Sunday, 30 December 2012

Happy New Year!

Image from
StockFreeImages.com
I just want to take this opportunity to wish everyone, especially my 'regulars' - you know who you are, and are very special to me for keeping me going :) - a very happy, prosperous, safe and healthy New Year for 2013.

I look forward to reading your blog posts in the new year, and hopefully have you read mine. Stay inspired, enthusiastic and energised throughout the year to come. The very best of luck and good fortune, people :)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Resurrection Blogfest - Reviving the Past with a Post

For this entry to Gothma Mina Lobo's first blogfest competition, I have chosen a post dating back to 'Friday 20th May 2011'.

It deals with a passion and a love of mine, and the whole kick-start for this blog: traditional pencil & paper role playing ~ and begins with the very first game I ever received: Snapshot, and little did I realise this would shape the future for me both as a gamer and as a potential wannabe writer of fiction.

I seriously hope you enjoy the read and for some, draws you in enough to encourage you to read over my past blog posts. I thank you for your time and patience in reading this :)

Friday, 12 October 2012

Beautiful film, beautiful song

When it comes to films I find my increasing age does one of several things, or in some instances all of them at once:

  1. Makes me very fussy/cynical/critical, more than I ought to be.
  2. Makes me weep at the drop of a hat if it is the slightest bit emotionally absorbing.
  3. Makes me wish I could write a film script of my own.
But one film that I adore, encapsulates a plethora of elements than makes my heart race, my soul soar and my spirit weep, if for no other reason but the sheer beauty of some of the set scenes. So imagine my joy at finding this brilliant video on YouTube, combined with a song that just makes me blub.

It's a story of adventure, love, betrayal and loss.

The film is, 'House of Flying Daggers' and the song is, 'Can't Cry Hard Enough ', by Bellefire. When combined as they are, the effect is profound (and if you haven't got the slightest hint of a moist eye at the end, then you're a hard bastard).

I hope you enjoy :)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Pure gold for Writers

Now forgive me if any of you writers already know of the website I am going to present to you today, and for those of you for whom it is a new discovery, I urge you to USE IT!

It is a writer's goldmine of information, instructional videos, tips and great advice covering a plethora of topics and subject matter - everything you need, to be honest. In fact, makes me wonder why I'm sharing this with you guys'n'gals in the first place... it's mine! My preciousssss... we needssss it! Hatessss the Bagginsessss, we does!

Ahem. The lovley lady who runs this site is called K.M. Weiland, and again, I'm sure a lot of you have already heard of this lovely writer and/or already use her website, but for those of you who do not, trust me, she's a great person and so knowledgeable (especially for one so young) and talented, and very approachable if you wish to ask questions directly.

So, if you are an existing writer, or just nibbling at the pages of your epic writing journey, and have never been to this amazing website entitled: Helping Writers Become Authors, then click on that title and start browsing - and tell me I was wrong... I dare you ;)

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Testing your Password

I was given this link by my good friend, fellow guildie and role playing group member,  Hana. The sheer brilliance of it is that it tells you instantly how strong or weak your passwords are by just entering them into the boxed window.

The site is called, 'How Secure Is My Password'. A simplistic site that allows you to type as many passwords as you like, and rates them on such things as length, complexity, use of symbols, and the such. Much to my horror, passwords I thought to be 'strong' were actually quite the opposite. I now use it regularly to test out new passwords, so I thought I'd share the love.

The best password to use is actually a short sentence including spaces and numbers - make it even harder, throw in some symbols and upper case letters. Enjoy.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Player Characters and their Familiars

©1999 Tony DiTerlizzi
www.diterlizzi.com
Yesterday's events surrounding our 'missing' cat, Tilly, caused me to reflect on a topic that I was never quite happy about during my years as a DM (Dungeon Master).

The Familiar is a magically conjured companion for the magic users (sorcerer or wizard) within the Dungeons & Dragons - wiki's description of D&D - role playing game setting. It is normally one of the following (here I quote from the original Official AD&D Players Handbook v. 2010 by E. Gary Gygax - father of role playing as we know it.):



Sunday, 16 September 2012

Gone Missing

Tilly in one of her favourite spots - the sofa.
Having returned from being away for several days I come home to a worrying and slightly upsetting fact that one of our cats, Tilly - our grey tabby - has been missing since Thursday 13th September, 2012.

Now if you had occasion to meet Tilly you would realise she isn't the type of cat to do a Houdini. She's a home loving missy, who loves her creature comforts, her food and especially her cuddles on the sofa during an evening's television time. My wife won't rest and is extremely upset, as Tilly was - is her cuddle-buddy next to Darcy our dog.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Internet Connection... Grrr!

Though not fantastic, and still ongoing, I do have a connection.

So, to soothe the soul, I am posting a song performed by the brilliant David Sylvian (his official website can be found here), formerly of the band 'Japan'. I hope you enjoy as much as I do and it inspires you to look up further performances by this great artiste.


