Living in the Now!

Learning to enjoy my life more!

Wow where to begin.

This week

I have been using my Raspberry Pi, having a lot of fun with it but I could do with a HDMI to DVI adapter but moneys a bit tight so it will have to wait. Also plan on making a case for it out of Lego, I can’t wait till it’s sorted out and they release the Drivers for the GPU. I did get a USB 3 4 port powered hub for it, slight waste as the Pi is only USB 2 but it’s a solid hub with no stupid styling or extra “features”.

Me pulling faces

Do you Like My Duck Face?

I’ve been to the hospital for a consultation to try and get to the bottom of the illness I experienced over Christmas, lots of tests to be carried out, blood and heart. But it seems to be leaving me and now I only have a episode two or three times a month, and it can usually be sat out and after about an hour I can go back to what I was doing. So soon one way or another I will be back to proper health.

Been watching a few films, see Prometheus and I quite liked it and so did Vicky, but not everyone in our party enjoyed it. And from what I’ve seen on-line there are more who dislike it than like it. Another film I watched was Indy Game: The Movie its basically a documentary following three independent game developers as they put them selves through trials and tribulations, it can also be purchased through Steam.

Coming up

Also starting to get my diet right, cutting out some of the rubbish and getting a few more greens and fruit. Vicky is training for a in-door triathlon at out local gym, I think I’m going to aim to do it next year but I will be there to support her and will try and train with her. Also de-stressing and putting last weeks drama behind me and looking forward to getting back to college soon.

Le Mans this weekend and I’m going to be enjoying some company through the 24 hours, Vicky has decided to watch it with me after she watched it with me last year and her brother Tim will be watching it for the first time. So for 24 hours the diet is going to take a back seat and we are going to enjoy a laid back party atmosphere. (can’t use too much energy or you wont make the 24 hours.)

A computer the size of a credit card called the Raspberry Pi

A computer the size of a credit card called the Raspberry Pi

Going to wire the place so that we wont miss any of the coverage with thanks to Radio Le Mans streaming live commentary on the internet. So Phones will be charged with links to the site for toilet visits and kitchen breaks, the TV will be following the Euro-sport coverage and live timing and twitter feeds on the desktop. So this means altering my sleeping pattern a bit but not a major issue as I’m a night time person anyway.

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A few months

So a few months has past since my last post, lots of things have been going on, my uncle died, and old school friend died. Family members being taken ill, some one stealing money out of my wife’s Pay Pal account. It’s been a real challenge trying to keep positive and to keep on, things are starting to look brighter though. I’m getting some entertainment from some person that seem’s to like trolling my blog (see last post for comments.). I’ve also been enjoying the latest updates to Project C.A.R.S.

My latest Project C.A.R.S. video. (Had a few little incident’s, due to using a control pad but it also shows some of the crash dynamics)

This weekend I’m off to Monmouth for the night with Vicky (my Wife) and her parents, Nice to have a bit of a break from my latest addiction Anno 2070, me and my mate Phill have been playing it a fair bit. Also been doing a lot of emulating on my media centre, Commodore 64, NES, SNES, Mega Drive (Genesis for those in the US) and Gameboy. I upgraded the memory in my Net book from 1GB DDR2 to 2GB DDR2, my desk top from 4GB DDR3 to 8GB DDR3 but I think my media centre could do with another 2GB DDR2 and its a bit sluggish with full HD content. Also I’ve put my order in and paid for a Raspberry Pi that should be here soon I hope, will write about it after a little while.

Also working on a short story, some times me Vicky and my brother in law Tim set each other little challenges to write short stories by giving each other a title, word count and a deadline. This time however we have only given titles. So I’m working on a science fiction story based on Mars called the Dragons Daughter, research is nearly done and a rough plot outline is forming. And unlike my previous work I can actually publish this, my last one was based on existing characters so I’m reluctant to show it to the world as I wouldn’t want to fall foul of copyright or trademark laws.

Although I have just rediscovered my love for Mystery Science Theater 3000 thanks to You Tube and made a convert of Vicky.

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The long road

Struck down

I may have already mentioned, I’ve been ill since just before Christmas, I was looking forward to taking a few weeks off college to spend with family and friends. I also wanted some time to catch up with some of the work and see if I could get ahead with my work. Friday night, the first day of the Christmas break, me and my wife Vicky wanted to go to the movies and relax, it was also my first day off from anything in about a month.

