Category: #SWAP

#SWAP – Show and Tell, one of my interests

#SWAP – Show and Tell, one of my interests

For those that don’t know me or don’t know me that well, I happen to have many interests and hobbies.
Within this are 3 main stages in which these hobbies and interests exist.

The first is those which are a major part of my life that I indulge in every day or as much as possible, for example, music.
The second is things that are of great interest to me but which I only indulge in now and again.
The last is those which I take a fleeting deep interest in for say a day or two and come back to it once every few years.

One of my major interests beyond music is tech and in particular computers which go away back to my childhood.
Growing up particularly in the early 90s as a young child there was always a computer of some sort in my house, my dad was into them and so an early memory is having Amiga A500 followed by a PC.

As I got a bit older I was given a semi-custom built Windows 98 PC of my own in my bedroom, albeit I was never connected to our home internet at the time, but still, I remember having so much fun playing games on it and eventually just messing with not only Windows but the hardware inside as I got curious about what made up my PC.

During my teenage years, this interest in computers grew and I eventually began to learn how computers were built through my dad who worked in a small independent computer shop. This learning was also gained through tinkering with the insides of my own computer until I eventually started college and properly built my first PC from scratch.

Ever since that first PC build, I’ve continued to take an interest in PC hardware and components while building many more of my own computers over the years and being the tech in my family.

When I get to build my own computer fully from scratch it’s very much a fun process from planning and starting it to finishing things.
As I tend to have a strict budget, not only overall, but for each part, I get to have fun looking up what components and parts I can get that not only fit within that budget but also give me the best performance.
Then again with things like the case, the fun is based on not only finding something that can fit everything in but that also looks great.

For me at least, I don’t always get everything from the same place or at the same time so I often have several parcels coming at different times and days so I get more than one excitement.
Then there’s the excitement of seeing some parts but not being able to use them until other things arrive and so I see stuff sitting around as I wait.

Once everything arrives there is then the excitement of getting to build the PC, unboxing all of my new parts, seeing everything all shiny and new for the first time IRL and not just on product photos or in YouTube videos.
I get to put everything together, ensure all the cables are, as neat and tidy as possible and then the excitement of finally powering it all on. There’s a little moment where I don’t know if it’ll work the first time, have I connected everything and if so is it fully connected all of which I find out in a second or two as I stare at a monitor looking for it to flash as the screen changes and I see something pop up.

Once everything is working there’s still the matter of installing Windows, making sure all my hardware is set up with the latest drivers and that I have all my required apps and games installed before I can call it a day and get to use my PC.

Below are several images of computers I’ve built myself over the years, not only getting better as tech progresses but also because I’ve had a lot more spare income to get better components.


Here is a computer I built around 2008

This one is from around 2010

This one is from 2012 when I reused some still useful parts from the above PC. I also ended up making some upgrades to it over the years to get a little more performance out of it

Finally, this is my most recent PC build from 2019 when the PC above started to fail and otherwise generally feel slower as the years moved on, even with upgrades I had made.

I’ve also included a picture with some of the parts I bought and one when I was in the process of building the computer in my old case before I had decided on a new one.

#SWAP/February Photofest ’22 – Day 17 – The beauty of compliments

#SWAP/February Photofest ’22 – Day 17 – The beauty of compliments

Compliments are the topic this week for #SWAP, and while it’s not something I’d think about or write about as a standalone post I have enjoyed thinking about it and getting the thoughts for a post knowing it’ll be linked to the swap meme.

The first part of the prompt post states the following:
“I was reading a post on Reddit where someone had asked what is one thing guys never tell women and one person said the fact that if you compliment him he’ll remember it forever.”

The above answer for me is 100% true and while I may not remember exact compliments I will always remember those that give them as it means a lot to me whenever I’m complimented.
Now, these compliments can come in various forms, even ways that I might consider compliments in a roundabout way even if it wasn’t intended as a straight-up compliment.