Friday, 31 August 2012

Bad Broadband

Once again, here I am finding myself apologising for my silence... but it's not all my fault!

In July I signed up with BT for their super-fast fibre optic broadband. All went well with the 10 day 'burn-in' period, then on 3rd August it all went squiffy. My connection continually dropped, sometimes leaving me without a connection at all, and other times, only giving me 60 seconds before it cut out again.

Well, many, many phone calls, and one engineer visit later, I am still in the same situation - yet I write this during one of my 'good' moments of connectivity. I now await an engineer to call on 4th September (the engineer call arranged for yesterday, 30th August just didn't happen - they didn't turn up and couldn't be bothered to tell me).

So fingers crossed they will fix my problem and leave me with a fault free service, otherwise I can promise BT, I will be cancelling, though it pains me to say so. Normal service will resume once I have a reliable connection.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Digital Bath - The Mouth of Ghosts

For your listening pleasure I present to you the brilliant cover of the Deftones' 'Digital Bath ' by a brilliant band I discovered accidentally on FaceBook, called The Mouth of Ghosts.

I hope you enjoy the cover as much as I do. I've listened to the original version by the Deftones, and to be honest, I prefer this one... sorry to all you Deftone fans ;)


Sunday, 19 August 2012

Neil Gaiman: An Inspirational Speech (especially for writers).

I was linked this video showing Neil Gaiman giving an inspirational speech to the University of Arts Class 2012, by one of my close friends from my online gaming community. It's almost twenty minutes long, but it is an excellent speech, and for some reason, Neil Gaiman has this almost hypnotic quality that pulls you along.

I'm hoping those writer blogofs out there will appreciate this for the brilliant speech, wit and intellect that Neil Gaiman presents so effortlessly and with such confidence.

Watch, listen and most of all, enjoy :)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Infinite Third - Billy Mays III

Image copyright of Billy Mays III
& Infinite Third
It's not often that you find a musical artist with whom you feel truly connected with via their music, and it is less often such an artist is so warm, open and genuinely passionate about sharing their art form with their fan base that they offer it up virtually for free.

This is why I am honoured to be presenting to you, my fellow blogofs, one such person. He is an extremely talented and genuinely creative individual who doesn't shy away from interacting with his fan base. His name is Billy Mays III, and you can find him on TwitterFaceBook, and here on YouTube .

In attempting to describe his music I realise that it encompasses a plethora of genres, of which the ones that spring to my mind are: electronic, ambient, experimental and chillout. But on reading his site info, other descriptors mentioned are: drone, shoegaze, soundscape, healing, love, spiritual and relaxing, to name but a few. I've listened to his music for the better part of a year now and am the proud owner of five of his albums, one of my favourites being 'Innermost Center '.

To listen to his latest album, also free to download, follow this link to (eardrops) by Infinite Third.
But you can support this musician by giving a donation when downloading his music, which I think is fair when you consider the amount of work Billy puts into each album.

Below is one of my favourite tracks entitled, "To Dream To..." - I think you'll agree, it's sublime, whilst being hauntingly beautiful. This music most deservedly belongs in film - only my humble opinion ;)

A big 'thank you' to Billy Mays III for giving me permission to write this little piece. All copyright for Infinite Third and the Infinite Third logo and accompanying videos/music belong to the artist, Billy Mays III. Enjoy :)


Sigur Rós - video #7

I'd like to share with you this beautiful music by Sigur Rós, coupled with a video produced by Melika Bass - you can find her website here.

The music is entitled: Varðeldur. I hope you enjoy :)

Monday, 6 August 2012

What is a Muse?

What exactly is a muse? What form does it manifest, if any? Do we, as creative types, all have a muse? Is it part of who we are, and if indeed 'the muse' is missing, is an individual capable of being creative?

I'm asking these questions as I've felt my writing inspiration, for want of a better word, 'missing'? This doesn't mean I cannot write, otherwise I wouldn't be here now. No, what I am saying is that flow, that 'mind pump' (as David Gemmell once called it in a letter he wrote to me), has gone very still and quiet.

Newton Faulkner

Listened to this on the way home from work this afternoon. Made me smile for many reasons, but I'm not sharing why. Regardless of that, it's a great song, and certainly gets the foot tapping and is quite an uplifting 'feel good' tune, so I thought I'd share the love... enjoy.

Friday, 3 August 2012

The Dangers of Using External Images on your Blog

Courtesy of : jimmyloy.wordpress.com



I've recently gained a fellow blogger as a follower (wow, that rhymed rather nicely) by the name of David Powers King. Perusing his blog I read his latest article regarding the use of images taken from the internet. It makes for very informative and disturbing reading concerning the copyright issues of such a practice.

So I'm providing the link here to David Powers King: The Cosmic Lair of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the article in question. I seriously suggest you read it. David helpfully provides links to several sites for trouble-free use of images and photos.

Mean Mina's Question Challenge... Grrr!

