Life

Just life stuff.

Gaming stuff.

As anybody who knows me slightly well will know I tend to have far too many things going on at the same time. This is partly down to the lovely way my brain works, one part of which being it runs at full tilt nearly all the time coming up with zillions of ideas fighting for attention all the time. In keeping with this I get up to many things that occupy my time for periods before my brain decides to click over onto something else. So basically I do something for a while then a little switch goes off in my brain and I then do something else instead and with the advent of my mental health issues it has become harder to control.

I would like to say one of my on and off again projects is the live streaming of gaming (PC not roleplaying just for additional clarity). I have streamed myself playing games over on twitch and its hardly a new thing. Of course I have now been updating my website and this means adding the gaming/streaming stuff in here now as well.

I shall hopefully keep it up for a while and new content shall be mentioned on my webpage and I already have linkies to my youtube and twichy thingies in here.

Keep your peepers out for it (assuming it interests you).

Tidying up and stuff.

So yet again I haven’t done much on here (doing other stuff).

Recently though I have started hosting chat and live stream for a friends alternative news show here (you can get a fair bit done for free these days).
Since this was the case I’ve tidied up the site a touch, you know played with the theme and layout a bit (mainly the pages were fixed width but now should scale).

I also plan to add some of my gaming stuff on here as well once I get back into a bit of twitching.

Hopefully I manage to keep this up and make my site live a little more. I was kinda shocked to realise I’d not done anything on here for more than a year but that’s down to my ongoing slightly complicated relationship with my brain.

I know, I know, I am terrible at keeping things updated.

Yeah, erm so I haven’t been on here for ages writing anything.

Well I did say I have certain brain issues.  So I shall go for a little update.

Right then.  Health wise still much the same, it’s not as if brain structure problems just go away.  Generally I do feel much better now that I am not taking boatloads of medications though.  The insomnia still comes and goes but I’m used to that after all this time.  What doesn’t help is the next upcoming WCA and the form I just sent back to them for that.  The realist approach tells me the ticky box assessment will find me fit for work again and I end up on the appeals merry go round again.  Nothing really I can do about that, the politicians want to scapegoat and punish the sick and stupid people keep voting for them (won’t get into the whole lying and electoral misconduct here).

Life.  It’s OK I suppose, I have issues but at least I have a roof over my head and some good friends.  I recently completed a supported volunteering course and I am now working with them to find some suitable volunteering work that won’t make me worse mentally again.  The options are interesting at least.  One is for helping in libraries with people having trouble with their tech, you know showing people how to send emails and that kind of thing.  There’s the bicycle recyle lot where maybe I could be working on the bicycles which I haven’t done for a while.  Another is helping in some capacity at a Sensory Support centre which is a little vague at the moment but we’ll see.  Of course one the charity can’t help directly with is to get with the local Stop Smoking Service to help them understand and make use of electronic cigarettes.  That last one I’ll have to try and arrange myself but the charity will still support me with it.  Since I enjoy that kind of thing the last one is my preference but who knows if it will work out.  It kind of depends on the local SSS managers being receptive to vaping or not.  I am working on a nice email to send them and if contact is in any way reciprocated I shall try to get the NNA linked in too (since they have a nice fount of knowledge and the like but need more people in each of the SSS areas to work).

Technology.  Yeah I am still messing around with audiovisual stuff and have learned a fair bit (some of it even seems to be staying put in my head).  Little things like ground loop isolation to get rid of background noise on computer recordings, that high quality cables really can make a difference.  Oh and of course I got a better mixer. I did that because I thought the behringer had gone south, of course what was actually happening was loads of ground loop noise so I will use the Soundcraft (because its fantastic) but keep the other mixer as a backup.  I am still incredibly bad at video editing but when concentration allows I’ll keep working on that aspect.  Computer wise my machine is a fairly cheap monster.  I had a small hiccup where a new power supply was required but that was easy enough to rectify (loving the 1000W Rosewill I got hold of).  The machine is now quiet enough even under load and dumps heat (stays cool) effectively although I have the last couple of cheaper fans to replace so all case and CPU fans are matching arctic f12’s (last two should be here this week).  With the way the technology cycles it will be a fair while before I upgrade CPU and motherboard but I am always keeping an eye out for better GPU’s (while the R9 270X 4GB is good, the Nvidia models still give far better performance but cost a small fortune).  For my video exploits I also constructed a new carry rig for the Panasonic camera which gives an extending  handle as well as a really neat video light (camera and light powered by a USB power bank), oh and a tripod that stows in the handle as well.

