Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How much tech ...

I saw someone ask a question today which got me pondering : "If money were no object, what would your ideal PC look like ?"

Let's see. Mine would actually be a couple, similar to what I do already. One can give all of its performance to games, the other can do everything else like the music, limited web streaming, lots of web browsing and the email. I don't even have email configured on my desktop !
But first ... it's that time of year again. Christmas avatar is here ! Quite a good dragon that one I think.

Yep. I run two computers at the same time, with the phone and iPad there as well. It wasn't planned that way, I'd have run with just a desktop until I figured out how portable laptops could be. I had a laptop left behind when an ex-partner left and didn't want to waste it. A small iTunes library from then has subsequently grown rather massive and migrated across 3 more laptops since then. And I can take the laptop and music library with me when I go places. I wouldn't want to be without the music. It's great actually, I occasionally buy cds and import them via the desktop ... and then never use them again. Instead of breaking them out, I can carry many hundreds of albums on the laptop.

So at the moment, my ideal computing setup involves :

A laptop - which can run iTunes. If I were to buy today, I'd get another ultrabook style laptop. This time it would be from PCSpecialist, as the typical ones from PC World seem sub-spec and heavy. Apple are at that point where if they change any further, they will be impossibly anti-consumer. I think Apple are there already to be honest.
A desktop - to run the games. I also use the desktop to watch video, watch streams and general internet browsing. And for the occasional picture edit via Gimp 2, plus I'm tapping this post out on it.

A note about tapping the keys - I wrote about getting a new keyboard ... perhaps 1 year ago. I have to be honest and say it's a bit of a disappointment, the keys still work well but they've gone a bit stiff. Also, the lettering that was dark to begin with is rubbing away. It's getting rather difficult to locate the reference spots. I have my eyes on mechanical keyboards again, they seem to be dropping in price which is slightly odd because Brexit has led to general price increases.

A money-no-object choice wouldn't change much there. Let's see :

Laptop - stays ultrabook for lightness of weight and portability. Most laptops have far more power than is required for videos, webs and music streaming and I always find it a bit cruel to try gaming on them.
Desktop - would gain a bit but the basics would stay the same - good screen, good keyboard, good mouse. It would just have more spectacular bits inside. A better processor and graphics card. Multiple hard drives. Perhaps a second screen.

Data security is pretty important. But I wouldn't look at putting encryption on, that usually just gets in the way of performance and for home machines, I consider the lock on the front door to be adequate data security.


Data integrity is far more important. I'd pay a lot more attention to this if I were on the computer professionally, like if I was streaming or making the youtube gaming videos. I'd want multiple hard discs to put everything on but I wouldn't use the RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Drives) method, where it duplicates data across multiple drives. That way tends to use the drives identically and if you have identical drives, it stands to reason that they would fail at the same time. You'd still lose all your data. Nope. I'd have the multiple drives for performance but I'd put a totally separate back up system in too. That way, if something goes bang in the work PC, it doesn't break the backup too.
I've had data loss a few times, it tends to be a bit traumatic.

But that's computers in my current situation. The laptop and desktop combination works well there. But ... I do have that plan to go live on a boat and the set up would want to be different there. The desktop would need to be hidden somewhere and I'd ideally want it doing the movies too and probably streamed telly services.

Which means ...

A Projector. Great for saving space, along with a drop down screen and speakers hidden in strategic places for giving surround sound in the movies.

I did also have a pondering for the ship's computer having a touchscreen. This could still be a possibility but more for controlling boat systems. The original touchscreen idea was for putting recipes up where I could see them in the galley.

Yep. If I move to the boat, I'd want to learn how to cook proper. I know ... ambitious. And I think the touchscreen would work well if your hands were busy with cooking stuff. But ... thinking about it more, perhaps an iPad would be even better. Easier to wipe down for sure and if you're cooking, mucky fingers will be on that touchscreen.

A ship's computer would want to be more modest, as power comes at a premium when you're away from the mains. I'd look to have the barge roof covered with as many solar panels as would be sensible but even then, the power input is limited and other system share that power. Like the fridge ... Cooking and heating is gas, so that's not a problem there.

But ... we all know what that ship's computer should look like.
That's Gerty-3000 from the movie Moon. Excellent movie, must watch it again. It was about a lone astronaut running a Helium-3 mining operation on the moon, with just the computer to talk to. And the computer displayed those emotes to give emotional context to what it was saying.

