Monday, 28 July 2014

Xbox blah

Firstly... fuck you blogger app as you didn't save my last post. Ahem.

Right back onto it.

Back last year when the xbox one and ps4 were released, I knew I wanted to stay with the xbox brand, so I did. It took me a few months to gather up my pennies and purchase a few shiny (actually matt) xbox one, complete with my very own high res but still largely generic football title (FIFA).

Since then, I honestly have not been particularly impressed with it. Initially there were problems connecting to the internet, an update fixed them. Downloads and updates are generally HUGE and my snails pace connection really struggles (not after today bitches, FIBRE DAY!) to download anything.

Equally game quantities are not high, there are some good titles, I could just do with... more. some highlights so far...

Ryse: Son of Rome, excellent single player mode, really enjoyed to the point I was disappointed when I could see the end coming. Multiplayer seemed good, but with the lag on my piece of shit connection I could never get a game, or it'd have issues during (tomorrow...)

Rayman Legends: Wii U game originally but a good old school 2D platformer that looks very nice, yes please!

Forza: Pretty and controls well, can't ask for much more can you?

There's more too, the FIFA is decent (still not buying 15 though) but there have been disappointments in things like Murder: Soul Suspect, the Destiny beta (which my sadly deleted/not saved post was all about) which I was hoping for more from.

Prices don't help, I have probably missed a couple of good ones, but at 50+ quid a game (in GAME, please see Amazon for more realistic prices) you're not going to take a punt on some are you? 360 prices started high and then as games got older they fell, this better happen here or I'll not be happy.

Equally, while I didn't shell out the full price for my console and Kinect (gotta love a voucher code), not long after I bought it, the price dropped, then dropped again (with less hardware) which pissed me off. Microsoft largely ignored the shouts of early adopters objecting to this or requesting some kind of freebie to make up for it and just cracked on. Not the greatest at PR!

There's also a shockingly large amount of remakes of 360 (and equivalent) titles. Both Metro games are coming back out (which I kind of want), all the Halo games (which I kind of want), GTA 5. Write some new stuff!

There are games in the pipeline I want (apart from the Metro pack) such as Destiny (still), Far Cry 4, Fallout 4, so it will get better, but most of these are months away, so my big black VCR-a-like (which I think is a good look) will probably get dustier before it gets busier.

The whole snap thing was shite too Nice touch I can watch TV while playing, up for that, however having to have the xbox on whenever you want to watch TV. Stuff that, ad a deal with Scottish Power did they?

Now I mentioned Destiny above, I can't be arsed writing my previous post again, but in a shortened form, it played like a very good FPS. But I was expecting more somehow, maybe once I get into the story in the full release it'll be all good, but it didn't really feel much apart from Call of Duty, which I stopped buying 2 or 3 years ago.

I don't regret the purchase and I remain optimistic long term, but so far this generation has been a bit of a disappointment. Onwards and upwards though.

Friday, 25 July 2014

They tried to make me go to rehab... and I went

Well when I say rehab, it's not for my massive drink and drug problem as I don't have the cash or the time for a massive drink and drug problem. However, I do have a consistently body falling apart problem.

Let me take you back to October 2013, the sun was shining and i was suffering, I was 11 or so miles into the Cardiff Half Marathon, all set for an easy PB, when something just felt... tight in my knee, then it felt worse than tight, then it bastard hurt. My dreams of a sub 2 hour run died along with my ability to walk properly for the next week.

Undeterred I gave it some rest time and cracked on, became pretty obvious i was doing more damage than good and off I trotted to the doctors. he referred to hospital and I waited. There followed a brief spell on crutches, pain whenever attempted exercise and months of walking like a Monty Python sketch.

It also killed of my hopes of completing an ambition by competing at the London Marathon, sorry Diabetes UK

Eventually the time came and I went to physiotherapy where I was informed my hamstring was the main issue, not letting my knee cap run straight or smooth, causing all kinds of shit to go down inside my knee. The doc still thinks there may be a slight tear to something, but it's not bothering me so... didn't happen.

Physio came and went and after being bent, pulled and twisted in many ways, they then moved me on to lower limb rehabilitation class (or something like that). Today i completed session 5 of 6 and to be fair I do feel better. I can run free of pain, not done any proper distances yet though but at the moment, but I'll happily take that.

