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I bought Borderlands 2 over the weekend, and have been wasting my time on that rather than Mass Effect 3. It's fun, and lightweight in the way it plays; there's only one skill per character, and the bonuses you get through levelling don't seem to have much effect, so it's all about the guns, which are great. Currently I'm running with an assault rifle / minigun that shoots explosive rounds, a sniper rifle that sets enemies on fire, and a shotgun that reloads by throwing it at the enemy, whereupon it explodes, which is great fun. I have found that the sniper rifle is way overpowered, at low levels at least: huge levels combined with enemies with close range weapons and a tendency to pause to reload lead to headshots galore. Also, I'm only level 15 and already I'm finding sidequests just mean plowing through already cleared areas, that are now repopulated with mooks at such low levels it's easier to ignore them and tank the damage rather than fight them. There's a few bugs as well, pick up items for quests that need to be picked up two or three times before they actually pick up, things that won't light on fire, but that may just be me; I see a lot of bugs most people don't.

Wallets!

May. 21st, 2013 06:54 pm
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I've finally found myself a new wallet. The search has been going on for years now, because it seems there is a fundamental disconnect between what I consoder vital in a wallet and what manufacturers the world over produce. A wallet should jave three things: a olace to store cards, a place to store notes, and a place to store coins. Simple, right?

Apparently not. I've been looking in every single place that sells wallets for one that does all three, from little places in that had one basket by the counter to entire market stalls to entire tourist shopping centres in Turkey, but not one had a proper wallet. I could have my notes and cards safe but jingle when I walk, or have my notes all screwed up, or have my cards get scratched up. The wallet I have been using had space for cards and coins, but the note space wasn't big enough, so even my fivers had to be folded in half.

But now I've found not one decent wallet, but two in as many days. The first I picked up in a beach-side tourist tat place, the second at a factory outlet for a surf shop. (Also, I am on holiday this week - attempting to surf in Devon again.) I can't really believe that it's taken such a long time to find such a simple thing as a wallet. Not a world ending problem, but it has been such a long irritation.
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The builder's survey found a couple of problems with the electrics; so now I've had an electrician go round. It looks like the guy before the current occupiers thought he knew what he was doing, and messed about with the wiring. They had to do a lot of work before they moved in, though, and it looks like the worst of the damage was repaired, leaving some odd cosmetic things going on.

The rest of it is moving along. I've paid the first part of the solicitors fees, and the broker. Still waiting on the forms from the mortgage people. What I'm most worried about is the couple selling - they have yet to find a place, which means it could be a while before I can move in. My options on what to do if I don't have somewhere to go by the first of July.
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My offer was accepted! I had to go up to my limit, but now it's all down to waiting and hoping everything goes smoothly. My solicitor has been paid, and valuation & survey arranged. I'll also have to get all the insurance arranged, but that will have to wait until a little further along in the process.

I wonder what I'm forgetting to do.
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The return went well, although it's left me thinking the houses are closer (in terms of absolute value) than I did before. I went with my parents, to get a second opinion, and on the older house, they noticed a few things I hadn't the first time: a couple of tiles missing from the front, the roofs of houses of the same age across the street bowing a little - combined with the rather desperate need for complete re-painting and new carpets throughout, I think you'd have to spend the £15K difference to get it up to condition.

The comparison becomes a lot closer: one has extra space inside, the other has parking and a garage. Picking the better one is very personal, I suppose.

So which one do I prefer? Would I actually use the extra space? Silly question, of course, the stuff you have automatically expands to fill any storage space. But would I prefer the parking? Certainly, the parking is a great thing. And there's still plenty of storage space - a loft, a garage with space above it. And the killer feature: it's pretty much ready to move in.

Yeah, I think I'll go for that one. Now I just have to get a mortgage and lawyers sorted out.
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That brings up the image of stalking a building as it roams over the plains, before bringing it down with a well placed shot from an elephant gun.

So, I've visited a whole bunch of places now. There were a couple of flats - one in Cholsey, the other in Wallingford centre. Both were rather similar, in that they had reasonable size rooms, but no storage or even somewhere I could store my bike. That makes life kind of awkward, so although they were quite cheap, those go on my no list.

