Belated Happy New Year!

Well I am somewhat surprised to find myself in 2018.

The last few months have been really busy with appointments and other commitments.
I have also been watching a lot of motivational and instructional videos recently about life and writing by various authors I follow on YouTube and other people I am finding inspirational.

I have been binge watching Ana Mascara, Kristen Martin, Kim Chance and Jenna Moreci.

A special video i must recommend everyone to watch is Baz Luhrmann’s excellent “Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen” which a dear friend sent to me during a dark time and it really lifted me up and still does, have a listen you wont regret it.

I must say that they have been very helpful and taught me a few tips and tricks to get my motivation going such as Mel Robbin’s5 second rule” which is handy.
I have also been away from the Xbox recently and playing more games on the PC (though even then I tend to get distracted easily and switch games often).
I was excited to get some Christmas money and head over to the Winter Steam sale and picked up a few bargains there and on Matrix Games website.
I picked up Gary Grigsby’s War In The East and War In The West, Pandora First Contact, Graviteam Tactics Operation Star, Rimworld (which I have been after for ages but waited fruitlessly for a sale!), Outlast, Startup Company and a few assorted DLC.

Anyone reading this: can I make a suggestion if you buy Outlast (A survival horror set in an old asylum) play with the lights off and the headphones turned up!

I have also been trying to get the amazing (and FREE) Dwarf Fortress Masterwork v1.3 working, but so far it always seems to crash when generating a new world so I will be having a more detailed look at the options (Masterwork is basically Dwarf Fortress on steroids, it includes all the utilities you will ever need for DF plus new creatures, items, workshops and a ridiculous level of customisation) I switched to Masterwork from the Lazy Newb Pack which I highly recommend for new players, (now known as PeridexisErrant’s Starter Pack), it has most of the same utilities and functions as Masterwork but has a simpler UI and less options.

I also bought Styx Master of Shadows for the Xbox as it was on offer and sounded good (not played too much of it yet though as I said above, I have been on the PC almost exclusively).

With the decorations and the Christmas tree down, the place does look kind of empty now as I sit here at the table, though I am sure I will get used to it fairly quickly.
I have been trying to read 25 pages a day too, I have so many fiction and non-fiction books on my shelf and on my Kindle that I want to read so I am currently reading His Last Command from The Lost Omnibus by Dan Abnett on paperback and Hitler’s Last Witness by Rochus Misch on my Kindle.

I have even been so organised that I have been colour coding my appointments and meetings in my diary and keeping track of everything, for someone as usually disorganised and chaotic as me it is unprecedented!

I have my goals for 2018 broken down into monthly, weekly and daily goals and trying to make permanent good habits (no nail biting for one!).

I have plans for this site too that involve a bit of reworking and tweaking, i updated the theme and started to make some changes but there will be more to come as soon as I have a really good dig into the customisation options.

So, watch this space!

I hope your New Year has gotten off to a good start as mine has!

Thanks for reading!

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Witcher & Writing

I have recently been playing a bit of The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt and loving it!
Having a huge world to explore on horseback and kill monsters and harvest their bodies for alchemy ingredients to make potions with is just great!
Yeah sure I can take a wrong turn straight into a high level enemy and get obliterated but that is part of the fun! Mark it and move on.
I am a little naughty though as I couldn’t resist getting Witcher 3 even though I have not finished Witcher 1 or 2, which I understand follows on but I am familiar enough with the characters and basic plot to understand what is going on even so.
I have had to start Witcher 1 Enhanced Edition again due to my long term save becoming corrupted or something, meaning I could no longer carry on with the main quest which annoyed me no end as I was pretty far in.
I have also recently picked up Witcher 2 for the 360 as it is backwards compatible with the Xbox One and had to start that again too so all fresh starts all round!

I have also been getting back into my Udemy courses on accounting software and Python programming language which seems to be going well.
I had installed Python Anaconda where you get the core language plus a metric ton of additional libraries for use as well as an IDE and a few other tools which I have literally no idea what they are for.
Problem is, I had to uninstall the old versions of Anaconda, which also uninstalled the new one for some reason then had to reinstall everything! Oh well, it seems to work fine now albeit a little slow.
Once I have completed all the courses on Python, I will be moving onto C# which is another language I would like to use for making my own game eventually.

