Monday, 30 June 2014

Adventures In Customer Service

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that last Friday I did something I rarely do. Well, outside of my designated days of not doing it. I didn't comment on any blog posts. I didn't actually read any either because something happened. My internet completely vanished overnight. It was good when I went to sleep, and then it was suddenly gone and just wouldn't come back.
Pretty much
After making sure that everything was plugged in properly I rang the helpline to see if there were any problems in my area. There weren't, but I decided to wait an hour or so to see if the problem fixed itself. These things are usually caused by human error or fix themselves. 
I also did this of course. Damn I love the IT Crowd
After nothing worked and the problem didn't solve itself I rang customer service. After a brief description of the problem they informed me that they would have a technician sent out. By the 2nd of July. That's this Wednesday and I was told that last Friday. So needless to say that wasn't really very good for me. It sounds like such a first world problem but I rely on the internet heavily. For a start its where all my friends are. I was feeling depressed and the only people who can make me really happy are people I talk to online. 
It bothers me when people don't get this
It was made more perturbing when I woke up on Saturday to a voicemail from BT (my ISP and phone provider) saying that the original estimate was actually supposed to be two weeks. At that point I was pretty much just done. Then I got another, much better, phone call from BT. It was one of their technicians who was actually in the neighbourhood and just down the road. He said he could make up and look at the problem. To cut a long story short, because this has lasted too long, after a few hours he was indeed able to fix everything. A wire outside the house had been damaged and broken, and taken everything down with it. Now I have my internet back, of course, and can resume my life.
BT Ireland logo (2005 - Present)
BT; Not so bad after all (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Would not having the internet affect you all that much? 

Friday, 27 June 2014

There's Something Here

To be honest I've been feeling not just ill lately, but also pretty depressed. It's a tough situation I've found myself in right now. I don't even know why I'm all that depressed. I just kind of am. Being depressed is one of those things that just seems to come and go for me.
A depressed man sitting on a bench
A depressed man sitting on a bench (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had the misfortune of having someone tell me to just not be depressed. That's pretty much one of the most annoying, if not one of the worst, things you can say to a depressed person. Someone can't just magically get better from a physical illness and the same is true of a mental illness. It's kind of a shame that mental illnesses aren't as recognised and accepted as physical ones. 


A depressed Tom on the railroad tracks awaitin...
A depressed Tom on the railroad tracks awaiting a train to run him over. I actually watched this episode. It was weird.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Still, those few people I let into my life when I'm depressed really make a difference. It's just a shame that some of them aren't as available as I would have liked, and I wasn't able to allow myself to be selfish. When you're depressed, you don't feel like you're worth making someone go out of their way. It's a shame, but that's the way it goes. I'm sure I'll feel right as rain in a few more days. 

You ever have days when you just don't feel like doing, or being, anything?

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Further Adventures In Weight Loss

Tuesday was, at best, a mixed day for me. It did not start out that well. I was tired and depressed for most of the day, but there was one pretty good bit of news; I got weighed. The result was pretty good but unfortunately I had problems accepting that thanks to being, as I said, a little bit down.











Clinical Depression
Clinical Depression (Photo credit: Yuliya Libkina)
I've forgotten already how much I lost in kilograms, but I can tell you that it was about 12 pounds. In seven weeks. That's not bad at all. I'm on a plan to lose 2 pounds a week. 12 pounds is just under the target of 14 pounds. The reason there was seven weeks inbetween getting weighed is that my nutritionist got chicken pox.


I built a bed.
Where I imagine she spent a lot of time
I actually kind of lucked out and it was a good thing that the visit got delayed. It's good given all the pizza I managed to consume in the past seven weeks. A few days before she was originally supposed to see me was my birthday. I was alone for it this year and I decided to drown my loneliness in pizza. It would have been far less of a loss which would have upset me, even though I'd have had a legitimate reason. I have another appointment in five weeks to get weighed again. Here's hoping that I don't let myself down, and can pull off another big loss.


pizza 002
Pizza sure is delicious though. (Photo credit: British Mum)

Monday, 23 June 2014

Netflix

After blogging about some (okay literally two) of my favourite drama shows on Netflix last Friday, I thought this time I'd blog about Netflix itself. Because, you know, I haven't actually done anything. Damn I really need to be more productive. Or think of better things to write about. If I could do that I'd be writing more probably. At least I'm getting weighed tomorrow so I'll have something to talk about on Thursday.


