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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Damn! I Knew Those Tickets Were Too Cheap!

I thought I grabbed this image a few days ago from a website but it seems I cannot find that site now so if this is your image let me know so I can provide apropriate attribution - thanks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

This Is What Happens When You Fart In A Smart Car

The picture says it all! This picture is all over the place with many sites adding their own logo and tag lines implying they are the originator. Me; I have no idea where it came from - if you know let me know so I can provide proper attribution. Thanks

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tragic, Horrific, Creepy - Final Destination?

We live in a society plagued by gun crime and the tragedy that goes along with it. We all remember Columbine; most of us will likely have used and have certainly heard the expression "Going Postal" which derives from a series of gun related incidents. There are those who suggest if we all had guns these things would not happen - I heard it on the radio today - I disagree and feel if we simply stopped making them for the "market place" and restricted them to military and law enforcement we would be better off [I am a Brit and used to even the cops not being armed as a matter of course]. However this is not a discussion of the pros and cons of guns - that is a discussion for another time.

On June 2nd there was a shooting incident at the Eaton Center Mall in Toronto. A gunman opened fire in the mall; one victim was instantly killed, a second died a couple of days later. The "suspect" awaits trial on murder charges. A tragic and horrific event but likely one that many have not heard of; it is distant and not of sufficient magnitude to "cover the airwaves".

Jessica Redfield was a young sports broadcaster and blogger from Texas. By all accounts she was a charismatic individual described by her brother Justin this way:

"She conveyed passion and inspired people to do great things. … She wanted to help, and that's the type of heart she had. That's the type of person she was."

On June 2nd fate placed Jessica and the Eaton Center on a collision course. Jessica was not hurt physically though I am sure anyone close to tragedy must have their perspective on things altered in some way. I hope I never find out whether that is true or not. In a haunting blog post titled "Late Night Thoughts on the Eaton Center Shooting" Jessica shared a little of her experience.

"I can’t get this odd feeling out of my chest. This empty, almost sickening feeling won’t go away. I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Center in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court. An odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm‘s way. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting."

Jessica was in the mall seeking out Sushi but then she changed her mind:

"I found out after seeing a map of the scene, that minutes later a man was standing in the same spot I just ate at and opened fire in the food court full of people. Had I had sushi, I would’ve been in the same place where one of the victims was found."

Jessica ends her thoughts with this:

"I feel like I am overreacting about what I experienced. But I can’t help but be thankful for whatever caused me to make the choices that I made that day. My mind keeps replaying what I saw over in my head. I hope the victims make a full recovery. I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest. The feeling that’s reminding me how blessed I am. The same feeling that made me leave the Eaton Center. The feeling that may have potentially saved my life.

Most of us will have seen one or more of the movies of "Final Destination" movie franchise. The movies are themed around the premise that when it is your time it is your time. If you escape that escape will only be temporary. The movies always start with one character having some sort of vision of imminent disaster; as a result they and a small group of friends or colleagues escape their pre-destined demise. However the reaper is not done with them and the movie plays out the theme that their death was only delayed, that their fate is simply inescapable.

Jessica does not profess to have had a vision; she does however talk of an uncomfortable feeling, a feeling that caused her to go outside, to change her plan and as result of that plan she was somewhere else, out of harm's way when the gunman struck. Creepy and very reminiscent of the opening act in the movies.

Move the timeline to yesterday. The horrific, sickening and tragic events in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater; a theater only about 15 miles from Columbine. No chance of anyone not hearing of this monstrous act with 12 dead and dozens injured. And yes; young Jessica Redfield was one of the victims. That a person should experience one such event in their life is awful; two is just insane, tragic - there really are not the words. Read Jessica's words again; think about her story. It is tragic, a waste of a young life, a trauma that will forever haunt those left behind - at the same time Jessica's story is a little chilling, just a tad creepy.

My deepest sympathies go to the victims and their families, to those who had to deal with the aftermath, to the workers who will likely have nightmares and may struggle to go back to work at the scene of such devastation. I am not a particularly feeling man [my wife would attest to that] but I even feel for the family of the gunman. How would one handle the fact that a family member could do this. I have no children so I cannot imagine the loss of a child; for the gunman's parents to lose a child to life in prison because he commited such a heinous act of barbarism - perhaps that might be worse that losing a child to death itself.

So - to everyone impacted in any way by this awful and disturbing incident - I feel deep sorrow for what happened and I hope that somehow you eventually find the strength to make peace with what has happened and, no doubt sometime in the future, find a way to make a return to at least an approximation of a normal life.

