Friday, February 27, 2015

A legend passes

The news will be full of reports about this over the next few days.

He was a legend, a shining example for us all. From Star Trek, to Fringe. He stole the show wherever he went.

RIP Mr Spock, you will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Looking backwards, looking forwards

I've been enjoying something from the past. Not too long ago mind ...

Ok, what is it ? It's a space scifi series from the golden age, Andromeda. You have a mixed cast of distinct personalities which all come together, led by the indomitable Dylan Hunt played by Kevin "Hercules" Sorbo.

It was a decent series in its time. Not the best, not the worst. But it was from that golden age that brought us fantastic series like :

Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis
Some of the Star Treks
Earth Final Conflict (shame I only saw season 1)
And a bunch of others that my hazy memory isn't letting me remember

But - Andromeda - not many series can pull out lines like :
"I have faith in nothing but this, when the universe collapses and dies, there will be three survivors - Tyr Anasazi, the cockroaches and Dylan Hunt trying to save the cockroaches." Classic.

Sadly, this is another that I lost track of before it concluded. Remembering back (and this is Hard cos it's from the amnesia days of Nose Job 1) I think this is from when I had to switch back to cable because a tree was blocking the satellite signal and Andromeda suffered most from loss of signal.
Oh and it had a beautiful ship (and a very pretty, sassy and incredibly competent avatar too).

We don't really see series like those from that classic age any more. There's a kind of innocence lost in the search of the grittiness that telly people are putting in their series now. That's sad. Series like The Walking Dead are now more about the extreme gore and have forgettable storylines. And we barely have any space opera scifi !

(I'm still watching Walking Dead)

Looking forward ?

There's a phrase out there in nerd/geeky land : Senpai Notice Me.

I've actually used that because ... it was appropriate :-) Ok, it was Kim saying that she thought my Happy New Chinese Year dwagon avatar was cute. Which it is. I've switched it to the Unless You Can Be A Dwagon avatar now because the CNY celebration period is concluding.
I'd give that one a 7 out of 10. The top bit is taken from a T-shirt that's become part of my subversive Fridays selection. The red letters are mine, courtesy of GIMP. It's ok but there are way too many words on there for it to work as a First Glance Chuckle avatar. You have to squint to read the little letters.

Senpai noticed me ? Yep. Had a couple of replies back over the Twitter. What I find strange within myself is - my mind is going "Yey ! But I wish I was getting messages from Cupid's Gift instead". (She's been quiet, which is ok because she's a busy lady). I love what Twitter-Lady does but ... my attention's elsewhere.

I've had that shift from having all my mental energies concentrated on following one lady, hoping for her to notice me, to looking for attention from a different one. I find that very strange, I've never really faced that before. I've always been a one lady fella. It's been a little strange splitting my attention between chasing 3. I suspect that's why I've been happier lately, because I effectively gave up on 2 of them due to getting on really well with the messages going back and forward to Cupid's Gift.

It would be great to see her again before Comic Con. I'm really looking forward to that.

Comic Con ? It's at Birmingham NEC near the end of March. As well as sharing in the delight that I'm hoping CG will have at seeing everything (that's my No1 reason for going, to share in her fun), I'll be picking up more bits and pieces. I missed acquiring a mug which I have to have for work.

I think that's quite enough for now :-)

Looking forward - things are looking up. I feel tired right now but that's mostly down to the long drag between Xmas and Easter holidays. I'm balancing that tiredness with nice things that various people in work and outside have been saying about me. And with those messages that go back and forward with the Pretty Ladies.

But it's one Pretty Lady in particular who makes me think of this line from Lily Allen's Who'd Have Known "When you flash up on my phone, I no longer feel alone".
I hope she does. Cya soon !

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Strange eating habits

I mentioned on Thursday that I was back on the antibiotics again.

I jokingly call them "diet pills" because they demaand a no eating window around taking them. The recommendation is :

No food 2 hours before
No food 1 hour after (it's an either or but I take it as a both)
Take 4 a day

If you take that literally, it's one every six hours and 3 hours of no munchies around each one. No snacking for 12 hours a day ! Someone like me might fade away with a diet like that.

