Gosh, It Looks Beautiful

I think I’m going to stop. I’ve bought a beast of a machine with screens to match those abilities. I remember I first bought a PC for making music and I wasn’t really bothered about gaming performance, and that’s still mostly true. I’m not a hardcore PC gamer but I am very interested in flying. It just happens to turn out that the flight sim of choice – X-Plane is quite consuming of PC power. It’s also an odd program with the way it utilises the cores of the PC. Anyway. I’ve been trying to get the best flight simulation screen-age. I think I’m there although to use all the pixels to the maximum I will need another PC but that’s going to have to wait.

The Beautiful Front View
The Beautiful Front View

I’m not going to go through the specification of everything. Needless to say I’m very happy with it all. The curved monitor is very bright! It also chucks out a lot of heat so I think I’m not doing my bit for the environment. To keep everything in this position there’s a level of chaos to the reverse view:

What It Takes To Have Beauty
Takes To Have Beauty

The curved screen has its own stand and the two top monitors are connected via 100mm VESA things to different arms on the metre high pole screwed to the desk. Look, it all works fine and is lined up to within tolerances.

This is communication 1953 and so here are some things that happened in that year of the common era in keeping with recent tradition:

  • Derek Bentley is executed [murdered by the state] in Wandsworth prison.
  • The North Sea flood kills over 2000 in coastal countries.
  • The Polio vaccine is announced.
  • The first RO-RO crossing of the English Channel.

Is Three Enough?

I recently spent some time at RAF Syerston and saw plenty of flight simulators there and generally the fashion was that you can’t have too many screens. So, because I’ve had a spare screen sitting on the dining room table for the last eighteen months I decided to fit it, again, to the PC. The only place it can go is at “the top” although I’d be tempted to place it into an aircraft instruments position at some point. I had all the gear because I had already tried the monitor there, but didn’t like the look of it. I’ve probably changed my mind for now.

The Flight Simulator System
The Flight Simulator System

So, this screen shows the flight simulator running with aircraft view on the right and various instrument views on the other screens. I’m not entirely sure I like this set up and I will try another way of doing this.

Have changed to have the cockpit view spread across the two centre screens, ancillary instruments at the top and a tablet with flight information on it under the main screens. This set up makes more sense as far as I’m concerned. I know the items on the upper screen wouldn’t be there in a real cockpit but I don’t have the kit to move the monitor. It would take too much hassle to make it look proper and I don’t use the PC as a flight sim all the time anyway.

Current Flight Sim Set Up
Current Flight Sim Set Up

I’m not necessarily happy about the bezels in the middle of the cockpit view and I know I could adjust the offset to make it look slightly more realistic, but then I would also lose some of the centre instrumentation. I guess the only answer is a massive curved screen. Maybe I’ll get one sometime in the future but I am massively aware that my hot water boiler is fucked and I need to think sensibly about spending money for the next while!!

This is communication number 1942 and so here are a few [non WWII] things that happened that year:

  • The Sikorsky R-4 first flies
  • A coal dust explosion in china claims 1549 lives.
  • The first nuclear accident occurs in Leipzig.
  • Plutonium is isolated.
  • The first man-made self sustaining nuclear chain reaction at Stagg Field in Chicago.

Base Progress

I spent a few hours yesterday gathering resources to start the landscaping project on my base area in the Caves and Cliffs part one section of my world. I expect to move to a new base area once the next part of the update is released.

Map Of The Land
Map Of The Land

In the above image you can see railways over the sea connecting the main components of the base. Sitting in a minecart allows me to eat and get my inventory sorted while also travelling from one place to another. I am going to keep the railways but I wanted to make it look a little prettier. So, I decided to claim back some land and build an artificial island.

