Aaaand it’s been a few weeks again since I typed up anything for this, so I think we need to accept that this is likely going to be the standard pattern for this blog, at least for now. I guess there’s something useful about doing regimental duties at work after all though, as that’s where I am right now, at 0115, with nothing better to do. Or rather there is work I could and perhaps should be doing, but am totally not in the mood for so won’t be doing, instead :p
So what’s new & been going on the last while since I updated here? The usual really, not a whole hell of a lot. I’m still not smoking, which is awesome (call it 135 days now, fuck yeah), but I’m still a fat bastard, and can’t seem to get, and stay, below 127kgs (boo), and that’s starting to seriously mess with my chi & shit. Then again, I shouldn’t really be surprised or complaining, because I’ve not exactly been following the diet and I’ve been sinking a bottle of whiskey each weekend lately……
Will likely see a lot of this guy along the way…..
The cycling is going quite well though, and last week I was able to do my little 9.5km route without stopping once, in under 40min, which is quite nice progress that I’m happy with. I didn’t get to ride this week for a couple of reasons, which sucks and means I’ll have likely gone backwards a bit with the minimal fitness I’m building up, but that’s no big deal to catch up again really. For now I’m just going to stick to that same route, and build up endurance and speed I think, and when I’m comfortably doing it in 20-30 min or so, I’ll extend it and start adding in a few hills, and so on, see how it goes. I also find myself looking at the bike at home on Saturday mornings, sitting propped against the breakfast counter & looking all forlorn, and start to get the germ of an idea of going for a ride on the weekends, but I’ve been able to successfully shake that off and go back to playing games on the computer or XBox for now. I have an idea it’s not going to be too long before I give in though, which can only be a good thing really, though it’ll likely only be after it’s started to really warm up properly again in the mornings. Not that it ever gets that cold really, given this is Africa we’re talking about, but the windchill at -1c doesn’t fuck around when you’re riding along at 20-30km/h…..
Hyperbole ftw 😛
Otherwise, it’s been an…… annoying and irritating few weeks at work. Severely so at times, and the frustrations are starting to get a little out of hand. We have an inspection by the Health Professions Council coming up, to see how compliant we are with requirements to present some of our training programmes that they’re do quality assurance for, and let’s just say there’s room for improvement. Lots of it. We’re talking the open Russian fucking steppes of open room for improvement, & we’re going to get crucified. Some of it is our fault, a lot of it is we’ve had four different Officers Commanding in as many years, and that’s just poison for getting anything meaningful done given the bureaucracy we have to deal with in the military. You just start getting the paperwork in order and signed, and stuff budgeted for, and then you have to start over again because the guy who signs has been shuffled off and the new guy first has to find their feet, be brought up to speed, wrap up the handing and taking over, and then they want to put their own little touches on whatever project it is that you were busy with. All of which takes time. And then just as you’re starting to make progress again it’s time to repeat the process because there’s suddenly a new guy at the wheel….
Hopefully that will change with the new boss we have. I’ve worked with him before, and I really like him. He’s sharp, doesn’t take crap, and isn’t scared to beat you with a stick, or to praise you, whenever you need / deserve it. Hopefully he’ll be at the unit long enough to actually make a difference and to see some progress, because G_d knows, we need it round about now…..
My students have also really been on form lately, at least some of them. As in calling me up at 2200 on a Friday night, drunk, to hurl abuse, insults, and threats at me kind of on form. That’s the most extreme example – so far – but the last few weeks seem to have been a daily exercise in “Oh for fucksakes! What now?!” petty irritation and aggravations with them. So and so is late for parade, this one still hasn’t handed in their portfolio of evidence for RPL, that one gave a facilitator shit for no damn reason, the other is having a family crisis, and so on and so on.
And I’m tired of it. I really don’t have the sense of humour or patience to deal with the constant aggravation, even as petty and minor as each little incident may be, and especially given how I am just falling further and further behind with work I need to be doing. I have huge portfolios for each students to mark that I’m just not getting to, and at the same time I need to redesign said portfolio, which is a big enough job all by itself.
And in preparing their portfolios my dear, darling students have copied word for word out of the facilitator guides they know they’re not allowed to have, after I fucking told them emphatically not to, or to at least have half a brain cell about how they do it so it isn’t obvious and I can ignore it. So now I have the prospect to look forward to of having to take serious disciplinary action against some of them that may even see them get fired. And yeah, I am sooooo looking forward to that ballache…..
Sigh. And it really doesn’t help that I’m getting sick, and that I can already feel that it’s going to be a doozy of an upper respiratory tract infection. My ears & sinuses are already blocking up, and I have that dry & raspy feeling in the back of my throat & down into my chest. It’s going to be sooo much fun.