It's good actually. It's a discipline that forces you to arrange your munching around the recommended 3 meals a day, with the fourth gap being sleepy time. So the ideal pattern for pill taking time is :

6am - pill - this actually happens when I wake up, which is usually about 7.30 am.
I usually get in to work around 9.00 to 9.15 depending on traffic which gives loads of time to hunt and devour a teacake before 10am, which is the next cut off time.
12noon - pill. Add an hour for a lunch at about 1pm.
3.15ish - sneaky afternoon munchie + hot chocolate at work. It gives me an excuse to walk away from the desk for a few minutes, which lets me restore a bit of focus. I can work straight for many hours but I find it best if I have a break for more calories at a certain time.
6pm - pill. Hopefully taking the pill at this time will let me avoid diving into the chippie or chinese on the way home from work. Although one plan was to raid Sainsburys on Tuesday (I'm travelling again, coming back early so I'll have the car) and pill time will mean forgoing visiting the Frankie and Bennys next to work.
12midnight - pill before bedtime. The 2 hours before mean no snacktime before bedtime.

It's a good discipline to have, even if you're not taking pills. Grazing is really bad for the waistline.

Hopefully it'll get my weight trend back on the right track, it's been going up for a little while and I need to arrest that and turn it round. But in the meantime :
Yep. It's tempting. And I do love my pizzas.

So much for the habits, how about the effect ?

I'm seeing nicely dramatic improvements. Most of my skin is back to silky smooth although the damaged bits are still evident. They are, however, repairing nicely. The progress is delightful. In a few days, my knees may be clear enough to allow me to wear the knee pads which are a vital pre-requisite to me doing physical exercise. I'm going to walk before I do the running thing though.

Yeah - the antibiotics (not had to use much of the gunk outside of the first day) have had a greatly appreciated effect. I'm not celebrating just yet though. I've had similar improvements before which fade away again after the course of drugs finishes. It's as if some of the pernicious infection finds a place to hide until it's safe to come out again.

I'm somewhat cautious there, by ensuring I only wear stuff that I've washed since starting on the course of drugs. And I have my washing machine set to 60 degrees, which should hopefully deal with a few of those nasties. That should isolate one vector for the nasties to hide in. Hopefully the bugs will stay away this time.

It'll take some time for the bad bits to repair. Typically it takes 3 days for cuts on me to heal. But it'll take maybe a month for wounds to disappear completely.

I have my fingers crossed, it's good progress so far, long may it continue.

I'm a little sad though - it's been a relaxing weekend but I've missed a couple of opportunities again. It was the local reenactor's market, this would have been an interesting day out. A friend went and I was genuinely curious about coming along. But - still tired and lacking the energy levels for the wander. That's the same with the other thing this weekend, Chinese New Year celebrations. I was genuinely curious about that too. I opted for restorative sleep time instead. I'm needing to ration the energy somewhat at the moment.

That goes a bit for the gaming too - I'm concentrating on games that don't need much interaction at the moment. I have a few games that have my attention at the moment :

Elite Dangerous - not playing this at the moment. It needs active piloting and some degree of concentration. I'm usually too tired in the week for this and have avoided it this weekend. But ... at some point I want to upgrade that Cobra to a spec that'll let me head off and explore the galaxy. And you can do that in this game, explore the known galaxy.

Sid Meier's Ace Patrol - it's a WW1 fighter pilot game. It's very simple and reasonably complex at the same time. It's very reminiscent of a card game I played with the gaming group a good few years ago. Interesting, well presented and gives a little challenge too.

Sunless Sea - a new one where you're the captain of a steamship in a cyberpunk world. The tagline is "Lose your mind, eat your crew". It models hunger, fuel and terror. Interesting game again, interesting enough for me to pick it up after watching the Totalbiscuit and Kim videos on it. I enjoyed my first look at this one today.

This War Of Mine - difficult subject, your game characters are people attempting to survive in a war torn city, under siege from snipers during the day. You have to collect sufficient material, food and supplies to allow them to survive. It's difficult, somewhat depressing too. I suspect I'll only do a couple of playthroughs of this one.

And then there's Moo2 as well. I've been winning a few of these games, although I've not taken one to the grindy conclusion for a while. There comes a tipping point where you become unstoppable, if you're not attacked up to that point.

Yep. Good times, although I'm not really feeling that.

It's welcome seeing and feeling the improvements in my outsides but it's the nature of depression that your mental state tends to hide any improvements that happen.

I'm not in a depressive cycle as such, although it has been a few days since I got a message from Cupid's Gift. Those have been a real lift.
Before I go - a suggestion for the Elite devs, they really need to implement those as an addition to the game !

Thursday, February 19, 2015

50 Shades of ... Dragon ?

I had one of those daft ideas today.

I thought I'd share it with you :
I'm not quite sure if the little fella knows what he's auditioning for. We better not tell him, Pocket Dragons are fragile things and are embarassed easily.

It's something that certainly is grabbing more than it's fair share of attention at the moment. The movie that is. (And the books when they were all the rage).