Obviously Man-Made
Obviously Man-Made

The above picture shows the start of the landscaping works. My first thought was to try and make it look natural but I’m actually now keen to make it obviously man-made. Let’s see what I can be bothered to do. It turns out I’ve also made a secret harbour area and so I need to add in railways to that somehow. The pond in the middle is going to be for the axolotls I gather. I also need to light up quite a bit of the work so to avoid mobs spawning. I don’t want all of it to look the same so I have some other ideas for joining to New Holland. Look out for a walk around video on my YouTube channel at some point.

This is communication number 1929 and so here are some things that happened in that year:

  • Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu moves to India. This woman is horrible.
  • The gulag system is created in Russia.
  • A rocket powered aircraft is demonstrated.
  • The Afghan civil war ends.

The Sleeping System – 2021

This is my solution to – how do you split a small room into separate rooms? I had been trying to work out how to give my kids a bit of privacy and their own area in the house which isn’t very big. I had thought about a loft conversion which I’ve had in other houses I’ve lived in but I can’t afford that type of house conversion. I thought about a wall down the middle of the room to make two separate rooms but they would both end up being quite small. So, I did what everyone does and Googled to see what ideas other people had. This was the best result I had:

Initial Sleeping System Idea
Initial Sleeping System Idea

I don’t have a larger size image and I’m not even sure there this idea came from but it struck me as a sensible way to split a small room. Each side of the room gains half a bed width worth of floor space compared to a wall down the middle. I also like the floating upper bunk with no supports but that wasn’t really what I was after. I spent an age thinking about how to do this. How to utilise the current sleeping system that I have and how much stuff I would need to buy and also what would I need to throw away. I just played this over in my head as I walked around or ran or cycled or drove somewhere.

I did some research on tools I would need to use as I didn’t want to have to hand saw all the wood. It seemed that I would need a circular saw and maybe a mitre saw. I already have a jigsaw for the tougher pieces. I also didn’t want to use a chair as my work bench so I looked up workbenches. I think the investment was worth it. I could use these things in the future and I do think I have achieved peak “man” now that I own a Black and Decker workmate and compound mitre saw.

I had a general plan for what I wanted to build and I worked out how many lengths of wood I would need along with screws and other bits and bobs. I had already wandered the halls of Homebase and Wickes to see what sort of materials were available and how much they were. I had always considered Wickes to be the cheaper option but for most of the wood and materials Homebase was cheaper. So, one morning I went to Homebase [one of the local three stores] and bought all the things I assumed I would need for the main sleeping system structure. The biggest challenge was trying to ensure that wooden spars 2400mm long would fit in the car and I had to hope I wouldn’t look an idiot in the car park when I either threw everything out or broke the boot door window. It turns out that there is plenty of room for a straight object 2400mm long in Bora Horza Gobuchul.

The Sleeping System 2021 - The Start
The Sleeping System 2021 – The Start`

This is the room at the start of the project once the existing furniture had been removed and the carpet lifted and chucked out the window. It took a good morning of work to remove all the stuff. The beds had to be broken down and the chipboard removed to the garden. All things being kept were offloaded to other parts of the house. The carpet was wrapped in bags to make sure it didn’t become overly wet in the rain of the English summer. While I worked I listened to music on my Sonos Roam. Once the test match season started I listened to Test Match Special on BBC Radio 5 Live. I’ve been getting back into the cricket a little recently and I am enjoying it.

The aim for the first day was to build the structure of the bunk bed sleeping system. The overall aim was to have the beds stacked with one opening to one side of the bedroom as and the other bunk opening to the other side of the room. This meant measuring to ensure fairness in terms of room placement along with plenty of time thinking about how to make the structure secure enough for grumpy teenagers for later on in life. It took around a day to build the basic structure to the point where the beds were mostly made. The room could be used from this point although there was plenty of time before it needed to have live sleepers. I can inform you that sleeping on a mattress on top of a mattress is not as comfortable as you think it might be. Every other room in the house was filled with stuff from the second bedroom.