Writing has been a little slow recently due to my health and my penchant for getting distracted by games or the Internet, but I have been watching loads of writing videos on YouTube and feel quite inspired to write again now and also bought a couple of books recently which are proving to be a good read (Your First Novel and The Writer’s Idea Thesaurus) which were recommended by YouTuber and author Kristen Martin who I have been binge watching in recent weeks! Go check out her channel!

Well, I am off to do some more writing so I will end it here, thank you for reading and have a great week!

A Small Update

Well, it has been a while since my last update.
We visited relatives in Wales recently which was nice, though there were a lot of train and bus journeys in unfamiliar territory!
We went bowling, played air hockey and visited Caerphilly Castle which was good for a few pictures.
We also had a lovely fried breakfast in a cafe in Merthyr after doing the charity shops and markets.
I even found an unopened copy of Star Munchkin for £3 in a charity shop which I snagged very quickly seeing as it is nearly £20 online!
When we got home, we opened the box after reading it was for 3-6 players and that had previously put me off buying any of the munchkin games but it turns out to be a whole lot of fun with just 2 players and we rapidly bought the expansions for it and now it has been added to our lounge/gaming room collection!
I can recommend it if you like killing monsters, taking their stuff and screwing over your friends! (as it says on the box!).

One nice thing about Aberdare is the views from the top of the garden were fantastic and more pictures were taken, though there is the small matter of the steep road/cliff face that you need to traverse to get to the house which tired us both out! But we enjoyed the sun and sat out in the garden enjoying the quiet before venturing indoors to play Red November and Mille Bornes, two other games I can highly recommend.

One good thing about using the bus every day was we got to see a lot of the Welsh countryside.

We did miss our little furbaby Milo terribly though and we asked our friend who was kittysitting for us to send us daily pictures and updates to help, though he was glad to see us when we got home and it was cuddles all round (from Milo that is!).

Recently, I have been toying with Dwarf Fortress again, more specifically the Mod Dwarf Fortress Masterwork, which is not for the faint hearted! I usually use the Lazy Newb Pack as it has all the mods and utiities you will ever need to run your fort, though Masterwork has all these tools and then some, I am hoping to learn enough of MW DF to post AAR’s on here for anyone who may be interested in reading how quickly my fort falls!

I have also been enjoying Fallout 4 and Alien:Isolation on the Xbox, which are both great games in their own right, though on Fallout, I tend to just drift around in survival mode and try not to get killed rather than doing any of the missions! I strongly recommend playing on survival once you have some experience with the game on normal difficulty first (it is a whole different beast of a game that way!) so far, I am only a few levels in on my survival character though enjoying every minute of it! Though I do need to go back to my main character and finish the game (which won’t be anytime soon).

Well, I will finish off here, I hope you enjoyed this small update and I have given you a few games to go and try!

Now im off to Scrivener to try and get some writing done!

Volunteering and Gaming

Hi all! it’s been a long time since my last post, but here i am with a fresh new one to thrill and amaze!
Volunteer work has kept me busy over the intervening period as well as my long suffering wife Tracey.
Sadly, our time with the council run local library came to an end as the library closed, though we did walk away with a friend and reference in our boss.

We then started volunteering for the Maritime Archaeology Trust identifying and recording lost wrecks from World War One, which goes right down my alley, being able to use my Google-Fu to tease any extra data from the Interweb!

I started volunteering at a local cafe which went really well and I discovered that maybe i could go back into a fast paced dynamic kitchen environment again after so many years away, there i gained valuable experience both in the back and out the front and remember my time there fondly (even one day when the freezers needed to be scraped out and cleaned which was fun! 😉

Recently, I started volunteering at a charity shop with Tracey and a friend to gain valuable retail experience and also with the Council again with the Museum Collections Service, digitising old records, which suits me fine being up to my neck in old records and entering them into a spreadsheet, which is probably as boring as it sounds to most, but to me it gives me a chance to brush up on my Excel skills! though some of that writing can be tricky to read!

