Friday, 21 August 2015

Lovely Windows 10

I have been running Windows 10 for several days and in all honesty I like it. Yes, it has the odd quirk that will be addressed in the next update no doubt, but on the whole the cross-over has been painless and relatively smooth.

The download and installation itself took around 3 - 4 hours. Then once that was done I would guess a further three hours to fiddle with, and tweak Windows 10 to my way of doing things and visual taste.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar vs Indigestion/Acid Reflux/GERD/Heartburn

Cold-Pressed Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic)

For anyone reading this who suffers from acid reflux, indigestion, GERD and heartburn, I've found something that has 98% stopped mine (I say 98% as sometimes a food I consume might just give me a little kick).

Last year I went through a bad phase of experiencing really bad indigestion daily, mainly at night, but often in the day too. No amount of indigestion solutions bought over the counter or prescribed from the GP helped long-term. Maybe at best, several days.

But I now take two tea spoons of Apple Cider Vinegar in a 500ml bottle of water and sip it throughout my day, and then keep it by my bed at night. Within a week of doing this I no longer had that god-awful searing rising up from my throat. 

So you'd be right to say I'm a convert. Plus, I'm no longer taking tablets daily - at all, which has made me so very happy. So, like all things beneficial to good health and well being, I decided to share this information with you dear folks of the blogoverse.

The images I've included are of the Apple Cider Vinegar I take daily, and it is an organic, cold-pressed variety, which includes something termed as 'the mother', which I'm guessing is the best part of the apple. I've also shared a link to a site with info on the stuff. I seriously urge anyone who is miserable with acid reflux, etc - just copy and paste into your browser to go read it. I think you'll be amazed at how versatile this stuff is. 

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Today's Song: Bruno Mars - 'Gorilla'

Love this song - cool video, but be warned, this song does contain the odd swear word or two.

Enjoy  :)

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

June Challenge

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
Life without a challenge is no life at all. At least it is that way for some.
Having gone through my own rehab with my knees recently - no thanks to the physios - I felt I needed something to re-focus my physical and mental state. I had a flash back to my 17th summer, and what had occurred:

I had trained twice-a-day, every day for the entire month of June (possibly July? Memory isn't so hot on such details any more).
My spark of inspiration was the girl I had decided to give up competitive swimming for and became my first love. This month of physical endurance kicked off on the day she flew out to the USA to spend a month with her mother and step-father.

For me, after 5 years of competitive swimming, 6 days-a-week, sometime twice-a-day, land training was a doddle. So my routine consisted of basic weight lifting and squats, core work and a three mile run - morning and night. I will admit at the end of it all I had burned out, but was in excellent shape.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Freaked Me Out

Seriously, this is stupidity (from my point of view) in the extreme. What was this guy even thinking of?  It gave me vertigo just by watching.
I wonder if he had a base jumper's parachute to hand?

Still, wreckless and irresponsible - again, from my point of view.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Tumbled Sea

Copyright ©2015 The Tumbled Sea.
Welcome to the full album of ' Melody Summer ' - by The Tumbled Sea.

It's a beautiful ambient/drone/electronica album that can be bought from this link > HERE < - you name your price and get a high quality download. Mine is already installed into my Windows Music folder.

If you need to de-stress and relax I seriously recommend giving this a listening. You can thank me later ;)  Enjoy.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Goodbye Errol Brown

Errol Brown 1948 - 2015
And so another icon from the 70s - 80s, and my teenage years, passed away today. Lead singer Errol Brown of Hot Chocolate died today, aged 71 at his home in the Bahamas, having suffered from liver cancer.

A very sad day, but at least Errol will live on in the wonderful music he and his band created. Cited as being a very genuine, and gentle man, Errol Brown never took his success for granted and was always grateful for the life he had as a result of his music, which came about as a result of a neighbour hearing him singing at home. A world of music lovers is so very glad he did, but so sorry he is gone.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Google+ Yes or No?

Copyright ©Google.

Some time back I tried using Google+ and found it to be a rather 'hit and miss' experience, plus it seemed to attract an awful lot of unwanted 'friends' trying to link to me or link me to them.

Now time has passed and I see more and more bloggers using Google+ I just wanted to find out your experiences of using it and what you've gained from it (assuming Google + is still being used by you), and if you would recommend it now?

