Saturday, 28 August 2010

A quick hello...

A very quick post to say that I have had a great week catching up with old friends, spending time with my Dad (however brief) seeing my mum and little bro, and finally catching up with my best-friends family.

As always there has been a lot of other things going on, a fair amount of stressful situations and encounters, however if it means things have to be in balance so days like today can happen then so be it. I have been happy and had a light heart all day as it has been so nice to see people and talk and just chill.

I wonder if everyone is as tired as I am now though. I think my brother maybe. :) But it is a good tired, one that should result in a good nights sleep.

(That is if I can stop playing about with my new shiny HTC Desire! - More on that and a proper post later.)

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Train Travel, Gaming and Gardens

As always I think that me and my friends could all do with shares in the train companies that we are all using on such a regular basis! :) Back from my Mum's now after a rather pleasant train journey, looking forward to catching up with people in the next week and a bit as they bounce around the country on the trains too.

I got the computer all up and running for my Mum in the end too, I just hope it stays running and she can make use of it now it no longer has the evil that is Vista on it! :) It was really good to be up there for a while and spend time with my little bro especially. Over the years I have not gone up there as much as I would have liked, always letting work get in the way. (A really silly thing to do at the end of the day as even though it was a job that I once liked - I should never have put it before seeing family - it was a crappy retail job at the end of the day!) Oh well that has all changed now, and I can't deny that the experience and time there was for nothing, made some good friends there and some good contacts to boot! :P

Anyway I spent a lot of time playing games with my little brother while I was there, he's still on the GameCube at the moment. (He appears to have a bit of a destructive side if his DS is anything to go by, so I think any newer console might not be the best of ideas just yet...) He loves the Sonic games though! I have played them a fair amount as well as I was on them non-stop on the Dreamcast, and then the GameCube when they first came out. There was something about raising the little Chao that made you carry on playing and overlook the annoying camera! However that's what he is doing at the moment and trying to raise a Chaos Chao, which looks something like this:
Image from: http://chao.hippotank.com
A little odd looking I know, and they are hard to raise but once you do they are great in the races and also immortal. It has tempted me to play about with the game again and go back to the Chao garden. I had quite a few powerful ones back in the day of the Dreamcast and Sonic Adventure 1. :) To think that they came about from an idea in NiGHTS with the Nightopian creatures (which looked rather simmilar to the normal Chao.) I'm sure it was one of the earliest ideas of this kind of gameplay - other than the Tamagotchi of course. I do remember being very curious as to why and how they were in the game to begin with. Yet these days there are whole games based on the idea of raising creatures like this - Spore being the first one to spring to mind.

Anyway it looks like I'll be dusting off the GameCube and trying to find my memory card as little bro seems keen to share Chao updates with me. :)

I do have to find the time first though...today was a fairly chilled day. I was supposed to be having dinner with my Dad and the other half of my family as it were. However plans fell through and I ended up having lunch with just my Dad. Which was nice as we got to have a good chat - which feels very adult to adult these days rather than parent to child. (Guess I am getting old after all!) :P We then came back to the house to find Mel in the garden so we joined in for a bit, Dad's been meaning to attack that grass and a few of the trees down there for a while. It is a big and never ending task! I meanwhile tried to encourage the climbing rose to stay on the trellis and not the privet bush and to attempt to get the honeysuckle to stay on it's own trellis and get the longer stems to start growing over the garage roof where they were intended to go...gotta keep and eye on that one methinks it's a troublemaker. :) However after picking some of the ripe blackberries from the rockery it was time for a cup of tea. I then stayed indoors as Dad was using the strimmer and Mel the cutting tools as they rained destruction down on the weeds - I thought best to stay out of the way at this point. Mainly as there isn't much room in the garden at the moment!

It did give me a chance to catch up with friends on Skype and make plans for some munter nights out in both cities that we inhabit. However the conversation got cut short when my Dad came in with an annoyed look on his face...there were wasps in the garden. At first I thought they were in the small tree that they had been taking down. (One that had seeded and started growing too close to the foundations of the house.) As it turned out these were ground bees and had been found under a rather large and overgrown area of grass. (This garden has been in need of love for a long time you see.) So Dad wanted to get rid of them - and thoughts best was to smoke them out for now - or at least that's what he's done in the past. However with three cats about the place there was an issue, as both me and Mel wanted to make sure that they were all accounted for indoors before a) a fire was lit in the garden b) a load of annoyed wasps/bees or whatever they are (no-one has gotten too close to the loud buzzing nest) come swarming out looking for something to sting.