Not Gerty ? Then perhaps :

Oh and ...
Clever kitty.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Under The Steamroller Again


Feeling somewhat like I've been run over by a steam roller again. Yep, this will be a whingey post for a bit but bear with it. I find it's good to explain the problems I'm having so I can sort them out in my own head. Although I do still think it sounds a bit whiny. But that's just me thinking that I shouldn't let my problems feel like they're getting the better of me.
Yeah, I'm pretty wiped out at the moment and hanging in there for the weekend to come. I've built enough flexi up that I can disappear at around about lunchtime, although I'll hang on in case I'm needed (I might be for one of the meetings!).

Plan A was to disappear into town to have a wander around the market and to perhaps, chill out in the afternoon to the film Arrival. (It's a scifi mystery thriller type movie, people think it's good). That's going to change to Plan B though because I am feeling the tireds, plus I suspect it'll be mayhem in town tomorrow with the Black Friday tradition that we're inheriting from the USA. I dunno there, I think typical Brit Reserve is taking over there a little. We got very excited over Black Friday a couple of years ago, not so much lately. The retailers have been spreading things out so it's not all on the day.

No - film can wait and I'll have the chill outs after hanging on for the week. It's always good to go up norf to see the mum, dad, Ben-pup and sister and one or both of the Double D boys. But it does wipe me out, especially going into a week full of work.

Weekend plans include :
Quite possibly zzzz's on Friday afternoon while Stuff is on the telly. Stuff is likely to be the first 3 episodes of an old classic, Earth Final Conflict.
A little XCom2 perhaps ? I haven't gone back into that since the last session over a week ago. Corgi guns need to happen ... Yep.
More games will be acquired ... The various online game selling people have sales on and I have stuff in the basket already. (More in a bit).
Cricket ! India host England in the Third Test, starting on Saturday. I'll have this on the telly, time delayed, while I watch the Grand Prix coverage on my desktop.
Bit of Star Trek - I've been enjoying watching the Star Trek films again. I'm watching all of them, up to and including Beyond. Star Trek has always been very good, even at its least good. Tonight's was Final Frontier, which was one of the least good Trek films. Still good, just no Wrath of Khan.

Anything more ? On and off nattering to people on the texts and the Facebooks and the Discords. Possibly even Twitter too. I occasionally get acknowledgements on the Twitters and that's always good to see.

I just distracted myself with looking up Pink Floyd's Ummagumma album. I had that years ago and it has some of the good 60s Pink Floyd on it. The inspiration for that was seeing a 60s collection of theirs at Sainsburys earlier. Curious ... but not enough to buy it. I suspect some music may get liberated from various online stores soon.

Birthday stuff is all in now. I've acquired the first seasons of Dark Matter and Killjoys, which are excellent new scifi. These, along with Fallen Skies, are the best scifi on telly from the past few years. Cheers CK ! I have a Metal Earth R2D2 as well which I look forward to building with some .... trepidation perhaps. Metal Earth kit is shiny but does take a certain bit of manual dexterity which I don't think I have in my tired state. And the "Man Cave" sign has to go up on the fridge door too where people would see it when they come into the house.

It'll be a chilled out weekend. It'll be the first chance in a couple of weeks to regain some energy and for my poorly ankles to recover some more. They're actually doing reasonably well and are coping with the demands of walking around at work and for the bus .... but they're not actually fixing. A quiet weekend will do them good if I leave them alone for long enough.

Games ?

I have 1 game and 3 bits of DLC in the steam basket at the moment .... The game is "A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build", a charming little puzzler that I've had my eye on for a while now. The DLC is for AI War, a strategy game I should really have had a good look at by now. I think the reason I didn't is because I picked it up when I was feeling particularly poorly and not wanting to play many games at all. Time it got another look because it's one that should grab my attention.

I've been checking out another called Distant Universe, another space strategy game. I need to know more about that. Is it worth getting. Definitely is it worth £22.50 on sale. There will be another sale over Xmas, so I can wait for this one.

This is where the Youtube videos come in really handy, you can evaluate whether you will enjoy a game and get the value out of it. It's a shame that Youtube game content is starting to die off, as it gets harder and less rewarding for content creators to bring us videos. A lot of them are going to Twitch streaming, which is a pity because ... livestreams. You can only really watch one at a time, they're all cannibalizing their audiences. Whereas I'll put Youtube videos in a slow mode and catch up later, you can't really do that with most streams, so the streams get sacrificed because you just don't have the time to watch them.

