The dreaded flu bug visits again…

Well, I have just gone back to work after recovering (partly) from my annual week battling the dreaded flu. It was a bug my daughter picked up from school, and after a week of sniffling and sneezing, there was no doubt I would get it as well. No amount of lemon, honey, ginger, or indeed, single malt whiskey will stop it.

Naturally, owing to my low immunity system, it would mean that it would hit me hard. I actually felt the symptoms on a Monday afternoon, and by evening I was already feeling the heat from an elevated temperature.

On Tuesday I awoke breathless, feverish, and with a searing pain in my throat. Constant hot teas were the norm in a bid to soothe them a bit.

So yeah, I was supposed to go back to work on Friday, but decided that since I was really weak (three days are hardly enough to recover from a flu bug), I decided to take a personal day off…

By Saturday I thought I had recovered a bit, so went for a drive to Dingli Cliffs, beautiful and sunny in this weather. But by evening I was worn through and my back was killing me with all the coughing.

It’s been busy this morning, but hoping that it will calm down a bit in the afternoon as I am, truthfully, blasted.

I had an article to finish, but have left it for later in the week as I need to concentrate well on how to present it.

It is quite difficult for me to present this article when I know that so many employees, with their limited wages, will find it impossible to do… And this is something I cannot understand these days, how the minimum wage is still so low as to be unliveable on.

Anyway, I will try to see how to bring the article in line with expectations.

Live Long and Prosper…

Busy Saturday!

Yeah, I know, Sunday today, but I thought I would pause to let some of yesterday’s many surprises sink in.

First of all we had the Amon Amarth tickets booked. My daughter, being an ardent Metal fan like myself, was over the moon, and I have to admit that I have longed to see the band live.

The fact that the show is in Italy, a few minutes away from the airport is a great bonus, as are the Ryanair flights directly to Bologna.

Following that was the excellent news that our dear friend Franco will be joining us for the show.

A meeting was thus necessary and it was to be that we watched the Juventus – Atalanta match together. An easy 3-1 win and a pleasant chat (some chat – 4 hours!), and it reminded me of how we have bonded so much over the years. A true friend indeed.

Another huge shock was seeing Rachel walk up the stairs in a daze, holding a brand new iPhone7 in her hands… Her boyfriend saw fit to buy her a new phone as the old one’s battery was barely holding up.

At night then, I had the, uh.. unexpected pleasure of having to sleep on the sofa with our two cats who were terrified of the lightning and thunder which hit the islands. I slept all crooked and a number of claw marks decorate my arms and chest. Still, they were like hot water bottles, and I love them… so what can I say really?

The wife seems to be coming down with a tummy bug, and has made the bathroom her dominion for the time being. It means no going out on Sunday, but I can take it. I love my TV room, my computers, YouTube in the background on my splendid XBOX ONE … it will provide ample rest and to continue work on my ‘movie project’ for the time being.

Have a great Sunday!

Live Long and Prosper

Spend! Spend! Spend!

Today, I am touching a subject which is to everyone’s heart. Money! (Or the lack of it!)

Granted, today we live in a consumer-centric society, and that the onus is to contribute more to the coffers of capitalism, but sometimes there are times when one has simply to stop and take stock of a situation that ultimately, threatens to run away with him.

I am of course, talking about the spending which occurs from the end of November to the end of December. Starting from the Black Friday deals all around the world, right up to the Christmas holidays and the New Year celebrations, people from all walks of life splash out on far more money than they have accumulated over the same period.

And let’s face it… some of the things on your wishlist suddenly become far more affordable than they could ever be. When is the best time to splash out if not on Black Friday? It’s true. I have fallen into the trap more than once myself. As an ardent gamer, I cannot resist really good deals. It’s inherent in all of us.

But are we really saving money? Is that gadget, service, whatever, really important to you? Will this purchase relieve you of a pressing desire or need? And most of all can we afford to buy this item instead of, say, food? Or clothing? Education even?

This goes on right through the Christmas season when it is customary for families to relax their grip on the kitty. Mothers and Fathers look on these occasions as the time of the year when it’s the ‘Time to be jolly, and forget the woes of a hard year.’

I tend to disagree. Many families splash out on expensive gifts, outings, meals with friends, using the same money they have worked so hard to put aside. While nothing illegal, it is totally illogical. You spend months slaving to save money only to splash it out on gifts which will (in my opinion) never make it past the first week of January?

This is nothing but madness. I am not adding to the mix something else entirely. People borrowing money via ‘soft loans’ on their credit cards. Money which has an insane interest on it, and where the minimum payment will not even scratch the surface.

It is quite common here in our country to talk to people who admit to having two debit cards each. Since it is laughably way to buy stuff online (you never SEE the money go out), we see families burdened with a ‘soft loan’ of around three thousand euros with little chance of paying it out completely.

So yeah, I could be called a grinch, but we are losing our ability to think clearly and realize that this constant bombardment of advertising is pushing us to limits that we will finally admit to have passed so many years back.

As an inquisitive person, I also nosed around to see what colleagues think about saving. Sadly, very little do any saving at all. And it’s not only because of the miserly pittance that passes as wages here, but also because we have lost the capability to do so.

Everybody wants a new car, a new computer, a new hair-do every week, nail technicians, gym memberships, a new mobile every year… but can we really afford them?

We are living beyond our means. WAY beyond it.

I cannot accept that. I cannot live in peace, laying my head on the pillow every night knowing that if the shit hits the fan, I cannot provide.

Sure, I spend money like everybody else, but at least, and this is thanks to a priceless lesson from a colleague at work, I first put away an amount of money from my salary for a rainy day, THEN a smaller amount for us to enjoy.¬†After all, life is not all about work and saving. It’s about having the financial capability to make it through when the going gets tough, but also living comfortably.

And utilizing micro-management (for which an article will appear tomorrow), we are not only living better, we are also saving money easily. EASILY.

Live long and prosper.

Leaving Linux by the wayside…

After a number of years pushing forward with Linux machines and anti-establishment operating systems, I think it is time to throw in the towel and concentrate on getting the best out of modern software and switch completely to Windows, despite its many flaws, as seen two days back with my notebook… which could simply be the fault of an errant hdd.

I will still be forging ahead with freeware for productivity. Weapons of choice in documentation remains iCloud with Pages and Numbers for Windows as well as the rather excellent Libre Office.

Visual Studio Express is a superb piece of software, as are my perennial favourites Blitz, Clickteam Fusion and Game Studio Pro which remain my go-to programs for creation and have had no qualms in purchasing. My favourite graphics package Paint Shop Pro get everything done efficiently, and with little fuss.

Creating virtual systems in virtual-box on a Linux System to test my creations simply defeats the whole purpose. My audience is Windows oriented. It is to them that I must play my tune. My recent XBOX ONE console purchase has also pushed me forward to perhaps produce an Indie game

Finally, recent restrictions to Ubuntu has made me question the whole Canonical concept. Performance has become sluggish, software cutouts are being enforced especially with codecs, and the constant switching has been bothering me. Moving to Mint, ArchLinux or other distros will still have the same end result.

It simply is not worth the effort any more. There comes a time when one must stop swimming against the tide and go with the flow.

My current Linux machine will be switched off on Sunday and the high-spec organs donated to a friend. In the meantime I have created a Raspberry Pi NAS for my huge collection of media. This means that my Dell Workstation will return to the lightweight, silent, blazing machine it once was.

Accessing all the media I own on a low-power efficient little thing is a ‘dream’ I have managed to achieve. I know that I could have easily purchased a NAS, but what’s the fun in that?

Live long and prosper … o\\//