The two places I'm really properly considering are both houses in Berinsfield, a village between Oxford an Wallingford. It's not the best area in the county; it was built in the 50's on an old airfield (according to the Wikipedia page, the place Glen Millar took his last flight from) and was council housing. A lot of that has been bought out with RTB, and there's a fair amount of new build, but it still has the stigma of being a council estate. However, it is close to work, and it does have all the services in the village, and I've spoken to people who live there and they seem to like it there - certainly, there were no gangs of ferals running around when I was there.

The first place was the strangely laid out, 2-bed 3-bath semi. It has a garage, and room for storage, but the rooms are a bit small - particularly the bedrooms. It also has the new build trick of the party walls being nothing more than plasterboard.

The other place is an ex-council 3-bed terrace. It's big. Huge. Comparable to my parents place. The third bed is the size of the master bed in the previous house. It's solidly built, with a recently replaced kitchen, boiler and bathroom. It's also £15k cheaper than the other place. There are a couple of odd things about it, though. There's no parking - apart from the street - no garage (although you can rent one), and it's strangely presented, in that the rear faces the street (over a set of garages) and the front faces a little green square surrounded by other houses. I get the feeling there's a lot of young families in the area, which might be a bit annoying.

If these two houses were the same price, I'd be much more conflicted about which one I preferred. The smaller house being higher priced, though, puts me firmly towards the bigger, cheaper house. I'm going back to look at them again tomorrow, and I may take a walk around the area later at night, to check it's not bad at all. They do say that's a good idea.
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Wow, it's been a while since I posted anything. I've had a bit of a housing crisis - my landlords are having the house completely redone, as in everything on the inside removed and a huge extension put on the back. Not that that's a bad thing, it could do with little things changing, like doors high enough for me to walk through without ducking, double glazing and wiring that doesn't trip a fuse and blow bulbs at least once a week. It is, however, a massive undertaking, and I'll have to be out of the place for a while. So I've been looking around for a new place.

There's not a huge amount of rented property on the market in the right area at the moment. At least, not in my price range. but it does look like I've finally saved up enough 9f a deposit to be cons8dered for a mortgage, and I've been looking at a couple of places to buy.


The Wallingford area is very high end. It's all London dormitory, where the rich London workers have all there weekend homes, and has prices that are comparable to the city. So the properties I'm looking at are the smallest, pokiest places available. There aren't many flats, due to the British bias against them, but I think I'm going round them all.

Having said that, there's only been one flat to look at so far, and I ruled that out as being too expensive for the size and location. There's another in the centre of town, but the owners seem rather reluctant to give viewings (three cancelled now) so I'm not sure if they even want to sell. There have been two houses to look at, the first being a definite no. It was very small and outdated, with no central heating, wiring need replacing, new kitchen, bathroom, windows, and complete redecoration. You could spend enough to bring it up to the same price as the other place without really adding to the value. And since it had been on the market a while, I'm thinking the seller is willing to wait until he gets a price it's not worth.

The other place was much more promising. A semi detached place with it's own garage, much newer and ready to move into, my only question was the odd layout - three bathrooms in a two bed house? Odd. The master bedroom in particular felt cramped, with half the space taken up by an en suite with a shower room. It's very odd.
So that's been my last couple of weeks. I've got a couple of places to look at on Tuesday, but if I don't find something viable soon, I'll have to bite the bullet and look for more rented accommodation.
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I got a new keyboard recently - not because the old one was full of garlic again, but because it was free. It's a mechanical one rather than the standard ones, the name of which I can't remember, which means it's incredibly noisy, but has a very pleasant tactile feedback. However, the main thing about it is not the mechanism, but the keys don't have the letters on it - basically, to use it, you have to know how to touch type.

Turns out I don't. What's odd is that I don't have any more errors than normally - and I can type as well as ever when I look at my hands. I know exactly where the keys are, but I have no idea where my hands are. It was the same when I was trying to learn the piano - my hands are all over the place, unless I'm looking at them, they're off doing their own thing.
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Yeah, I think I need to go to the doctor with this, what every it is. I'm constantly short of breath, lightheaded and Now I'm getting stomach pains as well. It's been going on for a month now, so I think that's enough time.

