Saturday, July 30, 2005

Citadels of Gold

Just had a couple of games of Citadels, a German game I was introduced to by Mr. T. of this parish. Very good game - well worth checking out. I lost both times, though I was the first to have got to 8 territories.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Home Sick

It's official - after 3-4 weeks away from Dundee I'm beginning to feel a little home sick again. Admittedly this has been the longest I've gone before it set in (probably because where I'm staying is not a dump for a nice change) but last night I realised it'd been 8 days since mother-dearest had rung me up, and that she was supposed to have called me on Saturday. What didn't help was when I called last night she said she's forgotten to call me.

Even tonight I put on some Tubular Bells II mp3s I'd downloaded and it reminded me of when I first bought the album when I was a teenager and got nostalgic for the old days. Anyway it reminded me I'd been remiss in contacting the old gang, it's been a wee while since I really chatted with anyone.

New Office

At work we've had new furniture put in today and it only took 1 or 2 arguments with a certain person and him discovering that putting a book case between an L-shape desk and the wall is not a good idea. I've a humorous series of pictures of this fellow slowly realising his "Ben-Shui" was not exactly tidy, neat or clever, and that actually we threw out that old minky bookcase for a reason. Even as I type the wall of folders is reappearing.

I'm thinking of doing a newsletter with these photos in it as there are apparently a lot of people who used to work here who'd be interested in his latest adventures/fights.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tantrums and Tea-Leaves

- Things are going well in my new place. I still need a new PC, but I also need a holiday more, so that's on the back burner for now.

- At the office a certain someone there threw a massive tantrum yesterday. After being away for 2 weeks during which time we were redecorating the office he discovered yesterday that the old tatty campus map we keep in the office has been thrown out. We're also trying to tell him to throw out the 20 or so massive accountant-folders (with memos dating back to 2001) and books like "Learn Access 2.0", "Learn Turbo Pascal" and some of the 6th Year Studies Computer Science textbooks I used in 1997 but he's insisted he needs them and on building a wall out of them between me and him.

The map was the final straw and sent him into a childish tantrum. He moved in all the old shelving we'd moved into a pile to be collected by the porters and is using them to stack his precious folders on. He's yelled at the poor fella who threw out the map to get him a replacement. This is the one co-worker who insisted we treat all his stuff with respect. So in general he's being an unpleasant S.O.B.

- In order to take the mick out of said prat I insisted on bringing in a piece of the rest of the detritus (bits of wood etc.) we also threw out and put smiley faces on them because they're so precious to me, Gollum! I have a photo of one of these essential bits of office furniture.

- The DVDs that were delivered to my old place have been opened by painters who are doing up the place. So far my landlord has located 2 of the disks, but the third one is nowhere to be seen.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Why do the hard work?

A website that will write a computer science paper for you... SCI-Gen. More amusingly one such paper created by this was accepted at a Noddy Conference.

"SCIgen is a program that generates random Computer Science research
papers, including graphs, figures, and citations. It uses a hand-written
context-free grammar to form all elements of the papers. Our aim here is
to maximize amusement, rather than coherence."

Might make a few myself.

I'm Back...

I'm back from my conference. And I'd like to start with a brief and hard-learned tip on how to give a talk at a conference.

Take the entirety of your power point slides with you. It can be rather stressful when you plug in your USB drive to discover only 9/10s of the file were copied. Thankfully this occurred during a dry-run, but coupled with the need for an hour's worth of revisions made for a very stressful evening and morning. However after some minor heart palputations and some elbow-grease the talk went okay however.

Bristol University's Wills Hall of Residence were a very pleasant backdrop, if a little too removed from the train station for my liking. At one point I was convinced I would be taxi-less and stranded in Bristol.

I'd also like to say I won't be taking any more Midlands trains than I can help. My 2 changes became 4 changes on Monday night when some poor soul died upon the line, and I was diverted owing to this "fatality on the line" (the official speak I suppose), missed a connection and got into Bristol around 11:15pm when I was aiming for 9:30-10pm.

In the meantime it seems Screenselect - dummies that they are - have sent 3 DVDs to my old address. I was planning to cancel and had reduced my selection of DVDs to below 10, not expecting a dispatch because of that. I hadn't changed my address though - d'oh! I suspect a call to my old landlords is in order.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Going to the Chapel, Not Going to Get Married

Went along to my first Leicester wedding (which I'm told seems to be a seasonal occurence). Much fun was had with just the right number of hitches (that's 1 for those counting) and after much confetti throwing (first time I've actually seen it at a wedding) we later sojourned to Castle Park for a picnic lunch that had far, far, far too many strawberries than can possibly be healthy and generally enjoying good food, good company and good weather. Photos to appear some time in the future.