The Sleeping System 2021 - End Day One
The Sleeping System 2021 – End Day One

The above image shows how the main structure was built and created to be stable and strong. The system is secured to the floor spars on one side and roof/ceiling spars on the other side. The triangles add lateral strength and all the wood is a good 2.5cm thick and so strong enough to support people. I even spent time manoeuvring myself around in the top bunk as I secured the system and it was nicely secure. There are some lessons I learnt as I built this. One is that if you keep a window open below this room then all the sawdust will sneak back into your house and cover everything with a fine layer of tiny particles. The image above is a room that has been hoovered and cleaned to show the best perspective of what has been completed.

Day two was about fixing hardboard to the surfaces that mean the room will be split into two and reasonably private each side of the bed. I had to make a number of decisions about placement of the boarding and the whole process took the entire day. I also created a small ladder for the top bunk – I quite enjoyed building this part! After this weekend of complete sweat and work I had organised a couple of days training cadets on the L98A2 weapons system. This was a nice break and gave me a chance to run ideas through my head ready for the next phase.

Painting an undercoat on the structure came next and this, I thought would take maybe an hour. Well, it turns out that painting takes roughly three times longer than I had expected and I had actually just run out of the undercoat/primer at completion of the coat so this was fortunate. I did not enjoy painting the thing. The next day was the main coat. Both the primer tin and the main coat tin had said that one coat should be good enough and I hope that is the case. I still have about a litre of paint left ready for any touch ups that are needed.

I will say at this point that I’m not putting any more images in to this communication because this is where my kids live and it’s up to them what I show of their lives on this site. Given my profession and the age of my kids there are many opportunities for their compatriots to find out information about them that they wouldn’t want public. If I know you then I might send you a picture anyway. But overall, you’ll have to read the descriptions.

So, the bed part of the sleeping system was complete, nicely painted and the mattresses fitted perfectly well. Next up would be general furniture, some shelving, the lighting and the flooring. The shelving was just some things that I had already taken down before. There were two and so that was an easy decision to make what goes where. Lights were LED lights controlled by a remote and fitted to the house lighting system. There’s already a complete system of smart lights within the house and only two rooms without them [the bathroom and the stairs which isn’t really a room]. So the lights are controllable by voice and phone or even switches on the walls.

The flooring is a laminate thing which was measured and ordered and arrived within a week. it took a day to lay the flooring while listening to the cricket and getting covered in sawdust again. I also had to buy the beading which meant I aimed for the cheapest and now I can confirm that none of the wood items in this room match colours. It is a many wooded room. I also got annoyed/bored at doing the trimmings so I just stopped at some point and while I know where that is no-one else has pointed it out to me. Maybe one day . . . .

The last thing was to build a couple of pieces of furniture which I bought from Argos and then wait for the glue to dry because I never just screw things together. Everything gets glued. It makes it stronger and less likely to wobble as time goes by. Finally the furniture, clothes, toys, electronics and all storage forms were placed in the the sleeping system room. Finally the rest of the house looked back to normal after three weeks of nicely placed chaos. It is nice to have the space back in the house. I am pleased with the sleeping system and I hope it lasts. At least I know how to fix any part of it should that be required.

I had intended to use this summer time to also clear the loft of things that I don’t want but my energies have been used up and I am now just chilling the fuck out. I don’t want to spend another few days of lugging things around and making the house a mess again. Once again I think this job will be pushed to next year. Also, the bath needs replacing and I’m considering doing that myself. I reckon I could do it. Possibly. But as long as I have a few weeks it’s definitely a job I would be prepared to do. Next year for that too.

Communication number 1925 requires a list of some things that happened that year:

  • The RAF bomb mountain strongholds in South Waziristan.
  • The Scopes trial.
  • The SS are formed.
  • Enclosed double-decker buses are used in London for first time.

Mapping My World

I play a lot of Minecraft. I’ve been into it since the start of the first pandemic lockdown when my kids talked a lot about it and I decided it’d be nice to know what they are talking about. So I gave it a go. I have loved it every since. I mean, I made a YouTube series on my megabuild in one of our worlds.

