Saturday, September 27, 2014

Happy Birthday Son!

My son has his twelfth birthday today. He is getting taller, sounding deeper of voice and in short, growing up! I look back at photos of him and can't quite believe he is 12 now. I don't really think of him in age terms, he's my son and I know him so well now. Tomorrow we are having a family gathering at the church and both my children are being christened.
[It seems Blogger has stopped working properly for IE 11! I wanted to upload a photo but the media upload seems to fail before I even select a photo. This has been working fine up to now.
Update: Windows File Explorer crashed everytime I opened the Pictures folder, it happened with Chrome as well, which was how I knew it wasn't just an IE11 issue. I have changed the folder type from Pictures to General and now I can browse the photos by name instead of thumbnail, must be a file in there that doesn't generate a thumbnail or something like that?]

Saturday, September 20, 2014

New game console

On Tuesday the week before last, so 9th September, I got my new game console delivered. The PS4 with the game Destiny bundled. It's a cracking system and the game Destiny is a good one. I'm very pleased with everything so far. The set up was quick and easy. The games are great and I've made the switch from Xbox 360 to PS4 very easily indeed. Microsoft may be listening more to the gamers now but the damage was done at the start for them, they didn't listen to what their user community wanted and built an entertainment system with Kinnect instead of a game system. I'm a gamer and want a gaming system, which is why I've chosen PS4. Infact I'm not really defecting from Xbox because my first console was a PS2 which Sony made, so in a way I'm returning to the Sony eco-system. Sony also has a mobile game console in the form of the PS Vita, a console I bought second hand about a week before I got my PS4. Both are great and I'm a very happy bunny.


This is a science fiction TV series that I've recently started watching and enjoying. It is about a group of terrorists and police officer from the future, known as a Protector, who gets inadvertently transported back in time with them. The terrorists aim is to destroy the beginnings of the future mega-corporations that run the future world but the Protector, Kiera, just wants to return to her family in her own time. She wears an amazing suit (pictured - the brown suit with the black belt and thigh straps) that is capable of so many things like being armour, changing colour, invisibility and being a taser - amongst other things. It's a really interesting show and the first few episodes are very good. I will be watching more.

Scottish people reject independence

It's been an interesting week in politics. Not many times have I taken the time to write that in this blog ever! For the first time in a few hundred years the United Kingdom might have been split had the Scottish people chosen independence. I detected an increasing sense of seriousness around the whole affair, with all of the main Westminster political parties showing an uncommon degree of unity (which has since been proven to be false). Now, I am not sure what my views on the subject really are. For the Scottish people, I can't say that the vote went the right way or not. I do like Scotland being part of the United Kingdom but I must confess I don't really know why I feel like that. I have never even visited Scotland! I may do next year, but that's another story. Anyway, I do hope that life can return to normal once more now that the vote has been done.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Apple Watch

I read about the launch of the Apple Watch this week. The press and industry commentators have not been over-awed by the design of this gadget item. It's Apple though, so I'm sure that this first new product line since the iPad will sell well. I'm just not sure that the concept is cool enough. I dig a bigger sized iPhone though, my iPhone 4 just feels far too small nowadays yet when I first got it, it was fine. I think liking my 7" Google Nexus tablet has made me realise how much easier it is to watch and type on a larger screen.
I would have liked to have seen something more way out there from Apple. Something like a fabric that you wear that becomes a screen or a projection screen, I don't know, just something more interesting than what they delivered. Two fundamental flaws I see in the design are the rectangular screen and charging requires you to slip it off your wrist. Both negatives for me.
I do like the idea of the "digital crown" winder that zooms in and out depending on how you turn it but this is hardly the big innovation and for left-handed folks it will be on the bottom not the top and potentially slightly more cumbersome to access because of that.
As if the price wouldn't put me off enough, these things also do it for me, not to mention that there is no inkling of how long the battery would last for. This is something the iPhone didn't get right.

Warhammer: painting work space

I thought I'd show you the cutting mat area that I use as my workspace for assembling and painting the Warhammer 40,000 models I've been making.

In the photo above you can see that I've got 3 Citadel paint pots. I bought these today. I stick the figures on to corks or a sweetener container for painting. I bought a spray can of white primer today. The  models you can see in the foreground are waiting for assembly. I have given them one spray with my white primer so far but will need to spray them again to cover them completely and I will spray the other side as well.

Warhammer: Space Marine painted

The Space Marine proved to be a bit easier to paint than the Tyranid Termagrant however there are still challenges such as the gold and silver parts. Again, not great image for detail but here is my painted Space Marine, I'm quite happy with how this one turned out.

Warhammer: Tyranid Termagants

I bought a £6 box of Tyranid Termagrants for my son. I only had the starter pack of paints for Space Marines and that didn't come with a white primer paint so I used the skull white paint watered down as a primer and it didn't turn out that great. I'm relatively happy with my paint job but I had to mix a lot of the colours myself. Here is the result on my first Termagrant.

I'm using my iPhone camera to take the picture and not my good camera, which would show better detail. It gives you the idea anyway.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Shocking video of motorcyclist's own death

The most shocking thing I've seen for a while was published on the Internet yesterday. It was a video released by the Norfolk and Suffolk Constabulary, with the approval of the family, as part of a hard hitting road safety campaign. The crash lasts only seconds but clearly illustrates the deadly effect of combining speed on the part of the rider and driving without due care and attention on the part of the car driver. The fact that the rider was wearing a helmet cam allowed the world to see his death, which is a rather morbid thought. It allows us the benefit of hindsight not available to the rider and I can understand why the police have released it as a lesson to all of us road users. It was a very brave move on the part of the rider's parents and they should be applauded for having the strength of mind to allow their son's fatal crash footage to be used in such a manner. Shame on anyone posting silly YouTube comments on copies of the footage and arguing about who was to blame: have some respect you people!
At the moment of realisation, the rider can be heard shouting "No!" and this is the saddest and most shocking part of the clip for me. It makes me appreciate that life and death can be divided by the simplest of things and being human we are all very close to the line every day. The road is a dangerous place and we don't have the control over it our routine daily life allows us to presume. Seconds before the realisation, the rider and driver were both unaware of how their lives were to be forever changed by both of their road decisions. I try to drive in a cautious, defensive way but all too often I see drivers and riders showing no heed for safety. It worries me that my own children will one day be regular road users.

Thursday, September 04, 2014


I was looking forward to getting back home today so that I could cook one of my favourite meals for supper tonight. It was basmati rice, salad leaves, avocado, minted lamb kebabs, roasted vegetable cous cous, fried egg, sweetcorn, mint sauce and sweet chilli sauce. Mmmm yummy!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Warhammer 40000 Space Marines miniatures

Last day of my son's summer holidays. We had a few things to do today, including book him a birthday party for the end of the month. As a spontaneous activity we decided to visit a Games Workshop store my wife mentioned to me. It was one I wasn't aware of and when we got there found that it wasn't really a Games Workshop but they do stock GW models. My son is interested in some creature models they sell called Tyranids. However, we went in looking for something potentially to start a collection with. The man in the shop was very kind and suggested how to get started. Some stock was coming in on Thursday but it would be too late for my son by then, so to tide him over until Thursday the guy was kind enough to give my son a small model from a box of spares I think he had in the back of his shop. Amazing! We will have to wait to get the paints but the miniatures look cool, here they are in their raw form.