Am I going to go see it ? No. Unless that is, I get one of those offers I can't possibly refuse. Yep. If a Pretty Lady asks me to spend time with her, then I'll do anything to make it happen. I think that's the only way I'll watch this particular movie though. From what I've read about it, the subject matter is twisted and make invoke the part of me that likes to throw stuff.

We shall see. Opinions are mixed :

There are the people who want it banned and all copies burned;
There are the curious;
There are the ones looking for a cheap thrill, no matter the ethics;
There are the people who have seen it and enjoyed it.

My opinion ? Make your own minds up about it. Go see if you're curious, tell people what you thought. One reason I'm avoiding it is because there are plenty more films out there at the moment, excellent and good films. And there's only so much time to watch them all.

If you're only able to watch one cinema film over the next few weeks, watch Big Hero 6. Don't waste your time on anything else. The Craziemob watched Big Hero 6 on Tuesday and it's ... outstanding. Definitely the best film of 2015 so far.

Other news ...

I've finally had that doctor's appointment ! She was surprised when I told her it's been worse. And it has been worse. I've been at "steadily improving, never getting better" for quite a few months now as my outsides improve a bit and then worsen again.

Result from the appointment - more antibiotics, some anti-histamines, good gunk and nuke standard gunk. The nuke standard gunk (Betnovate Valerate) is amazing. My ankles were shredded (nasty yep) on Monday and an application of the nuke-gunk sorted that out enough for 3 good days. So that stuff should help out a lot over the next little while.

Hopefully the stuff from this last visit will polish off the healing and get me back to All Fixed Proper Job. We'll see.

I've also been away to the Mall tonight. I felt the need for a wander :-) What did I get ?

Thorntons is still very dangerous. Haha. I have sweeties.

HMV got raided too. I spotted a couple in 2 for £10 and that kinda cascaded :

Echosmith - Talking Dreams. Heard one track a while ago, thought it was pretty cool.
Linda Rondstadt collection - legend singer.
Meghan Trainor - Title - loved All About That Bass when I heard it.
Taylor Swift - Fearless. Expecting more pleasant stuff here.

See ? I couldn't go without new music to listen to for long !

One last pic before I go :
That made me chuckle when I spotted it the other day :-) Thought it was appropriate for the post-doctor post :-).

If you go see Fifty Shades, lemme know what you think of it. I'm curious :-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happy New Year !

Waait ... wasn't that a couple of months ago ?

Not for everyone.

There's a significant proportion of the planet who celebrate the Chinese New Year, it's also known as the Spring Festival. Quite fitting for a celebration to emphasize the starting of new life, which is always something most certainly worth celebrating.

There's lots more here at the wiki page (linky). But that's very dry. Let me first say :
That fella used to be the Happy Mother's Day dwagon (which will come out again soon) and I've been having far too much fun in GIMP sending messages to assorted people using him as a base. I think I've got it about right in this one, letters could be bigger. But they look fairly right. The others suffer from either bad colours or unsuitable fonts.

I do like this one though.

I said that Wiki page was a bit dry didn't I ? SHOUT OUT TIME !

One reason I'm becoming more aware of non-English festivals like these is due to being educated by a wonderful little lady. (Perhaps Cupid's Gift will introduce me to more of these festivals too ?)

I've talked about lovely Kim lots here, you're probably bored of it by now ! Well, bear with me cos her explanation of the festival is way better than anything I could do and Kim's commentary is far warmer than anything on that Wiki page.

Linky !

Go on - have a watch and give it a bit of time because she gets more into the culture later on. I hope you'll enjoy that video for the culture, the fun inherent in that voice and the commentary. There's a mischievous laugh always bubbling away, waiting to burst out and brighten everyone's day.

But ... Kim's not managed to get to be with family this year and is getting a bit lonely. Poor Kim. That can only mean :
(Except I'm not - I'm in need of a shower and a drying out before bedtime - but the thought's there !)

Your fans love you Kim, for your content, your personality, that laugh and the mischievous nature that always has a surprise in store for us.

Happy New Year to everyone who celebrates this particular festival. A lot of the festivals are commercial inventions. I said that at the weekend with Valentines. But this one - it's all about family, ancestors, new life and celebration.

Which is Good. Cya !

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

15 Things About Introverts

I read this today and recognised a lot in it.


It's a list of what people don't understand about us introverts. I'll happily admit to being part of the club, although if I get talking, people have trouble getting me to stop. Same if I go hyperactive too, which is happily happening more and more. I do have a bad side to that talking though, I tend to talk about me too much instead of letting other people talk about themselves. I don't like that and must try to let the other people natter.
Very true.