The downsides? Well so long without real exercise has messed my cardio up. I'm probably not even a third as fit as I was at this point last year. I'm heavier, I've shot back up to pushing 13 stone from just about 12, which is also counter productive on the cardio of course. That increase is chub too as anyone who has seen me... ever will testify, there's not a muscle on me.

So what do I do? Yep yesterday I submitted my entry to the very race that killed me off last year (and I did think permanently at one point), I'm running the Cardiff Half Marathon 2014. Not for time this year, I'll obviously try my best, but I've accepted now there will be no PB (2:03), no sub 2 hour, probably not under 2:15, but baby steps and all that. my practise race is as usual the Swansea Bay 10k, where I'm targeting 58 minutes (51 last time out).

I'll be doing the charitables as usual and any sponsor money I get is going to velindre, just click (If that works, I'm using the app and it's not great).

More to follow of course!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Fibre baby!

I live in a nice area, it's quiet, the houses are decent size, most everyone is retired or has a job (even me) and the last reported crime was in 1984 when Old Man Smith from down the road was caught worrying the sheep on Winchfawr (real word). All in all it doesn't meet the stereotype of Merthyr Tydfil where people are on the sick for 6 years for having a burny fart.

However, what is limited are things like Internet speeds (less than a meg quite a bit of the time), phone signal coverage, access to a cash machine, you know the kind of thing.

Well no more fr one of those things, no I haven't bought an ATM, today my order goes in for Fibre Optic Internet! Last week, my regular forlorn visit to Superfast Cymru's website didn't produce the traditional, "Fibre Not Available" result, so I did it again just to be sure.

No longer will every xbox download take 6 weeks, no longer will I not be able to stream Netflix and YouTube at the same time (2 different people). Imagine the luxury! Imagine all you want as I won't have to.

Booya bitches!

OK, it'll be 2/3 weeks getting installed which will undoubtedly be a torturous wait, but soon, really soon, my little slice of the Tyd will be one step closer to catching up with the world!Having said that, long contract and somewhat pricey are the downsides extra 10 baps on my (well the wife's, but I'l pay the difference) bill for a nice 72mps connection.

Got a feeling it'll be worth it though.

The return

Christmas 2012, so long ago, but was the last time I wrote on here. Yep dead blog. But no longer, I am here to resurrect!

Now I've not been inactive, my wares have been on display on (now defunct), (now defuct), (now defunct, stop me if you spot a pattern anywhere) and most recently (not defunct! Yay!) where my current production is focused.

However, they currently have a bit of my work to catch up on, so there's no point adding to the pile, plus there it has to be on topic, I can't just wander off the way I used too on here, so let's get this get this show back on the road!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

So that was Christmas

Well that's crimbo over for another year, and this years tried its best to add a little variety!!

This year managed a first for me, the first time I'd ever woken up on Christmas morning in a chair in Prince Charles Hospital. Well that's not strictly true, waking up implies I slept at some point, which with an Ill baby at my side wasn't going to happen. Dylan was diagnosed with bronchitis and spent the night in Ward 31 with the wife, myself and mother Driscoll alternating cover to stay with him.

Then in the night, with loads to be done at home before we served dinner for 7 the following day, I stayed as let's face it, I'd have got fuck all done, or it would have been done badly, one of the two.

After some begging we managed to get discharged at 6:30 or so, then making it home in time to see Gracie open her presents. Words can not describe how gutted I'd have been to miss that. Big thanks to the Ward 31 staff! Christmas day then went on to be the rather good day you'd expect, only let down by me being wiped out in the extreme from the night before and having to take a nap (or two) to stop myself falling down.

Present wise, I got good stuff as you'd expect! This tablet (which I may have mentioned I had early), an N64 which I've acquired a few games for, Batman blurays, and loads more.

Extended period off now til Wednesday, nice to be round the house with the family etc!

New years eve next, off to Swansea with a couple of friends, should be a laugh! Then back to work... Joy... Looking forward to that.

Hmmm a late one but baby doesn't fancy sleeping tonight...

Monday, 17 December 2012

3D tax

I like going to the cinema, but aspects of it do piss me off.

As you may have worked out by now I live in the lovely valleys town of Merthyr Tydfil, sadly all we have is a Vue. We used to have nothing, and for years so it's progress and everything, but we did get stuck with the lesser of the chains. Always expensive, limited showings, only the most mainstream of films and not always at their best (no 3D showing, films only there for a few days, you know the kind of thing.)