I'm looking forward to reading your input.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

reCAPTCHA: I Am Not A Robot. Am I?

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.

Dear fellow blogites,

This is a little request regarding the use of  reCAPTCHA's, ' I Am Not A Robot ' signing application:

Where does one acquire it and how does one go about installing it onto your blog? And will it work with Blogger?

Appreciate any and all answers in advance - thank you :)

Friday, 1 May 2015

A-Z Retrospective

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.

It's done. Dusted. Over. So relax, only twelve months now till the next A-Z, but let's get Christmas out the way first, eh?

And so another A-Z bites the dust. In all honesty, for some reason this year didn't bleed me dry of mental resources as did my first ever A-Z. Maybe it is because I was focused on creating my own scribble alphabet for each posting? Whatever it was I enjoyed it.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

A-Z Final Day 26

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
Z is for Zenyatta Mondatta.

Released in 1980, Zenyatta Mondatta was the third studio album produced by The Police. The reason I mention this particular album is threefold:

1) Its title begins with the letter Z - how amazing!

2) They are possibly my all-time favourite band.

3) I bought it during one of my happiest summers - the summer of 1981.

So why is the summer of 1981 significant? Well, first off I was in love for the very first time in a big way, and second, it was the summer of the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. The date in question was 29th July 1981.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A-Z Day 25

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
Y is for Youth.

Odd topic, I know. But why choose this? For the second time I am reading Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose, and I cannot help but be moved by the incredible courage, sacrifice and determination that these young men displayed during a time when the whole world was lost in an ocean of chaos, suffering and uncertainty.

Asides from the controversy that dogged Ambrose, even after his death, regarding plagiarism and innacuracies, his book regarding the forming, training and deployments of Easy Company of the 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy, to the ill-fated Operation Market Garden debacle, and eventually to Hitler's Eagle's Nest, leave you feeling awed, humbled, sometimes saddened, but for me, overall, is greatful. And make no mistake, these men were not alone in such things, as on all sides, amongst all nations, such groups of men existed, but have had little said about them and what they did.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A-Z Day 24

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
X is for XX (The).

A band formed in Wandsworth, London in 2005, their debut album ' XX ' released in August 2009 ranked highly in many 'best of 2009' lists, placing number one in The Guardians list, and number two in the NME listings in 2010. The band won the Mercury Music Prize for their debut album.

The XX were introduced to me by a former WoW guildie and friend (thank you, H :o) ). Their music has since remained on my iPad play list, especially in my training mix. So, pin back your lug holes and bless your ear drums with one of their offerings from the second album, Coexist, released September 2012. Enjoy the sublime tones of The XX :)

Monday, 27 April 2015

A-Z Day 23

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
W is for Wilt.

I discovered Tom Sharpe's ' Wilt ' series at the tender age of 19, and could not stop reading. From there I progressed on to other of Tom Sharpe's works and now eleven of his books sit proudly in my book collection. In particular I found 'The Wilt Alternative' exceptionally funny, and is still one of my favourite of the Wilt series.

Something else that I loved about Sharpe's books were the covers. Drawn by cartoonist Paul Sample. Colourful and artful, these covers whetted your appetite even before the first page was turned and really helped to set the mood for the book.

The double cover for my good friend, Jeremy - the book price gives away its age.
Wilt is a middle-aged college lecturer, much disgruntled with his lot in life, with a wife who is larger than life, both physically and
verbally. Then there are his quadruplet daughters who enjoy nothing more than to make their father's life a living hell. Wilt has a knack for courting trouble and getting himself into debacles of comedy that you cannot help but laugh and sympathise with him all at once, with the odd wince thrown in for good measure.

I particularly recall the rose bush episode in 'The Wilt Alternative' to be especially eye-wateringly funny. But be warned, Wilt has a foul mouth, so if offended easily by bad language, maybe Tom Sharpe's books are not for you. But if you enjoy irreverent humour and have yet to read any of these works by the above author, then read one. Really.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

A-Z Day 22

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
V is for Villain.

No story is complete without a villain of some way, shape or form. From the most innocent of Disney films to the most terrifying of horrors, the villain carries things forward.

For today, I shall present to you some of my past and present all-time favourite villains, and hopefully, explain why.
Sadly, I can't include the taxman or my current boss. Too scary.
*Note: not listed in any particular order of importance.*

Friday, 24 April 2015

A-Z Day 21

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
U is for Undressing.

