I went to the cinema. Again. Not really a surprise I guess but given the recent Covid-times I think that maybe sitting in a room with other people isn’t a good idea. But then, I think that the cinema needs money to survive and so far there haven’t been more than 20 people in the films I’ve seen and the distancing is quite good. It’s nice to be back [I’m not counting this film].

I went to see Land and it was in screen 8 of the Cineworld cinema in Rochester. I do like screen 8, it was meant to be the “posh” one many years ago but now it’s just slightly more comfortable than all the others with its better chairs and fewer seats. I’m reasonably sure I’ve seen films in there just because it was in screen 8 and not for any other reason.

As I drove along the riverside towards the cinema I noted the state of the tide and it was low. I could see all of the mudbanks and only the central channel was buoyancy-providable. The weather was actually quite nice given the previous day where it rained the whole day and I was silly enough to go for a walk to see the Medway Megaliths, my shoes were soaked but the sun dried them nicely. After I’ve seen a film I rate it on IMDB and there’s a guide to the rating system within this communication. Normally I would then tweet the result from my phone but I removed Twitter a long time ago so the tweets have to wait for the next opportunity when I’m on my home PC.

So, I had to reread my IMDB communication to remind myself of the scoring system. Then I rated this as a 6. It was a perfectly fine film but not one I’d watch again. I booked whatever film I thought looked most interesting. I had slight pangs of concern when I entered the theatre as all the people in there were women and I ended up being the only man in the room. All the trailers were for what I would call “emotional” films – as stereotypical it is I like space films and then thrillers and action films I guess although most action films are stupid. These are not my usual style of film to watch but I was here now and so it was time to soak up what was on offer.

For me the star of the film was the Wyoming countryside. It looks just absolutely gorgeous. It made me think of doing the same and abandoning all of the trappings of modern life and to head off and lead what would feel like a simpler life. When I say get rid of modern life this woman still have tinned food, knives and a rifle. I wonder if everyone feels that they would like to survive by their “wits” rather than our current world system?

The film was broadly speaking enjoyable and told a nice story, one of emotional recovery and trying to learn to live again after tragedy. I know it was for the purposes of the film for the main character to survive after the midpoint of the film but I’m not sure she would. You end up wondering “what are the odds” but it is dealt with very well although all films suffer survivor bias.

The only part of this film that irritated me slightly was that it made shooting things look really simple and easy. I’m not talking about the pulling of the trigger or the moral problems of killing life but I am talking about how hard it is to hit a target with a rifle. Films make this look much simpler and easier than it really is. The funny thing is I actually know what I’m talking about here – I’m a weapons instructor, coach and a range officer – hilarious I know but I do have those qualifications and use them regularly. Me, having official qualifications in something extreme, I find it a curiosity.

Going Live

I’ve been playing around recently with live streaming on YouTube. Why? Not sure, I think it’s because I can. Also, each thing I do will get saved and added to my video collection. I have no idea if this is sensible or not but it seems fun at the moment.

My current plan is to fly down the west coast of Africa and then head up the eastern side. I’m hoping to get distracted by some mountain ranges and fun stuff. My general plan is to find an airport around 100 miles away, bomb up to 30,000 or so and then fly there. I’ve decided to skip Cape Verde, because islands are mostly boring. I figured that out while heading around the Canaries.

There’s not a lot that happens as I don’t commentate as I’m doing this. I’ve got the microphone off as I don’t want any house noises coming over the video. You can follow me on this map, but you’ll have to make sure you click on the link when I am flying or it’ll be boring, which even when I’m flying will be the case.

Demon Slayer : Mugen Train

Yesterday I took a trip to the cinema to watch a film. This should have been a celebratory return after the cinemas all shut down during the last lockdown. The last film I saw was Akira and so it seemed fitting that I had booked a ticket to see a Japanese animation. I was looking forward to it but I did have one large problem.

I am clearly very tired and so when I rest or am still for a while I start to fall asleep. This is a little embarrassing as the other day I was struggling to stay awake while mining in Minecraft. I think the next time I go to the cinema it will have to be during the middle of the day. That might help. I tactically closed my eyes a few times during this film. Here’s what I mostly remember:

Gravestones. People on a train. Fights. Shiny faced demon. Train develops organic pink shit all over it. A terrible song at the end.

