Techno-Babble

I like technology in general, and particularly internet and mobile devices. Occasionally it can be very frustrating and expensive. I’m sure Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk would agree with me. For those unsure what I’m referencing, here’s a video of a SpaceX rocket containing a very expensive Facebook satellite exploding on the launch pad.

It seems SpaceX were doing a test launch of the Falcon9 rocket containing Zuckerberg’s $200 million (about £150 million) satellite, and something went wrong when they tried to bring it back down. To me it looks like the rocket simply didn’t land straight and it toppled over, causing the the remaining rocket fuel to ignite. A very expensive mistake resulting in smoke on the water and fire in the sky.//embeds.audioboom.com/boos/3736250-deep-purple-smoke-on-the-water/embed/v4?eid=AQAAAKBXyVe6AjkA

However, that’s not the main topic of today’s article. My family and I have just moved to a new home in Kidwelly, as I may have already mentioned, several times. We were supposed to have had the internet service connected yesterday, but we were told by the customer service representative at BT that the engineers wouldn’t know anything else until next tuesday. It’s now friday. BT have had 18 days to figure this out, and didn’t tell us there was a problem until my Mum called.

This means I had to resort to plan B in order to get internet access. You may be wondering why I don’t just do without. You are currently reading the reason why. This is currently my only job. If I don’t have internet access, than I can’t post articles. If I can’t post articles, I have no chance of building my audience and increasing traffic to my website. Without traffic I don’t get new subscribers. Without donations from generous subscribers I have no income.

It’ll be a little different when I get Hermes925 published, but that’ll require money too if I self-publish. If I go through a traditional publisher, assuming they don’t flat out reject it, they may require me to make drastic changes. After working with my audience (that’s all of you reading this) to beta test each part of the story and come up with a book that you are all excited to read, it would be very disappointing to produce a book that doesn’t match your expectations, or my vision.

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My Dad also uses the internet for his work. The reason why we moved is because, once he’s licensed for this parish, he’ll be priest-in-charge of 3 local churches. He needs to check his e-mail and coordinate with various persons within the church community so he knows what he’s doing and when.

So, as you can see, We need internet. Luckily I’m tech-savvy enough to buy myself more data on my pay-as-you-go phone and turn on the wi-fi hotspot. Significantly more expensive to me personally that just using my parents’ BT wifi, but I don’t have much choice. My parents have already offered to help me pay for the data usage since they’re using it too, but I’d love it if I was able to generate enough income to make their help unnecessary. If you’d like to help a little, here’s the Paypal link.

Speaking of my self-proclaimed tech-savviness, perhaps those of you who are more so can help me solve a mystery. After I topped up the cellphone, I decided to do some recon around town to see where I could get a signal and where I couldn’t. What better way to do that than with Pokemon GO?

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I found I was able to get a signal loud and clear around Kidwelly Castle and the public footpath that runs along the river from the castle back to the town centre. However I found the town centre itself to be a complete deadzone. No signal at all. Very frustrating since there are several Pokestops that I can’t activate since the signal drops whenever I get near them.

As inconsistent as it seems for there to be no signal among civilisation, but a clear signal on a path cutting through grassland, that’s not what really confused me. Parts of town where I could at least get a weak signal on the way into town had no signal at all on the way back. I literally stood in the exact same spot where I had hit my first pokestop, and this time had no internet connection whatsoever. I do not understand this.

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The internet works great here!

Luckily I have not problem getting a signal at the house. It’s on the outskirts of town, apparently far enough from whatever jams the signal in town for uninterrupted access.  The only thing that makes sense to me is that the signal in town is being deliberately blocked. There is public BT wifi available, but you can only make use of if you have a BT sim card in your phone. I do not. I’m using 3.

Sorry Team Instinct, I’m not going to be able to be able to claim the local Pokemon gyms anytime soon. I will, however still be able to get plenty of writing done. I’m going to get the new Hermes925 posted next!

Have a great day, and thanks for the help 🙂

 

The Road to Recovery

I’m a recovering stoner. I would wake and bake, go to work high, go home high and go to sleep high. I smoked up the last of my weed on my last day in the US. That was the 20th of July. Today is the 6th of August. I really miss it. I don’t quite feel right without it, but I don’t like feeling this way. My family are being great, I feel happier, more whole, like my broken heart is healing just being with them. Their support has been invaluable.

I got into the habit while I was still with my ex. She smoked to help with the neurological pain and depression. I smoked it too because it made me feel more confident, and slow my brain down. She didn’t like me smoking though. When we broke up, I started smoking weed more frequently to help me cope. With the loneliness. With the heartache. With the overwhelming sense of failure.

It’s quite possible that part of the reason I’m feeling particularly needful of it today is because she contacted me last night. She needed my new address. We’ve been broken up for two years, and I’m not even in the same country anymore. It still stirs up old shit though every time she sends me an e-mail. Last night’s facebook message felt worse, presumably because it’s a real-time conversation, and therefore lacks the psychological buffer of e-mail. There’s no real difference of course.

