Experimenting

Back to my mile route this morning…

…and then straight back into my game for more polishing off. Today was all about experimenting with external sound effects!… which didn’t work, and so I recreated them with the beeps that come as part of Adventuron instead. The beeps probably sound better and more consistent than the effects I made with my wide-ranging elderly instrument collection and limited musical skill, but hopefully I’ll be able to work out how to incorporate my own sound one of these days!

I also had Geth playtest the game this evening. This process always throws up a few issues that I need to work on, so that will be the first job for tomorrow.

Hopefully – fingers crossed! – when I update again tomorrow, the game will be all but finished. Jam deadline is Saturday afternoon!

1990s keyboard
One of my ultimately-unsuccessful sound effects was recorded on my clunky old Concertmate keyboard from 1994. I still love all the terrible voice settings you can use for the keyboard!

Today’s earworm playlist:

FM-84 – ‘Bend And Break’
Zara Larsson – ‘Lush Life’

Suddenly summer

Back to the intervals today…

…because Geth wants to start doing intervals, so he came running with me this morning to observe how they work. I only did half the number of sets I was doing a few weeks ago though!

It’s not been a great day. I had an absolutely terrible night’s sleep last night – partly due to the muggy heat and partly due to ongoing stress – and then we had some bad news this afternoon. I had hoped to get some work done on my next adventure game today, but there have just been too many distractions. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to lose myself in it a bit.

On the plus side, we did go for a walk in the glorious warm sunshine, largely because we needed to get out of the house. Spring has felt a bit sudden this year due to the lockdown; the world has been on hold, but obviously the seasons haven’t. I’m looking forward to doing a lot of walking over the summer, even if we can’t do much else.

Ukulele collection
My ukulele family has expanded this week, thanks to a generous gift from Dad! Looking forward to having a good strum over the weekend.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Ollie Wride – ‘Back To Life’
Daniel Bedingfield – ‘If You’re Not The One’

Parallel universes

Another Wednesday interval session today…

…which was tough, but I’m kind of enjoying them in a slightly masochistic way. It was Geth’s turn to brave Sainsbury’s today, so I was able to focus on my run.

I then spent the afternoon finishing off a paper for a client, and am now weighing up options for the next few days’ entertainment. Disney Plus launched in the UK this week, which has been good timing in retrospect. Geth bought a year’s worth of subscription yesterday and put on Aladdin and The Sword in the Stone last night, which sparked a lot of fuzzy childhood memories. It also means we can watch the latest Star Wars TV series, which I expect we’ll be doing over the next week.

In the parallel universe where coronavirus didn’t happen, I had to make a decision about whether I was going to be spending tonight at the poetry night or at my ukulele class end-of-term concert (it would have been the concert, as that only happens three times per year – and for unrelated reasons was probably going to be the last one ever – but that’s all academic now). While the decision has been taken out of my hands, the poetry night is doing a Facebook Live event this evening, so I’ll have a nosey at that.

I’ll also be poking my head into the videogame world this evening – both playing them, and having a think about the next one I’m making…

Interval splits
Some of my best interval splits from this morning’s workout (I know this is a real ‘running bore’ picture but being in the house limits my photography ideas!).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Unflinchable Courage’
Toto – ‘Africa’
Cast of Aladdin – ‘Arabian Nights’
Bill Conti – ‘Gonna Fly Now’

An opposite-of-normal Wednesday

After the kind of interval session that just a week ago I could not have imagined fitting into my training until at least the summer…

…I came back home for a fairly unplanned afternoon. Work has been quiet for the last couple of weeks; I was (and still am) hopeful that because most academics are now working from home, they will have more time to write papers and hence more papers to send to me, but I suppose that everyone will be trying to negotiate a new normal at the moment before they can settle back into their work. However, I have had some constructive feedback on my most recent text adventure game, so I was able to spend most of the afternoon working on the next update for that.