The reception later that night was a little more Goth than I was used to, but the black and red theme meant the chocolate wedding cake was fantastic. Though I think I was the only person to wear pastilles.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet I caught the season opener for Battlestar Galactica's Season 2, though my ears were still ringing from the Goth music to actually hear most of the dialogue, and tried to fix my machine on Sunday. All I seem to have done is formatted my HD and my housemate's external HD and upgraded to a version of Wind'ohs that is giving a blue-screen of death and then resetting the computer.

Anyway, enough blogging for me. I'm off to Bristol to present the last of my PhD work at a conference, and I won't be back until Wednesday night.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Meal of the Month

Had the worst lunch today. I went to a pub round the corner from the uni for lunch, after having given a brief presentation of a prototype for my latest project and helped start to rearrange my office. Rearranging the office has been a real job, we've had meetings with our boss, with the HoD, with the systems guys, with one of the systems chaps and so forth so it has eaten up a lot of time this week. Entire afternoons have disappeared.

Anyway, if you can imagine the things in the Red Dwarf episode "Polymorph" that tries to strangle Lister you've a pretty good idea of what my spicky chicken looked like. 2 medium sized tentacles on a plate, with sauce on the side. For £4.

The pub dude told me there was no salad left in the pub. He asked if I wanted chips on the side. Then he told me they had no chips. Then he asked if I wanted ciabatti. And he gave me 2 dry pieces of bread.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

It's Official!

I'm dim. As part of the aforementioned lifestyle change from baggy jeans to shorts in order to prevent a heart attack at 25 in the latest heatwave I forgot to take my bank card out my jean's pocket. I didn't discover this until I was in the queue at Tescos with about £40 worth of food and £10 worth of change. Fortunately my pal Vincent Visa was there to spare me some embarrassment and they didn't need the PIN I've never learned in order to process it. It might've helped speed things up if I'd signed the back of the card however...

This is not the only thing - on Monday I'd left my security card in my lab owing to the lack of a back pocket in the aforementioned shorts.

Also work was relatively tiring today - the room is being decorated tomorrow. We found this out today. We had to move all our PCs, gear, furniture etc. from the walls and discovered we have far too much furniture, one of us is pathologically lazy and a certain someone else in the office's name means, "Son of the right-hand". A few things are making sense now.


I get spam. Lots of it. About 20:1 Spam to Ham ratio on my account. I got spam from Tony Blair yesterday. Today I got spam from telling me:-

Our new buses offer:
• Reliability

Uh - excuse me? Reliability? Your new buses offer reliability? What the heck did your old ones offer? Gaffer tape?!

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Scene

I've had the same worryingly similar conversation in 2 months all to frequently. Picture if you will someone with a striking similarity to Captain Rum from Blackadder II. Picture me going with the nom-de-plume that is my Confirmation name, that of Edmund, and you're there.

Rum: Aaaaaaahrrrrr Aaaaaaahrrrrr Aaaaaaaaaaahrrrrr. Me laddy.

Edmund: Ah-haah-ah, indeed. So, Rum, I wish to play the Sims now. Farewell.

Rum: Aah-ahhh! [strokes his hand] You have a woman's game, milord! I'll wager that dainty game never weighed corpses heavily upon a muddy floor in Hell or worse.

Edmund: Well, you're right there. No-one dies in the Sims. It's a game of building houses, interior decoration and genetics.

Rum: Ha ha ha. -Aah! Your Sims milord. I'll wager it ne'er felt the lash of a burglar, been rubbed with flies, and then drowned in their neighbour's swimming pool to make a nice little gravestone.

Edmund: Goodbye you stark raving looney. The Sims is a man's game as well as a woman's game.

Net story - the Sims is a bloke's game! Discuss.

Monday's Chortle

I phoned my old landlord's today to ask about my deposit and the inspection. Apparently it was all fine, although he did comment that I hadn't exactly cleaned the place so it was spotless.

Anyone care to join me in an ironic laugh.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Another Heat Wave

They've finally done it - I'm wearing shorts. Outside of gyms I haven't worn shorts in public since Loch Goilhead in 1996, when the gym teacher, Ms. Cochrane-Dyet made some remark about me having nice legs. Wonder if that's related?