It doesn’t seem fair to give this movie a score on IMDB when I didn’t manage to see all of it and it’s not the movie’s fault I couldn’t. My overall impression was that it wasn’t very good anyway but, when I look at the reviews on IMDB, everyone seems to have really enjoyed it. I think my problem is that it looked too TV Series like. I think that type of animation works well in shorter format. I don’t really think it works for the cinema. But then perhaps I’m wrong? Plenty of people seem to enjoy it. I think I’ll be a little more choosy for my next film.

Bayside Villa – Adjusted

I spent a little while adjusting some of the decoration on the villa. The idea what to make it still look textured but less “busy”. I’m not sure it’s complete yet but it’s better that it was in the previous communication.

Had The Decorators In
Had The Decorators In
RTX and the Villa - back view
RTX and the Villa – back view
The Rockery
The Rockery
Bayside Villa
Bayside Villa
Bayside and the Canal
Bayside and the Canal
Bayside Bedroom
Bayside Bedroom

World Tour 2021

I’ve decided to fly somewhere in X-Plane. I’m not sure where I’m going to end up but so far I have travelled from RAF Valley to Mauritania [the worst country you’ve never heard of]. I’m doing short hops heading around the coast. The route has, so far, been roughly:

  • RAF Valley
  • Bristol
  • RNAS Culdrose
  • Southampton
  • Jersey
  • Somewhere in Brittany
  • Bordeaux or so
  • St Sebastian
  • Santander
  • Portugal somewhere
  • Lisbon
  • Faro
  • Gibralter
  • Morocco somewhere
  • Canaries – various
  • Mauritania somewhere.

For a laugh I have streamed some of these. I had streamed to Twitch but that doesn’t save your videos AFAIK and so I’m now streaming this stuff to YouTube. These videos are really NOT interesting. I’m not talking over them. I’m just recording the screens and considering that I get to FL300 and then go straight there isn’t a lot to see. I’m also using this as a way of learning more about flying aircraft. I think I’ve got the basics sorted. I can take off, manoeuvre, land etc but I want to learn a little more about a/c systems and so on.

I’m hoping the scenery will get a little better as I head further south through Africa. I think I’ll sneak out to Cape Verde on the next hop. I’ll also try to remember to fill the plane with fuel and use reheat most of the way. I’m curious to see just how fast I can get it going.

I’m using a multi-screen set up for these trips. The devices are as follows:

  • Main PC screen – X-Plane standard cockpit or outside views.
  • Second PC screen – X-Plane Garmin device and VR Tablet add-on.
  • Android Tablet – browser with details from X-Plane and ability to turn switches etc via the touchscreen.
  • iPhone – running X-Plane Control so I can see approach angles and flight information.

So, when it looks as though I’m not really looking at the main PC screen I’m not. I’m probably doing plenty of other stuff on other screens or just letting the thing fly. I don’t think I have breakages turned on so nothing should go that wrong as I’m flying. Mind you, I’ve had a couple of occasions where the aircraft has ejected me for some reason and I’m not sure why – I suspect it was over-g at low level. Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing Table Mountain when I get there.

The Villa

I really liked my beach house that I built in the Minecraft series that is on my YouTube Channel. It was placed nicely although a little small. So, in the latest world I wanted a nice big beach house. And I’ve made it.

RTX Sunrise
RTX Sunrise

Now, I’m not sure I’m happy with some of the texturing and so I am going to remove and change of it. There’s too much detail in the fascia of the villa. The villa faces east and so this is a shot of the house with the sun rising.

Glorious Sunrise
Glorious Sunrise

This is a more front on view and you can see the levels. There’s an animal farm to the right rear of the villa. All the storage systems and other farms are hidden in a basement to the rear of the building.

View From North
View From North

Here you can see the side of the villa and the animal farm. In this series of screen shots I’ve got RTX turned on and it’s lovely. Absolutely lovely.