Image courtesy of
www.dangerouscreation.com
Mina, I love you as a blogof, but man, you be tryin' my patience girl with this one! It's MASSIVE! Sooo many questions, too! I will endeavour to answer as best as my ageing brain will allow, but I'm not going to continue with the tagging game - I do hope you understand.

So, the culprit I am answering to is none other than the Goth Mistress of the Blogosphere herself: Mina Lobo of 'Some Dark Romantic'.

Apparently I have to reveal 11 things about myself. Eleven. Hell, that's going to be tough - but I shall do my utmost to fulfill this blog ritual as best I can, though feel free to fall asleep during the reading.

Coursera - a Free Online Source of Courses


A friend and fellow blogger, Cassandra of ' Musings from an astronaut bound to Earth ', drew my attention to a free online writing course hosted by a site named 'Coursera'.

Now, never one for education as a teenager, I couldn't wait to leave my high school at the first opportunity. Granted, as I matured I did embark on various courses, either correspondence, night school, college, and finally university. Upon completion of my degree I vowed never to do another educational course again - ever!



Thursday, 2 August 2012

Guild Wars 2 Grand Master

Well, I was lucky enough to be invited to write a small piece for a fan-based Guild Wars 2 site, run by a great guy based in America, called Shaun.  So, if you're into Guild Wars 2, or thinking about getting into the game upon release and want to know more regarding tips, hints, play guides and more, then click onto the site name here ~ Guild Wars 2 Grand Master.

My little Asuran Elementalist performing his staff twirling routine. Why, I haven't a clue?
The article basically chats about my experience within the last beta test weekend playing the diminutive, but no less dangerously intelligent race, the Asura (with beta screen shots added).

Alex Clare

I heard this guy on the radio whilst driving and as usual forgot his name by the time I arrived home, but after much searching of YouTube I finally tracked him down. So here is his official site link: Alex Clare.

And allow me to present to you for your listening and viewing pleasure the video of his song, 'Too Close' - enjoy :)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Sleepmaker Storms Free

Image courtesy of the App Store
Once again, dipping back to a past post, I mention a site called 'SimplyNoise' that offered a variation of white, pink and brown noise to help sooth, calm and bring about sleep - odd as it may seem.

Well now, through the medium of my iPad, I have discovered this wonderful little app entitled 'Sleepmaker Storms Free'.

I, for one, love the sound of a thunderstorm, and this great little app (available for both iPad and iPhone) offers a wide range of storm and  rain sounds depending on your mood/taste/liking. I use it on a regular basis, especially of late with these warm nights, with window open, a cool night breeze across my body and the rumbling sound of rolling thunder accompanied by a steady downpour of rain... sheer bliss.

So, if you're a lover of storms and listening to them in the dark, pop over to the Sleepmaker link above and get downloading. They also produce apps for the sound of the sea, nature, static and rain without thunder - all for free! I hope you find what you need and enjoy :)

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

A little while ago I posted a small tribute piece to the late Andy Whitfield, who starred as Spartacus in 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand'.

And now, I offer up the follow-on 'Spartacus: Gods of the Arena'. This is a prequel to the events of Blood and Sand, giving more background and depth to the characters and life within the ludus of Batiatus before the arrival of Andy Whitfield's character, Spartacus.

Interestingly though, this series was filmed during Andy's convalescence from his first bout of treatment to combat his cancer, from which the doctors subsequently gave him a clean bill of health.
It was the studio's hope that Andy would be fit to return to fulfill his role as Spartacus in season two of Spartacus: Blood and Sand - which sadly, as we all now know, was never meant to be with Andy Whitfield's passing in 2011 due to a resurgence of his cancer.

For those new to the whole Spartacus series, I offer you a taster of 'Gods of the Arena'. Enjoy :)


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Electric City


Tom Hanks as we all know and love, has been a familiar and respected actor recognised by face and voice across several generations - everything from his earlier outings in 'Splash' of 1984, to his voicing of 'Woody' in the 'Toy Story' franchise.
Now, in 2012 we are presented with twenty, five minute episodes of an animated series entitled, 'The Electric City', produced by his company Playtone and the Indian media company Reliance Entertainment.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Out of Hibernation

Well, here I sit looking out of the window at a scene bathed in sunshine. Part of me now knows how Noah must have felt after the rains subsided. It has, more or less, rained non-stop for maybe a week? Could even be more? But now it's sunny, for a while, and I feel the time is right for me to once again take my tentative steps back into the warm bosom of the blogosphere.

There are a number of things I want to say in this post, so a word of warning: this post will ramble. It will not cover any particular one topic, but it will exorcise the demons within my blogger's head, and hopefully give a better understanding to why I had to 'take time out', as it were.

Monday, 11 June 2012

An Apology

I must unreservedly apologise for my absence from blogging, but I'm currently in a blogging/writing void - I have no creative output whatsoever. I think my return to blogging post A-Z was premature.
Plus I am about to begin a new job, but at the same time facing pressing financial difficulties through the vanishing work in my arena of sports massage. Add to that a training injury to my right leg compounded by an ongoing knee issue to the same leg, and you have a mind that is feeling far from creative.

