricket. I had the footie on mute because you really don't gain any benefit from the commentating.

The England footie started at 11pm and as the players were running out on the pitch, fatigue hit bigtime and I tried for sleep. (Hitting the record button so I could watch it the next morning).

I think I've caught up on some sleep. The physical condition I'm managing is trying to heal up now. The cuts disappear after a day or so like normal. But ... the self discipline slips when I'm trying to sleep and I end up attacking myself, making more cuts.

Heh - self inflicted wounds and all that. My answer is to try and keep the self discipline and above all else, keep the wounds clean. I think that's helping above everything else.

It does seem to be working. A quiet week has seen my legs get much improved. I'd have almost passed them fit for cricket a day ago (before I attacked them again early this morning).

Enough about my difficulties though.

It was good to be back in work today. It gives me a sense of value. People value my knowledge and experience and they know that if I don't know something absolutely, I'll give them a hint of where to go to find out what they need.

And it wasn't just the Pretty Ladies on my way in to the office, as I was walking to my desk - what do I see ? Another Pretty Lady walking my way - this being the one that has a massive radiant smile just bursting to jump out. She's a little shy so the smile doesn't come out too often but when it does ? Everything seems right.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A to Z - What the F's

So I've been chilling out for the last few days. There's been Le Mans to keep an eye on, the cricket to be transfixed by and the football to ignore.

It was a decent Le Mans this year, the way they organise it is to have a massive field for the 24 hour race, split into two types of prototype cars that lead the way and many GTE cars split into Pro and Am categories. There was always something happening in this year's race, whether it was the prototypes tripping up over each other or the GTE cars going at it hammer and tongs. My big cheer of the weekend was for the Aston Martin Vantage driven by the Danes. It was good to see them win :

Brit car !
And as a tribute to Allan Simonsen who died at Le Mans last year.

The cricket turned into a good game and I think a draw was the rightful result. And then there's been the football to ignore. I was really tired so I didn't stay awake for the whole Le Mans 24 hours, a lot of that was due to going ZZZZzzzzzz as soon as the England game was warming up ready to start.

But the real news is ... I'm healing. Finally. It's coming slowly but steadily. Hopefully it'll keep going over the remains of my time off. I'm still shredded but it's definitely improving. I've been out the house once (needed supplies) and may venture out again to Bristol centre tomorrow. We shall see.

To the main event ... I've almost got through the F's ... Well. Saying that, there's still remnants of an E album (Eve soundtrack) and GoG's sale saw me buy Age Of Wonders III which comes with an A soundtrack. But that's just catching up. Music ?

We start off with a few albums called "The Fall". There's the album by Gorillaz, not one of their best but still ok for a listen. There's not much of the famed Gorillaz character here.

Norah Jones just keeps popping out excellent albums and The Fall is definitely one of those. There's a few highlights here but for me it's the closer, Man Of The Hour.

Evanescence burst onto the metal/pop scene a few years ago with Fallen. It's an album full of raw emotion and that tends to get me really engaged. My Immortal is definitely the track that caught me here, although Hello is also outstanding.

Snow Patrol are also quite prolific, with Fallen Empires coming out a few years ago. It's honestly one of their better albums for consistency. Final Straw is in here too. I'll keep getting Snow Patrol albums. They're not my favourite (wink-wink-no-female-singer ;-) but they're consistently good.

Lisa Miskovsky is one of those singers I don't have enough of. Definitely. I have her Falling Water album, which shows off a stunning voice but ... the songs are a little bland. Her singing is amazing but there's something missing with the writing. Still want to find more of her stuff though. Take Me By The Hand is currently leading the way with 11 plays since the random number generator discovered it.

Here come the soundtracks ...

Fallout was a post-apocalyptic role playing game that's gone from the older top down view type to a first person type. It's come from its beginnings into the modern age with Fallout 3. It's worth a look, although Bethesda gameplay mechanics are questionable. I've somehow ended up with soundtracks for Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout New Vegas (3.5).
Far Cry 3 was an interesting shooter, I didn't engage with it as much as I did the first game. There were strange mechanics in here with how big your inventory could get.