Normally I’d be at ukulele class tonight. I’m not, obviously; it’s cancelled like everything else. As such, while it’s not a normal Wednesday, it’s now a ‘new normal’ day: the same as yesterday, and the same as tomorrow.

Braidburn Valley Park, April 1987
Windback Wednesday: Braidburn Valley Park, April 1987. Mum is pushing a two-month-old Malcolm in the buggy, and I’m standing to the left of the photo in my ‘puddle suit’. I last ran up and down that path a week ago today, before I left Edinburgh; it has not changed in the slightest in thirty-odd years. In these uncertain times, that is extremely comforting.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Unflinchable Courage’
Demi Lovato – ‘Confident’
Toto – ‘Africa’*

*I decided two weeks ago that Toto’s ‘Africa’ would be my handwashing song during the coronavirus pandemic. I have now washed my hands so much that it is also starting to become a frequent earworm.

Stretching out

I ran with Geth again this morning…

…and since then we’ve just been in the house, hiding from the cancelled world outside. Geth went to Sainsbury’s, and came back with approximately half the things I’d sent him out for (panic-buying has officially set in here in Newcastle), but we’ll manage. I also went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription – the outside world feels a bit odd and apocalyptic at the moment.

It’s felt like a long day, but I’m not about to complain, because extra time is my most treasured thing and suddenly having a lot more of it is a real silver lining. Sage Gateshead has now closed, so my ukulele classes are not happening for the foreseeable future, and I don’t know when they’ll be rescheduled. The UK Games Expo confirmed this evening that they are postponing the event to August; parkrun will make an announcement tomorrow.

The North Tyneside 10k has also postponed to October, so that’s the last of my spring races fallen by the wayside. I’m amazed and grateful that none of my postponed races clash with each other (or with the GNR), and also feel quite lucky that I hadn’t booked any of my planned autumn races before this all kicked off. I had wanted to run the South Shields 10 Mile and the Great Scottish Run this year, but they’ll be there for me in the future.

Keeping in touch with family as the daily situation changes is my main priority at the moment, along with keeping myself and Geth safe and sane. Running is a big help with the latter, and I’m really glad I have that in my life at the moment.

Brooks running shoes
I was able to try out my new running shoes from Inverness this morning. They’re super bouncy and did give me a slight but noticeable boost!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Lightwood Games – ‘Link-A-Pix Theme’
Ollie Wride – ‘Back To Life’
Mesh and Mechanical Cabaret – ‘Born To Lie [Duet Version]’
Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Unflinchable Courage’
EMF – ‘Unbelievable’

Settling in

A nice quiet mile this morning…

…and since then I’ve been spending the afternoon getting a bit of admin done and thinking about possibilities for the weeks and months ahead. All but one of my spring races have now been postponed to the autumn, resulting in a packed autumn race season that I wouldn’t have chosen myself, but it is what it is, and I am grateful that I will still get to run the races. Newcastle University are asking staff to work from home from tomorrow onwards, so I will have Geth home with me for the foreseeable future. The Social Run Group are no longer holding gatherings. I’m still waiting to hear about parkrun, my ukulele class at Sage Gateshead, and the UK Games Expo at the end of May, but I fully expect that all of them will go the same way, especially given the new measures that the government have announced today and the fact that things seem to be getting worse every day at the moment.

I am an introvert and a homebody by nature, so I have absolutely no problem staying in my home for a few weeks (if we get fully locked down and I have to run on the treadmill, I may get a bit grumpy, but at least I will still be able to run!). I appreciate though that not everybody is like me, and that some people are really dreading these measures and/or will feel really lonely. If that’s you, I’m thinking of you. I hope we can all get through this sooner rather than later.

Tomorrow, other than running in the morning, I’ll be at home, getting work done and playing videogames. I expect that will be the case every day for some time.

3DS
Hello, 3DS, my old friend; I’ve come to play with you again.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Richard Marx – ‘Right Here Waiting’
Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Unflinchable Courage’
The Killers – ‘Mr Brightside’

Game release day!