As a follow-on from my ' Kissing ' post some letters back, today I present to you the next installment which is 'strangers undressing each other for the first time'.

Once again, a fascinating study of human interaction and behaviour, but also a very bizarre scientific study. It would seem Tatia Pilieva has a deep fascination for the human condition and scrutinising it through the lens of a camera. And it works. As an observer you cannot help but be drawn into the scene of two strangers interacting in one of the most awkward scenarios we've all experienced in our lives - the only difference being, we've had the luxury of being attracted to that person and had time to get to know them to a greater (or in some instances, lesser - yeah, you know who I'm talking about, you one-night-standers! *smiling here*) degree.

I think some of them are quite obviously attracted to each other, whilst others are just polite and sweet together.

So watch, try not to feel too uncomfortable, and hopefully enjoy... but not like that. Seriously? C'mon!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A-Z Day 20

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
T is for Trees.

Beautiful. Essential. Intrinsic. Precious. Guardians of this planet.

Watch, look and listen. This makes so much sense, I dare ANYONE to argue otherwise.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A-Z Day 19

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
S is for Swimming Pool.

As a kid growing up a big part of my childhood was spent playing on the street with my best friend; this involved kick about with a football (soccer ball to those in the US), climbing into a local orchard to swipe freshly fallen apples, made all the more exciting because of the wild stories told about the owner and his vicious 'guard dog', and just generally doing what kids do (or used to) best: enjoy life.

At the age of twelve my uncle decided he didn't want me playing on street corners and promptly enrolled me in the City of Cardiff Swimming Club. My first lessons were held at a council run baths - a Victorian building that housed three individual pools: Mens, Womens and Mixed. All were 25 yards in length and after each session my vision was blurred by brilliant rainbows around lights due to the chlorine affecting my now bloodshot eyes.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

A-Z Day 18

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
R is for Rescuer.

This really needs no explanation, but it will possibly (if you have a heart and love dogs) move you tears as it did me. But for all those wonderful organisations and workers and volunteers who do a fantastic thing in saving, not only dogs, but ANY animal that requires rescuing - you are AMAZING PEOPLE. Thank God for them and all the truly wonderful work they do. Please support your local rescue centres (centers for the US).

Monday, 20 April 2015

A-Z Day 17

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
Q is for Queen.

I'm dealing with two subjects here for today's post, both both are linked and directly related, so I think I'm in the clear :)

First off is my music selection of Queen's ' Who Wants to Live Forever ', as used in the film "Highlander". This is amongst my top 20 favourite films, 'but why only the top 20?' you might be asking yourself. When the film was first released it would have sat in my top 10, but as the years have rolled by and I now view films with different eyes I see things in it that, well, just let it down.

There is, for starters, Sean Connery - a Scot who is supposed to be playing a Spaniard, but that eternal bloody voice - no matter what film he's been in, no matter what nationality he's played, he always has the same damned voice. His role in Highlander was no different. Then there is Christopher Lambert's accent: A French actor trying to play a Scotsman. Then, and this was the biggest spoiler for me, was the finalé, where Connor becomes 'the one', and is lifted by mystical, energy into the air, with lightning flashes and explosions all around, but alas this only aids in illuminating the wires lifting Mr Lambert upwards. Scene ruined.

The film's saving grace though, for me, was the main villain: the Kurgan, as played by Clancey Brown, who to my mind brought the right amount of menace to the role, in both character and physical appearance, not to mention it was this role that launched his career. Nicely done.

*additional* - I've found this video combining scenes from the film and the song together. Very touching. Ihope you enjoy and it sparks within you the desire to watchthe film once more.

As for the song, this is an amazingly poignant piece by Queen, which I think shows them (and Freddy) at their peak, and firmly entrenched in the minds of people both film and band. Such a tragic loss when Freddy Mercury passed away on November 24th 1991 at the age of 45. The music world has been a sadder place for his leaving, something I feel the rest of the band never ever recovered from, and in a way, was the passing of the band Queen itself. Now enjoy the song as performed by the legends themselves.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

A-Z Day 16

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
P is for Poem.

I used to post poems on my blog, along with a variety of stories, long, short and in between. But I was made aware that suchthings could be used by thirds parties for their own ends so I removed them all.