Anyway. Enough of the bellyaching. Let’s just say my happy is being fucked with, my sense of humour runneth out, and I’ll be hanging fuckers at dawn if it carries on like this for much longer. But maybe I can milk this infection for a few days sick leave, that’d make for a welcome few days at home.
On the positive side of the ledger – yes, there is one, it’s not all whining & sulking 😛 – we had our first little camera club get together this past weekend, where we took some cityscapes of Pretoria. I’m not too impressed with the photos, which isn’t surprising given how out of practice I am, and that I was trying to take photos with a zoom lens in low light without a tripod, but it was still great fun to get out & take photos again. And the interest in this little club seems quite keen so far, and we’ll probably be having our next meeting again as early as the weekend after next. The plan is that we have one meet-up a month, alternating between Pretoria & Jo’burg for now, but if there’s an interesting event on the go – such as the cars-in-the-park thing in 2 weeks – the plan is to see who all would like to go, & make an impromptu gathering of it. The only real downside to this is that I now again want to spend lots of money on cameras and lenses and accessories and shit again, and I really need to be paying off debts and putting money away lol
I do – legitimately – need at least a tripod though, & maybe a fixed 100mm macro lens too, but after that I should be pretty much sorted. I really wouldn’t mind one of those new mirrorless Canon Eos M’s though, as a second camera, but that’s very much a “nice to have”, and not something I can really justify spending money on right now.
Saucy little minx, isn’t she?
For more than just me drooling and making googly eyes at picture, you can click below to look at the Canon webpage for these cameras 🙂
On the subject of new camera tech, that new Lytro Illum camera also looks like something incredibly special, and at what should be a very reasonable price, and I’m very interested to see how that develops.
Check it out here (video) and here (website), & you’ll see what I mean. Truly amazing, Star Trek level stuff. We’re talking about the ability to alter focal length, depth of field, focus, all kinds of things AFTER you’ve taken the shot. If this is what it promises to be, it’s pretty much the ultimate in photographic creative freedom.
I’m not sure if it’s available in this country yet, or how much it’ll cost when / if it becomes available, but damn if that’s not something to be amazed by and to drool over……
Something else I’ve been thoroughly enjoying spending time on lately – and also spent waaaay more money on than I should have if truth be told – is a PC game called Elite: Dangerous. It’s in beta at the moment, and is due for release sometime before the end of the year, but it’s looking like something really special. It’s the updated version of a game I played back in the early 1980s’ (showing my age here a little), also called Elite, which was pretty much the granddaddy of all the space fighting-trading games ever made since. What sets it apart from the other – rather limited of late – offerings in this genre, however, is the amazing scope and attention to detail on offer here.
You know there are 400 billion stars in our galaxy, right? You will be able to visit them, every single one, in game. If there’s a known celestial body, it’s modelled in the game. Constellations, stars, nebulae, exo-planets, the works, with procedural generation being used to fill in the – very large admittedly – bits of the galaxy we don’t know about, but in as realistic a manner as possible. The galaxy map alone is a thing of incredible beauty and fascination, never mind the rest of the game.
the Milky Way in all its (simulated) glory….
Home, the Little Blue Speck…..
the 5 systems and 200 cubic LY you can explore in the current beta….
Galactic centre. And yes, you can visit every one of those stars, if you want……..
At release you’ll be confined to your ship, but along the way there’ll be expansions that bring in moving around your ship and space stations, being able to go EVA and board other ships – peacefully or otherwise 😛 – and free-form planetary landing, with varied and interesting things to do while you’re down there.
And never mind how ambitious in scope the game is, it really is utterly gorgeous to behold. Screenshots, as is so often the case, simply do not do it justice, but these will hopefully give at least some idea of how stunningly beautiful this game is.
the underside of a planetary ring, like you get around Saturn….
a young, volcanic planet…..
an Orbis class space-station, with its planet as backdrop…..
a view of the habitation rings of the Orbis station….
one of the more traditional Coriolis stations….
interior view of the stations, showing an Anaconda class freighter departing the station….
It’s kind of bittersweet in a way though, as the original was my old mans’ favourite game, pretty much the only one he ever played, and I every time I see something that amazes me in this game I can’t help but think of him, and what his reaction to it would have been. I just know how giddily excited he would have been about this, and it makes me sad that he’s not here to see it.
Anyway, I think that’s enough for now, & I’ll end off here and go do some rounds of the unit to see if we haven’t been broken into – again. I’ll hopefully be back again before too much longer to waffle on some more, but cheers for now 😉