Monday, 31 May 2021

Biker Day - Bank Holiday Monday.

It's Monday, 31st May 2021, and what a gloriously sunny day it is. I'm off work due to it being a Bank Holiday ( a very antiquated institution, if you ask me ), and even as I type this the sun is lowering in the sky and casting a lovely golden hue over everything. My favourite time of the day during summer. I'm no great lover of baking hot sunshine. Don't misunderstand me, I used to be, as a teenager heading into the big, bad world with wide eyes full of naivety and innocence, and extremely 'happy-go-lucky' attitude to life.

But I digress.

One text message later and I piling on my motorcycle gear in order to meet up with my nephew and two other bikers at a Tesco petrol station en route to our destination: the Brecon Beacons, a place synonymous with ramblers, hikers, climbers, the British military, car drivers and bikers. It's part of the National Park of Wales, with glorious hills, mountains and valleys, dipping, rising and twisting roads, that, if not careful, can see a car or bike tumbling over the edge of an unguarded road. This place has claimed the lives of road users and visitors to the rugged landscape, including soldiers going through selection for the SAS. 

For more information click on the Brecon Beacons link highlighted above.

 The (deadly) Black Mountain Road - Copyright. © 2021

A wonderful day for the bike, and my gal didn't let me down - she performed beautifully and together we swept along the twisties and undulating tarmac, blessed with gorgeous vistas all around us. The ramblers were out massively, cars parked left and right on the grass verges due to the official car parks already full to capacity. But we breezed past sedately, if rather loudly.

The growling of the bikes was, at times, rather glorious, especially when all three bikes were going through the rev range together. The wind, the sunshine, hot tyres gripping the asphalt bends, and when appropriate, the adrenalin-inducing acceleration. But through it all, at the forefront of your mind are the other road users. Any one of them can do something unexpected and turn an enjoyable day into disaster, so eyes are everywhere constantly scanning, assessing, hands and feet adjusting from brake, clutch, throttle, clutch, brake, over and over.

And that's what makes motorcycle riding a thrilling experience, becoming one entity with your machine, as daft and as clich├ęd as that sounds, but true. 

I've owned my bike for two years now, and when I look at her I still love the styling, the curves and lines, the shining, polished engine bolts, but most of all, the silent, unspoken power she possesses. It was, quite literally love at first sight. My beautiful, quietly menacing, and often hooligan Yamaha XSR900.

My 'Baby Blue' - Copyright. © 2021 - Mark Kelly.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Kent (band)

Sometimes, just sometimes, YouTube's algorithm throws you a diamond from the rough with one of its 'suggested' videos. So it was with a farewell video from a Swedish band called 'KENT'.

The video alone, with its skeletal-faced, blue-haired drummer girl, was enough to pique my curiosity. Upon playing, the whole concept grabbed me, sending shivers up and down my neck. As a result I now have this band tagged as one of my favourites on Spotify. The video itself is a visual reference to all their albums: the Skeletal drummers, the tiger, the girl in the woods, the rider & horse - something I only found out through reading various posts by fans.

As mentioned, the video I'm linking is their farewell, the band is now no more, having been active from 1990 to 2016 - gutted really, as I've just stumbled upon them. But have no fear, their music is still out there, and asides from the video, I'm posting one track from their official YouTube channel.

If you enjoy the video and the music and wish to find out more about the band, click on this LINK and it will take you to the wiki page detailing all you need to know.  Enjoy.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Short Story ~ Act II.

Below is the continuation of a short fantasy fiction I wrote on 14th June, 2011. The majority of my written works, including drabbles, five sentence fictions, short stories and poems I removed for fear of plagiarism. I only post this now as one of my RP group members has read the first part and now wishes to continue forward with the story to its conclusion.

So I present to you...

Blood Drains, The Heart Falters, Death Follows.

                                                           ACT II

Enraged, adrenalin surged with explosive speed through Valdric's veins. Suddenly he was no longer afraid. His limbs felt powerful, his movements faster than ever before. His eyes saw each minute detail as if time was still and the present laid bare for his scrutiny; the black, hairless skin of the foul creatures rending his flesh, their teeth glistening with a pink-red hue of blood and saliva, some adorned with fleshy ribbons of skin and meat trailing from corners of biting mouths, the death banners of his fallen companions. 

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Happy Decahedron, Blog.

Copyright. © 2021

I'm feeling bad. The kind of bad you feel when having missed an important milestone in someone's life, .ie. a twenty-first birthday, anniversary, engagement - you get my drift.

I've neglected to acknowledge the milestone of my beloved blog, which turned ten years old back in March of this year. What kind of a 'parent' does that make me? No need to send answers on a postcard (chuckling here, as some younger readers might well be thinking, 'What's a postcard?'), but I'll tell you - no, not what a 'postcard' is, Google that. But what it does make me is a very bad 'blog parent'.

To try and make amends for this terrible faux pax, I hereby officially wish my blog a very (belated) Happy 10th Birthday, and may more follow - depending on which one of us packs in first.

So to my dear blog, I'd just like to say, thank you. Thank you for everything you've shown me, taught me and brought to me. For without you my life journey would have been far poorer, and I would never have met so many amazing and interesting people along the way as I travelled the Blogoverse with you.

Ten years older, but no less brighter. You still inspire me in ways that continue to surprise me. Our readers may be few, if at all, but at least we have each other. Here's to the next ten together (with luck).

Now some music, me thinks, courtesy of Roxy Music, and 'Dance Away'.

Monday, 24 May 2021

This is it.

 After much fiddling about with colour combinations, fonts, contrasts and fussiness, I've decided this is it. The blog is going to stay as you see it.

I've chosen this colour scheme for its neutral aspect, easy on the eyes and rather clean appearance. I will not, however, promise that this blog won't undergo another 'make-over', but if it does, I can't see it happening for a long, long time.

As a bonus, I'm slipping in a YouTube channel I subscribe to: Cryo Chamber . They produce a vast range of ambient soundtracks to suit every taste, especially good if you're a creative type that enjoys background ambient music. Plus, I love the art work used for their track images.

Below is one of their ambient offerings. Enjoy :)

Thursday, 20 May 2021

YouTuber of the Week.

Copyright. © 2021

In the past I used to run a 'Blogspot of the Week' post, primarily aimed at raising the awareness of fellow bloggers and readers as to new and budding bloggers that I, personally, had found to be informative, entertaining, fresh, amazing or a combination thereof.

Since my hiatus from the Blogoverse and my subsequent return, I see many have also followed a similar path and are no more. As for those still active and thriving I have fallen out of touch with, and I now feel lost and adrift in an ocean of headers, titles, images and words. 

Back to baby steps, I guess, but that's not such a bad thing. 

I've had time to reflect and gaze upon what was once a beautiful thing, but now it, like the caterpillar emerging from the safety of its chrysalis, has now evolved in its form, function and spirit. 

A different beast, though gentle, now sits, head tilted to one side, regarding me expectantly. I know that it knows how much I desire to pick up the thread of my former journey, but our reconnecting symbiosis tells me the past is just that. Gone. New is the flesh, old is the heart, and renewed is the brain and forever is the soul.

Where am I going with this?

Cyberpunk 2077. It is a flawed, buggy and slightly broken game, but amidst all that is a wonderful thing, to which I have already posted previously. Out of the emotional turmoil this game instilled within me - and many, many other players, so it would appear - is a connection encapsulated through the game's vast landscape of music, words, emotions and images.

One such person, seemingly also touched by this phenomenon, put all that pleasure, passion, and possibly even a hint of pain, into creating a mixture of audio and visual treasures under the YouTube channel title of  'Slow Walkthroughs'.

SW, as I refer to them when posting on their comments page via YouTube, has created a respectable (and still growing) library of game soundtracks borne out of a gamer's heart and passion and desire to share. Their talent is clear and unmistakable, and their channel is one of my defaults for when I need to chill, relax and think, or when the creative bug bites me and I need to either scribble, write or sketch.
And yes, I go there at times when I'm feeling the need to reconnect with my cyberpunk self, especially if feeling a tad melancholy.

Go visit, listen and chill. SW is very open to soundtrack suggestions, and a very friendly spirit, so drop them a line in their comments section. I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

A Song for 2020 - 2021.

 Upon reflection of the past 18 months (or so), I had to think how I would best sum it all up with one piece of music or song. I found this purely by accident whilst listening to 'Easy 90s' on Spotify.

Consequently, I now present to you the Manic Street Preachers and 'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next'.

I thought it was rather apt.

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Music for the Day.

 Heard this on the radio the other day, and I had forgotten how amazing the lead singer's voice is, so here it is as today's music piece from 'Crash Test Dummies'. Enjoy.

New Colour Scheme for 2021.

 I've decided that the old colour scheme was looking a tad tired, and I felt the need for a change since this is my return to my blog and blogging.

So with that in mind I've tried to keep it simple in regards its tone frame work, hopefully making it easier on the eyes when reading. If you are reading this on any other device, such as a tablet or mobile, and find issues or problems with any of the colour selections, then please feel free to let me know in the comments and I'll do my very best to address them.

Other than that, thank you for being here and reading my blog... still. I hope you're keeping safe, healthy and happy. Enjoy your day.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Dragon Warriors: An Old World with New Friends.

Copyright ©. Mark Kelly 2021.
All Rights Reserved.

 There are times when the things you love to do, be they physical, mental, spiritual, or creative, fall by the wayside for one reason or another. A day passes, then two, then a week, and before you realise it has been a month - and the time still rolls by. Life has you by the scruff of the neck, dragging you along, dropping distraction after distraction into your lap.

And then it's gone. That thing you loved has now become a memory that upon recall elicits a wry smile served with a measure of regret. The cycle continues. The danger being you've become that person for whom several years have now passed you by and you no longer feel the desire to reconnect with your once-upon-a-time passion.

But, sometimes the universe decides otherwise, and events are set in motion that pull the strings of fate together, all tied in with that one passion you've deemed as 'no more'. And here you are. Once again looking over words, images, plans, notes, sketches, objects - the things that, when combined with your passion, energy and enthusiasm, come together like the components of a formula and the chemical reaction is once more brought to life, igniting that flame within you.

Well, so has it been with Dragon Warriors. 

My work has placed me with like-minded folk - and friends - who have the flame of desire within them to explore the worlds of heroic adventure, mystery, danger and (yet to be had) treasure, and possibly develop a side-passion for dice collecting - yeah, it's a thing with role players, trust me.

As a group, they have begun to shake-off those early, nervous, tentative ways of the newbie. Their interactions with the NPCs they encounter are more confident and assured (most of the time), and their dice selection, when a roll is required, is less hesitant and more decisive. They are now more excited about 'crits' and dread the 'fumbles'. Two have already been laid low by severe injuries, and our newest member has even experienced the drive to kill an NPC due to said NPC's distasteful personality and mocking words. As session #10 is baking within the cooker of my imagination, the party of companions are already talking about their characters 'training' in order to better equip themselves for the challenges presented before them... and also better equipment.  Some are even growing to like certain friendly NPC characters with whom they interact with, maybe even slowly bonding with them?
They have come to realise they are not invincible, and that to retreat is often the best option available to them. And they still opt to talk instead of act when confronted by the unknown, although that may change, who knows?

As the DM I seem to be on track, so it would appear.  My passion for creating plots, twists, colourful non-player characters (hopefully), and villains, along with floor plans, dungeons and locations, has been reignited and burns steadily within my creative heart.

So it would seem the universe has drawn me back to one of my dearest passions, and also given me a golden opportunity to pass on the torch that is RPG gaming to a new generation of (potentially) future life-long gamers and DM/GMs. And who knows, maybe after I've long gone they might reunite and recall tales of the games I ran for them, the exploits I put them through and relive those moments with a warmth and a glint in their eyes, and some may even continue on their RPG journey by passing on the torch to others.

I hope so.