I have been slowly coming around to my games again after a long time being unable to do so for health reasons and have been particularly enjoying Microsoft Flight Simulator X:Steam Edition and Euro Truck Simulator 2 with the amazing Promods, Rusmaps, and Jazzycat Trailer & AI Traffic mods amongst others (which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone who has ever fancied taking a truck across Europe!).

I love Simulators, 4X games and RPG’s and I am hoping to take this blog in a slightly different direction in the future.

I will be keeping to these small ‘updates’ about my life, but will also be talking about what games i have been enjoying recently and what mods I can recommend based on my personal preference.

I have also been enjoying Mass Effect Andromeda and Fallout 4 on Xbox way more than i probably should but Tracey and I have an understanding so I get games during the day, then we veg out and watch our series and maybe a film or two afterwards in the evening with dinner.  It works really well for us.

Being a huge, huge fan of the Mass Effect franchise, the release of Andromeda was greatly anticipated by me but due to being unable to run it on my PC and not owning an Xbox One, I couldn’t play it, but careful saving and a liberal splash of trading in old games and hardware in our local CEX, i managed to finally join the current-gen club!
I have not tested the mods feature of Fallout 4 yet, but when i get around to it, there are definitely a couple i would like to try out (though part of me is saying wait for a PC upgrade and get it on PC too for more modding fun and mod managers!).

Well, on top of all this, I have been trying to write where and when i can.  I have the software, the hardware and no excuses yet still struggle at times.

I have a collaborative fiction piece with my brother in law which is going really well and we are both enjoying it (yes, i will get back to it i promise! 😉

I have my blog, which as you have all realised has been somewhat abandoned of late (okay longer than that!) and i am working on my novel of which i hope to be able to post updates on here very soon.

And then there is my reading… thanks to Amazon and Bookbub, i have been able to expand my Kindle library to probably over a hundred books nearly all of which were free (book 1’s of a series or really old) or were heavily discounted, which is all great on paper, but with everything going on, I tend to just want to chill out with YouTube videos at bedtime (yes i know videos are probably not the best thing to be doing in bed!) though my Watch Later list grows by the day and the amount of series I have started watching of various game Let’s Plays also never seems to shrink!

I think that is all i have for you today, sorry about the long wait to those of you who read this blog, but i hope to get back in the saddle again quickly so please bear with me!

Smart Meter, Rummy and Books!

Well we have just had our new Southern Electric Smart Meter installed and said goodbye to the Engineer after a brief demo of our new system.
We can now monitor our electric and gas usage in real time which is really cool and has had me switching things on and running back to the hand held monitor to see the difference!.
The only weird thing is when i plugged the monitor into a free plug socket and switched it on to save the batteries, our usage dropped, not sure why.
Over the next seven weeks, it will learn our usage habits and adapt itself accordingly, so it will be interesting  to see what happens!.
While the Engineer was busy downstairs, we had no power for a brief time, so with no Internet, PCs or TV, we were forced to rely on other ways of amusing ourselves for the duration.

Continue reading “Smart Meter, Rummy and Books!”

Football Manager Addiction!

Football Manager was named in 35 divorce cases in the UK.

Having played a fair few hours of it over the last couple of weeks I can see why.

I am not a huge follower of football and will be the first to put my hand up and admit I know next to nothing about football strategy and tactics (though I have printed out a few guides and read a lot of articles to increase my knowledge somewhat).  I understand they have streamlined  the game and improved vastly upon it since my last foray into Football Manager (2012) and I have found this version (2014) to be a lot simpler and more intuitive than the last one I played (I know it’s all a matter of opinion but I am getting on with this version better than 2010 or 2012 somehow).  Even though I am not a huge football fanatic, I still find this game highly addictive and think about it even when i’m not playing it and planning for my next session!.

Continue reading “Football Manager Addiction!”

Games, Glorious Games!

Well, it has been a long time since my last post.