Time is pretty precious too ... It is really good being able to chill out to the HeyChrissa streams. She has a certain rapport with chat, although a couple of the people in chat should really keep their fingers away from the keyboard. They have that sense where they seem to have to prove something ... and go about it in offensive ways. They are tolerated because they have been with the community for a while but ... chat goes quiet when they are loud. I ignore them and the chat when they're being rowdy.

I suspect sleep will be coming after I've finished the current round of videos. Haha, at probably midnight as per usual. At least I won't be waiting at the bus stop for ages tomorrow.

We're cursed with a company called First Bus aka Worst Bus in Bristol. They essentially have a monopoly, which they've been abusing lately. Some buses don't come at all, most buses are late. This is partly the fault of the Metrobus works, which will have very little actual benefit for the harm they have inflicted on traffic patterns and the general look of the neighbourhood. I bet the new local flats are really annoyed at losing their very little bit of isolation room between them and a busy main road. Road noise is not nice to live with. I'm ok because I'm on a cul-de-sac, although our road gets abused by people working in local shops.

Yeah, they have some excuses due to Metrobus but this in no way excuses certain services being apparently cancelled (not saying which, it gives too much location info away !). That's more whining though.

Looking forward to :
Building a Millennium Falcon.
Getting into the games.
Catching up on some great telly.
England winning in the cricket (cough).
Another go at Metal Earth with R2.
Lots of music - it's the Working Girl album by Little Boots at the moment. Boppyhappy.
Nite !

Monday, November 21, 2016

Have a break, have a ...

Nope. Not advertising chocolate biscuit bars today ! Just spotted a meme on the Facebooks and you me and memes ... Yep. Can't resist.

But first ... We had the birthday weekend again this weekend ! Which means seeing the family and the Ben-pup.
Yep. Everyone's still going strong. Ageing perhaps ... but still fighting on. And having our own fun too. Mine involved acquiring bags of bonbons. And then devouring those bags of bonbons. I may have a problem when it comes to bonbons.

My sister liked her birthday present. She got the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar. This means I may have to buy one too !!! I got jumpers and a leather jacket to replace some that are getting on a bit and a tad frayed. I'm not good at getting the new clothes.

Travel was ok, I think I got all the travel in before the mayhem that has hit today. There are pictures of parts of Bristol where the water is so high, it is above the window level on parked cars. Wow ! I live in a somewhat higher up part of Bristol and there's good drainage through dykes, so it should be safe from flooding here. I was going to say that the gps on the phone was telling me that I live 70m above sea level. But now it is reporting between 0 and 1m above sea level. Oh well. Time to break out the canoe and snorkel.

(This just tells me that you shouldn't wholly trust gadgets !)

Meme ? Here goes :
1. Are you named after someone?
Don't believe so.
2. What colour is your car?
Grey. It is the Grey Ghost because it's vewy, vewy, qwiet.
3. Do you like your handwriting?
Nah. Too random and I keep missing out random letters. I can barely read it sometimes !
4. What is your favourite lunch meat?
I usually have the turkey in the sandwiches but any fairly low fanciness meats will do me.
5. Do you have kids?
Nah. No kids. But I do borrow the Ben-pup when I visit the parents.
6. Do you use sarcasm?
Definitely ! Sometimes you have to talk other people's language and sarcasm can be the only one they understand.
7. Do you still have your tonsils?
Gargle - yep.
8. Would you bungee jump?
Not likely. Although ... it might help straighten that back out.
9. What is your favourite kind of cereal?
Haven't had cereal in years ...

10. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
Yep. Cos I can't take them off when the laces are done up. Although I do have a pair of older trainers that I can just slip on and off and they don't fall off.
11. Do you think you're strong?
Emotionally, somewhat. That's the tendency to bounce back when I see someone smiling. Physically, not any more because I haven't been exercising that much as my body repairs.
12. What is your favourite ice cream. 

Gotta be the Mint Choc Chip.
13. What is the first thing you notice about people?
Whether they're smiling, which is when my Big Grin comes out too.
14.Football or Baseball?
15. What is the least favourite thing you like about yourself?
Inertia, or the quality of knowing there is stuff that needs to be done and just not doing it.
16. What colour pants are you wearing now?
UK definition of pants involves underwear ... which I'm not telling. I might not be wearing any ;-) (I am). I'm wearing light coloured greyish running around in trousers that are pretty thick. Good stuff for a colder house :-).