So, as a wee nod to those days of poetry I am sharing with you a rather beautiful track of music from an album entitled Poem by a group called Delerium.

The track itself is called "Nature's Kingdom", with the hauntingly beautiful tones of singer Kirsty Hawkshaw. Enjoy.

Friday, 17 April 2015

A-Z Day 15

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
O is for Outlandos D'Amour.

When it comes to music and my personal tastes I like to consider myself to be somewhat of an eclectic connoisseur - no, only joking. I'm never that knowledgable. But I do like to think I have a broad and varied taste when it comes to music.

Growing up I've always shied away from follow trends, be they fashion, music, literature, sport, etc. Granted, it made me seem like a loner, maybe even an outsider at times, but I'm just not really a 'follower of popular opinion' when it comes to such things. That said, I did however adopt one band as my own: The Police. If you are a fan, then there is an official website for news, photos and interviews with and about 'The Police', which you can access by clicking HERE.

Outlandos D'Amour was the second album by The Police I ever owned and bought for myself - the first album of theirs I owned was bought for me by my older brother - their second album release: Regatta De Blanc. Blown away by what I heard I was hooked. Not because any of my peers liked them, or they were the trendy thing to like, but purely because their music thrummed through my inner being, maybe even my young, teenage soul. Whatever it did I was a 'fan'. I think the reality of it was, the music they produced was indicative of the late 70s going into the 80s: a time of fresh, new sights and sounds. It was one of many voices that spoke for my generation. For that, I'll always be forever grateful. If truth be told, as a young teen, I wanted to be like Sting. Who wouldn't?

The Police are a band I've followed through my life and when Sting went solo I followed his musical career up to a point. They will always be one of the main bands to have been responsible for a plethora of signature tunes through my life as a teenager, especially some of the tracks produced on their Ghost in the Machine album, bought as a surprise present by my first fiancée, back in 1981/82. Thank you, S.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

A-Z Day 14

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
N is for Netflix.

I know I've mentioned this streaming media site previously, but this time I had to mention a series on Netflix that has both my wife and I hooked (again). It's the spin-off story of  Saul, the lawyer from the original 'Breaking Bad' series (also addictive and wonderfully done). This show is entitled, 'Better Call Saul', and to be honest I wasn't expecting much after the original BB series, in which I found Saul to be a 'pain-in-the-butt' kind of character. Upon reflection, that was purely down to the excellent acting skills of Bob Odenkirk for breathing life into the character he played/plays.

It's a great introduction as to how Saul came into being and how he elevated himself into the seedy status of a back-room lawyer that we were introduced to when Walt Whitman teamed up with him. As usual, the stories flow smoothly and almost effortlessly, making you wince at times, and at others feel empathy for struggling Saul. It has humour and tension and entertains throughout.

So if you were/are a fan of the 'Breaking Bad' series and have yet to watch 'Better Call Saul', do it - you won't be sorry.  As a taster, watch the official trailer below - enjoy :)

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A-Z Day 13

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
M is for Mark.

My given name. Funny isn't it how names can, or used to be, indicators of a period when a person was born, reflecting what was most popular around their time of birth?

When I attended high school, Mark as a name popped up in almost every class of my year. A bit disheartening, when as a kid you think you're pretty unique only to be confronted by the first kid to have the same name, then another, and another and another.

The name Mark has its origins from old Latin "Mart-kos", meaning "consecrated to the god, Mars", and possibly also mean "God of War" or "to be warlike" - who? me? Never!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A-Z Day 12

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
L is for Laughter.

Everyone enjoys a good laugh. I can recount on one hand moments when I've been reduced to tears from laughing, and one count where I laughed so hard my stomach hurt - but it really does make you feel great afterwards.

Today, the word 'hilarious' is thrown about willy-nilly and, to mymind, has lost its true meaning. How often do we now hear about the latest 'hilarious film of the year', only to discover it raises a chuckle at best? All too often.

It is true what is said about laughter; it is the best medicine. In terms of the brain, laughter can stimulate the release of endorphins, which in term can relief some physical pain. Then there is the the boost in the production of anti-body producing cells and the enhancing of T-cells which helps to boost the immune system of the body. So laughing can, in effect, make you better, or at least help you on the way to recovery.

Monday, 13 April 2015

A-Z Day 11

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
K is for Kiss.