Arctic Monkeys have earned a place in my library with their quirkiness and that's shown in their Favourite Worst Nightmare album. There's distinctiveness all the way through and a fantastic finish in Old Yellow Bricks and 505.

Norah Jones pops up again with Feels Like Home which starts off with the excellent Sunrise.

Goldfrapp aren't for everyone and Felt Mountain is definitely their strangest album. But that's all forgiven when tracks like Lovely Head and Utopia show up. Alison Goldfrapp truly has one of the most remarkable voices I've ever heard.

I did a random "that's cheap, let's try it" with Birdy's Fire Within. It's ok. Not particularly brilliant but listenable to. Highlight was No Angel.

Firefly ! I acquired this one a while ago. The incidental music matched this series well but what really set the tone was the theme tune. Burn the land, boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me.

The Cardigans - where would a Sleepypete music post be without a Cardigans album ? They pop up here with First Band On The Moon which sees them start to go into depressive mode. Still, there's happy stuff here like Happy Meal II and a cover of Iron Man which I love.

Old albums ! They Might Be Giants are another group I don't have enough of. Here they are with Flood, which includes the immortal Birdhouse In Your Soul. Floodland is another old one, done by Sisters Of Mercy.

Franz Ferdinand are another that hold my interest. They're fairly mainstream but just different enough to keep my attention. Their F is their self titled album.

Last one - if there was a game highlight for me last year, it was FTL - Faster Than Light. It's a star ship game where you're racing across 7 sectors to stay ahead of the rebels. Fantastic soundtrack by Ben Prunty and the link is to a cover of the opening music.

How many to go for G ? iTunes is telling me 271 tracks to go. That won't be this holiday period, cricket will be back on the telly from Friday so I won't be listening to music while that's on. I'll hold it for football time.

PS When I'm collecting the links up, I'll often listen to a few extras ... this time it was Goldfrapp's Voicething and A Camp's beautiful Song For The Leftovers (not many songs make me emotional but that's one - perhaps I identify with it ?).

Thursday, June 12, 2014

And so it begins ...

Where half the country gets glued to a certain sporting event and the other half treat it like the plague.

A zombie plague.

I find football to be a good game to play but a poor game to watch. That said, it has its fans. Many of them. An unfeasible amount to be honest.

Will I be watching the World Cup ? Yes and no. It's the premier competition in football but it's somewhat flawed by that as well. There are too many easy games in the competition and I definitely lose interest where the predicted result becomes definite.

Yes - I'll have it on;
No - I'll not be paying much attention to it

Bit like Skynews, I'll have that on in the background but as a little bit of my attention on it while the music is blaring out and stuff is happening on the pooter.

But - there's other things on. The cricket season just kicked into its higher gear with the start of the First Test between England and Sri Lanka at Lords. It ended up a good day for England today, with Joe Root getting another 100 when we really needed it, plus Matt Prior is looking good for a 100 of his own too. Good start to the game. That'll have my attention for the next few days. Hopefully England will be able to work that good start into a win.

Something else too - the Le Mans 24 hour is happening this weekend. I try to watch as much of this as I can. However, bear in mind it's a 24 hour race ... we gotta sleep sometime ! Hah - Maybe. I plan to go grab some pizza after close of play in the cricket on Saturday (18.30 ish), with that cheese sensitivity meaning I'm not likely to succeed in getting sleep that night.

So - Le Mans 24 hour + Pizza should equal staying awake for it. (The reason I struggle to sleep is the excess acid I make - a curse)

However ... the first England game kicks off at 23.00 on Saturday. I'll have it on the telly, as well as Le Mans streaming on the pooter. I'm pretty certain the football will send me to sleep.

And that sleep will be much needed too.

I pretty much hit that wall that people talk about. My condition ain't great right now, from lack of sleep and the self harm that comes from when I lack sleep. I let my guard down and have a go at those half healed bits, which just makes them that much worse. I reckon I could heal up given 4-5 straight clean days but ... I'm not getting those at the moment.

What I need is some concentrated chill out time. Which I'm going to get next week. I hadn't realised how tired I actually am right now so I've taken advantage of not much happening at work next week to take that break. Then I'll launch right back into things with hopefully more energy than I have right now.

