Tag Archives: tigger

Actual positive progress

So, yesterday, Monday 18 June, I was collected from the Freeman Hospital by what was described as a “hospital taxi” – actually a volunteer ambulance driver with a car. I arrived at the Endoscopy department of the RVI before most of the staff – not long after 7:30, so had a bit of a wait.

After the usual paperwork and consent form, I was taken through to a room at around 8:30, had a brief chat with the doctor in charge and was given some sedation. It must have been good stuff, because the last thing I was aware of was lying down and having a mouth guard inserted.

The next I knew, I was in the recovery room with no nasty tube in my nose  :tigger: .

I was told that am 8cm stent had been inserted and all seemed ok. After a short time for recovery, I was collected (in a wheelchair, I wasn’t going to do anything silly like trying to walk) and returned to the Freeman. Only drawback- they’d needed my single room for another patient, so I’m now in a four-bed bay. But it’s a lot quieter than the one I was in at the RVI, so it’s not so bad.

First order of business was to try drinking some water. And  :tigger: it works! This had been a tricky operation – sip, wait for inevitable burp, sip, repeat (repeat?? see what I did there?). Failure to wait resulted in the next sip coming right back with maximum wind power. But now? I can drink liquids like a normal person again!

The pleasure of drinking cold water should never be underestimated. It’s so nice, and I can refill my jug from the cooler whenever I like.

I suck with water for the rest of the day. Well, water and some supplements I was prescribed, delivered in soluble form.

Today, a dietitian came to see me and told me to start on a puréed diet for today. Lunch was served – it was described as “Potato and onion gratin in cheese sauce with cauliflower and broccoli”. Well, it looked like this:

Food!

Food!

It was mushy (as you’d expect) and a bit lacking in actual flavour, but as the first real meal I’ve had in ages, it was quite wonderful. The little pot of ice cream that came with it was pretty damn excellent too.

I’ll be having something similar later, and I’ve just filled in my menu request for tomorrow, when I’ll move to what’s described as “fork mashable” meals. More ice cream may be involved.

And on Thursday I should be fine to have some Rice Krispies for breakfast!

I’m feeding a lot happier now, as you might guess. While the feeding tube was fulfilling the function of keeping me alive, it wasn’t at all pleasant to live with – quite apart from being a horrible lump hanging out of my nose, having to be tethered to a pump for ten hours every night wasn’t enjoyable.

I’ll probably be discharged from here on Thursday or thereabouts, which will be followed by some food shopping.

Stay tuned for more food reports.

The idea now is for me to regain some of the lost weight and get into a generally more healthy state.

Samyang 12mm f/2.0 lens

If you’re reading this on Facebook, make sure to click through, or you’ll miss some photos, which are pretty much the whole point of this post.
Regular readers and other such mythical creatures may have noticed some wiiiide images appearing here lately. These come from my latest add-on to my Fujifilm X-T2 – it’s another manual-focus lens from Samyang[1], which is also available for other camera makes, but I can’t comment on those, so everything here relates to the Fujifilm x-mount version.

I’d read a few reviews and seen some sample images which led me to think that this  relatively cheap lens might be a nice addition to my kit. It’s a lot smaller and lighter than my Fuji 10-24mm, and unlike my lovely little Samyang 8mm fisheye lens, it doesn’t produce insanely curved images, which aren’t always what you want.

So, I ordered it from Amazon just in time to have day after day of either rubbish weather or no time or energy to take it anywhere. But that changed today. It’s been bright and sunny and distinctly not cold, which gave me a chance to take it to a couple of my favourite places.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The box contains the lens, complete with hood and a soft pouch you can use to carry it around should you be so inclined. It fits securely to the camera (paper metal mount, not nasty budget fittings) and is ready to use. If you’re thinking that manual focus might be a pain, it’s really less of an issue with wide lenses – for most use cases, you’re going to be working with a large enough depth of field for “near enough” focusing to get you there, and the camera’s  focus aids should get you the rest of the way. I leave mine with the default “focus peaking” on, which shows highlights on the in focus parts of the image. If you’re doing finer work, getting up close with the lens wide open, more care will be needed.

