What do you eat first?

We just had a big roast Sunday lunch (turkey, roast sweet potato, roast potato, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, yorkshire puddings, gravy).  Clearly, since I got to cook that, and I only really cook stuff I’m going to enjoy (why bother cooking what I don’t enjoy!) there wasn’t anything I didn’t like.

But it got me thinking about a difference between how I eat and how Grete eats.

I eat stuff roughly, in general, in order of least likeable leaving the best until last which means that I usually end up eating everything.  Grete eats the stuff she likes best first which (and some might argue this is a better result) means she tends to end up leaving stuff when she gets full that she doesn’t jump and down with excitement about.

So, what do you do?  If you had, roast meat (pick your favourite, or vegetarian replacement), three or four veg (pick some you like), yorkshires and potato of some kind, what order would you eat it in and why?  All mixed up randomly?  Favourite first?  Least favourite first?  Potato’s first because they go cold quickest?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Blood sugar FAIL

Well, not quite EPIC FAIL but certainly not good.  I am on the wagon but I can’t find the path.  Bought some healthy pitta bread things yesterday, seeds, bits, wholemeal and had them for breakfast and over three hours later by blood sugar is still well over what it should be.  Either it was too high when I got up (and it was under 5 when I went to bed so it shouldn’t have been) or the pitta had more refined flour in them than I thought.

Or maybe I’m still ill and fighting off a cold which can mess with your sugar levels a little.  Sounds like an excuse though.

So now I’m sucking down some proven officially low GI bread for lunch, even though it hurts to eat due to the bits getting stuck in the wound left by my tooth extraction, which is why I’ve not really been eating it much since I had the tooth out.  Hopefully a few more days of wagon driving will see me back on the path and headed the right way.

The Matrix, Reloaded and Revolutions.

I love all three Matrix movies.  I know some people who loved the first one felt let down by one or both of the followups, but personally, I think all three are fantastic.  The first one has the element of surprise both technically and from a story perspective, of course, but all three are brilliant.

I may write more about these movies (perhaps in a Movie Memories post), but for now, I provide you with this link which has everything you wanted to know and more about the three films.  I particularly enjoy this article on that site, discussing the philosophical questions the movies pose.

If you’ve not seen any of the three movies (why not?) be careful at that site, it’s spoilerific as you can imagine.

Movie Memories: RoboCop

Films for me are more than just an immediate enjoyment, they’re experiences which link me to certain periods in my life or certain times or particular events.  I thought I’d have a shot at writing a series of posts relating memories I have surrounding particular films (let’s say, weekly).  These may be memories of when I first watched them, or some other aspect of their existence.  First up, RoboCop.

I’m not sure when I first saw RoboCop, but I remember when I saw it most.  During the second year of my university course in Sheffield, in a house I shared with Charles, Neil, Steve and Steve (~1990).  We had a cheap television, a cheap video recorder and a bunch of videos of which one was RoboCop.  And we got our money’s worth by watching them over, and over, and over again.  We loved RoboCop, we loved it to bits and we knew it inside out.  Watching it was more than just seeing it on-screen, it was a shared experience, a house event.  We sat in the lounge, with it’s broken green furniture ((the sofa springs were so knackered you were essentially sitting on the floor)) and it’s terrible carpet and we lived that movie every time we watched it.

Having seen it so many times, it was inevitable that certain phrases made it into our speech at the time, and if you knew me at university you probably heard me saying ‘I’d buy that for a dollar’ far more than you wanted to.  Eighteen years later I’m still asking Bobby if he can fly, and he’s still telling Clarence he can’t.  Oddly, the more I watched it, the more I came to dislike the scene where Murphy gets shot to hell, prior to his transformation into RoboCop.  Knowing what was coming just made it worse for me and I have strong memories of leaving the room or avoiding watching that scene entirely.  I used to know the name of the huge gun and the name of the fancy car Clarence owned, but that memory has gone now.

So when I see RoboCop these days, I don’t just remember the bits of the movie I enjoy, I remember the year I lived in that shared house in Sheffield, and the good times that involved.

Here’s to RoboCop, put down your weapons, or there will be, trouble.

Bad Blood Sugar Days

It’s okay to treat yourself every now and then, even if you’re type 2 diabetic.  It’s ok if you’re feeling unwell or tired or just want to celebrate to eat a little too much or something with more refined sugar than you should, as long as you maintain control and that you stick to what you know works.

It’s not ok, to treat yourself every day because treating yourself every now and then is ok.  It’s not ok to pretend you’re not diabetic because you’ve got a stinking cold that means you can barely walk but you have to work anyway because there are issues and no one else is in.  It’s not ok to get out of the habbits that you know work and that you know have controlled your sugar in the past just because you’re complacent and think you can get away with it.

Today, I’m am back on the wagon.  It’s a pretty shoddy wagon, to be fair, full of bacon cobs, but it’s a wagon none-the-less and I’ll stay in it, dammit, until my next HbA1c test, and then the one after, and the one after that, and the one when I’m 130 years old.  I know what works, I can tolerate eating what works, and I know I can survive on the odd treat every now and then.

But not four weeks of abuse.  Not four weeks of treating each day in isolation and just treating myself because I’m not feeling well.