What is in a kiss? A kiss can be as symbolic as it is intimate. It can signify friendship, respect, greeting, familiarity, sensuality, intimacy, romance, passion, sexual desire, sexual arousal, desire, and I'm sure there are more we could add.

In the bible Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. As Nelson lay dying on H.M.S. Victory, he is supposedly have uttered those famous words, 'Kiss me, Hardy.'

Kissing has been used by fighters as a physcological tool at the start of a fight or weigh-in, and a sign of respect at the end of a particularly arduous and evenly matched fight. Below is a small compilation video of such examples.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

A-Z Day 10

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
J is for Joy.

What gives me joy in my life, I ask myself on this, the tenth day of A-Z? Well, in my life there are less rather than more things that give me joy as in the sense of happiness, delight, pleasure, enjoyment - all of which fall under the heading of nouns for 'joy' in the Collins Thesaurus, to list but a few.

Obviously there are the general things in life: my family (when not being a pain in the butt), my wife, Darcy our dog, the cats: Eve & Tilly, when they aren't scratching the hell out of the stair carpet or complaining about a door being shut.

Friday, 10 April 2015

A-Z Day 9

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
I is for Irreverant.

I'm such a fan of anything irreverantly funny, so long as it doesn't cause harm to anyone or anything and is not done out of malice or malicious intent, therefore it is my pleasure to present to you a couple of videos that take a tongue-in-cheek swipe at some of our favourite (or not-so-favourite) films.

The first trailer is 'The Matrix', the second, 'Lord of the Rings' and the last is from the 'Twilight' franchise. The voice-over guy is spot-on in his summation of these films, and so funny. I hope you enjoy :)

Thursday, 9 April 2015

A-Z Day 8

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
H is for Hyper.

For today's posting I'd like to share some images I've recently discovered, and the clarity I find intensely detailed and rather amazing.

These are the works of a man by the name of Patrick Kramer, an artist whose website you can visit if you click on his name above.

Below, you will find some of his work that I love best, for colour, composition and detail of focus. I hope you will agree. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A-Z Day 7

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
G is for Grammostola rosea.

Otherwise know as the Chilean Rose tarantula - so, warning for those who are arachnaphobic:


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A-Z Day 6

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
F is for Films.

Cinema for me, as a pleasurable experience, no longer factors into my thoughts as an entertainment format. Why?

1.) Cost is the main reason. Depending on where you are in the UK, it's not uncommon for a cinema ticket to cost anything from £10 upwards, depending on what seat you wish to have. Then there is the extortionate prices on all food, drink and sweets.

2.) Some films are 3D only, which again bumps up the price and in all honesty, 3D isn't always the experience it's cracked up to be - depending if the film was filmed with true 3D technology, or bits added into it post-production. Plus, as a person who (now) has to wear glasses in order to get a crisp, fuzzy-free image, wearing those blasted 3D specs over my glasses is an uncomfortable irritation in itself.

Monday, 6 April 2015

A-Z Day 5

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
E is for Entertainment.

Thought I'd share one or two of the things I do for entertainment and see how they compare with your choice of relaxing pasttime/s.

I am, without question, an iPad convert. Bought initially 2 years ago as a surprise Christmas present I wasn't too fussed - strangely I have the slight distrust/dislike of Mac products. Strange merely for the fact I use three of them (life can be strange indeed).

So now I use my iPad for music when training, web browsing in snatches, but most of all, watching Netflix. This is my media drug of choice for the present.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

A-Z Day 4

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
D is for  Dog

Apparently 'man's best friend' was one of the first domesticated animals kept by man for hunting, working and as a pet companion. Staggering to believe there are an estimated 700 million and one billion domesticated dogs in the world today, rocketing them into the most abundant member of the order of Carnivora 

During my life, to date, I have only owned two dogs - and by two, strictly speaking, Darcy is my first proper dog, as Libby was a family dog we had when I was 12 years old. But you know what kids are like, everything is theirs: my car, my house, my dog, my garden, blah, blah, blah.

Friday, 3 April 2015

A-Z Day 3

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
C is for Closure.

I think at some point or other in our lives we've all experienced the need for closure. For those yet to encounter this, or have been blessed never to have felt the need for closure in one form or other, consider yourself the most of fortunate people indeed.