Vaping. Yup still really enjoying my vapes.  I’ve had the parts for building a DNA200 for a few months but haven’t been in the right mindset to actually build it so far but still hope to have it done before the next UK VapeFest in august.  I still play around with mixing too but haven’t come up with anything wonderful as yet (its fun to try though).  I attend meets when I feel up to it, trying to remember to film bits and pieces while I’m at them.  The big meet I mentioned already and I should be able to make it even if the DWP do their we’re stopping your money trick just before it like they did a couple of years back (hence why people noticed I was a little more lively last year compared to my first visit).  Of course the TPD starts rolling out this year which will start to bite, but you’ve got to stay positive and keep plugging away to prevent vaping being destroyed.  The industry and user base has expanded rapidly and we must wait and see if the added numbers have given us enough weight to roll over than ANTZ and their political stooges.  Things seem positive in the UK at least but it will take time for that to build a head of steam to help elsewhere.  Those in opposition ran out of credible arguments a long time ago, but sadly the media keeps just running with the scare tactics (which of course they always will).  Slowly, with luck and work, the public will start to realise the absurdity of the whole thing and some of the damage can be reversed.  If that comes about we can work on stopping all the demonisation of groups that public “health” areas have made their stock and trade.  The ban/tax it brigade make themselves look more foolish every day, we just need people to wake up to it.   We should be working on educating people about choices, not removing choices.  Sanity and logic left the building for too many of these “professionals” an age ago and it needs sorting out.

Summary. Brain, still farting regularly (well so do I, bad stomach you know).  Tech, still fun. Vaping, still fun. Advocacy, still fighting.  Life, quite good currently. Post, finishing.

Gad On folks !

Oh and remember #celebratethevape !

VapeFest UK 2015

Well hello again.  Yup it is me and I’m still around, I get distracted and/or tired quite easily so since I spread myself over quite a large area I forget to keep things up to date.

That said I, like many others, headed down the country for a weekend away.  Yes it was VapeFest UK time again.  You see while there are now other big events in the UK, this one is the more social rather than commercial one.  This is why I go, I want to meet with as many vapers as I can and generally enjoy myself rather then try and get as much free, or on sale, products as I can.

So for me this meant a multi train trip but it’s OK since I live pretty close to my local station.  Yes I find the trip stressful, I am after all stuck in a relatively small space with people I don’t know.  I have to force myself to do this kind of thing though, can’t let the anxiety win.  Since it wasn’t all that exciting, suffice to say three trains later and I was down in Shrewsbury and started the walk to the show ground.  Luckily my current smartphone has pretty good (if not the quickest) satnav functionality so I had few worries about getting lost.  When you have a messed up memory and can’t easily remember directions this kind of thing becomes more important.

I was coming up to the huge sign pointing at the show ground when I met the first of my forum friends.  They pulled over in the car meaning I got a lift for the last few hundred yards.  Once on site I quickly assembled my tent and got down to some socialising.  As with last year I pitched next to my forum friends but not too far from another group of people I was familiar with.  During this wind up period there was a small bit of drama (wouldn’t be a vaping event if there wasn’t) but I may talk about that separately since a lot of frankly delusional talk surrounded that particular lemon.

Anywho, tent was up and more and more people I knew started showing up.  I orbited round the area saying quick hellos to people.  Since my memory is more hole than solid this meant cruising past and those that know me can say hello and I can usually quickly determine if this is a new acquaintance or one of longer standing.  So if you were there and find the way I approach people a bit odd it comes down to the fact if I don’t see you with any great regularity I just will not remember you.  Its not my choice I used to remember everybody I met but sadly that is impossible now.