It was an interesting experience doing the recordings once the build was complete. I had to learn how to play the game, or at least wander around, while also talking about what I have done and I found that quite tricky at first and so there were plenty of recordings that I deleted for quality purposes. I am also not going to edit the videos once recorded because that’s a level of caring I don’t have.

For a long time I have used some software t create maps of my world. I know this is cheating to a certain extent but I have decided that it’s ok to do somethings but not others. I think it’s ok to have a map and I think it’s ok to have coordinates turned on. Other than that I don’t employ any other “cheats”. I have played in some worlds with teleporting and keep inventory turned on but to be quite frank that makes it too easy. There should be an element of death and destruction within the game. The random things are what make it interesting for me. So, I don’t really play in creating mode, in fact I’ve only ever been in creative mode once, and I don’t have many “cheats” turned on. Everything I have done is in survival mode, because it’s more interesting to me.

Map Of The Land
Map Of The Land

The above map shows the area of my current base. Once the Caves And Cliffs Part One update was released I went a long way in the nether and popped out wherever it was in the overworld. The aim was to generated new areas of the world using the latest version of Minecraft. I suspect that I’ll do this again once the Part 2 update comes out and start a new-new base there.

Things to note in the map of my world are the mob-spawner just SE of the centre of the map along with an island, called New Holland, just SW of the spawner. The island is around 70% man-made in terms of area and houses my slave villagers and farm animals. There are two iron-golems there to protect the villagers which is nice I guess. It is my trading area. From the villagers I have easy access to mending and silk touch enchantments for tools. Over the next while I think I need to look more into potions and learn how they work.

Just left of centre in the map is my portal to the nether where I popped out originally when finding a new area for the latest update. There are three railways that connect this hub with the island, the spawner and my crop farm and storage area. Just NE of centre is my crop farm – currently wheat and potatoes – along with a subterranean storage area and my bed on top of a hill nearby. I’ll see if I can get some screenshots or do a video walk around of this new base area. I should probably do a video of the old base area in this world although I think I wrote about it here.

For information, the mapping software I use is called bedrock-viz for Minecraft Bedrock Visualiser. It works on the server map files and turns them into a webpage that works similar to google maps. So, if you are running your Minecraft world on a PC and you know where the database files are and you are comfortable taking copies of those then you can probably use the software. I also FTP the files to a webspace so I can see the map on a laptop screen while I’m playing, it’s a little small on my phone. I like it and I find it really helpful just for getting around the place. It’s just enough of a help that it’s worth it and not a silly amount of cheating that I think it’s ok to use. To give you an idea of what it does here is what it looks like at level 13 under my base:

Level 13 Overworld
Level 13 Overworld

In the real version of the map you are able to zoom in and hover over blocks to see the coordinates so that’s really helpful. In the picture above you can see water and bubble columns – blue and light blue – along with geodes. The yellow bits are gold and the dull yellow is iron. Bright blue is diamond and red is redstone, green squares are emeralds but once you’ve got a trading farm going with villagers who cares about mining for emeralds?

Communication number 1924 and here’s a selection of stuff that happened then:

  • A radio time signal is broadcast for the first time.
  • An explosion in a mine in West Virginia kills 119.
  • 400 indigenous people of Toba are massacred.
  • Belgium introduces an eight hour work day.

Jungle Cruise

I took a small trip to see Jungle Cruise at the cinema. I could have paid to stream it on the television but I really like going to the cinema. I noted that the tide was very low in the river, all the mud banks were exposed. This was a metaphor for my low expectations of this film, even then, the film disappointed me a bit. I rated the film on IMDB, there’s a communication dealing with the scoring system.