I haven't been to the doctors in five or six years, though. I'm not sure if I'm still registered where I was. Hopefully they'll still have my records. If not, I might as well try to get registered near where I current;y am - trouble is, when registering you need to prove you're a local (it's a local surgery. For local people.) by showing a bill with your address on it - but of course, I don't pay the bills, my landlord does, so I might have trouble signing up.

I'm always concerned when I go to the doctor - when I was a kid, the doctor I had was very short with me, despite the fact I was in quite a lot of pain from my ear - seemed to think I should have known it was the nurse who did ear syringing, without talking to him. Later on, when I had a kidney infection and was pissing blood, he was equally bad tempered. I got the feeling that he resented me wasting his time with my illness. It's a different doctor this time, but I get nervous. I've always hated the 'you're wasting my time' look that I got a lot as a kid.

Still, I suppose the worst they can do is call me a hypochondriac, say I'm perfectly fine, and send me on my way. I do worry a lot about the state of my health, but I try to avoid talking about it, because of all the boring things to go on about? I have enough ways to put people off talking to me without that.

14-01-2013

Jan. 14th, 2013 10:34 pm
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I don't think I've shown this picture yet...Character design for Squiggs )
wyatt1048: (Default)
Sketches related to my future comic. )

Anyway, I would also like to talk about the storyline. If you'd like to read a load of stuff about the plot, let me know and I'll make some locked posts to comment on.

Resolutions

Jan. 8th, 2013 09:35 pm
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1. Stop procrastinating so much.

Yeah, so that's going well. I've really got to stop putting things off and getting distracted. Speaking of which...

2. Set goals and Say what they are.

I have a terrible habit of saying to myself, 'Nobody knows I've failed, so that doesn't really count, does it?' Yes. It does. I work best with someone watching over my soldier, and I will procrastinate if I don't feel that someone is waiting for me. It's not exactly pressure, but I don't like to disappoint.

So what do I need to do?

3. Get a house.

Not that the place I'm in at the moment is bad, but I'd like to have some space that is mine. I've got enough of a deposit saved up, but organising a mortgage is complicated. I supposed it has to be.

4. Get 'The Means' started. I've just managed to sort out the motive of one of the main characters, and it's all plotted out. I just need to buckle down and start drawing. See point 1.

5. Draw something every day. Try to combine that with point 4.

I've got to start taking better care of myself as well. I've been feeling rubbish since Christmas, sinuses blocked and permanently out of breath. I haven't been coughing much, so that's a bit weird. If it goes on for another week or so, I'm going to have to find out where the doctors is round here - I haven't been to a docs for years.

Christmas

Dec. 30th, 2012 09:17 pm
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Well, it's been an interesting Christmas. I've been home at my parents, but mostly at my sister's place. On the 22nd, my sister gave birth to a healthy baby girl, so everyone has been over there, trying to help out. It's their first child, so they've been panicking over every little sneeze and cry, and not getting much sleep at all, as you might expect. What we've been doing mostly is just watching the baby sleep while they try to get a brief kip, and bringing over food: turkey roast with all the trimmings, turkey soup, turkey sarnies, turkey fritters, turkey curry and finally turkey leftovers, which I had trouble identifying.

That's not all that has gone on: My grandmother has gone into a care home, probably for the last time. She had an infection and ended up in hospital for a brief time, but the doctors (finally) said she needed full time care, which Mum and Dad just couldn't provide. She seemed to be in a very bad way to me; barely reacting to us, giving one word answers and then going back to sleep. Even the visit from her great-granddaughter didn't get more than ten minutes of attention out of her. They say there's nothing in particular wrong with her, but she is 99 years old, and I get the feeling she's turned her face to the wall. Mum says that those were just bad days, but I wonder if she is just seeing what she wants to see.

So, yes, it's been an eventful Christmas. Good and bad, but certainly not quiet.