But there are things I don't understand, there are possibly perfectly good reasons but what they are... not forthcoming. The main one is the couple of quid they chuck on the (already nearly £8) price for 3D films. I went to see The Hobbit this weekend with the good wife and £20 of tickets for the bog standard seating (if we'd wanted the nice seats it'd be the same price to get into the Odeon IMAX in Cardiff Bay) makes cinema going prohibitive. Plus generally the effect isn't worth it, in this instance it looked nice on a few landscape shots and looking into the Goblin city (no spoiler warnings, the book's been out long enough) but for the film as a whole, I could have done without it.

Do they need special projectors? (I assume so) Does it cost for to put on? Are we paying for those poxy glasses they demand back at the end? I've never seen a film which I initially saw in 3D back in normal 2D and thought... missed that 3rd dimension there. That includes Avatar and Avengers! As a gimmick its fine, as it was in the 70s and the 40s (I think) but it died then and may do so now.

If I wanted to take the full set of sprogs and wife... £8 extra. That's a whole extra person! On release weekend that cinema was 1/3 full at most. I'd imagine cost would be a factor. People wonder why films like Dredd 3D fail, the fault may be as much with the cinemas themselves as with the films.

People weigh up the excessive cost of going and the majority of the time things like cinema lose.

Oh and why couldn't we get an Odeon or a Cineworld... Sad face.

The film itself was good, didn't think it was great. Acting was OK, Freeman was good as Bilbo and it was good to see Sylvester McCoy in work but I found James Nesbitt highly annoying, but then again I always do. The first and last hours were very good but the middle kind of sauntered along waiting for something to happen. It's worth a watch but the 3D isn't a deal breaker.

Bits felt padded out/unnecessary and this didn't always work, it brings me back to other moans about a 300 page book being stretched beyond what is healthy.

I'll be watching the next two but I'm struggling to see how they'll fill 6 more hours!

£20 worth... Nah.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Roughly 1 year later...

This time last year (think it was January) I posted this:

Which has been described to me as a very frank and honest post about myself, it was even mentioned in my work appraisal! Well as much as January is the time for planning, December should be the time for reflecting, I've just read that post back and... Hmmm a mixed bag of results at best.

Let's start with positives! Oh yes fitness. Decent effort PB's at 10k and half marathon and big PB's too. Had a big stall the last 6 weeks or so with a broken arm but come March 3rd I'm confident I'll be capable of a sub 2 hour half marathon in Llanelli. Not bad for a fat asthmatic! Still plenty to do though, still fat but not as fat (my work pass photos were beginning to look like before/after shots). I was actually going to the gym today but mother Driscoll is coming down shopping and so I'm meeting her for lunch instead! Dedication!

On a personal level, good stuff. Child #2 (Dylan) successfully birthed and growing. I was actually fully aware of his existence at the point of the other post, but it was early pregnancy and we hadn't said anything to pretty much anyone, so me announcing it to the 24 (actual number) of people who read the last post would have been silly! I still have 2 houses etc and home like is still good (hi Cerys!), Gracie is doing well in school and dotes on the baby. No complaints there.

Ambition wise, not so great. My 'chance' to try out a senior role and then apply for it was a truly epic epic fail. Crashed and burned in style and what felt like my last chance to progress failed. I tried to join another department, bang in another fail, I tried to join another company... Hat trick! There's still a possibility going forward, but by now its pretty obvious where then problem really lays.

Am doing some courses though, maybe I'll learn something.

Don't get me wrong I don't hate my job and I work with some good people. Generally people who've been there less time than me and have passed me by though. There's even patterns in fractals (Google or listen too Mandelbrot set, Benoit has sadly left us though... Mandelbrot's in heaven..).

Writing wise, including this I've posted 40 times on here. That's not too bad. Some with decent number of views too!

As I said previously, all I can do is try and on times I've crashed and burned and on some things I've done quite well. Oh well power on!

The blogger app (still on the nexus 7, tis lush) just asked me to tag my location... Northern Europe was the best it could do... Don't think this pad has GPS but well done for trying! If you ever wonder where I am in the mornings, its easy there's only ever 2 possibilities, either on manor way while a stagecoach driver looks confused at traffic or on the A470 while some stagecoach driver looks confused at traffic. After Christmas I'm switching to train. I'll take overcrowding ahead of taking 2 hours to get to work.

EDIT: Sorry Nexus, you do have GPS. Should never have doubted you!