Saturday, 25 March 2017

Books - and some of my notes on them..

I got more books from a Bray neighbour - see above πŸ˜ƒ

Here's the lot he gave me in November ^ πŸ˜ƒ He's an avid reader, and was doing a bookshelf clearance, at the time. I'm always happy to get books.

Although I'd love to be reading all the time, I don't really have that much time for it, so this lot will keep me entertained for ages..

I'm not into book reviews, and I'm sure the interwebs is full of them for those who are interested, but I thought I'd blog some of my thoughts on the ones I've already read, mainly for myself, should I be pawing these books someday, trying to remember what I thought of them..

Edmund Power - No Christian Grave

This was like a combo of youth, stupidity, cowardice, snowball effect, and small village grudge..

I don't really have much more to say on it now as it has been some months since I read it, so it's no longer in my fresh memory..

This little gem ^ had me laughing, though πŸ˜‚

Kate Atkinson - Life After Life

I absolutely LOVED this book! The idea of getting / having to live your life again, and again, and again.. It's somehow fantastic, and horrible at the same time..

I like to remember random ^ funny bits.. πŸ˜‚

Stephen Booth - The Corpse Bridge

At first, I felt like this book didn't really know where it was going, but the more I got into it, the more realistic it seemed.. It wasn't like typical crime fiction, it was like following a real life crime inspection.. It had mundane bits, like reality, and I actually really enjoyed it..

(I'm glad to see that there's another Stephen Booth book, in the new bunch of books I got.. Looking forward to reading it!)

Mark Billingham - Time of Death

This was quite fascinating, although maybe a bit too much so, referring to the title of the story..

Also, I was mentally kicking their heads, for missing the mention of an important place as I'd have rushed to check it when it first came up..

But the characters were brilliant, in this book! Out of all the ones I've read so far (of this lot of books), this was the most difficult to put down..

Some late night hysterics, reading ^ that one..

Jojo Moyes - After You

It took me a while to realise that this one was a sequel to Me Before You, which I haven't read, but vaguely remembered seeing the ads for the movie version..

I finished the book first, before watching the movie trailers.. Having seen how WRONG "ambulance Sam" is in the film, I never want to see it! (Nothing against that particular actor, but he's just nothing like the character in this book.)

The book was quite funny, though, with the sad bits as well, of course..

Hehe, ^ family..

Val McDermid - The Skeleton Road

This one had me googling a picture of Dubrovnik as I really had no idea what it's like.. But I wanted to have a mental picture, for all the bits that took place there..

Towards the end of the book, I was also amusing myself by reading out loud in mock Scottish accent πŸ˜€ (Grrrease me up, woman! Nah, I'm better than that.. LOL)

This gave me parody ^ TV show ideas..

This one ^ had me in stitches.. πŸ˜‚

I guessed who the killer was, but still really enjoyed the story.

Sarah Waters - The Night Watch

I'm currently reading this (about 1/3 done), and I'm dying to see where it goes πŸ˜ƒ

VR overload, now with Oculus Touch controllers - "day 3"

Gateway to Narnia - or anywhere..

Since my previous VR experience, D had received the Oculus Touch controllers, and the little yoke for Rock Band (to be attached to a PlayStation or Xbox controller).

The Touch controllers are really good. They feel comfortable, and I found it quick and easy to get used to the various controls - for example, I must brag, I got much further than D, on my first attempt on Robo Recall, and D is a total gaming guru.

Speaking of Robo Recall.. I've never really been a shooter game person - it's fun to watch D play as he's good at it, but I've never been interested in playing them myself. However.. When you're in that virtual reality with the bad robots, shit gets personal, and it was actually great fun to KILL, KILL, KILL!!! πŸ˜‚ Yeah, it turns out, I'm a natural born killer - who knew?!? πŸ˜‚ (I also loved playing with various items in the virtual office, during the training..)

This is the Rock Band yoke, which I mentioned above..