Closure seems (to my way of thinking) based purely in the emotional part of the human psyche. That part within us that grips on to a thing with a python-like death-grip, not wanting to let go until truly satisfied. But even then, for some of us, that still is just not enough and we go on through our lives clutching that 'thing' inside us, though hidden away like some hidden treasure we have stolen, every now and then guiltily drawing it out from the dark place and basking in the negative.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

A-Z Day 2

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
B is for ' Being '.

Why this particular word? For it's broadness of concept and application and the concepts of objective and subjective features of reality and existence it encompasses. It has philosophical roots in trying to define the human entity, as in 'the human being'. Although limiting into such entities and subjectivity, yet so broad a notion, as to be both elusive and controversial within the history of philosophy. No better an example of this as with its beginnings in western philosophy with attempts amongst the pre-Socratics in deploying it intelligently. A thankless task at best.

For my part I shall break it down as I think of it in terms of usage in daily life and how I interpret it. Possibly arrogant, possibly naive and most likely inaccurate, but this is an exercise in sharing a smidgeon of my inner thinking. Nothing more, nothing less.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

A-Z Day 1

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.
A is for absolutely Anything!

No, that's cheating. So today, day 1 of the 2015 A-Z Blogfest Challenge is upon us, one and all. I fell within the first few days the last time I entered, much to my shame - but, as most of us only know too well, life sometimes has other plans for your 'free time', as was the case with me.

So what can I chat about today under the magnificent banner of that great vowel, the letter ' A '?

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

2015 A-Z Challenge

Copyright © 2015 M. Kelly
It's that time of year again. And I'm making that 'leap of faith' in entering this year's A-Z.

Topic-wise I'm going to keep it free-and-easy, just so I don't stifle myslef and find I've boxed myself into a blogging dead-end. So it's going to be a Smörgåsbord of topic candy - hopefully entertaining enough for both you and I.

Good luck to everyone entering this year. I look forward to strolling around the blogs through April. See you all soon :)

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Another Sad Loss

Terry Pratchett 28th April 1948 - 12th March 2015

It was announced today that the world of fantasy fiction and humour has lost one of its giants, Terry Pratchett at the age of 66 after a prolonged battle with a rare form of Alzeimers.

Now two of my favourite British fantasy authors are gone, and hopefully enjoying each other's company, sat at a corner snug enjoying a drink together. That other authour was David Gemmell, whom I once met at a book signing, and when I asked him who his favourite author was he had replied with a smirk, "Terry Pratchett, but if you ever meet him don't tell him I said that."

Terry Pratchett's first ever book, ' The Colour of Magic ', was the beginning of my journey, at the tender age of 19, into his madcap Discworld series. I loved it from the first page and beyond. It is a crying shame that we have to lose those who bring so much happiness to our lives in whatever form, but their influence is enduring and their legacy so warmly appreciated.

Such a shame we can't exchange the lives of those vile beings in this world for those who have passed but gave so much pleasure and light whilst living.

The Disc will forever turn and the Great A'Tuin forever swim. You will never be forgotten.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Sad News

Leonard Nimoy 1931 - 2015

I read today that Leonard Nimoy has passed away aged 83. Yet another person responsible for a chapter of my childhood happiness, now lost to us, though his legacy will forever live on and prosper.

His role in Star Trek was the glue that held everything together (for me at least). The straight man to Kirk and McCoy, the strong mind and body to Kirk's bravado and dashing heroism, and the calm to McCoy's emotive outbursts and humanity. A sad day indeed.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

I Quit Sugar... stupidly
ARRGGGHHHH! Why, oh why did I agree to this torture?

Women are sneaky and calculating. Of this I am now certain. During one of my good, confident moods several weeks back, my wife casually slips into the conversation about giving up sugar together. But it's not all sugars, she hastens to add. Only fructose.

Yeah, why not. Is my reply. Fool. FOOL!

It's only our first week, and I now see the error of my ways: listening to my wife. I'm a chocoholic. One hundred percent. I admit to it freely and openly. But for the first four weeks there can be NO sugar in any form. WHATSOEVER!

As I write this I am staring into a cold bowl of quinoa, kous kous, full fat greek yogurt and grated coconut with walnuts. Where's the drizzle of honey? Please! I even had a dream last night that I was putting sugar in a cup of tea I was about to drink - I GAVE UP TEA OVER 20 YEARS AGO!