I think it is for a variety of reasons, chiefly being the fact that I am now well and truly back into my games and spend time on them when I should be writing.

I have definitely turned into a steam addict and my game collection grows by the week (though now Tracey has given me an allowance each fortnight!).

Lately, I have been mainly playing Crusader Kings II (where I am trying my hardest to become the King of Ireland [unsuccessfully] as YouTube recommends to new players), X2:The Threat (I am making my annual attempt at an X:Marathon where I start with X:Beyond the Frontier and progress through X:Tension, X2:The Threat, X3:Reunion and X3:Terran Conflict building my empire before finally getting my hands on X3: Albion Prelude and finally X:Rebirth if my PC can handle it).

Continue reading “Games, Glorious Games!”

A Relaxing Weekend?

Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just got in from a rather hot walk up to the big Tesco’s up the road.

Tracey made the whole trip there and back without stopping which is a huge achievement at this stage of her recovery.

Now we are both sat down with a cold drink and I thought it would be a good time to write.

Yesterday, we had to make another trip to Southampton, firstly to return a cheap pair of speakers we bought for Tracey’s computer, and secondly to return a game (Stardrive) that we bought from CEX and turned out to be a Steam game that had already been activated.

CEX were great, they refunded me straight away and the voucher went towards… (and I am almost ashamed to say this)  LEGO Star Wars The Original Trilogy.

In my defence, I am trying to get more games that both Tracey and I can play together and we are both Star Wars and Lego fans and the games came recommended so thought it was worth a try!.

Continue reading “A Relaxing Weekend?”

The End of an Era

Well, that is college over for now until we start the Computer Programming course in September (when we get around to enrolling anyway!).  We came so close to finishing our final MS Access test but due to some unexpected issues, we had to come in the week after to finish it.  It was a sad goodbye to our tutor Nina, as we have been with her for two ITQ courses now and sadly Totton College currently do not offer the ITQ3 which we would gladly have enrolled on and had her teach us for level one, two and three!.

I would have had this post out earlier but, there were some computer issues which needed a careful application of Smart Defrag, Ccleaner and Malware Bytes to sort out first.

If your computer is running slow, chances are it either needs defragging or has malware (or even both!) I didn’t have any malware, but did need a defrag.  I can strongly recommend these three programs to help keep your PC in top shape.

Continue reading “The End of an Era”

Banjo-Kazooie
Banjo-Kazooie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My wife and I went to town the other day.

As part of her recovery we are walking every day to get her back into shape and exercise her heart, but are also taking the collapsible wheelchair for when she gets too tired.

Tracey walked to the bus stop just using the chair for balance then we jumped on the bus and spent the next twenty minutes being bounced around on the uneven roads which wasn’t exactly comfortable for her.

But eventually, we made it to town and got out our list we had made to ensure we didn’t forget anything.  This was the first time we had been in town since before Tracey’s operation and we didn’t want to waste time!.

We got off at the Marlands and entered CEX, where we immediately headed for the Xbox 360 games and picked up Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts for a bargain low price as I had recently had been playing Banjo-Kazooie and felt like retrying Nuts & Bolts after a brief go a few years ago which ended with me trading it in as there were other games I wanted to play more.

After waiting in the queue for a good twenty minutes (don’t get me started on CEX’s queueing issue!) we headed for GAME in West Quay and promptly arrived at the primary reason we decided to go to town rather than just up the road and back:

Murdered Soul Suspect.

I had been waiting for this game for over a year and had been saving my Christmas GAME voucher and the points on my card for just this occasion, eagerly snapping up each and every trailer released over the past six months.

The tagline is simple: “The hardest murder to solve is your own”.

Then something horrific happened.

I decided to try Viva Pinata.

I had been toying with the idea for a few years since I heard good things about it from a friend.  It just makes a change to play a game now and then that doesn’t revolve around killing or destruction! I can just relax and play this or Banjo if I feel like something different.

To try and deal with the guilt and shame of buying these kids games, we sat in the park and enjoyed some fresh air and sunshine.

After a while we made our way back to the bus and went home pleased with our bargains and an evening of gaming prevailed…

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