Now herding cats is an expression that is most definitely true, it ain't easy! However with honey roast ham the job is made slightly easier. I was putting small pieces down in a path towards the door with the intention to lure them in and then close the door behind them. Mel's two cats followed suit, and aside from not getting two pieces of ham down fast enough at the same time so they had a small scuffle, they came in without much hassle. My cat, Pebbles, however was not as easy to lure. She is a fussy cat who has an air of Egyptian royalty about her. In other words she sits like the statues of old and has humans well trained to do her bidding as it were. :) She was out on the garage roof enjoying the evening sun, and was not coming in without a fight. She turned her nose up at the ham, came down for chicken but picked it up and walked off with it instead of following the trail. In the end she started to wonder towards the house when we were all in and the chicken was no longer being placed nearby, probably wondering where her food providing servants has gone. :) This gave me the opportunity to grab her and place her in doors, an action she will not forgive for a while. Well until she wanted me to open the tin of Whiskas for her. :D She is an adorable and affectionate cat and she was born in my kitchen around fourteen odd years ago now so is a little set in her ways.

Pebbles - Who didn't like me taking a photo as it meant I wasn't stroking her. :)
In the end all the cats were in doors and the windows were shut in the attempt to smoke the buzzing nest out. It looks like for the most part that is didn't work - so will have to try again tomorrow and I would also like to double check what they are, as if it's bees they need relocating, if it's wasps they are going to need disposing of and in the unlikely event it's hornets we'll have to call someone. The latter probably isn't true as we would know about it by now! But with that garden I experience has taught me never to rule anything out! :)

However tomorrow my fiancĂ© is coming down for a visit and I don't think he wants to be around while a nest full of things that sting gets disturbed. So it may have to wait, but in the mean time I get to see him, which is a very good thing as it has been a while and we are overdue for a date and Toy Story 3 still hasn't been seen by either of us. :)

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Computers, can't live without 'em.

There is something to be said for the age of no computers, as they are sure to give you a big headache at times! Don't get me wrong I love tech/computers/games as much as any other geek. They are incredibly powerful tools and can make lives better and even save them. Yet when they go wrong there is the hassle and possible expense that you have to go through to get them fixed again.


I am currently visiting my mum and my little brother, it is good to see them, and it's been nice to play some of the old Sonic games again with my little bro and I also offered to sort out Mum's computer. Her partner uses Linux as he believes Microsoft to be an immoral and evil cooperation. Which might well be the case, but they do still have a lot of clout in the OS business and a lot of software is still more compatible with Windows than other OS, notably Linux. (Which is also not exactly user friendly as I have discovered today!) Each to their own when it comes to computers it is what you use and what you are used to at the end of the day. I have mainly used Windows so have a preference for it, I know others that use MacOS so therefore have a preference for that, all is fair. However the evil that Vista is another matter entirely! :)

The computer my Mum has was given to her by my sister, and it came with barley any RAM a copy of Vista and data on it from the previous owner and no Administrator control. So as I am no longer using my copy of XP I bought for my machine ages ago I said that I would install it on the computer up here. (We couldn't downgrade the Vista as the key had been used on another computer without our knowledge and MS weren't willing to help with this.)

So today I formatted the machine and installed my copy of WinXP however I then had an issue of it always booting from the DVD Drive instead of the hard drive. So of course this required a boot into the BIOS to change the settings. I am not familiar with this as I have not done it much, however my fiancĂ© is, so bless him, he helped me over the phone. (Not the easiest of things to do when you don't have the computer screen in front of you!) I now feel a little more confident in doing this in future though having gone through it several times! As not only did I have issues setting the boot order there was issues with the hard drive priority as well. My sister put the hard drive from the very old 1998 computer in there was there was still data on there that was wanted and the computer died a while ago. Yet while I was upgrading the RAM earlier today forgot to make note of which hard drive was which, so sorting out the boot priority was a little bit of trial an error. I now have it all working though! :D

However next week I shall be reformatting the PC back home and my laptop, as my PC is changing it's purpose and my laptop is getting slower with all the unwanted software still on it from Sussex. So starting from scratch on it before new Uni starts. :) It does mean there will be an awesome set up of computers in my house soon! Not sure on the exact details yet, but I do know that there are plans to have a media server PC that will have all our music on and be on the network for the laptops/PC's/PS3's to pick up. :)

Anyway for now I am downloading the GIMP and OpenOffice for Mum to use on her new(ish) computer as she is used to them and it is certainly cheaper than getting Adobe or MS alternatives! :) For now dinner and another coffee...