Filling in

Dec. 5th, 2012 09:11 pm
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I had two fillings put in today - the first ones I've had. The amount of pain after the injection wore off surprised me: the tooth (the second molar from the front) cracked two weeks ago while I was flossing (...), a large chunk falling out, and I didn't have a twinge of pain from it up to the dentist. Apparently, the nerve was exposed, so I'm not sure how I managed to get away without that hurting. I'm lucky that I haven't really had any problems with my teeth, aside from when I was a kid, so I'm not sure how long it hurts for after a filling.

Hope it's not much longer.

New car!

Nov. 29th, 2012 10:03 pm
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I finally have a new car! I picked up little Corsa for £2.5k from a garage in Leamington. Second hand, of course, it's an 05 reg, so much newer than my old car, and hopefully a little more reliable. It's bit more nippy than the Clio, especially in the low gears - whereas in that I couldn't use first for anything but starting, the Corsa is quite happy to grumble along at just shy of ten without complaining. It's got of bit of an odd boost: according to the manual, there's no turbo, but there's definitely a kick when the revs go high enough. Awkwardly, it's just about where it hits seventy, meaning I'll be on the motorway, start to lift and then boost up further than I had intended.

Anyway, the radio works, which is a big bonus! It so much more convientient to be able to drive about rather than wait for buses a trains, and deal with their dodgy price structure. Return by train from Didcot to Leam? £35. Single from Didcot to Leam? £15. Sense made? None. Besides, the bus from Brightwell to Didcot is the same price as the bus from Wallingford to Oxford, where it's £15 for a return by train, despite only being ten-fifteen miles further.

Oh, that reminds me: Flooding hasn't affected me too much, although a bunch of folk at work who live in Oxford got stucck at home by the rising water. The Thames is well over its banks and over the fields, threatening the new houses - one of the houseboats moored by the pub bridge has drifted so that it's half over the bank, and I'm curious how they'll keep it in the water. The water should be at its highest now, and it's just going to be bloody cold now.

Car

Oct. 28th, 2012 10:03 pm
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Going along the motorway at 70, I was just about to pull of onto the A34 when my car died. No warning, just a little 'pfeh!' and then no power. No lights, either. Luckily I was right by the hard shoulder, which was double width on the sliproad, so I could stop and get out (as they always advise you to). I've been in the AA since I bought the car (...this AA, that is) which is handy for just these moments, and the van was there inside half an hour (which was nice, as it was raining). The guy took one look at the engine, and...

It's fucked. Apparently, the cambelt went, which means the engine just tore itself apart. Obviously, he couldn't take it apart to confirm it on the side of the road, so I got a tow home (after paying £90 for an upgrade to the service that gives you a lift) and left the car outside the garage down the road so they can have a look at it tomorrow and confirm that it needs a new engine. He estimated that it might be as much as £1k to get the engine fixed. Given that I paid £1.5k for it four years ago, it's probably not worth it, and I'll have to get it scrapped and find a new one.

I never did get the dent from where the police ran me off the road fixed, either.
wyatt1048: (DF tramp)
I've been playing a lot of the multiplayer of ME3 recently. A lot. As in, over 230 hours, in total. It's actually better than the single player: for a start, it doesn't have a storyline that wastes the potential that was set up in the previuos games, and because the characters have a much wider range of powers than Shepard does, you can play around a lot more without having to wrork you way through half the levels before reaching a point where you can have fun, even if some of the enemies are a little cheap

However, the main problem is for a completest like me. I loathe to see an incomplete list of things I have, so I was working towards completing my manifest before putting it down. Now, not only are there a lot more characters, weapons, and gears, but a whole new system of challenges to complete, along with a public record of everything you have to show off
Mine is here, in case you're wondering. I now have this compulsion to complete the whole bloody thing, as I always do.

xkcd

Sep. 19th, 2012 08:20 pm
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Woah. I must have spent about thirty minutes scrolling around today's xkcd. It's truly a work of art.

I must admitm I did cheat in the end: there's a zoomable version here. I would never have found the other whales without it.
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Suddenly, the world seems a darker place.

That may have something to do with new sunglasses, though.

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