So - about these introverty things ? The linky above has what they think but I thought I'd give my perspective on it :

1 - Small talk sucks
Not so sure here. Because small talk is a means to feeling connected with people and I do need that connection. I like the feeling of being included in a group but (see crowds) there's a limit. I do find it difficult to get that inspiration to break a silence though. Silence isn't that comfortable for me.

2 - Being alone is fine
This is one of my contrasts. I'm happy being on my own and will do group things like cinema watching on my own. But - I do have that need to be connected. The internet does a lot of that for me, with Facebook (not so good now because of their silly filters) and Twitter. But it does get frustrating when you reach out to people with comments and get nothing in return. Today's been a happy contrast there, with a few Pretty Ladies giving me Favourites or replies.

3 - We aren't rude or uptight
It can just take time to overcome the Threat indicators that tend to light up when unfamiliar people appear. Can I trust them ? Will they take what I say and twist it when they pass it on ? (That's a learned thing - I've been a victim of gossip in the past). It's why we take it pretty hard when we don't get replies when we break down that wall and reach out to people.

4 - Sometimes, we swing both ways
Oo-er. Yep. I'm quiet and can take time to warm up but when I do start talking, it can be difficult to get me to stop. When I played badminton, I'd ignore the high percentage winning shots and go for the most spectacular one that popped into my head. But when I bowled and got wickets, I didn't tend to be overextravagant when celebrating, despite having enough adrenaline going to argue with umpires.

5 - We have friends. And they like us ! Probably.
We're never quite sure where we stand. There's a little lady who keeps sending me messages which send my happiness level into the stratosphere (she thinks I have a lovely surname ...) but our low confidence doesn't let us really Believe that good things happen like that. Same with work, without that constant feedback and pats on the back, our confidence dips to where we don't think we're being effective.

6 - When with the right people, we feel safe
I tell some people some things, I tell other people more. There's a filter that goes on these posts where I don't talk too much about work (I work with Cool Things) and I keep other people's confidences. Not many people know I had a brother.

7 - We like to write things out
Wall Of Text incoming

8 - We're super productive
When I figure things out, I can go into a Robot Mode where I do things very quickly and as efficiently as possible. And at other times, my brain will tunnel vision focus in on stuff and get those fingers tapping.

9 - If we don't like you, you won't know it.
Very true. But I like to think that if I do like someone, they will definitely realise it. Sometimes I can be too subtle though.
10 - Networking events suck
See that small talk thing again about not knowing the right things to say at the right time. Or thinking of wonderful things to say, hours after the opportunity would have occurred.

11 - We don't like crowds
I like being around people. But I also do an automatic assessment of everyone I see and everyone who is around me and that can quite quickly go to assigning "Threat" statuses to everyone. That's bad I know but there's a certain point where I have to be elsewhere when people start crowding in on me.

12 - Sorry, we probably weren't listening to your story
Ok - that's what they say. I'm usually listening and I'll file it away somewhere for later, although my memory damage is interfering with that these days. But there's also a chance that my brain has diverted itself into planning some grand scheme, it's taking something mechanical apart, it's checking out the architecture, it's identifying the music (all this at the same time) and my attention has wandered. Naughty I know and I apologise if you catch me at it :-).

13 - Don't make a fuss out of our birthdays
The worst birthday I've had was when I was on a course. The other people on the course found out ... and dragged me to a bar where they insisted I drink shots. I'm not a regular drinker, so you can imagine part of me was screaming inside. Yep. That was a bad, tortuous birthday. I was very ill too.
Nah - my preferred birthday is to come into work as normal (to be around people), nip out to get the cakes at a cunningly chosen time (1 hour before lunchtime when people are hungriest) and tell everyone in sight and in range (email counts there) that they really need to Grab Cake. I love that. It lets me celebrate the birthday and people usually disappear quickly after grabbing the cake.

14 - We don't want to make a fuss out of your birthday.
Not so sure here. I'd like to be invited to birthday thingies. Not yet mind, I'm still rarely in a state where I want to go out in public (but improving)

15 - If we've chosen to be friends with you, appreciate it.
See above comments about taking it hard when I don't get replies. I can appreciate people being busy and missing replies but ... if you never get a reply from someone you've reached out to ? That's very rude. I have a simple philosophy there :

I will continue reaching out, because that's who I am. I don't want to change that.
Some people I'll have fun with as they communicate.
Other people I'll expect to have ignore me. I now shrug there ... their loss.