Once this job has started and I am in the swing of the shift pattern I WILL return. So please, please, please, do not write me off (no pun intended), and I thank you all for your time and ongoing patience.

Love and peace to you all xx :)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Passing of Donna Summer


It's always sad to hear about the passing of someone in the media who has had a great influence or impact on your formative years. And this is just exactly one of those moments; reading that Donna Summer has passed away this morning after a long battle with cancer, aged 63.

I shall always remember 'I Feel Love', released during the summer of my twelfth year on this planet. We were on a rare family holiday in sunny Holimarine, West Wales, staying with my eldest sister who was part of a dancing troupe entertaining the holiday makers on site.

Rest in peace, pretty lady.


Monday, 14 May 2012

First Loves Blogfest


Courtesy of Alex J. Cavanaugh

The aim of this is simple: Your first movie/film, your first song/band, your first book and first person - four first loves in one day wrapped up nicely in one blogfest. Simple... or so they think.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Writing Competition


Not so long ago, maybe a month back, I entered a local writing competition. The criteria was any genre and to submit an opening chapter of no more than 750 words maximum. Delighted that there was something local for me to test out my writing upon I trotted home, fired up the pc and trawled through what I considered to be suitable material. I ended up opting for the intro to 'The Iron Door'.

So, with a bit of editing, a touch of re-writing, much head scratching and muttering to myself, I finally sat back happy that it was in as best a state for entry as I could determine, plus I got it in at 749 words. Result.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A to Z Visual Reflection

- My A to Z Journey in the Images I Used - 

I thought I'd make a collage using all the images incorporated in my A - Z posts. I love the images pooled together and how it makes the eye dart about. Not sure if I imagined it or not, but I could swear I saw someone's blog advertising a photographic challenge for the month of May? Either way, I'm too late for that, but that would have been fun to do.


... although, I could have sworn there were more?

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A to Z Challenge Reflection

- Reflections of an A to Z -


Where to begin? Wow... I have no clue? Well one thing was clear to my mind towards the final days of the A-Z, and that was that I had had enough. I felt that my mojo was running on fumes and my blogging mind was coasting in neutral. That was when I decided to take a rest from blogging in general and focus my attention to other matters at hand. Since which, I have painted the living room, hallway, landing, front bedroom/office and relocated myself into said front bedroom/office, in which I now type this (still viewing some of the chaos that requires my attention for tidying).

Back for Business


Time to get back on the proverbial horse that is blogging. Now A-Z is over I'm just wondering what to post and how frequently? But I digress, and as a celebration of a fresh start I present to you a music video on a brilliant guitarist I stumbled across on YouTube.

The guitarist's name is Antoine Dufour and his music can also be found on Candyrat Records


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Be Back Soon


Taking a break - there will be no Friday Short Story this week. See you folks soon :)

Monday, 30 April 2012

If you want it, take it :)

 - A to Z Survivor Badge -


If you like this, feel free to copy and paste it onto your blog. If you'd like a different colour, then please tell me in the comment section and I'll add it here for you to collect :)

Blog Break

Image courtesy of www.imagescloud.com, entitled 'Rest'.
Now the A to Z Challenge is at an end/conclusion, I intend to take a wee break from blogging, maybe  for several days, just to allow my mind to calm itself and for me to focus on getting Photoshop to work once more - apologies to Cassandra, I did say I would make her a badge for being my 100th follower at the hearth, but until I get Photoshop to work again, the poor gal shall have to wait :( . 

But I haven't forgotten :) .

Here is my farewell song to the A to Z Blogger Challenge, courtesy of Portal 2's GLaDOS. So all you Portal 2 fans out there, sit back and enjoy the robotic lyrical tones of Glados :)


Zenzizenzizenzic - Final Day 26 of A - Z

- ZENZIZENZIZENZIC -





HA! Have at you, A to Z Challenge ! Shove that up the proverbial and like it! You wanted Z, so here you go: the oddest word beginning with Z that I could find, Zenezizenzizenzic - although, I have a slightly sneaky feeling that Amanda of 'Drama, Dice and Damsons', might just have heard it mentioned by her genius father in his field of work (go to Amanda's blog to find out what I am referring to :) ).



Saturday, 28 April 2012

Robyn

One of my favourite female singers is Robyn - more info about this Swedish dynamo can be read by clicking -> HERE <- .

I'm including two pieces of music - one of her own pieces, and another from a memorial service for the Swedish tourists killed in that awful tsunami in 2004.
In both, she sings beautifully, and especially in the memorial service, singing in her native tongue, she does it with dignity and compassion. Enough to make you weep.