17. What was the last thing you ate?
Box of Maltesers. Surprise chocolate when traffic means heading to the shops for a resupply is a bad idea.
18. What are you listening to right now?
KT Tunstall's album Drastic Fantastic with songs like White Bird.
19. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
Huh ?

20. Favourite smell?
Fresh tea cakes.

21. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?
The mum ! Making the arrangements for when I'd appear at their place.

22. Favourite sport to watch?
Cricket ! Have even been to games and I pay attention. Most of the time.
23. Hair color?
At the moment ? Mucky blonde. You know, that blonde that isn't white and isn't darker. Something in the middle.
24. Eye colour?
Dunno actually ... I sometimes look but never remember ! I think it changes.

25.Favourite food to eat?
Pizza. But it has a certain effect on me now so I have to ration it. Apart from that, I'm becoming a fan of Wagamamas. And steak. And pasta. Wonder if you can combine all that ?
26. Scary films or happy endings?
Happy endings. I can get caught up in the scaries but unless you don't know where it's going to take its story, I lose interest.
27. Last film you watched?
Star Trek IV The Voyage Home. Still a decent movie but a bit too much on the Earth. I'm looking forward to seeing Rogue One, Passengers and I'm pondering going to see Arrival on Friday. It is Black Friday though, so I may avoid the centre of Bristol on Friday ... it might be mayhem.
28. What colour shirt are you wearing?
I have a green custom t-shirt on. It has a timeline of spacecraft, starting at 0 with the Tardis, going through the space shuttle, an Eagle, Galactica, Enterprise, Serenity before finishing off at infinity with the Tardis again.

Meme done ! But I feel this post will not be complete without ...
More Ben ! A minute before this, he was fast asleep impersonating a sawmill. But then someone ventured near the source of treats ...
Bless 'im. His paw still bugs him but he gets around with a curiously wobbling gait. He must be getting pain from it but it's managed with pills from the vet. He's quite perky for an old dog, although he rations out his effort. He'll bounce, he'll scare off uninvited door stop sales people, then he'll crash.
He's a happy muttley.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

What to do on a birthday ? Save the world !

Birthday today !

I'm having a chilled out one today. I now have the music on (nice bit of Abba with a Suzanne Vega album next up) while a youtube game video is going on in the background. The gaming video is about the new Civilisation VI game that has just come out. I may get that ... but not yet. I'm not prepared to pay the £50 for it. I can wait for discounts.

I have been chilling out with a game today though. XCom2 came out a good few months ago but I never actually got round to playing it. I'm really enjoying having a good run in it now although the aliens are giving my soldiers a good run for their money. Oh and there's also been a decent last day's play in the cricket today and one of the more eventful Grand Prix that there has been for a while.

In terms of birthday festivities, I had a chance to have lunch with someone lovely yesterday as we raided the Christmas Market here in Bristol. The management of it has changed hands this year but it still has the German Sausage stalls (they smelled very inviting yesterday) and the Happy Cookie Place is back too. PikaPeacanut Stall wasn't in evidence, need more checking. And the salmon on a fire stall isn't there either. I always regret not checking that one out.
But on to the game ! One of the features of games like XCom2 is the customisation of the soldiers you have with you. Take your friends into battle ! Try not to get them killed !

The XCom games are pretty tough. It doesn't take much of an error to put one of your people in danger. I have actually only lost one soldier so far !
The first two don't count, they die as part of scripted events in the first opening tutorial mission. The one I did lose got ambushed while saving civilians from alien retaliation.

Yep. This one is all about kicking the alien butt again. It's the second game in the remade XCom series, picking up 20 years after Earth lost to the aliens rather badly. The aliens now control our planet and resistance is all but stamped out. It's up to us to kick ass and chew strawberry bonbons. And because the aliens banned the bonbon, you know who's ass we're gonna be kicking. But who's doing the ass kicking ?
That's the roster after completing one of the early story missions. Oh and the mission after ... because. These games can get a bit of a hold on you with the "Just one more mission, then I stop for a bit" factor. They're doing pretty well. The crew comes from a mix of youtuber name lists (spot the Cinnamon and the TB in there) plus we have recruited in a number of characters from the Mass Effect universe. The name lists give pre customised characters which add a bit of colour into the precedings.

