Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Second Day of Summer!

Ever notice when people talk of things like Summer or Winter, they speak about them as if they were abstract concepts, rather than actual times of the year? I suppose that (in the UK at least), it's difficult to imagine something like summer while sitting the other side of the window from a rainstorm or gentle snowfall. That certainly wasn't helped by last year's almost complete absence of seasons. We had spring, spring, a little more spring, and then an absolutely frozen cold winter, if I remember correctly.
If I don't remember correctly, then it was probably just foggy or overcast all year.

Why is this relevant? Because instead of gradually flapping about and eventually appearing, summer seems to have hit us with a very definite thud this month. We've had a few "really nice, but the breeze is a bit cool" days in the past few weeks, but today was a "incredibly nice, the breeze is made of hot air!".


Yeah, today the heat has been midway between "great!" and stifling. I went out for 45 minutes for a quick cycle round, and managed (i think) to get myself sunburned again.

Later came another shift at work, out on the scooter in this summery heat, jacket open, wind through the t-shirt sort of thing. Not a lucrative shift, but it was good to see everyone about.

Tonight was the real eye opener though. Walking back home at 10pm, notice that even in a t-shirt, the breeze was warm. The moon was (is) bright, and everyone was still up.

From any of a couple of dozen garden parties came music, the sound of people cheering (football or playing xbox or something), people laughing, and the smell of beer, or perhaps a late barbacue. Every now and again some guy on a CD would passionately sing "ohhhOhhOhhhhh" (that's all I could make out) presumably as part of some song or other.

Through the woods, towards my house, yet more garden parties, beer, happy chatting, and carribean music. Lights were strung between tree branches, giving the whole place a party atmosphere (appropriate really).

Yeah, it looks like after getting sick of being kept waiting (remember the hailstorm a week or two back?!) summer has appeared with a show of force. This can only be a good thing.

Part Two: Keyboards

Yep, after two years of faithful service, my shiny, immaculate and 100% working Logitech G-15 V2 has failed, after having a drink accidentally dumped in it.
If you remember back, I bought it to replace my original Logitech G-15 V1, which also failed after having a drink dumped in it.
I've got some tips in the tips jar so maybe a G-19 is on the cards. I haven't decided.

Part Three: Bike Lessons!

My sister was good enough to bring my ickle nephew's bike round with her, so I could fix it up after some two legged rat on the nearby sinkhole estate wandered off with it and broke it.
With a little patience and a new brake cable, I managed to get the thing working again, fully okay, and my nephew was very excited.
Off we went to the park and took him for some practice. I can't say he took to it straight away, but over time he seems to be taking a greater interest in it, so who knows, maybe we'll be having bike rides with him in the park before long.

The park has been getting a fair bit of use by us, recently. We went for a little trek and discovered not only a tree growing on the edge of the stream that has roots like ladder-rungs (you can just climb straight up), but I found that the hill near the river was mostly made of good quality clay, and as I demonstrated to my nephew, you can make things out of clay.

The next hour or so was spent by digging clay out of the side of the hill so my nephew could make clay balls, literally just balls of clay. I put mine in a hollow under a nearby tree, neatly piled up, but hidden from plain sight. I'll go and check one day to see if they're still there. My nephew for his part became incredibly attatched to the three he had made, and decided he was going to take them home and paint them gold, so he could put them in his treasure box. Fair enough I suppose, so we went and got him some paint specially for the purpose.

Finally I figured I'd show off an awesome lil picture my nephew did for me. He's become something of a star wars fan recently, probably due to it being on cartoon network a lot.
My nephew came home from school one day and gave me a picture he'd spent ages on, drawing for me. I love it to bits. I've annotated it so it will make more sense (Notice the remains of the shot battledroid, to the left of R2, that I completely failed to point out. Haha my ickle nephew has great attention to detail when he wants to :D).


Thursday, May 06, 2010

iPods and ipsos

Well, this is a new experience.

Far from being slick and sleek, at first impression, blogging on here from an iPod seems to be a little fiddly. Not to worry though because it's certainly a new experience. It would be fantastic to be able to blog from anywhere where I can get a wifi signal.

iPod blogs will be a little different to my pc based ones. Less pictures, less hyperlinks, perhaps, because it seems a bit more fiddly than writing on my pc. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.

So what's going on? Well I'm in for a long night (as are many other people) because over here in the UK, it's election night.

Yep, the long awaited General Election, allegedly where we have an opportunity to shake the house of commons around a bit and see what crap falls out. The expectation is that the current Labour government will suffer heavy losses as their primary opponents, the Conservatives, fill the a large proportion of the still-warm and by then, very recently vacated of seats.

As you'd expect, the news stations are going nuts, featuring "LIVE"/"ALL NIGHT" etc etc coverage, complete with fancy graphics and one organisation even projecting a huge bar graph up the side of St Stephen's Tower (the tower that houses Big Ben (the name is given to the bell, not the tower), at the houses of parliament.

For my part, I've been out to vote. Who did I vote for? None of your business I'm afraid, hehe, elections work like that I'm afraid.
So now I'm watching the live coverage, an. Enjoying a badly chilled lukewarm beer.

Ciao for now, will update later maybe.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Picnics, Pork Pies, and Precipitation...

It's been a boring couple of days. My early afternoon rises have been occuring later and later, creeping closer to evening every day, pushed by a lack of discipline preventing me from going to bed until I'd done absolutely everything I wanted to do in the day. Days of 12pm to 4am are not unusual for me, but hey, this is nothing new.

Today I got woken up after five hours or so of sleep. Do I want to go out for a picnic.
Of course, I don't want to go for a bloody picnic, I want to go back to bed. But, since my sis is coming over and bringing the dog, I thought I may as well get up and go along.

So we get on with the preperation for the picnic. Various containers are hunted for, and everything seems to go quite well. Eventually, it's time to go, so off we go.
Stopping for a while at one of the supermarkets, we eventually arrive at our picnic spot, a nice big stretch of moorland/cliffs, casually dotted with big sodding boulders, some the size of basketballs, others the size of trucks. The largest were the size of buildings - it's a nice enough place (53.319689,-1.622687) on google maps - I think that's our bunch of rocks right there.

Out come the blankets, out comes the food (including the yummy (for him I suppose!) dogfood so the dog can join in the picnic, and we sit down and have a nice old time eating yummy things.

Of course, we're eating happily for no more than five minutes, and my mum is the first to feel a raindrop, and slowly but steadily the rain increases, turns into hail, turns into a hailstorm.
In may, during a picnic.
Bloody hell.

Still, we cover the food up, hoping that the weather will blow over.
It doesn't, it gets much worse. The hail, fairly torrential now, and the lead-grey sky that surrounds us in all directions (well, generally up, rather than down, but still) convince me that it'd probably for the best if I pack some of the food away.

Eventually we beat a hasty retreat to the car, and have one of the few in-car picnics I've ever had. Oh well, we'll have to try again in the summer. The food was nice.

We get home and eventually I go back to sleep for a couple of hours, during which time I have an awesome dream about my awesome new car that I haven't bought yet, which is cruely curtailed by my evil, yet incredibly cute ickle nephew, who wants to show me a picture he's drawn specially for me :-).

Since then I've been finishing off the last of the picnic food and generally sitting about doing not-much.
So hey :-).