Writing
I need to be doing more of this (Photo credit: jjpacres)
Netflix is a great service. It's cheap as Hell too. Hell only costs you your soul and I don't know if souls have monetary value. Do they? Huh, that's something for the philosophers. Well anyway, there's a lot of really good stuff on there. As a Brit my choices in stuff are a little limited, but I can get around that thanks to the Hola internet addon. 
Oh Hola you've changed my mind.
It's basically a proxy that allows you to watch things, or view websites, from whatever country you want. The main attraction is Netflix but there's also other sites. Like when a video is blocked on CNN or somewhere else, or when your favourite song hasn't been made available in your country on Youtube. I've found there's just one small problem with Netflix; THERE'S TOO MUCH CHOICE.

I can't decide!
I've found that while there's a lot that you do want to watch, there's a lot that you won't actually watch. I'll browse through and I'll think to myself "Oh I love that!" or "I've heard nothing but good things about that, I should probably watch it." Do I? Not as much as I probably should. At least I watch enough to justify having an account. For a while it was just sat there taking my money. I'm willing to admit that one problem I do have is that I have a bad attention span. I have trouble just paying attention to a show and so I like to have a show on in the background while I do other things. So that also makes it hard for me to pick something to watch. But still, it seems to be a phenomenom that comes with everything where you have a lot of choice; The more choice you have, the less likely you are to actually choose something. It's why there are people with so many unplayed games on Steam. At least, that's what I tell myself when I see how many unplayed games I have.
Don't even get me started on that Steam sale.
Do you have a Netflix account? Do you find it easy to choose something to watch, or just spend a lot of time surfing without picking something? Also, what's the monetary value of a soul?

Friday, 20 June 2014

Dramas

While I don't watch a lot of TV specifically, I do watch a lot of television programs. I subscribe to Netflix and if anyone asks that is the only source of my TV shows outside of my actual TV. Though, seriously, Netflix and the BBC iPlayer are pretty much my only source of television these days.

Netflix Icon
Yay Netflix! (Photo credit: dolphinsdock)
While I do prefer comedies and sitcoms, and those kinds of shows, I've also been watching some drama shows lately. Specifically Heroes and House. One of the best parts of House is that House, a surly American doctor, is played by a British comedian. 

Hugh Laurie 3
Hugh Laurie plays House.  (Photo credit: Buou)

He's actually so good at his job a lot of Americans don't realise that he's a Brit. Let alone a comedian. But Hugh Laurie and his fabulous bearded Britishness isn't the point of this post. The point is drama shows in general. I found myself making the remark yesterday that they're a lot more realistic than other shows. Or at least the shows I tend to watch. 
The opening title card for Futurama
I also went through Futurama, Quite a difference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If something goes wrong in things like sitcoms, they tend to get resolved quickly. They have the odd serious storyline and do touch on serious subjects, but the fallout doesn't last very long. Look how many times Ross and Rachel broke up on Friends. That's just not realistic yo. When something goes wrong on House, it takes a long time to fix. Some things don't get fixed. That's the way life works. I suppose that's one of the reasons that I'm not actually a major fan of drama shows. I use TV mostly as a way to escape. I don't really need to be reminded of how life actually works. 

What are some of your favourite TV shows? Do you prefer comedies, dramas, or something else entirely?

Thursday, 19 June 2014

It's...Something.

This post, like a surprisingly large amount of my posts, owes a lot to Fang.Because, you know, he's cool and such. One thing that he does is write his story Caves. Which you should all go check out because it's pretty awesome.

Awesome
Awesome (Photo credit: leg0fenris)

One thing about Caves is that the updates aren't really long. Back when I was posting Immortal Space updates here I would make each update about 1500 words long. That's how much I aim to write when I sit down and start writing. That's...actually a bad thing.

Doing that has only worked for me once. I was writing about 6000 words a week. Over the course of a few months I wrote a 180,000 word story. That was way too much. But I had people who were depending on me and who really loved the story, so I did my absolute best to get stuff out in time. I had a lot of fun doing things like that but it was mentally draining. I couldn't keep it up and I can't really try to do it again.


English: A 20-year-old cat that looks tired be...
You don't realise how tiring writing is until you try it.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the reasons that Immortal Space progress is as slow as it is is that I try so hard to write a lot in one go. I still try to write at least 1500 words, or three pages, per update. I shouldn't. I should just try and write what I can. It's much less of a mental drain and it feels good to write. If I don't think I can write as much as I want to, then I won't write. That is stupid because then nothing gets done.