*Edit: the memorial service video was taken down from YouTube due to copyright infringement issues. My apologies. But if you can find it I highly recommend giving it a listen.*





Friday, 27 April 2012

The XX - Day 24 of A - Z

The XX are an English indie pop band, formed in London in 2005. The group released their debut album, XX in August 2009. The album ranked highly on many 'Best of 2009' lists, placing number one on the list compiled by The Guardian and second for NME. In 2010, the band won the Mercury Music Prize for their debut album.

They are currently working on their second album due for release in 2012. Here is the intro track to that debut album. Some of you might find it familiar. I think it is so good I've chosen to let the music do the talking without any distracting images. I absolutely love this track, especially when driving. :)


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Guild Wars 2 - Day 23 of A - Z

   In celebration of the upcoming title of Guild Wars 2, today's post is represented by the 'W' within the game title; a highly anticipated MMORPG with no recurring monthly fees. Buy once, play forever.

A successor to the highly popular Guild Wars with was released seven years ago and celebrates its 7th birthday all this week with in-game celebrations, events and competitions, Guild Wars 2 pushes the boundaries of the MMORPG genre with redefined dynamic event systems that continually affect the ebb and flow of the game world within which your characters roam and live. Unlike previous Guild Wars, here you can elect to aid other players to overcome massive odds, turn the tide in a battle or join in massive player versus player conflicts... or just pass them by and continue with whatever it is you have planned.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Valuable - Day 22 of A - Z


What is the true meaning of the word 'valuable'? How is it applied and to what measure? Is it enough to attach it to something treasured and possessed like a family heirloom? Or would it be more effective in describing the feelings we have for someone and their company?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Artist: Michael Kutsche

As an additional treat for the poor offering under the guise of my A to Z posting, I offer by way of a peace token an incredible young German artists by  the name of Michael Kutsche.

He now resides in Los Angeles, California. What makes this young guy so amazing is that he is self-taught, which really blows my mind when looking at his stunning art. He works in both traditional and digital media. He has worked on films such as, "Alice in Wonderland" by Tim Burton, "John Carter of Mars", directed by Andrew Stanton, and "Thor", directed by Kenneth Branagh. Impressive, I think you'll agree.

You can go to Michael Kutsche's site by clicking -> HERE <- Enjoy :)

Monday, 23 April 2012

Trailer - Day 20 of A - Z

For today's letter T I've dipped back into my favourite past time of watching CGI game trailers. Yes, I know I'm getting predictable, but this is one very fresh on the scene and seems to combine the elements of dark fantasy, a touch of Assassin's Creed, Steampunk and hints of Half-Life 2 & 3.

It's short and oh, so very sweet. I was blown away by how realistic the flesh tones, and especially the eyes of the guy in the opening sequence are. I should imagine Hollywood actors are starting to get nervous with the advances in CGI animation. Personally, I'll be only too happy if the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Tom Cruise and Owen Wilson, to name but a few, are replaced by CGI created characters - the actors I've mentioned are great at playing themselves, and to my mind bring nothing fresh or exciting to a film. Let them do the voice acting would be fine with me. But imagine how fresh films could be with CGI created actors, each with a fresh new look that 100% fits a character brief?

I hope it happens. Not for film entirely, and certainly not for television, I'm not saying sack all actors, but just stop giving the parts to the same bloody faces time and time again. Anyway, here is the trailer. Enjoy :)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Dead Island Music

An amazing game trailer video with absolutely beautiful and emotionally charged music by Giles Lamb.

Not sure about anyone else, but I find this such a moving trailer to watch. The theme tune by Giles Lamb can be purchased on iTunes. If you are not a gamer and are a bit squeamish with regards to all things zombie related, I urge you to face your fears and watch/listen. I think you will be moved.

Ignorance is bliss

    Toothbrushes. We all have one (I hope), and we all use them at least twice a day (again, I hope).
Just recently my wife bought two new electric toothbrushes, mainly due to a BOGOF by our local Boots store (Buy One Get One Free).

These marvels of dental scrubbingness--yes, I know--now replaced our humble hand-operated toothbrushes. Except mine. Of a night (and after lunch if home), before bed I prefer to use my not-so-old hand-held toothbrush, mainly to help massage the gums whilst brushing my teeth, plus it isn't as noisy. Electric in the morning, hand-held at night. Lovely.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Musings from an astronaut bound to earth - Day 19 of A - Z

Today's post will kill two proverbial birds with one atomic missile - and that is to highlight a newly introduced blog belonging to someone from my gaming past (I shall explain in a moment), and to cover the letter S for the continuation of the A to Z Challenge. So where does the 'S' come in to this, I hear you ask? The word SPOT, or course! Tenuous at best, I'll admit, but I'm just bubbling with enthusiasm for Cassandra and her blog site, and the wonderful world that is our blogoverse in which we swim.

So, Cassandra and I met when I signed up to a guild within the World of Warcraft setting of Azeroth, within a domain (server) called, Darkmoon Faire (European). The guild in question is the Vanguard of Valor, a brilliantly run guild full of mostly mature players, which is a blessing, especially for an old fart like myself. Cassandra has the distinct honour of being one of a few veteran members of the guild, dating back to its embryonic days.