Shall we meet some of them ? Just the friends that is. Showing them all will take forever !
That's Hotshot, who is the lead sniper at the moment keeping an eye on our squad from high above. Many aliens have died by her hand already.
With a young protege joining in after that particularly hard retaliation mission. She'll be back in the fight soon enough.
And there's the last one of the ones I have named so far. His nickname could have gone two ways, either Cyberkitten (spot that weapon detail !) or Truthseeker. It'll be Truthseeker this time because I'll be wanting his hacking skills. I think the aliens have already got to him with that growth above his mouth though that tends to appear randomly.

Will they all survive ? How many of them will make it to the final mission ? Will I get chance to play the game more any time soon !
Or maybe some heavy metal grindy music back up in the form of the Final Liberation soundtrack that's going at the moment.
I've come out of game now though. Chill out time for me. But ...
Or the cookies. The cookies need me too. Nite !

Thursday, November 10, 2016

If you are ...

Oh there is so much feeling on the internet right now. It's echoing what we saw after the Brexit vote got announced but amplified by there being far more people over the pond and perhaps because it is not in the place with that (in?)famous British reserve ?
The meme I've been seeing at the moment is a long list of "If you're ..." Here it is, although I have changed one or two bits because I didn't quite agree with the original. I think this is an improvement. Here goes !

If you wear a hijab, I'll sit with you on the train.
Sure ! If there aren't empty seats elsewhere cos ... sitting beside someone when you can sit on your own is seen as a bit weird here. But the point's valid. There was a case not too long ago in Bristol where a passenger demanded that another passenger leave the bus because they thought they looked like a terrorist (Asian archetype, had beard) and they were scared. I'd have asked the bullied person to sit beside me and asked the bully to leave the bus. Yes.

If you're trans, I'll go to the same bathroom as you.
Because we've all seen each other's bits right ? It doesn't matter what people pee out of does it. And that's what we go to the bathroom for right ? The people who want to dictate where trans people pee don't do other things in bathrooms right ?

If you're a person of colour, I'll stand up to the cops for you.
Every time. Teachers too. We had a racist teacher at my secondary school who was picking on the only black kid in the school. I helped the guy out, we were good friends while I was at that school although his chances were somewhat crippled by this racist teacher. It does depend though. If the person of colour has just robbed someone, I'll help those cops if it's not too risky.

(Avoid generalisations ! Why are the cops after them ? Genuine or bullying ?)

If you're a person with disabilities, I'll hand you my megaphone.
I should try not to but I really do bristle when I see non-disabled people steal the disabled parking spots. There should be some kind of fitting punishment for that. I suspect the disabled people don't want to make too much of a fuss though, they're busy fighting their own battles. They shouldn't fight other battles too !

If you're an immigrant, I'll help find you resources.
Hmm ... that's what the state is for really. But I see the point again.

If you're a survivor, I'll believe you. I'll listen.
The listen part is the most important there. If someone has been through something intense, it is important that you listen and give them the benefit of your belief. Some of the people around us have been through some Really Crazy Stuff. To help them cope with that, to process that, they need to express it to others. The least we can do for them is to listen and believe.

If you're a refugee, I'll make sure you're welcome.
My Grins are for everyone. Whether they be English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, European, Asian, American, whether they be from everywhere. Except chavs. They can do one.

If you're a veteran, I'll take up your fight.
I know a few veterans. They have a quiet strength and dignity that we can all learn from.

If you're LGBTQ, I won't tell anyone tell you that they think you're broken.
Whatever your preference, whoever you are attracted to, love is love. Me ? I like intelligent pretty ladies. Other guys are different, other ladies get repulsed by blokes. We should respect who and what people are, we should not try to change them. People are at their best when they can be natural and comfortable with themselves.

If you're a woman, I'll make sure you get home ok.
Always. If I have to go out of my way to make sure the Pretty Lady gets home ok, I'll consider that an honour that she wants to spend that extra time with me. Why wouldn't you escort her home ? It's a chance to spend more time with someone lovely ? It's up to the lady though. She might think she should be escorting you home !!!

If you're tired, me too.
It's been a long year. Lots has happened, earthshattering events both in politics and in reality.

If you need me, I'll be with you. All I ask is that you be with me too.
Our greatest gift is our time. When people ask for a little help, make time for them. If someone lonely reaches out, listen to their voice. We're better together than apart. We can help each other much better if we give that gift of time.