Perhaps the timing of her message and the rising frequency of the disturbing dreams, the tightness in my chest, and the desire to get high is just coincidence. All I really know is that I don’t want to feel like this.

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This wasn’t supposed to be a selfie. I couldn’t get the camera to flip.

I also feel a little pathetic. As far as drugs go, weed is pretty wimpy. It’s not chemically addictive. I’m grateful I’ve never gotten hooked on anything harder to quit, like cocaine or cigarettes! I know herion is particularly bad, it never sounded fun, especially when you factor in my needle phobia. Weed is a plant, natural, harmless and fun. It makes you giggle! It helps you take life less seriously.

Why am I feeling so anxious without it? Part of me thinks maybe this is just me. I used to have disturbing and dramatic dreams when I was younger. I would often feel shy or anxious at social gatherings and whenever I was asked to do something I wasn’t good at. Maybe this is just who I am, and I just have to get used to it. Overcome my anxiety the hard way, by working through the hesitation and getting it done. Like an adult.

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There are sheep in that field. I was trying to frame them in the foliage.

I don’t hesitate when I’m high. Doing new stuff I’ve never tried before is fun. I’m not worried about embarrassing myself or doing it wrong. Getting good at something takes practice. I know this, without having to give myself a pep talk. I can talk to a complete stranger without an ounce of shyness, and start a conversation with them.

I want to be able to do that without having to be dependent on a drug. I don’t want pills either. They’re worse. Even as I’m writing this, I know that I’d feel a lot better if I could just smoke a bowl. I also know though, or at least hope, that if I can just ignore the craving I’ll come out the other side. I’ll have recovered.

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You have to find gaps in the hedgerow to glimpse the surrounding countryside.

The walk helped a little. I wanted to record video to go along with the article and I didn’t want to talk about it within earshot of my little nieces. I love those little girls, and they’re way too young to hear this self-indulgent crap. I’m aware of how self-centred I’m being right now. I don’t want to be.

So I went for a walk. I happened to notice there was a Pokestop on the edge of the village, so I used that as my excuse to get out. It’s a beautiful day, and I figured I could find a nice quiet spot to sit and record my thoughts. I ran out of Pokeballs again and missed out on catching a Voltorb. I found the Pokestop though, and sure enough discovered it was a quiet little spot to sit by a stream, a creek, and record.

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The second pokestop. Capel Y Annibynwyr. Where my service went out.

I was able to activate the pokestop a second time before I headed for another one I saw not far from where I was. The second one was at a chapel, and I lost data connection right as I got to it. I ended up wandering down a private road to Wig farm, got my signal back, and found a shortcut through an open field on the way back that kept me in signal range. I hit that pokestop, and even got to hit the one by the creek again on the way back home.

It occurred to me as I was almost home to check on the eggs I had collected in Pokemon GO! and see if any of them were close to hatching. It was only then that I learned that you have to actually select one and put them in the incubator for your walking to count toward hatching them. Dammit. I’ll just have to walk again tomorrow, and hope I don’t burn through my data too quick. I still haven’t made any income from my writing yet. Selling my stuff for airfare doesn’t count!

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Wasn’t sure if it was a public footpath, ended up at Wig Farm.

That might be a good thing right now. If I can’t afford to buy more data, I can’t buy weed either. I wanted to quit even when I was living in the US. My dependence on it bothered me. My moving here, where I have no contacts that can hook me up, I might actually have a chance to be done with it. I can really get better without being tempted.  The tough part will be continuing to stay away from it when I move to Dalton. I have people there. Well not there exactly, but in Barrow. So friends from up north, if you’re reading this. Don’t let me fall off the wagon. Please.

Are you going through something similar? Have you already gotten through it? I want to hear from you. Follow my blog if you haven’t already, and my YouTube channel.

Have a great day. Here’s a pic dump:

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Mum’s Back!

I’m going to start with a video. This is the first 5 minutes of my Dad and I driving out of Pontgarreg this morning. Just because.

Mum has spent the last four nights in Dalton visiting my Grandparents and making sure the guest room at the bungalow will be ready for me to take up residence. The nieces were gone too, spending time with their father. They all came back today on the same train. Sometimes the trains here in the UK are a little weird.

The train they were on was supposed to split into two shorter trains at a town in Wales called Machynlleth. Don’t ask me how to pronounce that. I know that the double ‘l’ is pronounced softly and sounds more like ‘hl’, and the ‘th’ doesn’t sound the way you expect either.

Anyway, they were supposed to have two drivers, but they didn’t. As a result the half of the train that was supposed to continue on to Aberystwyth, where we’d already arranged to meet them at the train station, was cancelled. My sister has her own car, so she went up to Machynlleth to collect our Mum, and her daughters. Dad and I got a little more guy time in.

Last time he and I were in Aberystwyth, there were two stores we wanted to look around in weren’t open. It was a monday, and they only open tuesday thru saturday. We took the opportunity to check them out. Pic dump!

