Sunday, 21 August 2016

Feet, Futures, Fixer-Uppers and F.lux

The word of the week is indomitable.

Aug 15 – Futures?

It's going to be an interesting next few months around here.

As it turns out, my sister won't be going back to her government job, for various reasons I won't get into here, and all of which I agree with - meaning that other sources of income will have to be substituted forthwith.

That being said, she's been looking at three or four different types of income, with a few already in the works, so I'm not too worried. My sister always lands on her feet and knows practically everybody, everywhere, in terms of networking, so not only does she know people, but people know her and what she can do - she's quite talented in many disciplines, in case you didn't know already.

As you may imagine, this situation could be a major source of stress for us, but I don't foresee it being as such: we always tend to land on our feet, my sister and I. So the bottom line is that as long as she's happy and relatively stress-free by not going back to her government job, then I am fully supportive of whatever she chooses to do instead to pursue her dreams and passions.

Aug 16 – Bullfrog Dreams

Speaking of dreams: they're the stuff that videogames are made of.

Back in the day, my Amiga computer was a dream machine for me. Its graphics and sound were second to none for quite a long while and I enjoyed collecting what ended up to be a large game library of several hundred titles to enjoy.

Some of the most enjoyable games were those produced by a company called Bullfrog, who made iconic games that were insanely fun to play through and through. The game that started it all was the incredible god-sim Populous:

The man behind Bullfrog, Peter Molyneux, is a man of big dreams and big promises... though like many creative types, he tends to overpromise sometimes when his visions lead him a little further than might be wise to admit.

If you're not familiar with Bullfrog or Peter, you should really have a look at this recent interview with the genius behind so many good games. I found the article enlightening despite my being familiar with both Bullfrog and Mr. Molyneux, and enchanting in that this man is obviously one who thinks big and, most times, manages to deliver on his dreams.

I could stand to learn a few things in that department, in the near future.

PS - apparently there's a freeware PC update of Populous out, called Genesia

Aug 17 – Back To Ouch

I'm limping again... badly.

I thought after resting my left foot this past weekend that the worst was over, but apparently my foot is not having any of it. After only 5 min. of walking, it swells up under the ball of the foot and that's it: anymore walking and it's ouch-time.

Meaning that's I could barely walk to work yesterday, and not at all today: I had to take a cab to my workplace and hobble in with a pair of canes for support. Even with ice under my foot on and off all day, I couldn't get up from my desk much without the assistance of a handy cart and by days end, I decided not to come in tomorrow( a rare sick day for me )to just rest up. Luckily I managed to get a ride home, but my foot felt like someone was poking it from beneath with a warm stick: not fun.

Ah well - there's not much I can do right now, save rest. Perhaps in 20 years I might just swap the foot with a different bionic implant, but that's not going to help me in the present. I spent the evening rubbing anti-inflammatory cream into it along with a few dips into cool water to reduce the swelling, which seem to help.

Maybe I should watch My Left Foot for some pointers?

Aug 18 – Dumpty Fixer-Upper

What else would do my day off, except work on restoring my computer?

Seeing as I was home all day today, and my new Mushkin 1 terabyte SSD had arrived in the mail yesterday, you can imagine that circumstance dictated that I just roll up my sleeves and get to work getting my computer back to where was before last week's crash.

Even though I had all my data backed up, that didn't mean most of my installed programs would be recoverable: I lost tons of FREE programs... argh. Not that I was using too many of them, but still, it sucks. I am a daily browser of websites like and BitsDeJour, which have great freebies and I usually pick up at least one or two a month that look useful for my.

I paid closer to 29c/gb, even after taxes - sweet deal!

It's a slow process, and this recent crash taught me that I need to actually take an image of my main drive with all my programs installed, so that if a crash happens again I can simply that image from the backup and have the drive's state returned to just the way it was. It sounds simple, but finding a program that will do that reliably AND for low-cost isn't as easy as you think. Time for that later.

While I was at it, I replaced Mozilla Thunderbird email with MailBird, as Thundy was getting rather long in the tooth. So far, so good: MailBird is simpler, faster and cleaner. I never played around with the message filters in Thunderbird, so I won't miss them, and MailBird looks to be halfway intelligent about filtering things, though it's not quite as customizable as Thunderbird.

By days end, I had most of my computers major programs reinstalled, except for the voice recognition( Dragon Naturally Speaking )which didn't want to install without the original disk... which is stored away in my closet somewhere. A task for tomorrow, it looks like; today's work was quite productive and I'm happy with how things are turning out, especially since the new drive is both faster and four times as large as the one that was replacing... both really nice touches, I think.

