Half Life 2

I ordered Half Life 2 from Amazon on Saturday and it arrived this morning on my doormat. I installed it (eventually) and gave it a go.

I was awestruck at the beauty of the thing. Even on my Athlon XP 2200 with a Geforce 4 64MB graphics card machine it looked absolutely stunning. I’ve never seen graphics like it, ever. I’ve not got very far, though I have managed to get hold of the crowbar and hit things. The last thing I did was die under a train – this may take a while to get the hang of seeing as I don’t tend to play FPS games.

I don’t anticipate watching much TV for a while though, plus I may have to get some painkillers for my wrists, and not for the usual reason.

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Slackware 10.0

I fucking love Katherine HeiglI’ve been doing a lot of fiddling with my Operating System recently, and the lovely image on the left there is the result. I’ve installed Slackware 10.0 on my PC, which seems to be working pretty well at the moment. I’ve also installed Dropline Gnome on there for a rather snazzy desktop.

The gorgeous lady in the background is the fantastically gorgeous Katherine Heigl, who I love with all my physical being. I quite enjoyed Roswell when it was on, and she was one of the reasons for me watching it every week. She has to be one of the most beautiful women on the planet. Hmmmm…

Anyway, you can view a bigger version of that HERE if you like. Notice the groovy transparent terminal window too. I’m getting to quite like Dropline Gnome.

Three generations

I spent the weekend up in Leeds, and had the pleasure of having lunch with my dad plus Uncle Ken, who’s my (late) Grandad’s brother. He’s in his late 80s, but still in pretty good shape by the look of it, and it was fantastic to have the three generations of Rutt’s round the pub table together.

Uncle Ken is the last of his generation in my family, at least as far as close relatives are concerned. Most have made it into their 80s, which is good news for my potential longevity, and there’s not much history of baldness either. I may, however, suffer from high blood pressure, glaucoma and prostrate problems. I can live with that.

It was especially nice to see him in such good health. Obviously he’s getting a little frail these days, but he did seem in fairly good fettle. This was the first time in over 20 years that I’ve been to his house in Halifax, and I really hope that I’ll be visiting again before too long. Halifax is in a lovely area – Calder Valley is beautiful, and Halifax itself is more like a big village than a town. This is one of my favourite places and well worth a visit – Bronte country is just down the road (Howarth) and there are some spectacular views of the Pennines.

It was a good weekend in all. I got to spend some quality time with my mum too, plus she makes the best breakfast sarnies, even better than Megacobs (and they’re bloody lovely).

Cats – the truth

What is a cat?

1. Cats do what they want.
2. They rarely listen to you.
3. They’re totally unpredictable.
4. They whine when they are not happy.
5. When you want to play, they want to be alone.
6. When you want to be alone, they want to play.
7. They expect you to cater to their every whim.
8. They’re moody.
9. They leave hair everywhere.
10. They drive you nuts and cost an arm and a leg.

Conclusion: They’re tiny little women in cheap fur coats.

From DDN

More Christmas Tunes

Yuletide is creeping into my life whether I want it to or not. Despite my determination to refrain from such seasonal celebrations for at least a few weeks, I found myself playing yet more Christmas-related music last night. I had a phonecall from Dave Wright of Ibstock Brick Brass seeing if I was available to come down for a rehearsal – they had a few cornet players missing and could do with a spare pair of lips.

So, I went down for a blow (no sniggering at the back). Of course, the time of year dictated the type of music being rehearsed and there were Christmasy tunes a-plenty on offer. One of these is possibly the most detested Christmas arrangements of all time – Christmas Swinglong by Derek Ashmore. It’s total shite but there are three catchy tunes going on that audiences can sing along to, so it always seems to get an airing.

Thankfully there were some other, much preferable arrangements to play too. White Christmas, arranged by Mark Freeh, was one such piece. Very good indeed.

There was an outing for next year’s area piece for the first section – Comedy Overture – which was quite entertaining to play, though far from funny. It’s a tricky little piece and caused me to play a few bum notes here and there due to my dodgy sight-reading.

It was worth the trip out there though – I really love to play and the people at Ibstock are a funny bunch too. Very entertaining.

Oh my poor lips

I think my face is bruised today, specifically in the lip region. I had the fortune to play Christmas Carols for FOUR HOURS last night at the McArthurGlen retail outlet near Mansfield, and I’m pretty sure that might be able to pull my lips over the top of my head this morning.

It was a bit chilly and the place was deserted – the outlet had recently suffered quite a major fire and last night was it’s first day open afterwards – but it was worth it in the end. The band funds are better off now and I have a new waterproof coat so that I won’t get so wet if it’s raining during my walk into work.

There was also the bonus that there was no Little Donkey in our Carol books. I bloody hate that tune X¬(

Modern Technology eh?

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of visiting the delightful city of Coventry for a meeting, for which I was required to have a hire car. I’ve not had very many of these trips out, so it’s always nice to get a modern car to driver, especially as mine is now 8 years old.

They buggers gave me a 1.2 litre Corsa. I was a little underwelmed by their generosity, but I was slightly impressed by the quality of the car. It seemed very well put-together and was very comfortable, but a bit lacking in power. Still, it got me to and from Coventry with the minimum of fuss, plus it had a CD player which is something I don’t have in my car.

The Corsa did cause me some embarrasment when I came to fill it up after my trip though. We’re required to ensure that the tank is refilled after we’ve finished with the car, so I took it to Sainsbury’s to get some petrol put in it. Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out how to open the bloody petrol cap! I figured that there must be some sort of switch or lever to release it, but I couldn’t find one thus causing a queue behind me at the pump. I had to drive off in the end, seeing as no-one that I asked was able to tell me how to release it.

I ended up stopping at a less-popular station in Beeston, so I got out and asked the guy at the counter if he knew. He said he knew nothing about cars, but then suggested that some cars have the flap that covers the petrol cap tied into the central locking system. I tried the “unlock” button on the fob again, and bugger me, it opened it up.

Stupid cars. And here’s me, an engineer, unable to put petrol in a car. Me = dim.