After the film we were driving home about 6pm and I was suddenly struck with an overwhelming feeling of tiredness and it was almost impossible to stay awake. Luckily my wife was driving but she could see I was really struggling, and was having difficulty in even comprehending questions. So as soon as I got home I went and slept, I didn’t wake for 12 hours.

Being worn down

Through out the few days leading to Christmas day I could not do much, every time I attempted to work or think about anything technical I would have a hot flush, my head would tingle like my brain was on fire and I would immediately feel tired and need to sleep. It got so bad that Boxing day (the day we celebrated Christmas with my wife’s family because my wife, her dad and brother all worked Christmas day.) I had to repeatedly sleep an hour or so just to be awake for dinner and present opening.

As each day passed I was getting more and more worried about my college work as I was unable to work on it and I kept thinking about the deadlines. Four assignments due in the first week back, two on the first day. This was not helping my stress level and that didn’t help me, each week I would go to the doctors and they would send me for tests but seemed to not really know what was causing it. But saying that it sounded like post viral fatigue but they also needed to test for TIA or Transient Ischemic Attack AKA a mini stroke just because of the neurological symptoms I’d suffered.

Big decisions

As the time drew nearer for me to go back to college I was becoming more anxious about the work I hadn’t done and where it was going to leave me in terms of being able to complete the course. The doctors I needed to relax and rest also avoid stress but I knew that wouldn’t be an option in college. The first day approched and I was still very unwell and not able to make it through a day without needing to rest at least twice, so I decided to notify my tutor of my situation and tell him I wouldn’t be able to attend for a few days. A week rolled by and still little improvement in my condition, I consulted my doctor  who gave me a sick certificate for another week.

I started to think even if I get back soon I’m not going to be in a condition to actually work and started thinking about leaving and coming back the following term to complete the second year. as the week rolled on I became more and more resigned to this and started to feel better as it seemed to release some of the tension and stress I’d been carrying. And then as my week certificate ran out I told my wife of my decision, it wasn’t easy to make and it was hard to follow through with, I kept expecting everyone to try and talk me out of it but no one did.

First day back and I was anxious to talk to my tutor and see what was going to happen but he was busy, so I went to my lessons and went along with the work as I didn’t want to disrupt what the tutor was doing. But also I wanted to see if it would effect me adversely. After and hour I got my answer and it wasn’t good. I then chatted with the tutor about my decision and she said that it made sense but was unable to say if I would be able to do that as things were changing the following term. I needed to speak to my year tutor who was only going to be there for another week before starting a new job.

Eventually I managed to talk to my year tutor who surprisingly agreed with me and said that he also thought it was for the best, so advised me about what I needed to do and I said my good byes to my class mates. It felt so hard walking out of there like that, I was so torn by my want to stay and study and my need to look after my health. But what good is a degree if I’m dead.

But what good is a degree if I’m dead

January went by and I had started to improve but the rate of improvement was slow, I went through test’s like a 24 hour blood pressure test that was normal (surprised me as it was an incredibly stressful day, the boiler broke down, the nurse put the monitor on wrong so I had to get it re fitted.). Febuary, 24 hour ECG test that was normal but when I handed it in I actually felt the symptoms so they put me on another ECG machine immediately and there was no unusual reading. March I go and visit my doctor after a increase in the symptoms and after a lengthy disscusion about the things I was doing surrounding it we had a bit of a break through.

A few weeks before I fell ill with this I had started to get a constant twitch in my right eye, but I had ignored it as a sign of not sleeping enough. I am still getting this twitch nearly five months later, that coupled with my activities meant my doctor suggested that I Take regular breaks from my computer, and allow my self time to mentally unwind before going to sleep after using it. Saying that while I’m sleeping I’m still thinking about work, and I’m waking up and immediately thinking about work even though I may not be doing it and that mentally I am not getting any rest and that its causing my fatigue. I am also to go get my eyes tested as I suspect I may have eye strain.

Little by little

Little by little I’m improving and after a few weeks of getting better I have gone days without feeling ill. I have also started to wear my glasses while at my computer, something I should of being doing all along but never felt that it was important (I know, already had the “I told you so!” moment from my mum.). Still awaiting my eye test due to a two week waiting list but I’m getting there. I did have a little relapse last weekend during a family party I had spent a long time sorting and perfecting a music play list and it had taken a bigger toll on me than I though and I spent the whole occasion sitting and drinking. Not participating as I had hoped, but I did find an appreciation for alcoholic ginger beer and Kentish strong ale.