If you need a hug, I have an infinite supply.
Always. Hugs are awesome.
The behaviours start with us. We can make this world a better place. We just have to drop the preconceptions, the prejudices and just treat people as people remembering that our differences are what make us strong, they're what make us interesting.

Listen to the stories of other people, they will expand your life.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Random Sleepiness

Oooo - randomness.

I had a bunch of thoughts bubbling through this pot mess of a head earlier. Today actually started pretty bad. My mental state is dominated by two things at the moment :

The condition of my outsides;
How much sleep I get.
And I didn't get much sleep last night. (A combination of me having a shower a bit too late and my hair being too long at the moment to dry quick plus staying on the interwebs a bit too long).

And because my outsides are still being frustrating too.

The bad patches are gradually receding ! Hurrah ! But when I woke this morning, the two spots I don't talk about (ok, they're my nipples ... and you know what those do in the cold ? Well, the stretching that causes makes new damage ... and we shall never talk of that again !) had worsened. It's a really bad spot. You can excuse marks on arms or marks on legs but there ? Very awkward.

So my mood was being devastated by that plus lack of sleep through the morning. I addressed that mid morning and that's worked ... for now. But it does put off the problem and doesn't actually fix it. I have more ideas there but it will need more time and looking after. One problem is a constant conflict between needing to keep stuff clean and the act of cleaning causing a certain amount of disruption.

But my mood did steadily improve through the day.

It helps to talk to people. It really does. And I have a few people I can natter at who cheer me up. Oh and a couple of them also work in the canteen which leads to bigger sandwiches at lunchtime (actually it doesn't except on Friday when I go late and they give me stuff they would otherwise throw out).

I do feel a lot better now, mentally at least, compared to this morning. My left foot is the most torn up but it is good when I take the socks off in the evening to find that it is actually intact. Pretty damaged but ... intact. That's progress !! I also have excellent progress on my arms and especially my elbows too.

Progress is good.

Other random stuff ?

I've been in the Internet Spaceship game again. I abandoned the trip around the galaxy for now (will do it at some point) because a major update dropped last week and it has made the game prettier. Definitely, the space stations are shinier now and I'm saying that without even going to the most affluent. They are supposed to be the shiniest.

I suspect my current Pilot Plan may not last long. I have taken my Explorer ship, think it was called "I'm off to find the cookies" and turned it back into a cargo ship. I'll be smuggling rare goods around the galaxy for a bit. Trouble is, the smuggling part doesn't work so well now because the police in the game have gone nuts. They're far too good at finding the illegal stuff. I suspect shenanigans in the code. But it does get you around a very wide variety of space stations.

They're pretty.
As is the gold Asp. I'll upgrade that to a Python soon. (pic from the newest version of the game)
(Pic from how the game was last year I think)
I know. Not a particularly pretty ship but very functional. Great with the cargo running plus I had one that was very nastily armed too. The Cookie Cutter should get similarly nasty but needs more investment. So I'll stick to the smaller ship for a while so I can burn down pirates instead of running from them.

Ok. Pretty Ship picture required :
No Internet Spaceship tonight though. Was tired after work so it's just videos in the background and an earlier night than last night.

I do feel much better than this morning though.

Other random thoughts :

Vendee globe started yesterday ! This is a round the world race featuring sailors who will do this single handed, non stop in 60 foot long IMOCA 60 yachts. I have so much respect for the people who do this race. They're legends. They're just off the coast of Portugal at the moment. You can follow the race at the website (link!). Just the one Brit in the race this year and sadly no ladies but it was great listening to Dee Caffari's commentary on the livestream coverage yesterday. She cut through lack of knowledge and presented what was happening like the pro that she is. There's a lot involved in sailing and having someone knowledgeable and who can pass on that knowledge as basics is invaluable.

(I am having trouble with words today I think - I always think you demonstrate true knowledge of a subject only by being able to explain it in the simplest terms. Jargon is bad).

I want to have a look around one of them to see how it's put together. Both in terms of construction and how the insides are laid out. There isn't much space inside and it has to serve the sailor. I still have that dream of moving on to a canal boat, although I suspect the True Dream of a potentially sea going Dutch Barge would need a lottery win.
Is she not a pretty little ship ? I would like a pretty little ship.