I'd like to try that game, but it's too expensive to buy (the game, AND the required PS/Xbox controller), just to have a go, and probably never play it again.. Not that I'd be buying anything as I don't even have my own VR set, but D pretty much feels the same about the game, so I don't see him getting it.

I do know lots of people who were addicted to Guitar Hero (or such), so they would probably find Rock Band VR beyond awesome..

I had Oculus Rift lines on my cheeks, and my nose and cheeks were all red, after a session.. πŸ˜‚

Then, it was time for an R break (heh, Reality..), and some health food πŸ˜€ at Cullenmore Applegreen SubWay.. And a Wicklow spin.. (Laragh, Rathdrum, Moneystown, Annamoe..)

Back to Bray, and a quick stop for coffee and milk, etc..

This is really nice coffee.. 😍

D went out, and I had a few hours of VR bliss on my own.. 😍 Total VR overload!!! πŸ˜‚

I was on the ISS (International Space Station) - it was absolutely feckin' awesome!!! πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™ I've been interested in the ISS, anyway. Like, I follow them on Facebook, I've enjoyed spotting them when possible, etc.. It was SO COOL to virtually experience what's it like to be there, move around, and so on.. I actually meant to do more, but wanted to cram other stuff to my VR day..

I did the rollercoaster thing again (which I'd done twice before), and loved & hated it as usual, but I also found a real rollercoaster video, which was pretty good! There was No Way I could have stayed standing for those, so I was on the floor, on my knees..

Oh! Oh! Google Earth VR!!! You can go anywhere in the world, and be a Godzilla.. OK, not everywhere will be as detailed and 3D (for example, I checked out Nesebar, Bulgaria, where I visited twice, in late 70's, and it was totally disappointing.. pretty much flat and blurry satellite pictures used as textures on Google Earth bumps..)

But places like Tokyo, Florence, London, New York, are fantastic on Google Earth VR.. Here are Google Maps links to some interesting places I found on VR..

Trying to remember what else I checked..

Dream no. 1 was so beautiful.. Just a brief demo, where you sort of float slowly through a fantasy village.. You can make sparkles by moving your head, but other than that, you have no controls - it's just a beautiful and relaxing thing..

I had great fun with the Toy Box! It sounds silly when explained, and probably even on that video, but when you're doing it, it's so much fun!

Not to forget - VR is not only fun for the person who's experiencing it.. It's also great fun for anyone who's observing them, because you do look feckin' idiotic, wearing the gear, moving like you've just taken all the drugs in the world, screaming, cursing, giggling, etc.. πŸ˜‚

I did the training on Dead and Buried, but didn't enjoy it as shooting just didn't feel realistic. (In comparison, shooting felt awesome in Robo Recall, and Toy Box!)

There was also a great Tahiti surf video, which finally allowed me to (virtually) experience what it's like, inside a wave.. 😍

I think that was all, this time!

I really need to win the EuroMillions, so that I can get faster internet connection, and my own Oculus Rift.. πŸ˜ƒ

Drained now, after lots of driving and VR, and everything.. Time for some sleepies! πŸ‘»

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

VR delights - "day 2"

I was in Bray again, on Monday, for more virtual reality fun πŸ˜ƒ

D had cleared more space, in the middle of the room, to avoid collateral damage πŸ˜‚ (While your head is elsewhere, your body is still where it is, but you might not always remember this, and it's really easy to forget what way you were facing, if the VR worlds have tossed you around, or if you've been fighting monsters or such.. Hide your real world porcelain figurines, etc..)

He had also organised a better spot for the sensor, so I repeated some stuff, just to see the difference from my first go, last week..

For example, some of the intro bits were even better now - I absolutely love and hate that high building thing.. My personal goal is to get through it without support, someday, and to take a few steps ahead, trusting the knowledge of REALLY standing on the floor.. πŸ˜‚ (This may never actually happen, but I'll enjoy trying..) Also, the rollercoaster ride I'd tried before, was SO MUCH BETTER now...... My legs were actually shaking, after it was over! From trying to keep balance..