The best compliments for me are those that go deep, where someone has noticed things I’ve done, the things I do where I’m not looking for compliments but just being myself and where it may not be a typical compliment.

Since I started blogging I’m sure regulars to my blog/Twitter will have seen lots of changes with me, and I remeber last year being (complimented?) in a way about how far I’ve come by i’m sure it was Floss of all people. I don’t know if she was complimenting me as such or just being nice, but it felt good to know she was noticing me, what I was doing and how far I had come personally/blogging because it’s one thing to see it through my own eyes but another to have someone else notice it too.

At the same time this wasn’t a singular thing that you might compliment someone on or that I might look for compliments on say a blog post or photo I posted which made it all the more special.

I do also enjoy when my blog content gets complimented on especially photos and specifically on one semi-recent photo that was included in a Sinful Sunday round-up .
The photo in question was a very sexual one, and for me these are not something I feel comfortable doing a lot as I lack the confidence to really know what I’m doing (I feel my lack of expereince IRL doesn’t help) but having liked the photo enough to post it I was initally just happy to be included in the round-up but then even happier to read the compliments which ended with “Just an A+ lewd!”

Outside of blogging I love the compliments I get for just be me, for being nice and lovely, for being appreciated at work or for the time when I shaved my head and a colleauge said nice things about it.
I don’t do these things for compliments which makes it nicer when they do come because it’s always somewhat of a suprise.

On the other hand I sometimes can’t take a compliment and one example is the blog.
I started the blog because of the toy reviews I did for littleswitchbitch’s blog and I’ve always given compliments talking about how she and the toy reviews helped me get to where I am with my blog, and it’s always been countered with the argument that it was all me that did it and not her which can be true.
I always maintain that she helped me get the blog going, she was one inspiration for blogging and how grateful I was to her getting me into writing reviews which I enjoyed especially just the writing as much as the toys themseleves.

Another example is the photo below I posted where I climed up a tree and was asked “How I managed to combine taking a photo with a timer- and not just that, taking a well constructed, interestingly framed photo- with climbing up a bloody tree.”
Of course I was grateful for the compliment but rather than accept it and look at the fact I was being complimented because I had “climbed up a bloody tree” my response was something like “oh, you just have to be limber” downplaying the compliment.

#SWAP – Addicted To Love

#SWAP – Addicted To Love

Scrolling Twitter one day I happen to see a tweet that asked about peoples addiction, and as I began to think about it I started to subconsciously write this post in my head.
Addictions can take on many forms and for me, I sat there and thought about how I’ve never drunk a lot, smoked beyond trying it in my teens nor have I taken drugs but if there was one thing I was addicted to then it was definitely love.

Back between the ages of say 8-10 I had my first ever crush on someone, a girl in my class at school and the feelings I had where was started me off. I had had feelings for anyone before and so when it came I just enjoyed the happiness It gave me even if I did nothing about it.
Even though the feelings for this particular girl faded as I moved to high school I still craved the feelings in general and knew I wanted to have them again.

My 2nd year of high school was when things happened in a big way when I fell in love for the first time again with a girl from my class.
One day walking home from school on my own I was unexpectedly hit with a huge wave of butterflies in my stomach, a girl in my class I had seen across the road as I walked home suddenly and expectedly filled my mind and I didn’t know what to do about it all.

Everything I was feeling was new to me but I figured this must be love. I had no prior feelings for this girl, and even in the weeks leading up to falling in love I hadn’t even thought about anything close and so it was definitely out of the blue. Regardless I enjoyed the magical feeling for all it was worth and didn’t want it to go.

Fast forward a couple of years and after everything from my first love had faded (I did nothing about it sadly) I ended up falling in love again which led to something even bigger.
It all started when I was introduced to a friend of a friend from my school and we started hanging out with other friends which led us to get close to each other.
On one particular day as I waited for a friend so was she. This was the first time we’d seen each other outside of our group of friends and so as we awkwardly waited I looked over at her and Immediately felt weak at the knees as I was overcome with happy feelings.
I’d heard the phrase to go weak at the knees before but this was the first and so far only time I’d ever experienced it and that was the start of something between us.

We eventually dated and I had a strong attraction to her but it wasn’t until one night/morning that I truly knew I was in love again even more than ever before.
During one night’s sleep, I had a dream that she was in and all I remember was it involved us kissing, but during that dream and subsequently, after waking up I was filled with the biggest feeling of happiness and emotion I’ve ever had. I can’t explain it all that well but I had butterflies in my stomach times a trillion and wanted to just sit there and cry with happiness in my bed over the fact that not only was I in love with her but that she and I were dating.
The overall amazing feeling I had stayed with me, though the intensity died down after the morning has passed and I was left replaying it over and over in my head as much as I could.

Since the relationship above ended I’ve never fallen in love again, but as you can imagine I still crave those feelings despite knowing love will happen when it happens. There’s just something magical and wonderful that it’s hard not to want it again
I’m still going to have relationships of all kinds though whether it’s romantic, sexual or whatever, and falling in love is not a priority but damn is it ever good when It happens.



#SWAP – Celebrations of a personal nature

#SWAP – Celebrations of a personal nature

In my family, we celebrate together, from birthdays to Christmas and beyond.
I love spending time with them for a day to celebrate whether it’s eating Chinese takeaway or going bowling for a birthday all the way to spending Christmas with the extended family and seeing friends.

For this post, though I am re-visiting a topic I cover/think about a lot and that’s the year I had in 2021 because it went from a big for me breakdown to doing so much more and I want to keep the good going while celebrating what I did.

In the last year, a huge boost in confidence after my breakdown allowed me to do more in 2021 than I ever have considering I was/am introverted and was super unconfident in myself. The idea of travelling to new places alone, meeting new people and even getting drunk two nights in a row in London plus once in Nottingham would have been a million miles away from ever likely to happen.


Both first London and Nottingham trips were last-minute things, as they were based on plans outwith my control and so I went through a do and don’t wrestle in my mind as to go for it or not.

To actually do those two trips last-minute while also going to London again in between and Manchester earlier in the year was big for me even if others may see travelling to places within the UK as no problem.
I have to celebrate pushing through and going ahead with these when my usual tactic is to have these ideas in my mind but put them off and not do anything about it until it’s too late and therefore I have excuses (Last-minute so the cost is too much and I can’t take time off work).

I am celebrating because while not everything went as planned I still had a great time, I met some wonderful people and in the case of London I managed to navigate the tube on my first visit to meet someone, and on my 2nd visit, I had 5 days where I was able to navigate the tube again, jump on buses and explore this new city on my own without getting lost.

These things I did add to the confidence in myself, they showed that I could go and do things I want, and get close to some things that I’m sure will come plus they have set me up for 2022 to hopefully be the year I do even more, whether it’s more travelling or gain other forms of excitement in my life.
I’m not going to say this year won’t have ups and downs and that I won’t have periods of low confidence in doing things or trying to do things but that’s just me and for all that I’m in a better place than I’ve ever been in many many years.

So I’m celebrating how far I’ve come and how far I may go and looking forward to what may come in the year ahead.

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#SWAP – The home office revitalised

#SWAP – The home office revitalised

In 2020 as we were locked down for the first time due to COVID I was constantly sitting in the spare bedroom which I called my home office where I’d game and relax since I was off work for an unknown period and couldn’t do WFH.
To enhance my experience I invested in a multi-monitor arm which I loved but eventually, the IKEA desktop I was using since 2012 couldn’t handle it and initially, I fixed it but using a bit of an old coffee table top as reinforcement.

Eventually though, I decided to look at buying a new desk for myself and it led me on a path to revitalising my office space and making it my own, a pace I could come and relax in the evenings, game on my days off and what I didn’t know back then was a place I can blog in somewhat comfort.