Does this sound like a crying out for help ? I guess it does. I'm struggling that much at the moment from that combination of lack of sleep and a body that's struggling to repair all the damage I've inflicted upon it.

But then again, writing posts like this is one way I sort it all out in my head. It rationalises it and puts it in a box I can deal with. It lets me recognise a condition, analyse it and figure out how to deal with it.

I'd recommend it as an idea if you're struggling to deal with your problems. Maybe not put it out on the internet like I do here but perhaps write about it in private. Maybe show it to your closest friends. That's actually what I do here, yep, internet strangers see these posts but my closest friends see it too. They see the Networkedbloggers thingy pop up and click on the link.

And that attention is definitely appreciated.

I don't often take heed of the advice that comes back from it but I'll always give that attention back the other way too.

Is this reading like I'm mega-tired ? (checks for Big Words, ok, there's a few with more than 3 syllables, I'm not too far gone)

Yeah. I'm hoping that with a week off work, I can get some good healing in. And there's a coincidence :

Total time off work = 9 days
Tracks unplayed in the library = 9.1 days

There's potential for me to listen to all those unplayed tracks next week. It's not going to happen I know. Guy's gotta sleep.

Which is precisely what I feel like doing right now, that football on mute on the telly (Sisters of Mercy are screaming over it) is sending me to sleep. Not now ! I'll wait a bit to not disrupt my daily cycle too much.



Cya soon :-)

PS Hallmark holiday this weekend - Father's Day. I've given him a call, he thinks it's a Hallmark holiday too. I'll go up and see them on a weekend that matters. Like the Rotherham at Wembley weekend. It's better to celebrate events that mean more to you than events that mean more to the people who want you to buy gifts for the sake of it.

Monday, June 09, 2014

A tragedy in pixels

My game of choice lately has been one called Banished.

It's one of those games that combines simplicity in how it's played with an insane amount of depth in what it does in the background. And what's made it very compelling for a lot of people is how brutally hard it can be.

What is it ?

It's a city builder game, with you being the one who decides how a medieval town is built. There's a few things to think about :

Food - from gathering the natural veggies, to farming, to hunters, to fisherman, orchards (apple cider!) and pasture. Pretty much all the agriculture you would expect.
Building materials - everything goes together from logs, stone and iron. And they're hard to come by. Well, maybe not the logs but definitely the stone and iron.
Efficiency - educated workers are better but take kids out of the labour pool for longer. Everyone needs a tool to work better.
Keeping warm - from coats when they're outside to firewood (from the logs) to keep the houses warm.

And more too. Pretty much everything you would expect to be in a game of this type, is here. And ... the big achievement - it's accessible. Whereas in Settlers, you can kill your game quickly if you forget to build the sawmill early (needs wood to build, makes logs into wood), here things like the tool does everything. Same if you run out of hammers before building the toolmaker, there's no hammer for the toolmaker. Although there are multiple grades for the tools and coats. It's kept simple and accessible, there's enough challenge in this game already.

About that ...
(click for bigger !)

That's the centre of my town, as I left it. It's the central nucleus in the middle, with the first food gathering on the right going to the housing on the left. There's also a few blacksmiths and tailors there and the first storage barn. Up top is a market, where everything is gathered for sending on to the houses and toolmakers. On the left is the first of my fishing huts.

As in proper life, a balanced diet keeps you healthy and that's in here too. Just fish and people will go unhealthy. There's also a herbalist to get medicine.

I left a few windows open in that pic, on the bottom left is the town hall window which tells you amongst other things, how the population is growing. Or ... declining.

My town was doing ever so well, it had been steadily increasing and all needs were being taken care of. People were happy, they were healthy, they had clothes and tools, they had food.

Up until the population hit about 150. And then the Food Needed overtook the Food Produced. At this point, the population was still rising and they were leaning on the stored food. Proposed solution ? Build a few more clusters of food production places. So more gatherers, more hunters, more fisherpeople.