Oh dear - this has turned into mega Wall Of Text hasn't it ... see no 7 !
I thought I'd finish on something completely random that I saw earlier. Cya !

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Can we change the world ?

Just saw the pic below, realised I hadn't posted anything today ... thought ...

Perfect :
Enjoy your day and may it be a loving one.

That's my current avatar of choice. I'll keep that one until tomorrow until I change it to a Happy Chinese New Year dwagon.

PS I've had someone call me "my lovely" today - can't remember when that last happened on a Valentines Day !

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Almost that day again ...


Almost that day when couple and singles alike are united in dread. It's daft that isn't it ? Valentines Day should be about love, unconditional love. Except :

If you're single then you're made to feel broken or otherwise Not Right on this day of all days if you don't have the excuse to treat someone.
If you're a couple, then it's an utter nightmare to find somewhere intimate to have that lovely dinner with your partner.

That's the impression I used to have. It was better to have that quiet night in where you could devote your attention completely to your partner in comfort. If you went out, that intimate dinner would be shared with all and sundry, if you could even get a table.

Besides - it doesn't take it being the calendar pointing to a certain day to mean you need an excuse to make a partner feel special.
I like to think I make people feel special all the time. Well, most of the time. I have that grin of mine which seems to be really contagious, getting people joining in. Especially the ladies. Perhaps that's because it tends to come out most for the Pretty Ladies ?

I dunno - there's something about the beauty that all ladies have which makes me want to see that beauty smiling. And I guess there's an innocence in that grin that brings out that smile.
This year will be a little different.

I have no set plans, for this weekend at least. Part of that is because my legs are currently speaking to me. They're saying that they hope I die a horrible, painful death. Yep. True. They really don't like me at the moment. But I'm ignoring them and keeping on using them. They're a little better on the outsides than yesterday, hopefully that improvement will continue although if I were to expose those legs to the unwary, they'd probably be ill.

Yep. Still looking like I've been dragged through those thornbushes. And the legs may actually be in worse shape on the insides (they're not but they are making me very uncomfortable).

Different this year ?

I'll be texting that little lady with the big personality and the enchanting bubbly chuckle. And I'll be looking forward to Comic Con in March. I have the playlist for the car all ready, there's a tonne of amazing music on it.

(I'm still amazed by how good Untouched is by The Veronicas - that's probably my favourite song now out of the 13,000 in the library, although Song For The Leftovers and any number of other Nina Persson songs competes)

Yep. My personality is still going on those sub-orbital jaunts when it gets a message coming through. That's one advantage of my memory (when it works properly!), I can hear that bubbly chuckle as I read the messages.

I'm rambling now though. I hope people have a good weekend.

I'm hoping for a restful one as I still have a tonne of repairs that I need my body to do so it hates me less. I may end up going out to see a certain film if a Pretty Little Lady comes calling :-) Not quite sure what to make of Fifty Shades. From what I hear, it's a very sexy, kinky tale. However, from what I hear, it crosses a line over into the territory of rape. I don't know how I'd feel if I watched that. It would definitely make me uncomfortable and quite probably make me very angry.

Don't be too tempted by what the commercial people demand you do though. If you love another, you don't need to show that this particular weekend by heading out. Make her feel special every day of the year. This weekend is just something the commercial people dreamed up.

Does that sound smothering ?

Sometimes the greatest gift is time. And that can translate into giving that time to others by being available when they need you. Just being around to chuckle at their jokes. To bounce off what they say with comments. To give them a hug when they're sad. To lend strength when they're weak. To indulge them in their whims.
I hope people have a good weekend, whether they spend it with someone, talking to someone from a distance or even just ignoring that whole commercial construct which is Valentines.

Cya ! Oh ! I will be indulging in another commercial construct coming very soon.
Mini Eggs are awesome.

PS I think I found the message I was searching for - it's not the Day that's special, it's the people. Make every day a valentines day by trying to make people feel special at every opportunity.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Good film, bad film, dunno what to make of it film

Trying to think what I've watched in the cinema this year.

It does seem a little while ago since the Hobbit 3 was out, I think that's the last film before these three that I watched in the cinema. It was also second date with Little Skye ! That was fun. If a little short lasting because we both had to disappear off places the next morning.

Hopefully I'll see Skye again soon. I miss that bubbly chuckle and I want to explain the joking story earlier. It was a true story honest ! But a bit too worky to put here. It's definitely a story with the potential to make people wonder what on earth I was doing. Muahaha.

Films ?

I've seen 3 in the cinema over the past week or so.