But I will have to stay to the Internet Spaceships for now. And my dreams. Some of which feed into that potential future novel. Need a good set up for that though.

Should I close on something about politics ? Maybe not. They're being too scary at the moment. Democracy is great ... until it is subverted by those who try to tell us what to think (all of our media) and by those who renege on their promises as soon as they have your vote. We need accountability in our politics and that's totally lacking at the moment. Everyone is accountable, except the politicians.

That's a really bad way to finish a post though.

Really liking the phone. May talk about that more at some point but it's a substantial upgrade over the iPhone.
Start with the sad, end with a chuckle. I hope that pic makes you laugh as much as it made me laugh.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Motioning to Write

It's NaNoWriMo month !

At some point, I will indulge in the NaNoWriMo initiative. What is it ?
The picture is from Two Brooklyn Cats on Twitter (link!) and they don't have nearly enough followers yet. Hint-hint.

NaNoWriMo is a yearly thing. I'm pretty sure I've written about it before, the aim is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I'd like to think I could write the stories that would make up a novel. I can rabbit on quite happily when the mood takes me and I'll run through conversations in my mind before they happen. Probably a bad habit because I assume that the conversation goes the way I want and I always tend to miss something which takes the actual conversation in a completely different direction.

I've written before about what I would write too. There are a few nucleic ideas :

Post Apocalyptic and recovery phase where my central group of characters scavenge and scout to help rebuild.
SPACE ! Firefly was an awesome series and didn't last long enough.
Fantasy with magic environments.

I think you get the picture there. But some of the stories I've enjoyed most have involved a central group of characters who bantered with each other. This was a main theme of David Eddings' successful series. Different characters who banter, bicker, argue, love.

I'm not going to do NaNoWriMo this year though. After a few spurts of thought earlier this year, I haven't actually turned those into something I could write something around that would make sense. All writing needs a plan. A pre-book if you will. A setting for the world you write the story in. The best stories have a certain consistency and you need that view of the world early to acquire that consistency so details aren't rehashed later because they didn't fit in with later elements of the story.

I have a plan for most blog posts I write, although it tends to just be themes I want to cover. For this one, it's NaNoWriMo morphing into writing about what I'm watching now. (In a minute). Nah. I want to be properly healed up as well so I can direct all my mental energies towards this. I'm still feeling a certain amount of wornoutness that partly comes from the feelings about my outsides.
I am healing ... steadily. My skin felt great last week, getting super smooth mostly. My arms are nearly all better. My ankles and a couple of other areas may need more help though. Or to be left alone some more. They're trying to heal but it's so ridiculously easy to aggravate the damage again. Even clearing some of the flakey to clean it up can be too much for the current strength and integrity of the skin.

But it is getting there. What am I watching though ?
Ok. Not that movie. But a close one to it. I'm watching Star Trek The Motion Picture, the first big screen effort from the Star Trek franchise. I'm a quiet fan of this movie, it hit the spot in many, many ways. It's actually a really good scifi movie and it has that core set of characters all giving it their all.

It is described heavily as an extended episode of the series. Don't all movies fit that description ? Perhaps.

It does show its age in the melding of computer imagery, artist imagery and the real acting. You can see the joins. We're far better now at stitching it all together but for a 1979 movie, they do a great job. It's a movie that I'll consistently enjoy as I am now.

My plan is to watch all of the Star Trek movies over the next month or so. I'll be watching on non-stream nights, that should work pretty well and it just might get me to where Star Trek Beyond won't be full price. See ? I have a Cunning Plan.

It's just getting to the climax of the movie though so I'll leave it off there. But how about this for an intrepid bunch of character to build a crew around ...

The one who points the direction to go. The centre point. The brain of the crew.
The sailor who is rescued from a dead ship and joins the crew for adventure, a warm meal and a hot shower. The pro.
The worker bee who throws herself into everything she can, who is the heart of the crew.
The pair who would be brothers in another life. Who played the games together before whatever calamity hit. Who can finish each others sentences. One is a writer, a philosopher, a student of the mental sciences. The other, a student of the physical sciences.
And finally, the mom who could not be a mom, who looks after us as her family. She's a mean shot with that sniper rifle ...

And there would be the dogs who scout for us and guard for us. Dogs are smart.

I think I'd have fun writing a book with that crew, although you need to throw them at drama to make the story interesting.
Oh and you'd have to figure a happy ending too. All the best stories have those.