The road is long but I have till September to get in shape mentally more than phyisically but that should also be a consideration also. My wife Vicky has helped me so much and I wouldn’t of been able to care for my self, so it ‘s with a whole lot of gratitude I say “Thank you Vicky!”. and it is at this point I will say good bye to you my readers as I’ve been writing this for two or three hours and I have only had one break and it’s 5:37am (for those that my not know I’m very much a night person.).

So good night and please don’t be an idiot like me use your computer responsibly and take care of your selves and your health.

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Long time no posts (another “to busy to blog” post)

So this is what’s been going on

Well the title does a good job of summing this post up, but since I went back to college in September I’ve been throwing my self into my study’s. But problems arose the day after we broke up for Christmas, I came down with a very aggressive viral infection. This was then followed by “post viral fatigue” and had a bigger impact on me, my body and my work than just the virus.

After many visits to my doctor, many tests and many hours sleeping, I started to feel well. Two months from getting ill till now and I am now feeling well but still recovering. Problem is I’ve missed much work, and I have to avoid the stress I would need to put my self under to catch up.

Because of this I decided that I am going to sit out the remainder of this year and start afresh this September. This could mean more writing here, and I will post some stuff that I had made while I’ve been away.

And this is what I’ve been up to

One of the things I’ve been getting into is a new racing sim/game (not too sure what direction they are taking at the moment.) called C.A.R.S. or Community Assisted Racing Simulation, more info can be found by going to WMD Portal where people can sign up and get involved.

click image to play video

cars play video

And I also made a collection of clips of crashes from various races in a few different games, it quickly became my fastest grossing views on any video. Says a lot about what people want but it is a good video. Edited entirely in Linux using PiTiVi video editor.

Link to You Tube video

Link to a collection of crash clips

I also purchased a 23″ LED monitor and got £20 of the store price, I got this because I wanted something with a resolution that is a recognised standard so this will do a full 1080p picture. This is so I can produce HD content in a standard HD resolution. This means that I have retired my dual monitor setup for the time being but I have a project in mind for my spare monitors at a later date.

So the first video I shot using this is me drifting a Ford RS200 in slow motion, this video was shot using FRAPs and I did nothing to edit or even compress this video I just uploaded the raw file straight to You Tube so it retains the best quality. The only compression is what You Tube do to all videos, the original file was 1.3 gb.

Click image to play you tube video of a slow motion drift

Drifting in a For RS200 filmed in slow motion in full HD

This has been a quick update and I hope to put  more stuff up here for everyone soon, I’ve got a lot up my sleeve but you will all have to wait for that.

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Fat man with blue hair: A new hope.

Recently I turned 30 and aside from feeling just as child like as ever I decided to do more to loose weight. Well I thought I’d do what any geek would do, enlist the help of my smart phone! Back in June I got an upgrade from my ageing HTC Hero to a new HTC Desire HD.

Profile shots of a Desire HD

Not the newest phone on the market so I felt I could get a deal, but I got it because it has the largest screen out of the HTC Android range. In some cases size does not matter but in this case it very much does!  It’s what I quite often refer to as a “man size” phone, having large hands and fingers I feel this is just the right form factor, and the on screen key board is perfect for blogging on the go.

Anyway back to the topic, I looked around the Android market place and downloaded a few apps and found one called Noom. And its brilliant, it allows me to log my exercise and count the calories of each meal and suggest a daily allotment. Although I have only been using it for a 3 weeks and I’ve yo yo’d a little in my weight but I am much more aware of my diet.

I also found a good pod cast down loader and player for Android called DoggCatcher, there is no free version that I could find but I took a chance and paid the £4 something and gave it a go. and after using it for 2 days I’ve been impressed by it, but also I haven’t once been frustrated or felt as though I was limited by it. This is I feel a good indication of a quality app. So if your looking to get an app to manage your pod casts directly on your phone without having to download them to your computer first and copy them across, check out DoggCatcher.

Currently I’m enjoying the summer holidays from college but the truth is I’m running out of things to keep me occupied so I’m looking forward to going back for the last year of my HND.

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