Anyway, enough wittering and on with the images. Here’s a view of Tynemouth Priory

Tynemouth Priory

Tynemouth Priory

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/1
Shutter speed: 1/300s
Focal length: 8mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 24 March, 2018
Location: 55° 1.0521′ 0″ N 1° 25.0197′ 0″ W

And of course, there’s one thing I have to do when I get a wide lens:

Wide bridge

Wide bridge

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/1
Shutter speed: 1/640s
Focal length: 8mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 24 March, 2018
Location: 55° 1.0521′ 0″ N 1° 25.0197′ 0″ W

Not quite wide enough to get the whole of the Millennium Bridge in from its centre, but still gets a lot in.

This one’s a repeat, but shows that it’s not just for longer distances:

Wide-angle Tigger

Wide-angle Tigger

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/1
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 8mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 18 March, 2018
Location: 55° 1.0521′ 0″ N 1° 25.0197′ 0″ W

So far, I like what I’m getting from this lens. I’ll have to let it take me to some more places and see what it does with them. I do feel some landscapey type thingies coming on…

[1] The same lens is also sold under other names, such as Rokinon

Weight and Stuff Report – 18 March 2018

Weight: 208.5 pounds (14 stone 12.5 pounds, 94.6 kg)
Steps: Not a lot

Up a wee bit today, which has been. quiet relaxed one.

Most people use wide-angle lenses for distant subjects, but they can be fun for close-ups:

Wide-angle Tigger

Wide-angle Tigger

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/1
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 8mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 18 March, 2018

Weight and Stuff Report – 24 January 2018

Weight: 222.4 pounds (15 stone 12.4 pounds, 100.9 kg)
Steps: 2,571

Back up today, shocking, etc…

Today’s photo is a quick test of a new toy. So obviously, Tigger had to get into the act.

Mystic Les Predicts...

Mystic Les Predicts…

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/2.8
Shutter speed: 1/50s
Focal length: 47mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 24 January, 2018

Weight and Stuff Report – 31 December 2017

Weight: 226 pounds (16 stone 2 pounds, 102.5 kg)
Steps: Very few

Up again today…

I’m having a quiet day in today, getting the washing done, catching up on more TV and generally relaxing.

The final photo of the year is this one Tigger insisted on

Tigger and some other guy

Tigger and some other guy

In case of doubt, Tigger is the one on the right.

DeLonghi Autentica Plus Coffee Machine

It’s a whole five years since I last mentioned the espresso-creating kit installed at Losing it HQ. That was a bargain-priced Saeco machine, which did its job for a few years before developing an annoying problem. While continuing to produce perfectly acceptable coffee, it became a bit awkward to use, as one of the coloured light elements that made its informative display work totally failed, giving the impression it was off when it was actually on. So, it was replaced by the then current equivalent model (at a similarly discounted price from John Lewis). That one avoided having a fancy display, and just had illuminated buttons, which seemed like a more resilient option. That one worked nicely for about two and a half years before developing an occasional reluctance to build up pressure and deliver coffee, not to mention a slight dribbling from its bottom. As it was a low-cost (as these things go) device, it didn’t seem sensible to spend money on having it service, repaired, or whatever, so the hunt was on for a replacement.

I always like to see these things for real rather than relying solely on online images, so I had the usual wander around the department stores. The first thing I noticed was a distinct lack of Gaggia or Saeco on sale. Presumably after swallowing the brand, Philips lost interest in marketing to consumers – the big kit for cafés is still around.

The next thing I noticed was a lot of DeLonghi machines – they used to have more basic ones, but while I hadn’t been paying attention, they’d clearly been doing some serious development. I spotted a few possibles, and went away to do the research. I eliminated the more fancy ones with built in milk tanks that can (depending on model) do anything from making it easier to froth milk up to creating a milk shake for people who don’t really like coffee (or “latte”, as some call it), on the grounds that I’m not the kind of person who thinks milk belongs in coffee. This still left a larger number of machines than seemed necessary, but hey ho and all that.

More digging led me to this model – nice features, useful display and (most important) reviews suggesting it would indeed do the job required. The only problem was the price – at around £450, it was a fair bit more than I was comfortable with paying. Experience suggests that about three years is the lifetime of a coffee machine in my kitchen, so I feel moderately happy spending around £300 (give or take, more or less). Mind you, that price was a lot better than in one shop that had it at its earlier price of £650, which is a lot more than I’d have even thought about.