Monday, 2 August 2010

Half Asleep and Organising

So I have spent most of the day curled up on the couch watching TV feeling like I was half asleep. Didn't get much sleep last night and was woken far to early this morning! The trouble tenant is proving to be a right little pest today and is not only playing music far to loud far to early, he is also late on his rent. Which means I have to go play landlord before the day is through.

This has meant that I have not really been with it all day, until a few hours ago, when I decided to tackle some paperwork. (I can now see my desk at last!) Then to also see if I can get some computer stuff done...

I am off to visit my Mum tomorrow, and there is a computer there that needs a little attention, and it has reminded me that I should really finish getting my laptop and desktop in order. The main priority being the laptop. I have been trialling various bits of software over the last several months, and along with all the stuff that I had to install for Uni it feels like the laptop has got a little clogged. So today I have started the long task of backing up all my personal data and making sure I still have all the software discs needed to re-install everything after I re-install the operating system. Yet the backing up of my documents is taking a while, I'm not sure how I ended up with nearly 200GB of data. A lot of it is music, photo's and archive documents to be fair from college and Uni. But still...watching the progress bars has been fun! :P

In the meantime it has reminded me to actually post a few things on here, as I had one or two things lying around in draft that I hadn't quite finished or was waiting for other sites to update so I could link to them first. So for now I need to finish off backing everything up and then pray that I can get everything installed again. The good thing about having two computers lying about is that if something does go wrong there is still a way to Google the problem. :)

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Only one week has passed?

Time has flown! The last week has gone by very quickly, yet at the same time I struggle to remember the start of it as it also feels like a month ago.

I spent last weekend visiting the beach and staying in the caravan with the family dog. An activity that is not enjoyed as often as I would like, but one that is treasured a little more due to it's infrequency. Even though it was raining/grey the sea was still warm and me and my sister still paddled and swam. :) However the rain got more persistent on the Sunday so we travelled home, to glorious sunshine!

On Tuesday I did manage to catch up with my best friend Angie, and we spent the day shopping. Mostly window shopping, but I did treat myself to a bathbomb from Lush, a new pair of jeans from the sales and some wonderful cheese from a great delicatessen that I will be visiting every chance I get. :) (Thank you Angie for taking me there!) Most of all it was nice to spent some time with Angie and talk as our busy lives don't always coincide as often as we would like sometimes.

The rest of the week was then taken up with gardening, the most notable achievement of which was getting the paths done of course. Yet the other, which I forgot to mention, was the de-weeding of the driveway. Weedkiller had been used, yet there was little to no effect on the persistent plants. So a little bit of elbow grease was called for, so I decided to attack it with a combination of tools, mainly being my gloved hands. A few hours and a sore back later the driveway was weed free! It also helped me to distract myself as my Nan was in hospital and I was getting stressed waiting to hear the news that she was okay. Hopefully that will not happen again, but if it does gardening like that is a good way to relieve said stress and knacker you out enough so you sleep quite well.

This weekend however has been spent taking a small brake from the house and the garden and spending time with my other best friend Louise. Who is now also engaged! :D This does all tend to happen at the same time it seems. I am so happy for her and her husband to be, having known both of them for some time, they make a good couple. :) She drove all the way up to see me, we'd arranged this visit a while ago, and by chance it just happened to be after she became engaged.

So Saturday was yet again spent shopping, but this time most definitely window shopping as we were looking at wedding dresses. Now this is a whole new world to me, having never been a girly girl, and it is intimidating and scary, and there are many bridal shops that I am now going to avoid as they are also very snooty! (I am still much more at home in model/game/tech shops!) However we did get to try a few things on, and we now both have a good idea of what we would like to wear. Which is a good thing, as it now means we can start making plans on how to make our dresses. Or more accurately how Louise is going to make them as she  offered as a wedding present to make mine. (Though brides-maids dresses are going to get interesting as we are each others, and I did cry when she asked as I thought it was a great honour.) She is a lot more organised than me when it comes to wedding things, mine is much further away at the moment, and unlike her I have not set a date yet, but I began to realise how many things are needed to be done. This scares me slightly and makes me want to just say "Let's elope!" (Which is not happening as both my father and husband to be are not in favour of this idea!) :)

Anyway it was really nice having her down to visit and I really do miss her and my friends back where I used to live. However it isn't that far, and I am where I am for very good reasons. Waving her off today in the car I felt that she still did live round the corner, I'm not sure she felt the same with the long drive ahead of her! :) But in this day and age everyone is around the corner in some fashion thanks to the internet, and with friend like her I am reminded that all my friendships are special. They take so much time to develop yet can be so easily spoilt or broken by sometimes the silliest of things, so the friendships that do last deserve all the effort and time I can possibly give them.