Another recovery mile this morning…

…and then I spent the afternoon doing the final polish for my latest text adventure game – my submission for the current Adventuron jam. It’s a bit different to my previous adventures as the rules for the jam involved no graphics and limited-word text responses! I had a lot of fun with this one, and Geth has already given it a playtest.

Game available to play here.

Tomorrow’s ukulele class has been cancelled, so I should have a bit of time to play through some of the other entries (my favourite part of every game jam!).

Pixel goblin
My goblin is on the run, trying to win medals.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Unflinchable Courage’

Blue skies

A nice midweek run in the frosty sunshine…

…and then I spent the afternoon doing admin and practising my ukulele (class went back tonight after half term and we have a lot of fairly complex tunes to learn at the moment). Ukulele class was a bit of a mixture tonight – we had some bad news re. the fact that our teacher won’t be teaching us anymore next term. We’re also learning a Justin Bieber song at the moment, and it sounded as though not many people were singing along – possibly because most people were concentrating on learning the riff – so I sort of felt like I was singing when I shouldn’t be for that one. Which was a little awkward.

After class I headed to poetry night. I decided not to read tonight, as although I do have a couple of works-in-progress they’re not quite ready for public performance. It was nice to enjoy everyone else’s poems without worrying about my own!

Love Yourself music
I know this song fairly well (it was everywhere in 2015). Not sure many other people in the class do though!

Today’s earworm playlist:

FM-84 and Ollie Wride – ‘Wild Ones’
Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz – ‘Number 1’
Justin Bieber – ‘Love Yourself’

A quiet Wednesday

A midweek-length run today…

…and a fairly good afternoon of admin before I headed off to ukulele class this evening. We learnt (-ish) a new song, so I’ve got lots to practise over the half term break.

It’s weigh-in tomorrow, and I’ve had another good week, so fingers crossed…

Keeping warm, 1985
Winter layers in 1985! I wasn’t quite as wrapped up as this today, but it wouldn’t have been a bad idea – it’s really nippy out there at the moment.

Del Amitri – ‘Nothing Ever Happens’
Frankie Miller – ‘Caledonia’
Sacre – ‘The London Marathon’
Carl Orff – ‘Gassenhauer’
Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’
The Midnight – ‘Collateral’
Justin Bieber – ‘Love Yourself’

Open day

After this morning’s run…

…I spent the afternoon at the Newcastle University Postgraduate Open Day in order to find out about doing a Masters in creative writing. It was odd sitting in lecture halls and listening to talks. Other than the odd occasion when I’ve sat in on Geth’s evening lectures, I haven’t been in lecture halls since I graduated in 2008!

It was a really interesting afternoon though. I spoke to a few students who are currently doing the course, went on a tour of the facilities, and attended a couple of general talks on studying at Newcastle and funding sources. I went away with a huge amount of bumpf to read and a lot of things to look into over the next few days!

I then headed to ukulele class, which was as fab as ever. Really enjoying the songs we’re doing this term.

It’ll be another busy day tomorrow, as I need to catch up with day job work in between going to weigh-in and the gig that Geth and I are attending in the evening.

Tote bag
I also got a free tote bag to carry all my open day bumpf in. I don’t really need any more of these, but I always appreciate a nice goodie bag!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’
Stinx – ‘Why Do You Keep On Running Boy’*
Del Amitri – ‘Nothing Ever Happens’

*For the uninitiated (i.e. those who weren’t living in Scotland around the turn of the millennium), this was a parody of Britney Spears’ ‘…Baby One More Time’ that featured in a legendary HEBS (Health Education Board for Scotland) advert from 2000, aimed at discouraging teenagers from smoking. The advert was renowned as being absolutely genius (I did a day of work experience at the BBC during this period and they were all raving about it), and I sang the song in the school corridors every breaktime with my pals for about three months solid.

Didn’t discourage me from smoking, though.

Worth a watch if you’ve never seen it, if only for some prime nostalgia: