Author Archives: countstex

Exhausting

Not my usual lookTwenty plus degrees, little wind, clear skies, humidity often upwards of eighty percent. Perfect for a holiday island, unless of course you’re not here on holiday and in fact must clean, vacuum and mop houses and apartments all over said island. Then what you have is way too much warmth. I’ve spent most of the past few weeks pretty much soaked, so much so that I’ve had to purchase some bandannas just to keep the sweat from out of my eyes. I’m really not sure I’m the sort of guy that can pull off wearing one, but given the option of that or a head band I think it’s the saner choice! It’s also not a bad ploy to ensure people become used to me wearing one, so, should I ever go bald I can hide it whilst I lose enough to move onto the fully shaven head look 😉

There seems to be a lot more work this year than last. I guess people are starting to feel more confident about spending their savings on holidays again, but playing a little safe and sticking to local countries.

If ever we needed to hear
Winter is coming
it’s now

Thus we’ve been working seven days a week pretty much straight throughout the summer so far, and from what we can tell it will follow through right into September. Frankly we’re both starting to become rather exhausted. That slow creeping exhaustion that comes from working that little bit harder than you body is fit enough for, whilst lacking the sleep due to warm muggy nights. Even with a little help from the heat pump running on cool.

If ever we needed to hear ‘Winter is coming’ it’s about now.

On the plus side, we now get fortnightly visits from Hjem-Is (Home-IceCreams) and he’s making a pretty penny off of us! But damn are they worth it, even their Ben and Jerry’s knock off Cookie Dough is rather nice.

IceCreamTruck

First World Cup in Denmark

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For the first time I’m viewing a World Cup from Denmark. This means no more Gary Lineker for me, nope now my football presenting is being handled by another legend, Peter Schmeichel.
It’s somewhat odd hearing that same voice but speaking his own Danish and not English. Thankfully my understanding is high enough, along with my knowledge of footballing phrases, that I can follow the analysis fairly well.
Everything is different, everything’s the same.

Back in the saddle

Screenshot 2014-05-22 14.56.23-smallYesterday was my first real riding day of the year. I haven’t been out since August 2013, I’m not sure why I stopped so early on. I think maybe I used the cycling as relaxation from the seven days a week work, and once that slackened off it lost the draw. But is certainly felt good to get out again and test the legs, which thankfully held out and haven’t caused me too much discomfort the day after.

One of the very best things of being on Bornholm is this ability to just go out, cycle, and be surrounded by great scenery the entire time. It helps you to forget the effort you are putting in and just enjoy the rolls of hill and valley, the fresh sea air, or sometimes the more ‘vitamin rich’ freshly fertilized fields 😉

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The fields of rape seed are still in full bloom right now, covering the land in it’s golden shine, though I assume they are soon to be harvested and replaced with another crop. I believe much of the second crop is usually corn, which is used in animal feed for the great many pigs that also live here.

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Along the coast between Bølshavn and Listed, the waves crash into rocky outcrops rather than the soft sands of the south. I’m always amazed at the drastic change in terrain from place to place on Bornholm, often feeling like a zone from an MMO were so much variety has been crammed in to so little space.

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I did take a bit of a rest stop down on Balka beach. The sand was soft and warm, but sadly right now the water is closed due to reasons yet unknown but something to do with waste 🙁

Still, plenty of time for getting my feet wet this year yet!

Growing

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Last autumn, one day in pouring rain, we planted a new hedge having previously ripped down the old overgrown one. The cold winter and strong winds had us fearing some would have perished however not a single one has died. A few centimetres of damage at the tips but they are all now growing strong. Will be nice for the house to not look so exposed from the road once it’s all thickened up.

Garden of Bubbles

It was to be their first time in the HealthBubble. Symon entered the airlock section first, ducking his head to avoid the rather low frame. Cilla however had no such issue, especially since removing her heels to avoid damaging the perspex flooring, though the company had assured them it would be fine. The flooring was cool on her feet so Cilla slipped passed Symon and into the main chamber with it’s rugs, whilst Symon closed the outer seal before following her through and closing the inner also. The moment the seal locked in the biofilters started up, but the faint hum faded quickly until it was barely a murmur.

“I guess we should just get into bed then?” suggested Cilla.

“Yeah, I guess so, not much else to do really.” Symon replied and smiled briefly.

They spent a couple of minutes undressing down to the company provided underwear and getting into the bed. Cilla started to laugh as she snuggled into Symons arm and lay her head on his chest. Symon looked down at her and started to laugh too.

“I guess the filters doing it’s job then.” Symon said, and laughed again.

“Yup” Cilla giggled “It doesn’t take long to get going. Very efficient”

They both cuddled and laughed as the outside world darkened through the dome above them

“So off to sleep we go, a nice big sleep.” Symon’s voice was beginning to slur a little. Cilla laughed all the more though her eyes were already heavy and remained closed.

The laughing subsided and the only sound above the filter was their breathing. Slowing with each breath. Heart beats fading away.

Outside the dome the sky was filled with stars. The moon hung low to the horizon, then over the next two minutes it rose to directly overhead it’s light glinting on the HealthBubbles that lined the gardens. The horizon too began to glow with the blue light of the interplanetary drives and the moon slipped away out of view, leaving only the glow and the darkness of deep space.

If Only I Had

She warned me to be careful. But then she always did, I’m not sure if it was that she didn’t trust me, or just knew how trouble seemed to seek me out. Either way I didn’t, and so it was I ended up here.

The worst part was the not being able to see, I’m sure my eyes are fine but no matter how hard I strain only inky blackness comes back. The sounds however, the sounds never stop. Scratches, growls, slithering of scales, they haunt my waking hours, or at least what feel like hours and torment my broken sleep. I tried walking one.. I’ll call it a day. My feet became sodden with something that was far from water, it oozed between my toes and sometimes seemed to try to pull me down. But I never felt the landscape change, nor did I walk into anything despite tiring my arms in some zombie like blind walk. An unrelenting plane of gooey ooze it would seem. And so since then have I sat, occasionally standing the stretch out my aching bones, but mostly just sat and listened.

She warned me. She knew, as I did, the dangers of the summoning. Without following the texts to the letter the gateway of Malodine is just as likely to pull you in as to spew forth a servant. A shadow slave. Perhaps now my fate is to await another’s summoning, and see again only as one bound by unseen shackles to serve another.

She warned me to be careful, she warned me. And I could have been, I could have checked one last time.

If only I had.

Gene Pool

Jennifer shuffled forward as another candidate entered the appraisal section, the frosted glass doors closing automatically behind them. She thought back to the past eighteen years of her short life, trying to calm her nerves that all would be well and the tests would come back positive. In all honestly she was feeling quite confident, all of her teachers had expressed little doubt in her abilities, but one could never be too sure. Add to that that this was her seventh revision, and revision 6 had been so close to success.

The doors opened again to admit the boy in front of her. She heard his deep intake of breath before he headed off into the chambers behind the doors. Jennifer went over her subjects, Physics and Chemistry she had always excelled in. Interplanetary Logistics had given her some trouble at first, until she had realised she was overthinking the whole thing. She always did that, but that wasn’t a fault to hold someone back. At least she hoped not. Mathematics, fine, not her strongest. She prefered more applied things but she knew enough to pass that. Genetic Optimisation… the door opened. Guess it was time to find out!

She stepped forward through the doors and listened for the gentle click of them closing. She realised she’d stopped breathing. A voice came from above, the faint strains of a synthesised vocal system apparent.

“Jennifer Albon, appraisal station 2491.”

The platform she stood on moved away and headed towards the indicated station. Jennifer felt her heart starting to race, her mouth had become dry, she heard a grumble in her stomach above the slight hum of the platform.

Within thirty seconds the platform arrived at station 2491 and Jennifer stepped into the appraisal room and sat in front of the screen. As she lent forward the screen lit with her test results, she scanned the overall score. A fail. She placed her elbows on the desk and cupped her forehead in her hands. What went wrong.. see flipped the screen over to the detailed results. All exams passed, she’d even scored a 21 in Mathematics. Next screen, Biological Appraisal. Ah here it was, Metabolic Requirement. She spoke to the room.

“Define metabolic requirement failure.”

“Metabolic rate was found to be too high. Such a requirement would place an unacceptable strain on nutritional resources when applied to full lifespan of an accepted candidate.”

Damn. It must have been all those extra points revision 6 had placed into accelerated cognitive function. Must have overdone it and increased the metabolics. She pulled up the charts and she had to agree with the assessment, there was a near exponential spike during prolonged stress tests. She slumped back into the chair.

“Looks like it will be revision 8 that gets to see the solar system.” she spoke to the room, but no answer came back. She sat upright again and switched to the gene optimiser. Over the next two hours she tweaked her DNA to try and lower the metabolic requirements her predecessors improvements had given rise too. She did what she could to not impede the cognitive gains, but some fallout was bound to occur she just had to hope not too much.

Once it was done, she stood and headed to the doorway. She felt maybe she should be feeling more upset, even maybe scared. But more than anything she just wanted to succeed. To one day have her DNA out there and working for humanity. She stepped onto the platform as it arrived.

“Jennifer Albon” came the same voice as before “Proceeding to gene pool for genetic rehavesting. Revision 8 is slated for birth in eleven point two years.”

The platform slipped away towards the source.

Just completed… Portal 2

The original Portal was the sleeper hit, a diamond forged under the immense pressure of having Half Life 2 Episode 2 and Team Fortress 2 as box fellows. It delighted with it’s puzzles and fresh perspective on first person game play. When it came to the second game I watched my wife, Linda, play through it first. It seemed like a game that went on too long, that overstayed it’s welcome somewhat, and though I enjoyed the vocal performances of  Ellen McLainJ. K. Simmons and of course  Stephen Merchant, it all seemed from outside too much of a good thing. I did in fact play a fair bit of Protal 2, completing all of the co-op missions with Linda which in themselves were excellent, and perhaps worthy of the entry fee on their own. But even these slices of excellence couldn’t persuade me to devote my time to the single player story.

However come to 2014, and with the game very soon to be featured on Gameburst’s Replay show for January  I figured it was well past time to try it for myself. And as it turns out I was rather wide of the mark. Though the game is quite long, especially in relation to the tight storytelling of the original, it in no way feels stretched.

”always something to be thinking about
some new puzzle to solve”
There was always something to be thinking about, some new puzzle to solve, as well as keeping up with the overarching narrative that there was no time to become tired or bored. The addition of new mechanics some way into the story freshened up the gameplay of the original, whilst still remaining true to the core principles of the puzzles and had you once again thinking outside of the box for the solution to progression. 

Can I claim Portal 2 is greater than the original? That I am not clear on, but it is in no way less, and when it comes to games such a statement is rare indeed!