Last night I was about to apply Soy Sauce onto my meal, but had to stop and check the sugar content: 82g... ARGH! Suddenly the world is bursting with food items I must no longer indulge. I hear sticking pins into your eyes contains zero sugar. I might give that a go.

I shall keep you posted... would it count if I licked a biscuit, I wonder?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Elder Scrolls Online

Copyright ©2015 Bethesda/Zenimax
I will admit, the Elder Scrolls Online had me excited when initial reports started appearing. Then came the videos; Gorgeous. Sexy. Amazing. This is what the MMORPG scene had been waiting for.

Then more news on character classes and character creation, then dungeon bashing and questing. But wait, that wasn't all. No longer would multiple servers dash your hopes of grouping with friends from all over. One mega server for Europe was to be used (America would get its own mega server). Could this get any better?

But wait... I had been stung like this before with the build up to Guild Wars 2 and that proved to be such a pile of dross it was almost criminal. So I reigned in my excitement and decided to wait for release and see what the initial concensus was.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Darcy - Birthday Girl

Sunday the 25th January was, as usual, a cold, cheerless and overcast day. As was my wife uponher return from a walk with Darcy.

I knew something was up by the demeanour of both Darcy and my wife - one looking sheepish, the other looking, well, tortured. I then notice Darcy's coat is smeared with mud along her right side and neck.

"Fox poo." my wife says by way of explanation with a wrinkled nose. Apparently the bodily waste of a fox is very, very unpleasant to the olfactory sense of humans, but to dogs it is pure heaven, hence why they love rolling in it, as had Darcy. Mercifully for me, my nose was not working - my sense of smell comes and goes due to trauma suffered through several breaks and a little surgery. Today I couldn't smell a thing. Thankfully.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Saturday's Game

Copyright © 2015 Mark Kelly
Out of the six players due to turn up, only five made it. I had one last minute cancellation - no surprises there.

But, from that five, we had a full evening of belly laughs and fun.

Typically things started off in a tavern. Big mistake. It wasn't long before there were arm wrestling matches, drinking contests and a tiny bit of brawling.
I won't bore you with a complete breakdown of the evening, but suffice to say, we wrapped things up at around 0100am - and to be honest, we were all either looking bleary eyed or feeling that way.

The following day was interesting as I had emails and texts asking the same thing: 'are you going to set up a regualr game session?'

My answer: maybe. Funny, how a 'simple' gathering of friends once used to be a blasé affair, but now, as responsible adults, takes major planning and logistics weeks in advance. And here was I thinking life would get less complicated as we got older? No bigger fool than an old fool, eh? ;o)

Saturday, 3 January 2015

RPG Map Props

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly

Saturday is here and the  one-off game looms ahead, due to kick -off in 5 hours and 15 minutes time - not that I'm counting, of course.
Part of the joy of running these games, and always was and will be, is the preparation of 'props' for the game ahead. This game is no exception. So I prepared a map, as will be handed to the group via an NPC, for the party to work with.

As you can see it's a fairly ragged-looking thing, but that's the whole idea; faded, torn, battered and almost falling apart. Hard to believe this started out as an A3 sheet of plain white paper.
I shall, some time soon, post a step-by-step process, with pictures, on how to create such a map. Naturally, everything you see on this particular map is my own creation, and is therefore subject to the usual copyright blurb 'n' stuff.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Batman (Badman) Can't...

Sorry to all you die hard Batman fans out there, but I watched this on YouTube and couldn't stop laughing, so I thought I'd share the experience (be warned, there is bad language involved).

New Year, New Game

Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly
It's been on the cards for a very long time now. One of those events you and old friends always reminisce about and ends with, 'We really must organise another session with the guys.' Suggestions about who should call, email or text the others bounce back and forth, and that's where it gets left. Dangling in the air like a pair of old shoes on telegraph wire. And so it goes. Time passes and nothing happens.

But now, I changed all that. Galvanised into action emals and texts flew out to five individuals. My thought process went along the lines of, 'If I get three confirmations, plus my wife, that will give me four players at the table.' The chances of everyone being able to make it and turn up are always iffy.

Thursday, 1 January 2015


Wishing all my blog friends (blogofs) and their loved ones a very HAPPY NEW YEAR for 2015!

May it bring you all health, happiness, wealth (but not so much as to make us unhappy, of course!) and peace of mind.

Welcome to 2015. Let's hope we're all in for a smoother ride than last year. :o)