So, more research. And I’d almost decided to leave it for a bit, when I had another look on the manufacturer’s site (yes, I’d had a look at all instruction videos and the PDF of the manual, it’s what I do) and found that they’d reduced the price to £319 with free delivery. Well, that turned it from a “maybe later” into a “take my money now” kind of thing, and I ordered it.

It looks like the Autentica range of machines have been superseded by some functionally identical, but cosmetically different ones, so they might well have been looking to clear stock, which suited me fine – especially when I noticed that the original price was apparently over £700. I have seen it on sale more recently at £399, so it may be a general “end of line” thing, but I still got the best deal, so there.

A few days later, it arrived and I wasted no time in setting it up. As always with a new bean to cup machine, you have to make a few coffees before it comes through in full strength. It’s important to remember that, as otherwise you might get the idea that your new machine doesn’t make proper bloody espresso, which would be Very Bad.

After a bit if a tweak of the grind size control and setting it to “extra strong”, it started to deliver as good an espresso as I’ve had anywhere. I use the Espresso Crema blend from Pumphrey’s in the Grainger Market, which is a dark, strong roast that is the best for my taste, and it works as well with the DeLonghi as it did with the Saeco.

Maintenance is a bit different – the grounds box and drip tray are combined, so it’s a simple matter to remove and empty both daily. The water tank is at the rear of the machine, so you may need to think about where you place it for easy access without having to move the whole thing. A water filter is included, and unlike the one that came with the Saeco, is the right size, so I’m using it.

When I bought it, DeLonghi had an offer on – register your machine and get some free stuff (the more expensive the machine, the more free stuff you get). I got two packs of descaler (this will be needed every few months, useful), a water filter (recommendation is replace every two months, so useful again), some stuff for cleaning the outside (nice), a cloth, a spare cleaning brush and three 200g packs of coffee beans. Nice.

One useful feature I should mention is the automatic start setting. So long as you set the clock on the machine, you can set it to start up at a particular time of day. It will wake up, warm up, do its rinsing thing and be ready to deliver coffee when you get up. I like that – it means I’ve had to change my routine, so that I fill the water tank in the evening rather than the morning, but that’s fine.

So, nice kit, bargain price. The equivalent model in the newer “Eletta” range is over £700 (and I see mine is now out of stock at DeLonghi, and listed at a similarly painful price), so it looks like I got my timing just right. I love it when that happens.  :tigger:

Weight and Stuff Report – 29 December 2017

Weight: 224.5 pounds (16 stone 0.5 pounds, 101.8 kg)
Steps: 6,202

What? Down again? Yes, that’s another new low for the year.

It’s been snowing here, which meant I had a nice trudge to collect a parcel and buy breakfast this morning. The trudge was such fun that I declined to trudge back and got the bus instead.

I then had a wander around Newcastle (mostly sticking inside Eldon Square, and avoiding the slush).

Today’s picture is a special guest appearance from Tiggercam, showing the brains behind this operation. Well, he’s sitting in the chair, so I presume he’s in charge…

The boss

The boss

Tiggercam has been upgraded

Tigger told me he wasn’t satisfied with the webcam (it was a bit low-res, not to mention low-budget), and insisted that I get him a new one, and a mini-tripod to make it easier to carefully position it. Here’s the new kit in position:

Live!

Live!

Camera: X70
Aperture: ƒ/14
Shutter speed: 1/30s
Focal length: 18.5mm
ISO: 3200
Taken: 10 December, 2017

Tiggercam is really really back now

I mentioned recently that I was attempting to bring Tiggercam back to life. Well, I played around, and couldn’t find any software that was quite as flexible as the late lamented Evocam, which has two problems:

  1. It’s no longer available, much less being developed or supported
  2. It had a total lack of webcam detection on macOS 10.13

I recalled that the Mac Mini that I haven’t used for a while might work, so I hooked it up, and as it’s still running macO2 10.12, and still had Evocam installed, it could be left to look after itself. And after the usual muttering about cables[1] I got it sorted out, and Tiggercam is now live. I might even look at getting a less rubbish webcam for it…

Tiggercam - now live

Tiggercam – now live

[1] It’s the way that they always manage to wrap themselves around each other…

Coming soon to Tiggercam

Tigger has asked me to let you all know that fun things will be happening at Tiggercam soon. We’ll be dusting off the webcam firing up some software (once we’ve tested it) and showing off lots of Tigger-related things.

Here’s a sample

Tiggercam is coming

Tiggercam is coming