First up - Good film (or at least I thought so !) - Ex Machina. This is about a programmer who wins a competition run by his reclusive megaboss. The prize is to spend a week at the megaboss's retreat. But ... megaboss has an ulterior motice, he has an advanced Artificial Intelligence robot and he wants the programmer to run the Turing Test* on it.

*The Turing Test is about the question of consciousness and self awareness. It has a person talking to a computer, if the person cannot distinguish the computer's responses from a human, the computer passes the Turing Test and can be classed as being sentient.

I enjoyed this movie. I'd like to see it again to see how many little hooks were in there that you'd easily miss the first time round. Ok, there were some major plot hammers that were very obvious on the first viewing but I'm sure there's more subtleties that were missed.

I enjoyed Ex Machina, although it's not for everyone. I'd recommend it, purely as a Make Your Own Mind Up film. It'll make you think, about many things.
Did I mention that the AI was also very pretty and able to convey a certain sense of vulnerability ?

Bad film - that's gotta be Jupiter Ascending. This is a space scifi epic with space ships, mechs, spacebikes, lasers, warpdrives, immortality, machiavellian despots and Mila Kunis trying to have some fun.

It's strange. It has all the ingredients, save one. What's missing is good writing. It's a fantastic film waiting to burst out but is shackled by that terrible writing.

One to avoid, although it's definitely a spectacle. Perhaps one to experience as long as you're not expecting to get anything cerebral out of it. In fact you may even walk out in disgust at the appalling writing and complete absence of coherency in the plot.

But it does have Mila Kunis attempting to have fun. (Must see some more of her stuff, she's a feel good actress).

Dunno what to make of it film ? Has to be Kingsman.

This has an ultra secret service run, of course, by the Brits. Colin Firth is the lead spy, although he's not the boss of the organisation. Nigel Davenport joins in too, as does Mark Strong. But this one's about the boy who gets in trouble and gets taken in by the Kingsman organisation.

Oh and there's a dastardly plot to take over the world, led by Samuel L Jackson (a characiture level performance), ably supported by hit girl assassin Gazelle (played by Sofia Boutella). The hit girl kinda steals the show. She's so graceful and I bet she had a lot of fun playing the part. You can usually tell that with actresses, there's a certain glint in their eye.

So - Kingsman. It's incredibly silly. There's wholly unrealistic toys on show. Some of the jokes are tasteless, some of the effects are truly daft, there are ultra violent scenes, it has an "execution" device which is a bit nasty. But that's the whole point. If it's a match for your sense of humour, you'll find this movie hilarious.

It's a light hearted spy romp.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, although it's not for everyone.

I suspect me enjoying these films is down to me being in up cycles when I saw them. My state of mind has been going up and down like a yoyo. Some days I'm strong, some days I'm weak. If I'm strong, I'll enjoy stuff. I kinda enjoyed Jupiter Ascending despite the writing being so appalling.

So - good film, bad film, dunno what to think film. I kinda enjoyed all 3 for different reasons, despite that writing.

My recommendation ? Make your own mind up. Experience these things for yourself. And, look to enjoy first, critique second.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

A to Z - V is for Very Best of

Not too many left in these now ...

First up is a blokey band who I've added to the Collect All They Do list. It's Maroon 5 and it's not my typical vibe but they're different, quirky, boppy, make you feel better bouncy music. Their latest is V and it's pretty decent again. Highlight is My Heart Is Open.

Another quirky mob who I'm getting to like more now is Kasabian. They're in here with Velociraptor and I love that title track "He's gonna chase you, he's gonna eat you" in sing-song lyrics. Not the best track here though, I'd call that Switchblade Smiles.

Good album. I'd heartily recommend it.

And one I'd totally recommend is Velveteen by Tranvision Vamp. I was reminded of this band by a Driving Songs collection cd and the song that stood out was Baby I Don't Care. Any song that starts with a Wendy James scream is going to get my attention, with that attention being held by a damn good song.

Garbage have been around forever it seems following up an excellent debut with Version 2.0, their second album. This one is filled with amazing songs and I think I'd pick out The Trick Is To Keep Breathing.

And here are the Very Best Of albums ...

First up is Nina Simone. She's an absolute legend with an incredible voice with great range. Her only anti-mark is her racism. I have no place for stuff like that, be it positive or negative discrimination (I'm looking at you MOBO awards). But ... it just means that certain of her songs, I won't listen to. I'll enjoy listening to the non-racism songs which have utter brilliance like I Ain't Got No, I Got Life.