Now, just days ago, Hana, another guildie from both WoW and Guild Wars (and still current in Guild Wars within my guild), suggested putting me in touch with a former guildie from WoW who is also a writer... enter Cassandra. Having read some of Cassandra's writing, I can honestly say that I've found a new avenue of escape in her stories. Inspiring, amusing, touching and thoughtful I feel her writing is worthy of a read.

As is the point of the 'Blog Spot', I'm highlighting Cassandra's site not only because it's full of great writing, but also because it needs more people like YOU to wander over and help reel in Cassandra's site into the warm heart that is our blogoverse community. I know she will benefit greatly from interaction with you writers out there, and vice versa. So, once again, the door is flung wide open for you to show my friend (and talented writer) Cassandra, how amazing our community really is.

To teleport to her blog, please click -> HERE <- :)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Artist: Chris Rahn - Day 18 of A - Z

Artist Chris Rahn is another of my favourite fantasy/sci-fi illustrators that I discovered whilst trawling the internet for inspiration after I bought myself a Wacom Bamboo pad.

Born in San Francisco and raised in Washington State Christopher Rahn attended San Francisco Academy of Art where he earned his BFA in Illustration. Since then Chris has worked with a wide variety of clients, such as Wizards of the Coast, Discovery Channel Magazine and the Village Voice, and has had work exhibited at the New York Society of Illustrators.

His style is amazingly varied in subject and approach. I was especially drawn (no pun intended) to his fantasy illustrations, due to the fact he has done considerable work for World of Warcraft, and I being a former World of Warcraft player.

I think you will agree, Chris's work is worthy of your attention. I hope that again, you enjoy the art of display. Just click -> HERE <- to be transported to his site. Have fun :)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

One Hundred!

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has joined me at the hearth, especially my newest resident, Cassandra, for taking us to that magic 100!

I know many just drop by once in a while, and others are more regular, but it's great to have you here nonetheless. The hearth is always open, so when passing, drop in, take a seat by the fire and make yourself at home.

Thank you all, once again :)

Quasit - Day 17 of A - Z

Today we take a look at the evil Mage's lesser known side-kick: the Quasit.
Quasits are chaotic counterparts to imps. The chaotic evil priests and wizards which quasits "serve" gain the same benefits and disadvantages that an imp's master does.

Like imps, each quasit can assume two forms. Those most commonly chosen by quasits are bats, giant centipedes, frogs or wolves. They can use their magic in any of their forms.

The quasit attacks with its clawed hands (1-2 points each) and its deadly bite (1-4 points). The quasit's claws are coated in a toxin which causes anyone struck by them to save vs poison or lose 1 point of dexterity for 2-12 (2d6) rounds. The effects of multiple wounds are cumulative.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Personal Training - Day 16 of A - Z

 
 So, this is an A - Z challenge, correct? Yes, of course it is. So, my lovely blogites, for today I have decided to set YOU all a challenge. Granted, some of you will be of a 'meh, whatever' mindset. If so, not a problem, but you might actually enjoy this wee challenge and feel the better for it.

Doubtful that any of you will know, but I am a fully qualified personal training & fitness instructor, which I combine with my sports massage in terms of helping folks to rehab. I've worked as a sports massage therapist for over six years now, but in terms of training, I've trained, in one physical form or another, since the age of twelve.

So what I would like to present to you is a little routine I perform when 'warming up' before the main part of my session at home.  This can be done as a stand alone routine if you are pushed for time, or need a 'quick fix'. I've also included the music track I perform this set to, just as to give you an idea of the pace ;)

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Mark's Music - Day 13 of A - Z

Late again! Apologies but I fell asleep on the sofa watching recorded episodes of 'The Big Bang Theory'. Bad habit... falling asleep, that is.

Anyway, lacking inspiration for the letter M, I decided it was best that I take the easy way out and post three of my favourite pieces of music by artists whose name begins with this wonderful letter. This is by no means my definitive choice, but I still love them nonetheless. I hope you enjoy :)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Late, Lazy & Lacklustre - Day 12 of A - Z

I have to give my apologies for this poor showing in the A - Z section of 'L'.

I have but one reason, and I feel it's a justifiable one: my birthday. Today, I am two years closer to the big five-oh. And after seeing two clients at the clinic I rushed home to go to a local shopping outlet to try and purchase some training shoes - and I don't mean to fart about in, but to actually do training. Alas it was not meant to be, plus it was chilly, so I was in no mood to be mooching about a load of shops I had no interest in (yes, I'm well and truly on my way to being a grumpy old git).

So then home and change in order to go to friends of ours for a chill out, chit-chat and nosh up. After which I ended up fixing their pc *sigh*. And now here I am, with under an hour before my magical day ends and I turn into a pumpkin once more.