Just one problem - the game also models the distance between homes and places of work. If they're walking a long way between house and job, they don't do much job. And so the town ran out of food at 180 people. The town hall graph will show you a sudden population collapse, I left it at 90 adults + 30 kids and people were still starving.

Definitely a tragedy in pixels.

It's weird. I didn't really pay too much attention to what my individuals were doing but it definitely had a certain mental impact when the famine hit. I felt really bad for my people. It's like all that hope from the steady growth turning to despair as all The Pixel People's hard work led to collapse.

I did start another town off, thinking to learn from the mistakes made in this one* but I didn't have the heart to continue it after the first few seasons. I'll go back to it at some point, when the ghosts of the Pixel People are resting once more.

*(I built loads of houses near my mines and not many got built around the food areas)

What next ? With my condition at the moment, I'm steering clear of action games. What drew me to Banished is you can let it run, close your eyes for a bit and your people will have built stuff. It's brutally hard but it's also really chilled out. And that's what I'm looking for in games at the moment.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Been quiet

Not quite sure why,

Sometimes I just go dark for a little while. That's happened a bit more lately as I look within to try and fix without. (Translation - trying not to think too much while trying to keep the discipline that will let my outsides mend)

It is genuinely mending but it's also very easy to do more damage to it. I've missed the cricket season, plus I'd not be playing anyway because ... Ow. Big Ow.

I've hurt my back again, same injury as when I was 16 and running around trying to bowl fast. If you've not coped with a back injury, it feels like you're a puppet who's strings have been cut. Pain comes often, especially when you try and do complex movements. By complex, I mean combining a turn with a bend. It can be managed, usually by keeping the movements simple but that's a more awkward style. I prefer to move fluidly.

Perhaps we can learn from our international friends in how to deal with these problems ?
I've seen a few of these problem solving methods in action via work. The Italy one is spot on. Kinda glad their part of the project was a couple of steps removed from us. Oh and my version of the 5 o'clock tea was the Half Past 3 Cookie.

Yep. They still call me the Cookie Monster in the canteen.

What have I been doing with my spare time ? I've been putting some of that time into a game called Banished. It's a medieval survival town building simulator. In my current game, I've started off on Hard mode, which gives you 8 adults, 4 kiddies (who don't do any work) and a limited amount of supplies. The challenge is to have them survive by having food producing buildings, houses to put them in and fuel to keep the houses warm. It's a definite challenge. My town is currently stable and growing with 85 people.

It's a game where things happen slowly but there's a definite inertia to how it works. Not enough blacksmiths ? Your people run out of tools and can't produce as much. Too much population growth ? Your people can't get enough food to survive. Not enough people chopping wood ? Your people can't stay warm in the winter.

It's a captivating and complex game. My next targets are to either run lots of people in my mines (Steam achievements ;-) or to have 300 people. There's another couple of achievements there - 300 people without trading posts, 300 people without schools. Hard mode starts you without a couple of forms of agriculture, trading posts let you buy seeds or herd animals to enable that agriculture. Schools keep your kids out of the labour pool for longer but make them more efficient when they have learned Stuff.

And it opens up mischief :
Yes. I'll be watching them carefully.

Oh what did I say about pain earlier ?
I get a different ouch every day. I've had full use out of my body but without the training that would have prepared it for all the damage I've inflicted on it. It tends to remind me of different ouchies every day, sometimes it'll be my hips, sometimes my knees, often my back, occasionally the shoulder. I deal with that as it comes.

Sometimes though, that dealing with it thing is counterproductive :
I can very easily do the damage to myself. It'll often happen in the morning or overnight when I let my discipline guard down to try and facilitate sleep. The immediate symptom is Itchy-Itchy. So I attack the complaining spot. I then take 10 minutes being upset about setting the healing back.

Trouble is, sometimes the fixing it involves leaving it alone which can be difficult when you're 10 minutes or so away from rushing for the bus.

But I'm getting there, I'm seeing genuine improvement balanced by when I damage things again. The anti-histamines seem to have helped but I suspect there's a bit of placebo effect there. Positive mental attitude goes a long way though. I may not always have that on the inside but the smile always seems to be there on the outside trying to cheer other people up.
That's one from the past ! Nasty car, great smiley.