I felt shit last night, shit in a way I’ve not felt for a very long time and I don’t like it.

NaNoWriMo: How did I do?

In October I proclaimed I would be writing a 50,000 word novel in November to take part in NaNoWriMo.  So, how well did I do?  If you’ve been following my blog you’ll notice a complete lack of updates after I posted this.  Yes, that’s right, I made it as far as two days and 1868 words before I stalled.

Two days.

After those two days I had decided I didn’t actually like the story.  In fact, I’d started worrying about that before I even started writing it when I was doing the plot outline in October.  I’m not going to blame that for my lack of writing though, nor am I going to blame the cold I had early on, or the worry about my visit to the dentist.

Basically, I didn’t really enjoy writing.  I enjoyed thinking about the plot and coming up with ideas and problems, but I didn’t enjoy the process of converting those little ideas into a story, developing them.

I’m not sure if that means anything.  I just wanted to say it.  Anyway, for those who care, the 1868 words show up after the link (or right NOW if you’re using a feed reader).

Continue reading

Theme header images and meta blog entries

I’ve added another header image to the site which I’m quite pleased with (matrix-themed), and I forgot to post when I added the two based on recent photographs I took.  I think the one with the leaf looks amazing even if I say so myself.  Rather than making you hit refresh over and over to see the images (and for those of you on feed readers who don’t see them anyway), I’m linking them here.

This is the original image I did.

This one’s based on the sunset photo’s I took recently.

This one’s a close up of a leaf on our apple tree.

And one based on the Matrix falling letters motif.

I must say, I really am still very impressed with the Mandigo WordPress theme, and the ability to include random header images is only one small part of that.  The last update added a feature I wanted as well, since the entire header image is now clickable as a link back to the main page.

You’ll notice the images above are taller than the ones you see on the site, because I check the option to show a smaller section of the image.  I like the images, but I also like seeing some blog text on the page without having to scroll down!

How who you are affects how you roleplay (or DM/GM)

I was reading this interesting article over at the Gnome Stew which discusses how your life experience affects how you roleplay.  I read the article and the comments with interest, because clearly my life has been pretty boring over the last 37 years compared to those folk.  I went to University, did a computing degree and have had a desk job ever since (support, development, technical support, infrastructure, etc.)

I think however, that one of the major elements in roleplaying is problem solving.  Specifically, team based problem solving.  On top of that you have all the other elements of team working, communication and planning.  Those skills are invaluable when roleplaying and they’re invaluable in most other aspects of life as well.  I think good shared storytelling involves conflict and conflict resolution, and underpinning that is a root cause of some problem (or many problems and challenges) that you have to overcome as a team.  In too many games those problems are simply boiled down to ‘you meet 10 orcs’, in good games, those problems are more varied, more complex and have deeper roots.

I’ve always been interested in solving problems, it’s why I enjoy being in an IT support function so much.  The varied challenges, the different problems and the requirement to understand causes and implement solutions really gets me going.  It’s no different during roleplaying, both as a player and as a DM.  As a DM, I introduce lots of problems (or try to), and game play is driven by overcoming those challenges.  As a gamer, I want to be challenged to solve things, not just ‘the best way to defeat this encounter of 10 orcs’ but the best way to get somewhere, the right strategy to defeat some complex powerful well organised enemy, solve the underlying causes of political strife in a small town, understand what happened to cause some problem that people are experiencing, etc.  And I want to do that in a team environment.

Team based problem solving where you come together with disperate skill sets and arrive at a successful conclusion is something I enjoy in the real world and in my gaming, be it board games, tabletop roleplaying or MMORPGs.

So I guess that’s how who I am affects how I roleplay.

Online tabletop roleplaying – maybe not yet

Since I’m essentially too lazy / too busy / too scared to try this myself, I was (as I said here) interested in how this article over at the Chatty DM site progressed.  Well, he’s posted the first update on his online roleplaying report, and it sort of agrees with what I’d feared, what I’d briefly experienced and what I’d heard elsewhere.  You should go read the excellent article on the Chatty DM site clearly, but here’s a salient comment,

I think my feeling mirrors the others. When I did the rounds of the players I knew most, we all had the same thing to say. We all agreed that while a virtual tabletop RPG sure beats not playing at all… it remains a weak replacement for the real thing. At least, if our experiment is an indication of how such games are played… and my gut feeling tells me that they are.

Shared storytelling & roleplaying are such physical activities ((physical in the sense that your presence and facial / body language are key to having a shared experience)) that it’s hard to see how things will get much better without a) seriously good video conferencing that supports multiple people or b) seriously good shared VR interfaces.

For the first option, I’m imagining the ability to accept multiple incoming video feeds at once, and to place those images on your screen in such a way that you can see them all at once.  Maybe some composite image ability so you can paste the video into a chair around a fake gaming table on the screen.  I have no idea of the bandwidth or processor requirements to deal with that but I suspect we’re not quite there yet.

The second option is more immersive, with everyone wearing VR headsets and seeing the images from everyone elses video cameras in the same virtual space somehow, again, even more processing power required and plenty of bandwidth.

At the rate things are progressing, how long will it be before we’re there? 24 months? 4 years? 10 years?