To the gunman; I hope you rot in hell - if ever there was a case for the death penalty this is it; there should no excuses, no "he had a hard childhood", no "he was disturbed" or "he did not know what he was doing" - others suffer such things and choose not to turn into animals - frankly such an animal does not deserve to be on the face of this planet.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

TES V | Skyrim & Kleptomaniacs - Weapons & Apparel List, Stats, Tracker & More

So multi-tasking is a talent we all have but to differing degrees. Seems that it is a "requirement" for most jobs these days though I sometimes think the end result is that more things get done badly rather than fewer things getting done well. Anyway I like to think I am pretty strong when it comes to multi-tasking BUT that does not mean it is what I choose to do.

Case in point - 11/11/11 - man is that three months ago now - saw the launch of TESV - Skyrim - the much publicized fifth chapter of the Elder Scrolls Franchise. Did it live up to all of the hype? I am sure there are many opinions but for me the answer is a resounding yes. The proof - well since 11/11/11 what have I done? I have played Skyrim! Now sure I have eaten, slept and gone to work and so on but it was winter and so there was no yard work and the website, this blog, the Strange, Weird, Wonderful and Cool Buildings blog - well no updates there - I have been playing Skyrim.

That of course has to change, I have to multi-task, an hour on the website, an hour on Skyrim, soon it will be spring and yard work time again [love having a yard but hate the work - oh well what can you do?]. I will work on that. In the meantime one thing we all have to do is recognize what we are - when it comes to single player RPG's I am, among other things, a total kleptomaniac. Many players will immediately abandon the trusty Orcish Sword of Embers that has served them so well when they finally find a Daedric Sword or quickly don their new Elven Helmet and toss aside the old Steel one without a second thought - not I. I collect, sure I wear the best gear possible but the old gear, I store it [my wife would say "what's new?" you do that in real life but that's a thought for another day] and I record it and I look for the things I don't own - kind of like a virtual stamp collector - the purpose of having the items is to have the collection - to get more - to get complete sets - owning is happiness.

Now you might think that is simply insane; you may be right but then perhaps sanity is a vastly over rated quality anyway. Or you might actually have a similar passion to mine! "There can only be one" the Highlander once said - I cannot believe there can only be one like me - not because I am special, just the opposite, because I am so ordinary [turning to the wife once more - she would probably say absolutely there is only one of you and thank goodness for that]. So if you happen to be one of the few others like me and you are also a rabid collector of all manner of weapons and apparel in Skyrim then this might be the tool for you.

The Skyrim Apparel & Weapon Tracker is basically a database [in Excel] of Weapons and Apparel - it currently lists 4725 items from the vanilla game and features the following:
Record for each item contains:
  • Name, Source, Class, Category, Type, Rating, "Owned" Flag, "Favorite" Flag, Storage Location, Enchantment, Notes [Image]
  • All records are editable and there is a find function that allows them to be quickly located for reference or editing [Image]
  • New items can be easily added [Image]
  • Several pre set sort options [Image]
  • Several pre set filter options, some detailed filter settings and fully customizable filtering using the Excel auto filter functionality [Image]
  • Simple one click clear function for setting up for a new game or profile [Image]
If you like it and find it of use that's great - if not that's cool too - we are all different and while it matches the game experience I want you might just think "what a heap of garbage". It was built for me and if no one ever uses it that is fine, it still served its purpose but I figured I may as well put it out there just in case it was of use to anyone else.

If you do happen to be at all interested watch for more - there will be additions for Locations, Quests, Ingredients & Recipes, Shouts and more - if it can be tracked I will be adding it. You can download from my site here or you can find it on the Skyrim Nexus [the home of Skyrim modding and resources].

Have a good one and check back soon for more additions and updates here and on "Buildings" - going to try to spread the wealth a little more, a little gaming, a little blogging, a little TV, some work and so on instead of the single minded "I play Skyrim" approach to life - might be hard but I am going to try.

Who Stole Downtown Dallas

Saw a really cool and somewhat eerie effect with the weather, downtown Dallas and some low clouds while I was driving into work yesterday morning. It looked like someone had simply spirited downtown Dallas away. The shots are from Eastbound I-30 heading towards Dallas and from the feeder from Eastbound I-30 to Northbound I-35E.

When I first noticed the low cloud I could still see the top of Bank of America Plaza peeking out of the clouds [right in the center of the picture]:

Downtown Dallas From I-30 020112

Just a little further along the road even that was no longer visible and there was simply no downtown Dallas. Take a look at the image taken from Google Maps Street View to see what the skyline normally looks like from there:

Downtown Dallas From I-30 020112

Downtown Dallas From I-30 020112 G/Maps

Driving on a little further and heading round to I-35E you could just make out Reunion Tower but the rest of the downtown skyline was still hidden and at that point downtown is pretty darn close. Again there is a grab from Google Maps for comparison:

Downtown Dallas From I-30 020112

Downtown Dallas From I-30 020112 G/Maps