That seems like a strong opinion doesn't it ? I guess it is. Question - would a MOWO Awards see the light of day ? I dunno. Although you could say it already is, they just don't connect the white origin with the name. I'm getting into territory I don't want to talk about too much though. Nina Simone - absolute legend of a singer. I'll enjoy most of her music and avoid the stuff I don't like.

Sheryl Crow has another Very Best Of (you could call this White Origin!), country and western at its best. This is a great collection of amazing songs, like Everyday Is A Winding Road or There Goes The Neighbourhood.

Harking back a bit are The Eagles with another Very Best Of. There's some really obvious choices here for highlight so I'll pick something different - Take It Easy is my highlight. (Ok - it's a really well known one but I like the message in it !)

I was in a Frankie and Bennys having a dinner and Bobby Vinton was on over the tannoy. Made me think - why don't I have any of this ? So I picked up his collection just for Blue Velvet.

I keep collecting Air albums too, although when they get cheap. They did the soundtrack for The Virgin Suicides. Ok album but you won't miss much by avoiding it.

Coldplay get in here with Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends. Gotta admit, all of Coldplay's music mushes into the next track for me. They're ok to listen to but not really a highlight.

But oh so different - Edie Brickell's Volcano. Another pretty decent album from Edie here, highlights are the title track Volcano and there's a few more here too. An album I enjoy when its turn comes.

There's lots in W so I'll leave that one until later. That's it for now !


Thursday, February 05, 2015

And bouncing back

Today's been a better day.

Not fixed, not by a long shot. But improved.

But I think drinking loads of water yesterday has started setting me right. I have to admit, one reason for the extreme cramping problems I was having last night was my dinner ... Yep. I raided the chippie between getting off the bus and reaching home.

Something I've always been susceptible to is having extreme cramp from mineral imbalance. My system has to have :

Lots of water
Not much salt

I believe that's related to the neurotransmitter chemistry (I gave up biology before getting that far) but as far as I know, your nerves work off a balance of Potassium and Sodium. And salt is Sodium Chloride. So by having chips which have lots of salt on and combining that with a lack of hydration, I effectively salt bomb myself and get that massive cramping due to confusing the nerves with an imbalance of that Potassium and Sodium.

This week, I've been out of office a lot and away from drinking as much as I try to. Add that to the skin problems causing my body to pull in all the fluids to help repair and ... lots of cramp. Hence me experiencing lots of pain ...

I don't believe that's an arthritis pain. Let's see actually :

Muscles - is that salt bomb dehydration effect making them cramp.
Wrist - is genuine RSI and is possibly getting worse through arthritis attacking it
Hip - I think my problem here is a ligament (needs checking out)
I think the wrist and possibly my ankles are the only areas I have genuine arthritis building up, although I've never regained full use of my shoulder and my knees and back/neck are as creaky as ever.
Yep. Yesterday was a really low point.

Today has been better. I don't really know why today's been better, possibly it's going a little while without doing too much more damage to myself. Perhaps I got a decent night's sleep last night.

I still have my bad ear though. I didn't mention that yesterday ... I have like 90% hearing out of my left ear but my right ear is pretty bad. It's down to maybe 10% (and I'm trying not to fiddle with it and make it worse) but I have tinnitus from it which is jamming the good ear. (That's jamming as in presenting a stronger signal than what I want to hear).

I'm getting by with it, I've been able to function with my hearing at work without missing much and it doesn't affect my balance like some ear problems can.

I know what would brighten me up - hugs from good people. Let's see :

I sat on the bus next to a very old friend last night. She's amazing. And always great to talk to. I think that chat helped more than I thought and although I didn't get the benefit last night, that slow burning chat-hug might be what's got me pointing back in the right direction.

People are digging the scarf. Their comments let me explain where it came from - the playoff final last year where I took my dad to see his team win.
Smile ! There we go.

Having the mental strength to not be fixated on one particular little lady. I still very occasionally watch her videos but when I do, I see the divergence between what she says and how she acts. She's very closed in. Perhaps I'd say something different if I was in her little circle ... but I tried to break into that and abandoned it after numerous attempts over a significant period of time. She still makes good videos but isn't making anything I'm interested in watching at the moment. She was worth chasing though.

Looking forward to text messages from another little lady. There's lots of films on at the moment and I hope she'll let me take her to at least one of them. This one is definitely worth chasing !

(Films are one aspect where I want the ear problem to go away - films are about the soundtrack as much as they are about the visuals).

Oh and having a few key friends who I know have their eye on me and want me to be ok.