I got a nice tour of my forums marquee and it was set up beautifully (way to go spikey_fridge).  That was a notable change this year that I realise some did not really like the sound of.  Three of the forums/groups had raised funds to have their own marquees so the members had a place to head for to meet up with online friends that quite often they have never met before.  In the case of the AAE-C marquee it had been set up with ample tea and coffee facilities and functional seating and tables.  On the Saturday there was also a book of condolence for a departed member and I am proud to have accidentally been the first to write in it.

That out of the way I had missed my chance at a lift into town since the person in question had forgotten and alcohol happened first.  It was fine though and I wasn’t too put off as push comes to shove I knew I could always walk into the town in the morning for supplies.  Also for that evening the AAE-C lot had also planned to have a BBQ anyway so it was hardly an urgent issue.

People kept streaming into the camping area and from this alone I knew the event was going to be bigger than last year.  I estimate at least twice as many took up the free camping offer which is one of the reasons I can afford to attend.  People don’t realise that, many think a cheap hotel is a must.  For someone like me a night in even a cheap hotel is a weeks worth of disposable money for me at best and eats into money for bills/food at worst.  So I applaud the committee for allowing camping for free for the whole weekend since I doubt I’m the only one who can only attend due to it.  As it was it was months of putting money aside for this event, and I had enough cash that some people would use in minutes to buy a mid range mod or a atty.

All over the camping area and through pubs in Shrewsbury vapers all started getting together and catching up and drinking.  In my case I was at the AAE-C BBQ for the evening since after the day travelling I was fatigued.  The booze flowed over the groups, and yes by the early hours the occasional idiot behaviour began.  What the hell though, this is what happens when humans drink and some arrive at excess.  Its normal and I’m just glad people were enjoying themselves.  Once things started winding down in the early hours I hobbled off to my tent for some quiet time.  That night I didn’t actually sleep, watched a couple of films instead.  Oh and don’t worry folks I had made sure I had ample electricity available in the form of portable power banks.

I started the day early and since I’d taken a little video setup got what I consider the morning money shot.  Sunrise coupled with a 360 shot of the campsite.  I have to say damn there were a huge number of people camping let alone all those that must have been safely tucked in in hotels for miles around.  This is the weird part of the day for me since people like to sleep but I often can’t so I tend to be up and about for ages before social groupings reach decent size.  As I knew it would I had managed to procure a lift to one of the big supermarkets so after people had breakfasted and the like I got into town for basic food and yes I got a bottle of gold rum for the evening.

So after a brief foray to the forum tent, a little chat and a cup refill (yes if you were there I was that large bloke all in black, including hat, with the large black boxmod and a big blue thermos cup) I decided to have a quick run round all the vendor stalls.  Camera in hand I said hello to two vendors I’ve known for some time (Garry and Jim) then skimmed round the whole place.  Despite being about quarter of an hour before official opening there were already hundreds of folks around and many vendors already had queues.  The tents were very well spaced, there were more of them than last year.  I know some think there were only the same amount as last year but more spread out and I shall quietly say you are wrong, arranging space is something I used to do professionally and this year there were more tents over a bigger area and some of the tents had multiple occupancy just like last year.  Indeed there were a couple of larger tents that had 4 or 5 companies inside.  Also present were VIP (Vapers In Power) a political party for vapers to protect vaping interests links to which I shall have on my website properly soon.  VIP had organised some speakers for both days of the event and I sorely regret missing all but one of them (too easily distracted and forgot to go).  The highlight would have been Simon Clark (Forrest) and Dick Puddlecote, although I unashamedly admit this was coz I’d really like to meet Dick Puddlecote.  Ah well I may get lucky again.

After the orbit of the site I had a short break with more tea (yes I openly admit to being tea, caffeine, nicotine and sugar powered).  The walk round on an orbit was roughly twice as far as last year.  Orbiting round is what I do and spent a great deal of the day doing.  I met loads of people, most previous acquaintances and many new.  After all I had decided to bring along a conversation piece again this year which always works quite well.  Even vendors could not help but comment on the mighty Artos the Celt, my subtle SX NotMini (large form SX350J device with a mahoosive 4000mAh 2S1P 30C hardcase LiPo).  Suffice to say I did not need to change batteries all weekend which is nice.