I didn’t hate this film but I also didn’t think it was worth watching by the end of it. I know this is a film based on a theme park ride but maybe people should just stop making those. The premise was ok-ish: a plant to cure all diseases exists somewhere in the Amazon jungles and the protagonist has to find it, for reasons. Stuff happened including loads of supernatural bollocks. But, here are the things I found most annoying:

A lot of the action was filmed close up and without a steady camera and so it all blurred and I couldn’t really tell you what was going on during the action scenes. Maybe I’m getting old but there was a lot of CGI and fast moving cameras which took away from the actual action for me. Although I am prepared to say that I am definitely not the market for this film.

Why is the bad guy a German? In a submarine? Why German? Why not some mega-capitalist? Why German? Have we not accepted that perhaps not all bad people have Germanic roots. I kind of get it with Indiana Jones and the Nazis, because that was when the film was set and they were really bad. But this guy just seemed to be some low level German royal who wanted the plant-thing. Maybe I need to re-evaluate my approach to whoever the bad guys are.

NOTHING ELSE MATTERS by Metallica was the music that opened this film and also came along for a bit of easy rock half way through. Fuck this song. It is shit. What is happening in the world?

{SPOILER FOLLOWS} Why did the protagonist, who is motivated by saving the sick of the world give the only flower to a dead man she had fallen in love with? Where was her sacrifice for the better good? What an utterly selfish bullshit thing to do. Fuck this move.

I didn’t really enjoy this film. I was curious to see what the ending was going to be, and, of course, it was completely happy. Except for the German, obviously.

What happened in the year 1910 given that this is communication number 1910?

  • Slavery made illegal in China.
  • The Earth passes through the tail of Halley’s comet.
  • A boxing match causes race riots across USA.
  • 40,000 die in China of a pneumatic plague.

A Mess At The Moment

This is my current base in this latest world. I’ve written about things recently but this is a whole new era of my Minecraft skills. I have a simple base at the moment, I have a villager breeding area as I try to get the mending enchantment and I have a kelp XP farm. Things are going OK at the moment. The island in the bottom is mostly reclaimed and so I’ll be calling it New Holland.

I’ve got railways joining these places over the sea. This land is in a new chunk since the caves and cliffs update part one and therefore there are geodes and glowing squid all over the place. I’m not sure how to make a proper base yet, but part of me wants to build up a massive volcano and go completely Bond-villain.

Keeping Traditions

I’ve been spending some time at Linton Park Cricket Club recently and although I regularly try and walk around the ground a few times each visit I went in the opposite direction on my last attempt. I am normally hanging around in the nets and when I go for a lap I start there and head away from the pavilion. The lap in question started north of the pavilion and so I walked in a clockwise direction [when viewed from above]. It’s always good to approach things from a new point of view and I thought this would just look a little different. I was not expecting the result of this walk to be such a surprise!

LPCC Tree
LPCC Tree

On the return leg towards the pavilion I saw this tree. A whole tree growing in within the boundary. In the year or so that I had been coming to this ground I hadn’t seen the tree. I just hadn’t noticed it at all when I was completing laps in a positive direction [when viewed from above]. Why had I not seen such an obvious thing? Why had this tree not been part of my viewing on the numerous times I would have walked past it in the past? What is going on? It’s clearly not a newly planted tree and given its size it’s been there for a while and anyway, why would you plane a new tree within the boundary? Although the club itself and ground is a lot older than the tree so there are questions I need answered.

There is something called the Mandela effect. It’s not a real thing. But everyone has things that make them question what they know or can remember. The Mandela effect is meant to explain a mis-remembering of an event or thing. When I saw this tree my first thought was – that’s a surprise, how come I didn’t notice it before? My first thought was not – wow, that must have popped into existence from nowhere I am clearly in a new timeline and therefore aliens or whatever bogeyman you want. People don’t understand just how terrible human memories are. The general impression is that memories are like perfect video cameras and we can fast rewind through any event to see the truth of what happened or at least the truth of the experience we had. The reality is that human memory is fucking terrible and can’t be relied on at all. I am dreading being called as a witness to something where my memory is required. It’s quite easy to change how you remember things. Just remember them. Every time you remember something you change your memory. Have fun with that knowledge.

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.