Aug 19 – Home For a Rest!

It was back into work today for me, briefly

I was only there an hour before I left for my doctors appointment, where I received a shock: I wasn't to be at work for at least two weeks, and possibly longer. I have to check in with my doctor again at that time to see if I need more time off work to recover, and see a specialist in about a month about possible physiotherapy to restore my ability to walk normally and without pain.

Definitely NOT what I was expecting....! The irony is, I was off last summer almost exactly at this time, with a different illness, so I'm hoping that next year I'll be free and clear to just enjoy the last of the summertime without injury...

I also wasn't expecting for the temperature to hit 36.8C here today - WHEW! Thankfully, the temperature inside my ground-floor apartment was only 27C - so I wasn't sweating over much despite a lack of air conditioning.

While I was at home, absorbing the fact that I would be off my feet AND work for two weeks, my sister got some great news: she'll now be working for a local company planning events full-time as of next week! This comes on top of the other sources of income that she's maneuvering into place, so looks like that the only thing she'll be short of for the next long while it is time.. and stress over money, for which were both grateful. Amazing how things balance out, y'know?

It was quite an eventful day!

Aug 20 – Pain On The Brain


I've been feeling nauseous and headachy the last two days - not fun, on top of my foot tweaking me every few minutes. It's probably due to a combination of the weather change( hot yesterday and today, then cool winds blowing in on the weekend )and the anti-inflammatory cream I've been using on my foot. It contains hemp oil, and when I read up on it today, when you know that nausea is a possible side effect? I've been rubbing it into my foot like there's no tomorrow and that's probably why my stomach isn't all that happy with me; oh well.

Also stupid me: I forgot some of how I had set up my computer viewing comforts!

I had totally forgotten about reinstalling F.lux... hence the light-induced night-headaches. F.lux is an app that runs on your computer and automatically adjusts the color spectrum of the screen( and the brightness too )to lessen the effects of bright blue light on the viewer, which can affect sleep only a few hours before bed. Once I had F.lux installed and running again, the difference was substantial: I was no longer squinting at the TV screen despite having turned down the brightness!

After working all day on my computer again, my girlfriend came over and we spent the evening watching more episodes of Star Blazers, to our mutual delight. We are already past the point where I had to re-watch some of the series back in 2008, so I'm seeing episodes again for the first time in over 30 years, which is a wonderful feeling... especially sharing it with someone as wonderful as my lady.

It's like I'm a kid again watching the show after school!

Aug 21 – A Better Foot, with LOTS of rest?

Here's the plan...

Since I have an unexpected two weeks off, I've drawn up a list of things that I need to get done along with a list of things I should get done - note the distinction.

On the Need List is writing my first novel's fourth draft, of course. I should be able to get a huge chunk of it revised in the next two weeks, though I can't sit for too long at one time; that's what caused my foot issue in the first place.

So I'll be getting up and performing a few tasks around the apartment that had been lingering on the Get To It Soon List for a while.

As for today, Sunday: most of it was continuing to fix up my computer. A good chunk of the day was spent combing through my too-large Google Drive cloud account, copying and pasting files into more organized folders and getting rid of tons of duplicates - hours later, I was quite happy to have trimmed over 30 gigabytes, freeing up far more room than I had thought.

What took up the rest of the evening was finishing installing and configuring my copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking 11, which I need to type my blog each week - among other things I use it for. I finally got the installation working from my CD-ROM( how archaic! )and went through the 'training' process of teaching the program my voice. What I didn't anticipate was this around dinnertime, once Dragon had finished looking through my documents for more words it needed to be trained on:

As you can see, there's over 4000 words I need to train Dragon on, and at a speed of around 1000 words an hour, I'll be at it for most of tomorrow, on and off. I could just not bother, but I've been meaning to train the darn thing for a few years and now is as good a time as any to really up the accuracy of the program, which has been a source of frustration for me for years. Fortunately, I was able to temporarily bypass the training module and use Dragon to write my blog tonight, otherwise I would only be half-done by now...

It's been an exhausting week; my wrists and upper body are telling me that they aren't used to doing all the work they've had to do this week to moving around. I've been careful not to overdo things with my canes, and the same goes for my leg: I have to be careful not to forget to properly position things whenever I move so as not to stretch my foot the wrong way and undo the day's rest effects. I'm excited to have the time off, but wary of wasting the opportunity, so all the striking a balance each day of work done versus necessary rest: a good compromise, I think, is the order of each day.