As you can see from the pictures, both stores contained a joyous mish-mash of geeky stuff from various fandoms. DC, Marvel, Game of Thrones, X-files, Dr Who, Game of Thrones, Family Guy and much more. Rickety Ramshackle even had Laurel and Hardy! Dad walked away from Other Dimensions with a Doctor Who coffee mug and a clockwork spinning Tardis!

I rather like the new phone I picked up while in Carmarthen, and decided to get a pay-as-you-go sim card for it, so I’d have a fully functioning phone while I’m waiting for Mum to order the spare one from her plan. Here’s some other shots of Aberystwyth and other places between there and Pontgarreg.

I’ve skipped a bit. Before we could go back to Pontgarreg, we had to meet up with my Sister, Mum and the girlies. They showed up right as I got my new minutes loaded. I couldn’t resist loading up Pokemon Go! to test out my new data plan as we all walked back into Aberystwyth. Dad and I wanted to introduce them to the cafe we had gone to on Monday, MG’s. Just as before the food was great, even though we could only get ‘light bites’ at that time of day.

Mum was exhausted from her trip back from Dalton with the little ones. We decided to go back home. I’d used up all my Pokeballs before we got back to the car, so I missed out on a Muk. I managed to hit some Pokestops as we drove past though, but then used all of them up when we got back and found a Drowsee in the driveway! No-one else in the car was even remotely interested.

Today’s poke-haul was a Paras, 2 Pidgeys, a Ponyta, a Weedle, a Kakuna, a Pidgeotto, an Eevee, and of course the Drowsee. That last one got me to level 5. This is only the second time I played, the first being while wandering the airport. You may recall that prior to having nothing to do for nearly 12 hours in an airport I was skeptical of Pokemon Go! Besides being disappointed, but not really surprised, to discover that there are no pokestops or gyms in the village of Pontgarreg, it seems like harmless fun. I just now caught another Weedle!

After she’d rested and recovered from the trip, Mum and I talked a little about the layout for my new room in Dalton, figuring out where my bed, desk an Xbox might go. We also talked a little about my recovery, my writing (she loves it), and one of our favourite books ever, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel. It’s nice to have Mum back. Dad and I have had some fun, but now we can really get things done! She’s always there for me.

Dad did point out that I had a few words missing from my Hermes925 excerpt, so here’s the updated version, now with comments enabled. Click here!

Pacified by Pokemon

People on Facebook are mostly talking about one of 2 things right now. They’re either discussing the recent videos of police shooting and killing black citizens and the eleven cops who have been shot, or they’re talking about Pokemon GO! In fact so many people are talking about Pokemon GO!, or not talking about it because they’re so busy playing  that the flames being fanned between police and the black community are almost being ignored.

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There are some, including this very sharp looking meme from Anonymous, that claim that the #Black Lives Matter shitpot is being stirred deliberately by the government to keep us distracted from political shenanigans. I’m sure the government is up to something. If I had that much power and influence, I certainly would be. I just want to point out that the videos were taken by regular people, who happen to be black. The other alternative would be that the videos here staged, or faked. Easy enough to prove if we find the two men in the videos are actually still alive, unless everyone in the videos, dead and alive, mysteriously disappears.

I think a far more likely tool for distracting us from what is actually going on in the world, is Pokemon GO! I understand the appeal, in fact I’d like to play it myself. I have decided I have better things to do, including preparing for tonight’s D&D game. Same reason I’m not trying to find a girlfriend right now, I just don’t have the time right now unless I give up some of my writing time. That’s not going to happen. As I was saying though, a cute game that encourages you to go out into the world and find new places is a great way to keep people’s minds and bodies occupied, distracted, and content. Similar to the N•Viron in Hermes 925.

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

It’s a choice though. We are choosing to play Pokemon GO! instead of dealing with the problems our society is currently facing. Even I would rather sit here contemplating my own problems and thinking up story ideas instead of taking a stand. Blissfully ignoring that we have 2-3 (depending on personal opinion) monsters fighting over which of them gets to rule us, and encouraging us to support them. That we might also be seeing the beginning of open conflict and all-out war between the police and armed citizens, after all, after the black people, who’s next? Not to mention all the other shady, and comparatively boring stuff that politicians are up to all the time. And what’s going on with the war on terror, or in England post-Brexit? We’re watching our phone screens instead as Pidgiotto evolves into Pidgiot.

Of course, investigating the government and the recent killings doesn’t have to can’t Catch ‘Em All too. I’m sure there are some great Pokemon to find in the White House or the Senate. Police stations too. Rummage through file cabinets and search for secret rooms, all while keeping your phone help aloft and yelling “Where is that frigging Mewtwo! Gah, another Mr Mime? I fucking hate Mr Mime!”. Challenge the people who try  to stop you to a Pokemon battle! I would definitely recommend being unarmed though, and white, unless you want to get shot. Does Pokemon GO! allow you record video while you play?

Angry Mob

Of course we could just do it the old fashioned way. March on the capital armed to the teeth and take our country back. I’m still a British citizen, but I’m a US Resident by choice. This is supposed to be a United States, not a distracted, in-fighting, self-interested flock of uncaring sheep. We, the People, need to fix this shit!