Lazy Weekend

It's been a quiet weekend aside from a few minor ups-and-downs. I've spent watching TV, DVDs and trying to fix my sick PC. Spent most of yesterday enjoying Sky+ and Monty Python Live in Aspen, and introduced my house mate to Lord of the Ring the Board Game. Today I tried to go swimming only to discover the local swimming pool is for local people (it's a private gym the all-too-eager-to-help wifie on the gate told me).

I've also discovered Colin Baker's Doctor Who is not too great. The Doctor is a pillock, and after regenerating into Colin is a homicidal maniac. His companion is a snivelling wretch named Peri who shows all the fortitude and wit of a battered wife.

Tonight's entertainment is Lord of the Rings Risk.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Today's Depressing News

It's been rough times - I slept in and didn't watch TV this morning so it was about midday when I heard about the explosions in London. The death toll has gone from 2 to 2 dozen with 100s of injury casualties and it's supposed to be the usual eastern suspects. I don't know anyone in London who's been hurt, and I hope no-one reading this has either.

Also it seems every bleedin' American on every forum, regardless of its relevance, seems to be using it as an excuse to post some 6+ paragraph rant on democracy and how great the UK is when it is teamed up with the US.


We continue to do your nut in.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Jedburgh Photos Online

Now available on the photo blog.

Pretty Cool

This reminds me of a game called Pod we used to play in school. You tell the G8 to do something and they go off and do it in an animation. George does "War" quite well.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Washed Up Already

I've had my first goofy story to tell as I filled the dishwasher last night. My house mate likes to use a little Fairy liquid for pre-washing the dishes. I like to use more than a little. More than a little means bubbles coming out of the dishwasher. And bubbles lining the dishwasher. And the washing powder tablet was hilariously catapulted across the washing machine rather than in its slot.

Soon he will realise I'm not as smart as I seem and come to the conclusion I am a blithering idiot. Mwa ha ... oh wait. Cancel that evil laugh.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Too Evil

It finally happened. I found a roleplaying supplement I term too nasty to the players for my taste. I'm referring to a Warhammer supplement I picked up in Dundee last week.

The heroes set off a suspiciously Lord of the Ringsesque finale to destroy an artifact they found. And if they do all the heroes who used the artifact die in very very painful ways. Not much can happen if the PCs refuse to find them, and yet if they've played by the rules and stuck to the plot etc. they wind up getting horribly screwed. And they have to use the artifact to trigger the story! Worse it's possible for the 4 heroes dying to cause the death of every other hero in the party!!

As a bleak end to the campaign or a movie it works - but it seems really arbitrary and could leave a bad taste in everyone's mouths. And I guess it means no game next week. ;)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

DVDs Ago-go

Still moving in - there are boxes strewn randomly about my room. I just hooked up my DVD player only to have to go all the way out to the car to get the remote control. I also think my PC is dying - it needs a new powerpack I suspect as it keeps resetting at really irritating junctures. I may need to take it to PC World or something.

Ironic given I've almost a PhD in Computer Science eh?

Which reminds me - I've not started by 6 pages of changes yet.

Instead I went to Nottingham today to buy some books, like Call of Cthulu the Game (finally time I owned a copy I figured), some reduced Freeport stuff and a copy of Cracker on DVD. Given I have 6 seasons of Hercules, some Kung Fu, 3 Screenselect DVDs, Prophecy Forsaken and XVids of the 1st season of Scrubs to watch I don't see boredom on that front being a problem.

Stuart's Peripatetic Links

Like Star Wars? Like the Princess Bride? Then you will like this file. Give it time to download.

Friday, July 01, 2005

There and Back Again and Again and Again

It's Friday, I'm knackered and I've clocked up 60 miles on the Stu-Mobile just moving stuff from a to b. I just got back from returning the keys to the Ullswater Dump and a hefty shop at Asda. For the past 3 days I've ate nothing but KFC, hasty cold meals between stops at the university, the dump and my new pad.

I've moved everything, books, clothes, CDs, DVDs, DVD player + TV etc. all sitting in various places waiting for me to find the energy to lay them out. I'm totally shattered - I haven't slept much with all the disruption and I'm supposed to be in town now, but I can't be bothered. I should also get round to uploading my photos of Jethart. But now I have access to a TV that rewinds the program I feel the urge to play, play, play and go nowhere this weekend.

And I need a bath, with the flitting there hasn't been time to wash. You really wanted to know that didn't you?

And now...

Blogging from home - the latest development. Woo hoo.