To that end I wrote some Immortal Space on Tuesday. I stopped writing halfway through a conversation because my head hurt and I couldn't write any more, but I still wrote something. That's a very good thing.

Ever put something off because you didn't think you could do it in one big go?
English: So many words to keep track of!.
I imagine this took several writing sessions to complete. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday, 16 June 2014

Differences Between Things

This post will either be interesting or boring depending on your point of view. Hopefully it'll be a little bit interesting.
If you're as curious as this little kitty you'll enjoy it
We begin with Mountain Dew. DO THE DEW! I was always convinced that Mountain Dew was an energy drink, then I was informed it was an isotonic drink, and then finally the truth was revealed; it's just a soft drink (soda) with a lot of sugar in it. It's pretty much a cross between a regular soda and an energy drink. But that got me thinking. Just what IS the difference between an energy drink and an isotonic drink?
I did what everyone with the internet does when they're faced with a problem; I searched online. Notice I didn't say "I googled it". Googling something has become a synonym for searching for it online, but I only use google when I have to. I use Duckduckgo (it's not as much fun to say you Duckduckgo'ed something) and it gave me the answer in the form of a website called http://www.differencebetween.info/. It's a website that tells you the difference between two similar things. Like energy drinks and isotonic drinks.
If a potential employer finds this website I am fucked.
The difference between an isotonic drink and an energy drink is pretty simple; Energy drinks have a buttload of caffeine. They're essentially carbonated coffee and they're made to help get you through a busy day. Whereas isotonic/sports drinks "are drinks that are to be consumed when a person plans to sweat or perform vigorous activities. Sports drinks have sugar, salt and vitamins that are expected to replace the lost electrolytes when a person performs excessive exercise."

So there's the difference. There are plenty of other cool ones on there too if you ever find yourself curious. I know I do!

What are some differences you would like to know, or just general curiosities you have?

Friday, 13 June 2014

For A Mother, Nature Is Not Very Nurturing

How's that for a title? I'll be honest folks I haven't really done much in the way of productive stuff in the past few weeks. Most of that has come down to Mother Nature. Or, at least, I choose to blame her. It's far easier to put the blame on someone else than on yourself.
The weather over here where I live has been kinda screwy. One day it's all bright and shiny, and the next there's a ton of clouds and a huge thunderstorm. Sometimes I get both in one day. My body is not in the best of shapes which means I don't have the best of immune systems. I think I'm pretty susceptible to rapid changes in weather. Because of that I've been dropping in and out of sickness. Never fully recovering. It saps me of my motivation, drive, and energy to do anything.
Luckily for me those voice recordings I've been doing don't require much effort and my stuffy nose goes away goes away long enough for me to be able to record properly. Otherwise I'd be kinda screwed. Here's hoping I feel better soon.

What do you do when you get sick? Try and do something or just accept your fate and not move? I'll stay in bed if it's bad enough. I tend to have movie marathons when I get really sick.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

I Got Another Part. I Think.

Last week (or was it the week before?) I blogged about having a bit part in a play online. I played a merman who harbours a secret love and writes poetry. It was quite a fun little thing to do and it also means I have a bit of a VA portfolio. It also means that I have connections.

When I sent the files over to the person I did the lines for, I told them to email me if they had any other things they thought I was suited for. I wasn't really expecting a response. I certainly wasn't expecting one as quickly as I got one. She told me that someone they knew finished a script and had three male leads. She recommended me for them and, after a bit of confusion from my end (I didn't notice she had attached a script to an email for me) I recorded the lines yesterday. I sent them off yesterday too. I still don't know if I actually had the part or anything, but it was fun to do the lines. 
I really hope that I DID have the part and I'm going to be in this. As I said, it was fun to do. I even got to record a death scene. I've never had to do something like that before. I gargled, coughed, and died like a little bitch. 'Twas awesome. I hope she gets back to me soon and let's me know what's a-happening. 

After this comes asking her if she knows about any paid work. 

Because I can't really think of a new question, have you ever had any reason to fake a death elaborately like I did? 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Two Last Readings

Well this is it; It's my last short story reading. This experiment hasn't proven as much of a success as I wish it would have done as far as sales went but I still had some fun doing them. Plus, hey, any exposure is pretty good. .Thank you everyone who watched and shared these videos.

The last story is called A Chest Of Childhood and I decided to do something a little fun for my last reading. You can tell from the video anyway, but I was wearing my cloak for this video. The story itself is about a man who cleans up his room and finds his old toy chest. He looks through it and finds something that inspires him to tell his son a story.




BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!

Another thing that's come from these stories is the amount of people telling me that I should go into voice work and try and read stories professionally. Or semi-professionally. Last Friday I wrote a post about my exploits in that field. As well as doing a reading video, I also did a voice demo reading. I read the start of Into The Vortex by Bryan Pedas of A Beer For The Shower. Apologies if I butcher your name Bryan. Now because subtle hints don't really come across online, yes this was my subtle attempt at saying to them "hey, let me do readings of your books if you want to branch into audiobooks."

Unfortunately I didn't save my original, better, reading. This didn't turn out as good as that one, but it was the best I could do right now. I will probably do another demo some other time. Until then, enjoy what my voice sounds like filtered. It's not massively professional, given my lack of professional microphone, but it's better than it has been in the videos.



Seriously; You want me to voice something? Let me know.

Friday, 6 June 2014

I Got The Part

Over the past few weeks I've been posting videos of myself doing readings. One of the main things to come out of it was, unfortunately, not sales. It was people telling me that I should give actual voice acting/readings a try. To be honest I have thought about it, and getting into it before, but it's not something you can really jump into. 

Or maybe it is
I am a member of a Voice Acting forum and a freelance site. I tried to use the freelance site for writing jobs and had little luck. That's where I met Aaron and we all remember how that went. I'd rather not post about that again. Sadly the way the freelance website works is that I can't try out for any paid VA jobs until next month. I can only put myself in one category at a time and multimedia is a different category to writing. It takes a while for them to formally swap me over and apply for multimedia jobs.

Woo, applying! Although technically it's more of an audition
I didn't let that stop me though and still scoured the VA forum. They post jobs for both fan works and original series' there. I once applied on there for a fan project. I think I might have blogged about it. It was an MLP voicing and I made it past the first audition but was cut. This time I went for a completely original story and, as the title suggests, got the part. 
It's two references in one!
The story is a gay love story, and there are two straight side characters. One is called Gill. He's a hopelessly romantic poet who also happens to be a merman. Words cannot describe how perfect I was for the role. Evidently the writer agreed and asked me to read all my lines within two weeks. I'm me, so of course I had them done in less than an hour. I sent them off and said I would be willing to reread anything if need be, and haven't heard back. Presumably everything is fine.

Now I won't be getting paid or anything for this. It's mostly just helping someone with a pet project of theirs. But that still feels good. This is also something for the portfolio. I have experience now. I'll be able to point and say "I did that. That's my glorious voice." I also do have a year experience in the radio industry. Technically. I'm part of a weekly live broadcast podcast and have been for a year. It counts. 

Have you ever had to audition for anything, or apply for anything, other than your actual job?

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Reset The Net

A year ago today Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA and the frankly astonishing amount of data that the American government collects on it's people. Unfortunately the US government wasn't the only one doing such a thing, as it was happening over here as well, with out own national security agencies. A lot has been said since then but unfortunately not a lot has been done. It was talked about for quite a while and then just quietly disappeared as the next big thing came across. News doesn't last long in the mainstream media, or in the public eye. But things still go on, things are still being talked about, and things still change.

Today, June 5th, is a day for change.

While it's very difficult to stop targeted surveillance it's not as difficult as you might think to stop the kind of mass surveillance that no government should have the power to do. The way it works is that governments collect meta-data and such from websites that don't have secure connections. There are a few ways to stop this and the easiest one is to add extra security to your website, or try a browser that comes with extra security. Chances are your browser could have an app or extension that does the job too.

I joined up with Resetthenet.org to install such measures here, and I ask each of you to do the same too. Also consider using one of the more private browsers, or just installing a simple plug in. Reset The Net have all the tools and information that you could want, or need. I know it's bothersome to open an external site and a lot of people will be put off by the idea of it, but I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important.

If you did follow the link, then thank you. If not, well, maybe I can get you to do something some other time. 

Monday, 2 June 2014

As I Sit Here Reading

I have another reading for you today, which is very good for me. I haven't really been all that productive this past week so it really helps to be able to just shut up and post the video for you to watch, listen to, share, and enjoy. Not necessarily in that order!

The story this time is called As I Sit Here Looking Out To Sea. It's a very emotional tale based on my own life and a point I once found myself.

It's available on Amazon here; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JNBXBLM



This one even has comments so you can tell me how good it was. Or not. I guess.

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