So after orbiting for a great deal of the time and failing to win anything in the first raffle, I got a phone call from an old friend who lives not too far from the venue.  I had invited her and the partner to come have a look since I was down for the weekend and they decided to do so.  That meant the rest of the daylight hours was basically down to chatting with old friends and explaining some of the vaping stuff.  This included sitting failing to win anything in the second raffle but damn some of those prizes looked good (the Cloud9Vaping hamper looked like a good old haul especially).  We ate then partook of the live band that was booked in for the evening.  Since they turned out not to be what we really wanted to be listening to (I am sure some enjoyed it) my friends went home and went off to find other people to bother.

The second evening was a repeat mostly of the first evening just with even more people around the place.  People drank, people talked, people partied.  Falling down eventually started happening as it does with alcohol but it was another fine evening.  I will mention in passing, but want to remain positive overall, that there were some noise/behaviour issues.  In my opinion these were not in huge number and far less than at other big events I’ve been to in my life although still a pain for those involved.  I had applied a nice dosage of rum to myself to counteract my insomnia, which worked and on that night I actually got a bit of sleep.

Dawn on day two was not as spectacular as the first but still cloud was being burned off by the sun.  I amused myself and had breakfast while I waited for all you normal people to wake up and get going.  Once people were up and about all the camaraderie kicked off again with the usual piss taking of lightweights, apologies from loud shite talkers and all the normal morning after stuff.  Then it was time to orbit round some more, and since I was tired and my knees and feet hated me I took it much easier on the second day.  It was excellent having that second day though since the crowds were smaller and everything was much more relaxed.  The bulk of the vendors were still present which was nice and even better for the bargain hunters as many did the age old sell it off cheaper so we don’t have to pack it up again.  I listened to a talk from Sarah Jakes over at the VIP tent, the first I actually made it to due to my goldfish like concentration and attention span.  Really that was about it for day two, mostly I was drifting about getting a good look at the much quieter stalls and spent a great deal more time sitting down.

The last night was completely different.  Just about everyone was gone but at least there were a dozen or so people I knew  quite close together.  Conversation and drinking were much more subdued in that classic wind down way.  People drifted off to bed reasonably early in preparation for the road home.  I didn’t sleep that much but found it peaceful slowly wandering parts of the site in the dark and quiet.  Monday morning saw everybody packing up and some very prolonged goodbyes.  I managed to blag a lift to the town centre as well which my feet and knees were grateful for.  I then had the three train trip home where I could collapse and reflect as well as look through the video footage I got.

So  I had a good time, stressful for me with my health, but more than worth the price I pay for these things.  I do hope it will be put on again next year as it is tragic the incoming TPD might ruin it.  Little bureaucrats sitting in hidden offices have deemed there should be no promotion of e cigs and it could well kill wonderful events like this where people are mainly going to meet people and see whats going on.  It is less commercial than other events but it is nice to have vendors present to ogle.

Oh and some of my footage is on the AAE-C forum and some of it will appear on VTTV.  I am not a great cameraman and keep forgetting to actually film anyway which I have to work on.

Health and Wellbeing.

So just back from my psychiatrists where I was given the low down on my MRI scan.

I have brain damage !  Good news overall. . .

OK most people don’t think of brain damage that way so I shall explain.  The damage is present but does not appear to have been caused by haemorrhage, infarction, mass lesion or collection (no fluid build up).  Essentially it is not a recent injury I was most likely born with issues and it just took a long time for the effects to become prominent.  I do have sulcal prominence in my frontal lobe. . . no I had to ask too folks.  Apparently, if you are familiar with how the brain looks, the troughs between the high points on the outside of the brain are more widely spaced in my frontal lobe.  The note on the MRI says this may be consistent with frontal-temporal dementia.  That sounds a bit dodgy but they are talking about the effect the damage has rather than the actual disease.

So unless the scan next year shows change, the damage is not progressive so no more marbles should be falling out until the regular old age ones start occuring.

I shall have to attend for neuro-phychological testing again to compare with the test results from last year and will get another MRI next year.  Also I am going to be doing Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to try and manage my anxiety (group based just so its challenging).

Now where was it I was gadding to again ?

Tweet, Tweet. . .

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