I watched more 360 videos.. These cows were big.. The tripod must have been set too low as when you were watching the video, you felt really short, and the cows seemed too big.. Still, it was a nice video πŸ„ This rope bridge video was poor quality, but if you want some very real vertigo, go for it.. The chicken stampede was a bit disappointing, until you saw the giant goats.. πŸ˜‚ (I liked the low camera angle, and the thought of giant chickens coming at me, but it wasn't as scary as I'd wished.. However, looking around, I just happened to see some really cute, and REALLY BIG goats.. They totally stole the show!)

I subscribed to this YouTube channel as they seem to have nice 360 videos..

I was looking for some relaxing, nature type videos, and found this.. It's only a free trailer for longer videos they sell on their website, but it was nice.. There was some quality variation, though - not sure if they'd used different equipment, or if the camera was not as suitable for stream / woods, as it was for beach scenes.. All the beaches were sharp, whereas the stream / woods type scenes seemed slightly blurry.. Also, I wasn't really expecting a relaxation video to give me vertigo, but I nearly died, during the Cliffs of Moher part! πŸ˜‚

I'm not really into diddle-e-i music, but had to try this trad. session.. It was nice, but with the camera being on the table between them, it kind of made me feel like a Leprechaun standing on a table.. I felt like doing a jig.. πŸ˜‚

There was a horror home video, which was not that great in the tech sense, but the horror was real as you didn't know what was going to happen, so the horror was in the waiting..

This vintage car parade took us a while to get the correct settings selected, but eventually, it was brilliant! You really felt like you were standing there - and that one man kept staring at you.. πŸ˜‚

(All these videos with thumbnails, in this Facebook post..)

I would seriously LOVE to create some VR video content (lots of ideas..), but I couldn't even afford to get my own VR set, not to mention a decent camera.. 😒

Meanwhile, D now has the Oculus Touch as well, so I'll be heading to Bray again, someday soon..

Friday, 17 March 2017

Virtual reality is SO COOL!!! (Oculus Rift)

I finally got to pop my virtual reality cherry, the other day.. D got Oculus Rift, and I had a very similar experience to this, while watching the intro stuff;

I found that virtual reality is impossible to really understand, until you actually try it yourself..

Out of the intro bits, I LOVED the miniature world - the water coming out of the fireman's hose.. the kid tossing a ball.. the fire bits.. So CUTE!! 😍 Also, the top of the high building.. OMG.. I get vertigo on regular stairs, unless I'm holding on to something, so had I not had some support, I probably would have collapsed.. πŸ˜‚ (I love heights, though, so it was extremely cool while being totally horrible..) And the T-Rex.. Jebus..

After a little recovery break, some freebies found on YouTube.. I listed some on Facebook - click here for them πŸ˜ƒ The wingsuit thing was the best, although the quality wasn't perfect - still, amazing buzz!!!

What an amazing way of experiencing extreme sports and such, without having to go anywhere or pay anything (unless you actually buy your own Oculus Rift).. And even if I had the chance to go somewhere where you could do that kind of stuff for real, I wouldn't have the guts! πŸ˜‚

Of course, we had to check out the VR pr0n, too πŸ˜€

D watched it first, and I was in stitches laughing at his reactions.. Then, I watched the same video..

- Did she sit on your face yet? 
- I don't know.. I had to look away when she came too close..
- Hey! I have a penis!

Very traumatising πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Friday, 3 March 2017

Motivating =)

I was in Naas, on Thursday..

I walked in to a gallery cafΓ©, with all my framed Threefingermen..

And I got my own exhibition 😍

I don't know the dates yet..

I just feel generally motivated, to get such great feedback from the first place I asked! πŸ’“

A little walk, afterwards - very brief as it started raining..