Second Balcony
Second Balcony

This is the view from the top balcony. There’s a bridge in the mid-distance and that has the old entrance to the mine that we started. I now have a minecart that goes from the basement to the mine and I can get there straight from the villa rather than heading into the dangerous outside.

I Felt Productive

I recently had a long session on Minecraft, I was stuck in the house and couldn’t get out as I was waiting for someone to come and fix my boiler. I didn’t really feel like getting into a TV show so I spent some time [too long really] putting an idea I had a while back into place. Here’s an overview of part of the latest world:

Latest World Overview
Latest World Overview

The mess top right next to the bay is the MAIN Base. I’m going to see if I can get some screen shots of it, or maybe give a walk around viewing video, I’ll see what I can manage. The big grey blob in the middle of the map is a gravel topped mountain and I’ve not been there to get the gravel yet but it will be useful at some point I hope. In the bottom left of the map you can see the nearest village to the base. I wanted to create a way of getting to and from the village without having to walk over land. I could have created a minecart track but in this world I chose to dig a canal.

Sea Level Details
Sea Level Details

This cross-sectional map shows everything at level 62 – sea level [currently]. If you look closely at the top you can see a thin blue line going horizontally. That is the canal I dug and added water to. You enter the canal from top right and move directly westwards and exit in the Great Lake. From there you follow the passages and mini-canal southwards to get to the village. There could be an issue that I can’t remember whether it was this village or not that had actual live villagers in it. I didn’t bother to check before I started this infrastructure project so it could have been for nothing!

Length Of Navigation Route
Length Of Navigation Route

My map making software also has a measuring tool. You can see that the total canal length is about 0.85km. So that’s 850 blocks long. I’ll probably create a video soon of the base and where the canal goes but until then, I leave you in peace.

Well, At Least I Tried

Gran Turismo has been accepted into the 2021 Digital Virtual Olympics. Anyone playing can attempt to qualify and so I have. Attempted.

IOC Virtual Series
IOC Virtual Series

The first round is a time trial around a Tokyo street circuit which makes sense given the actual games are going to be in Japan. The circuit has a good mix of slow technical corners and high speed straights and high speed esses. There are some slightly annoying things though – if you touch, and I mean just touch, a wall then your lap is discounted. I have completed around 200 miles around this circuit and I think in all those I have fewer than ten green laps. I guess it means that I am pushing it around the corners but at the same time it is very frustrating. Maybe I’m just not that good?

After my first few attempts I managed a time around 2 minutes and I knew I could improve by about two seconds. I will have another go I think but it is marginal gains and I’m already too far down the rankings. I’m also about FOUR seconds behind those in the lead. That’s quite depressing. My driver rating is around a C or B whereas those at the top are all A+ rated drivers. I know I’ve been playing this game since 1997 but perhaps I’m not that good? Ahhh, I think I’m suffering a bit with imposter syndrome. Anyway, I made it into the top 5000. I’m nowhere near that now, but given that the “local” area is made of Europe, Africa and most of Asia I’m probably doing OK. Perhaps I’ll try again tomorrow. See if I can get below 1:59.

IOC Virtual Series Countries
IOC Virtual Series Countries

Here’s a screen shot of my initial qualifying time:

Doing OK – maybe – I don’t know.

The Golden Age Of Grotesque – Marilyn Manson

I quite like the music of Manson. That’s Manson with an M rather than Hanson with an H. I think this chap’s real name is Brian and he sure knows how to write a good song. Can I tell you the name of a single track on this album? Nope. I can tell you that it’s likely I wouldn’t skip a song if it came on. But this isn’t a band I seek out to play.

I’ve just had a look at the track listing and “This Is The New Shit” is a song I know along with Mobscene. Other than that I couldn’t tell you how these tunes go. I get what Manson is doing. He’s being provocative and pushing boundaries and anything that scares the boomers or adult generation is fine by me – yes I know I’m old but I’m still a rebel at heart. I have heard that recently Manson has been accused of being a dick and while I hope he hasn’t behaved like that – because it is wrong – I don’t think I hold up anyone to hero status because they pretty much always end up letting you down or become dicks.