Yep. Better day than yesterday. Hopefully that'll continue tomorrow and then I'll have a really chilled out weekend to come and I'll be looking to stay healthy over that weekend.
Perhaps I'm feeling the benefit of the kindness of those around me ? The people who return the smiles, the people who keep an eye on me. The people who give me that metaphorical pat on the shoulder. The people who give me hugs.

I'm missing hugs. I may have to go hunting people to give me hugs tomorrow at work.

So if you see me at work - run !

Haha - kidding.

Cya !

Wednesday, February 04, 2015


Oh my

I think my body is trying to tell me something.
But the stubbornness is keeping me grimly hobbling along.

Yep. Could do with a break - apologies if this turns out to be another of those Sleepy Is Struggling posts but I need to express it so I can deal with it.

So what's up ?

Me tired. Very tired.
I think that's going to be me on Saturday and Sunday. The way I'm feeling at the moment, I may submerge under those covers on Friday and stay there until Monday morning. But not yet.

Travel tomorrow, meetings on Friday. So I'll keep myself going for those. Incidentally, that's why I've not bothered the doctor about it yet although I really should check if there's something available on Friday pm after those meetings.

What do I need ?
Another course of antibiotics - to clear out the last of the infection problems and to sort out a cold I seem to have had since before Xmas. I think that last leftover infection nasties is why my skin is getting to like 90% sorted and no further. It's frustrating because some of the patches that were the most awful have healed to invisibility.

That skin problem is also exacerbating a dehydration problem that's really biting at the moment. Most of the fluids I'm taking in are going into repairs. But ... my muscles complain when they're not being fed enough water.

So I'm having to deal with cramps as well as managing the other problems.

Yep. Pain at the moment. Lots of pain.

But not unmanageable.

I'm looking to try and maintain a positive attitude.
Even when that seems harder than reasonably expectable.

I am struggling at the moment. But I compare to how I was a couple of years ago and ... I'm doing better than I was back then.

I'll go see the doctor when I next get the chance, which should help my body get over the last of the infection problems. In the meantime - lots of water to drink. And rest always helps. Well, usually.

I'll survive.

And to all those who are reading this and getting worried, I'll seek a bit of help soon. When I can.

Next post will be brighter - promise :-) And I'll hopefully have a doctor's report to pass on too. Cya !

Sunday, February 01, 2015

A to Z - U is for Ultrasonic

More music !

Coming to the end of these now and I've actually listened to everything in the library now. So - on with the show.

The first few U's are Ultimate Collections. I have a few of these, from Barbara Streisand, Bob Dylan, Elaine Paige and Clannad. All top music. All but Dylan are there for the voice, Clannad have always had a gift of making their music flow with the voice and Dylan's always been about the writing. Oh, there's Prince as well with his own distinct character.

On to the newcomer. Rachel Sermanni is another who I got introduced to via iTunes' Single Of The Week. That time it was Waltz, a magical tune that really shows off that voice, with the album Under Mountains continuing that trend with some lovely songs. Hope she comes out with more.

I've been following Avril Lavigne since her first album. She combines punk attitude with another wonderful voice. Under My Skin is another great album from the Pop Punkster. Highlight for me is How Does It Feel.

I've followed Tori Amos as well since day 1 and her second album is Under The Pink, which is loaded with incredible tracks. There's so many good ones to choose from here but I'll pick out Space Dog for its character.

Oh look ! Another Tori Amos with her latest, Unrepetant Geraldines. This one isn't as good as Under The Pink, releasing so much music has diluted the creative instinct, just a little. My highlight here is Weatherman.

The Verve introduced themselves with Urban Hymns, which is another pretty good one albeit outside what I usually listen to (mainstream again). There's lots of good songs here too, like Sonnet. Bonus - I can sing along to them !

Except not at the moment because the bugs that I was fighting off a couple of weeks ago still have a bit of a hold on my throat.

But that doesn't really affect singing along to the next guys - Guns N Roses brought out a pair of albums called Use Your Illusion. There's some amazing tracks here amongst the stinkers. Still, tracks like November Rain more than make up for the bad ones.

Looks like there's a good few in V, so I'll leave those until next time.

And talking of that - I'm watching another few Outlaw Star episodes now ahead of Superbowl later. I dunno how long I'll stay up for the Superbowl, I have another 240 miles travel to do tomorrow. I have the luxury of a normal start time for that, although I'll look to get to my destination early so I can get some work done there outside of the meeting I'm headed to.

What's Outlaw Star ?

It's an anime sci fi space series. It's fairly old now but it's a credit to the impression it made on first viewing that I remembered it as something special long enough to hunt down my own copy. It stars two lads who are joined by various colourful characters along the way and a rather special space ship.

It's something special. Cya !