Before

The office before was OK, but it didn’t feel like a proper place of my own.
In this pic, you can see the coffee table top I used to fix the IKEA desktop and overall it wasn’t the most appealing space but at least it was mine with some framed posters on the wall and such to try and make it better.


After

Between 2020 and 2021 I upgraded the desk, re-painted one of the walls so far and added an extra monitor and got a better chair plus moved things around in the room and moved things from the office to my bedroom and things like the TV from my bedroom to the office.

As you can see it’s definitely a much better space than it was before, way better
Sure I could re-carpet the room, and yes I still have some white walls/a ceiling to paint but it’s now my own perfect space to do all the things I do.

I can be more relaxed when watching online stuff, more relaxed when gaming and generally enjoy a much nicer space when I keep it clean.
It’s a better place to write and blog, the desk provides ample space for all my screens to maximise productivity and I’m able to use the spare desk space for other things like messing with laptops I get from family or just having the space for a coffee.



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#SWAP – The joy of coffee and my mug(s)

#SWAP – The joy of coffee and my mug(s)

Firstly before I begin I just want to say how great it is to have a new meme to participate in, particularly one from the excellent Floss over at flossdoeslife.com

Coffee Consumption

In the past, I’ve always loved a nice hot chocolate as my hot drink of choice with a rare tea if I was feeling it and coffee once every several months again if I was feeling it.
Over the last 6 or so years though my consumption of coffee has increased dramatically from the odd one every several months.

This increase is in a small way related to the fact I got a POD style coffee machine for one of my birthdays but the main reason is down to work and the job I’m currently in.
One of the benefits to my job is the fact that coffee is free, and not just instant coffee either but a similar setup to those found in coffee shops where the beans must be ground first and so on.

So with free coffee, my consumption has increased to at least 2 cups a day and sometimes more.
Not only do I make my own coffee in the morning but during a shift, other than a super busy one, there is a good chance someone will ask me and/or the whole kitchen staff if they want coffee and so I usually accept the offer meaning I have sometimes 2 or even 3 cups throughout a workday.

Types of Coffee and how I enjoy it

My coffee of choice is either a latter or cappuccino as I like something with frothed milk, sometimes a little bit of chocolate powder and I then add in 2 small sugars just enough to give it a sweet edge but not too much.

There are several ways in which I can define coffee for me and below I’ll describe them.

At work, there have been and still are some nice people who I enjoy working with, some of these people I really like and a few who are super lovely and kind to me and make me happy when I work with them.
Where coffee comes in is when I get to stand or sit down with a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes or more socialising with these colleagues before during or after a shift.

Whether it’s talking about work, news, our lives or whatever I can often get a huge sense of happiness chatting away especially to those I really like. It may be that I’m the only one with coffee but every so often I get to sip some nice sweet coffee with frothed milk alongside the conversation where I may end up feeling super happy and content for a few minutes.

The 2nd way I enjoy coffee is the usual morning cup I get as soon as I get to work, that few minutes to relax before I start my tasks are always enjoyable, and I can stand at the bar and people-watch outside as others go by their day.

Here is a picture from the other morning where I enjoyed a coffee before starting work.


At home mugs

Unfortunately, my work is not a place where I’d have my own mug but I have two at home which I love and use on a regular basis for my coffee and other drinks hot or cold.

The first one is a skull mug.
I’m not the kind of person who loves skulls, dragons and such like but having got a coffee machine at home this was a follow-up birthday gift one year as I liked how it looked and was nice to have a specific mug.

The second mug is one that says Explore More.
I’m not sure exactly how this came to be in my home and I honestly don’t even remember it, but during 2021 when I was doing lots of exploring I came across this mug and realised it just fit me like a glove so took it as my own and prefer to use it a lot more compared to the Skull.
The fact it’s a normal mug while having the specific slogan on it appeals to me even if no one IRL will realise what it means to me beyond my trips away to new places I did in 2021.

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