But by way of making up to you gorgeous, sexy, intelligent, witty, articulate and super cool blogites, here is a great tune from the film 'The Lost Boys' - apologies that it's just still images, but every clip has had the embedded option disabled :(


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Artist: Kekai Kotaki - Day 11 of A - Z

Once again, I am so very, very proud to present to you lovely folks out there in the blogoverse, an extremely talented and imaginative artist by the name of Kekai Kotai, a native son of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Attending Seattle art school, Kekai graduated and secured a job at AreaNet, makers of the Guild Wars franchise, as a texture artist. Through hard work he rose to concept artist, and has now risen, through hard work and talent, to Lead Concept Artist on Guild Wars 2. He is also focusing on a blooming illustration career.

I came across this artist after years of playing Guild Wars and following their art. Kekai has an amazing eye for detail, and combines the use of digital and traditional media to fantastic effect. His work is highly imaginative, evocative and desirable - if ever I were to become a published writer, I'd be hounding Kekai to do the cover art for my book :)

I hope you will enjoy his work as much as I have done, and still do. Not just a great fantasy artist, Kekai Kotaki is a great artist, period!

ADDITIONAL: Kekai Kotai has just opened up his tumblr site - you can get to it by clicking -> HERE <-
it's brilliant :)

~ apologies for the late post - it's been a shite day ~

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Farewell to Ceri

I had it first!


It was a bitter-sweet experience this morning, when, at 0830 hours, Emily, Ceri's guide dog trainer came to the house to pick Ceri up one last time. As I type this Emily is driving Ceri to her new, permanent home where she will begin life as a fully trained and qualified Guide Dog.




Joke - Day 10 of A to Z

Apologies in advance to anyone who has heard this one before, but it made me chuckle, and seems the least offensive joke I know of. I also invite you to post your favourite joke in the comments section. Have fun :)
- THE JOKE -

A guy meets a hooker in a bar. She says, "This is your lucky night. I've got a special game for you, I'll do absolutely anything you want for $300, as long as you can say it in three words."
The guy replies, "Hey, why not?"
He pulls out his wallet from his pocket, and one at a time, lays three, one-hundred dollar bills on the bar, and says slowly, "Paint... My... House."

Tah-dah!

Now it's your turn :)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Irrepressibles - Day 9 of A-Z

I stumbled across this musical troupe toward the last quarter of 2011, purely by accident through an email from Röyksopp, and within it was a plug for their cover of 'In This Shirt', by The Irrepressibles. You can go to The Irrepressibles website by clicking -> here <-

The first song I would like to present to you is taken from their live show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, from their debut of the MIRROR MIRROR spectacle. One thing to be aware of, these are not just a gathering of musicians, but they are also performers in the sense of being something akin to a living, moving work of art/theatre, as you will see for yourselves. They produce a beautifully rich, deep sound and the singer, Jamie McDermott has an excellent vocal range and control over his voice, the intricacies of which can only truly be appreciated by repeated listening.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Harold Budd & Brian Eno - Day 8 of A-Z

Ok, I realise that technically I should be using the artist's surname and not his first name. But it's my blog and I'll do whatever I like, so ner-ner! :P

This is by means on an apology to those folks who read my ' G ' post and were maybe none too comfortable with it. So allow me to present to you a piece of music I often chill out/relax/meditate to. It is from the album, 'The Plateaux of Mirror' and the track is entitled: First Light.





A co-produced album by Harold Budd and Brian Eno of ambient music to sooth the soul and the mind. Not their first co-operative effort, this pairing have produced - their first being that of 'The Pavillion of Dreams'.

Allow me to suggest a visit to Last FM for more information and music by these artists ( I urge you to use that link to listen to more amazing music by these brilliant musicians).

Some of you might remember Brian Eno as the keyboard/synthesizer player from the 70s band Roxy Music

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Ghosts - Day 7 of A-Z

I thought long and hard about this letter. That fact that in graphic design circles the lower case 'G' is considered one of the most attractive letters aesthetically - Times Roman, usually. In our graphic design studio at Glamorgan University, in Pontypridd (the birthplace of Tom Jones, no less), they had a six foot poster of a lower case 'g' hanging up on the back wall. As an aside, the graphic design department has been relocated to Cardiff in a place called, The Atrium.

But I digress... please, read on.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Fuck - Day 6 of A-Z

Yes. I did it. I went there. I'm a bad man for doing so. But why? Basically, in my (dark) fantasy story 'A Matter of the Heart', I've had occasion to write a scene where characters cuss, but I was reluctant to resort to 'modern' swearing for fear of breaking the moment. I know in George R.R. Martin's, 'Game of Thrones', he throws in the whole gamut of swear words. As easy as it is on the ears to hear in the television adaptation of his story, due to its everyday commonplace usage, I'm very reluctant to go that route; for a modern day setting as in my Three Minute Friday Short Story 'Old Farm', I used the f-bomb, but it was applicable for the contemporary setting.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Eurythmics - Day 5 of A-Z

Keeping it short 'n' sweet for this post. Basically feeling guilty for boring the stuffing out of folks with my verbal diarrhoea (funny that there are several ways of spelling this loose term!?). So for today's A-Z pleasure, I've nominated to post for your listening, and viewing delight, a song from my youth by a popular duo known as 'The Eurythmics'.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Dehydration - Day 4 of A-Z

Earlier I read a post by a blog friend of mine, Matt at War Bear, and his latest post regarding a stint in hospital suffering from a bad case of dehydration.

So this got me thinking, this would make an ideal post for today's 'D' section. Working as a sports massage therapist and rehab trainer for the past six-and-a-half years you cannot help but pick up almost instantly when someone is not drinking enough fluids - and by fluids I mean water, not soft fizzy drinks, coffee or tea and definitely not alcohol.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Ceri - Day 3 of A-Z

*APOLOGIES FOR THE LATE POST, IT'S BEEN A VERY BUSY DAY*

Attentive Ceri - there must be a treat
involved.
It seems only like yesterday that we fostered a tail wagging, bum wiggling, smiling-faced hairy mass of gentleness and love in the form of a Golden Retriever named Ceri, into our home. She is a guide dog in training, coming up to her final weeks of training before being placed with a deserving soul for whom Ceri will be a Godsend.

And now we have roughly one week left with her before she leaves us permanently to go to her new owner for the rest of her working life. We've been told it is a 69 year old lady, and the two have hit it off beautifully, which is a great thing to hear, but tinged with sadness - but then I'm being a wee bit selfish, as over the last 8 weeks we have grown to love Ceri as one of our own. Our own dog, Darcy, also loves Ceri and the two are so funny to watch as they play and tease each other with toys, and play-fight.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Bleeding - Day 2 of A-Z

It was on 12th April 1994 that I underwent surgery on my right arm. The reason? My ulnar nerve would dislocate during load bearing exercises making a loud 'click/snapping' noise. It wasn't particularly comfortable but having lived with it since I could remember, I had become accustomed to it. It really started to make itself manifest upon waking, whereupon I would find my little finger and ring finger of the right hand totally numb or suffering sever pins and needles.


Sunday, 1 April 2012

WARNING


Whilst going through various blogs, I had a warning regarding the following blog site: 'measurelesscaverns.blog.com' - my browser states it is a site known to spread malware.

So until otherwise proven safe, I urge you all to avoid this blog site like the plague.

Question now Answered - Many thanks :)

Is anyone else suffering from 'Error 503' when trying to post comments or open up other blog sites since Blogger's update?

This thing is stopping me from posting comments left, right and centre over the last several days, but I'm damned if I can find a solution to it?

*This has now been addressed, thankfully - appreciate the replies :) *

Artist: Matthew Stewart - Day 1 of A-Z

A while ago I began highlighting starter blogs on what is now known as the 'Blog Spot', and I must say, with a smile, it has proven to be quite successful in helping fledgling bloggers get into the swing of the whole blogging thing by means of increasing traffic their way and giving them that gentle nudge into the big wide world that we come to know as the blogoverse. This also ties in nicely with my start in the 'A to Z Blogging Challenge' for April.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

A-Z Countdown

I just wanted to wish those of you taking part in tomorrow's 'Blogging from A to Z April Challenge' the very best of luck, and I look forward to reading, what promises to be, a very interesting month ahead. Let's just hope I make it to the end!

Happy blogging guys 'n' gals :)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Simply Noise - A Recommendation

- WHITE NOISE? HOW ABOUT PINK OR BROWN NOISE INSTEAD?-

Recently, and by that I mean, over the past several months, I've used a site entitled 'Simply Noise' to help me relax and unwind.

Basically this site offers free selections of white, pink and brown noise to listen to in order to relax, focus, calm and help some to sleep--the latter has been known to work wonders with young babies and children with sleeping difficulties.

The beauty of this site is that it is all free and is aimed to work in conjunction with iPhones, Android phones and other similar devices.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Lucky 7 Strikes for Revenge!

I have fallen foul of the evil machinations of the world-threatening villainess, Jen 'Stavrina Blogfeld'. But I shall bear my burden with a stiff upper lip and good humour as is dictated by 'The Gentleman's Creed', as written by Dr. Watson, under guidance from his dear friend, and colleague, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.


Under the Blogosphere Convention of 1805, page 77, line 7, entitled: 'The Lucky 7 Meme', I must respond in keeping with blog etiquette and law, or else suffer the penalty as listed within the Blogosphere Book of Punishment 1806.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

Copyright © 2012 Mark Kelly
Feel free to use, just give credit :)
I have had the good fortune to have recently joined in following two particular blogs of two differing aspects, but they have two common factors: each is run by warm, friendly, intelligent and witty young ladies.

What makes these two even more special is the fact they have both nominated me for this dubious award.
Why do I say 'dubious'? I say it mainly because I'm hard pressed as to what I'm actually versatile at? If it's my two-fingered typing, then yes. If it's the fact I can add html without cocking it up, then that's also another yes. But that's about as far as I can go?