Saturday, December 31, 2005

Next Year I Shall Be Mostly Playing...

I'm a massive fan of Ultima (except for the online version, I played the free Ultima Online Legacy and was shunned), but in cool news they've release Ultima V: Lazarus for the Dungeon Siege engine, a remaking of Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny.

The new version is a massive 500 meg mod total conversion for the game that basically turns the sucky Dungeon Siege into a cool remake of Ultima V with tons of NPC interaction, adventure and even a massive 144 meg soundtrack. Only problem is it may still be pretty buggy given there have been 2 patches for it already. So on my return to Leicester don't expect to hear from me except possibly in telling you how far I've got.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Christmas Tale of Terror: The God Warrior

It's people like this that give Christians a bad name.

And the ensuing world's longest most interactive ebay page.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Dr Stu on Dr Who

The Xmas special and new doctor were quite good - though I need to wait for a non Russell Davies episode to make up my mind about the latter fully. Russell's writing meant there were cringe-worthy minutes mixed with moments of pure genius. The sword fight was good, though maybe it was me but I felt it was obvious the BBC had reduced the budget for the series... dunno why I thought that. I should watch it again, and I couldn't play the interactivy thingy as my funky TV is in Leicester and I'm not.

The first bit with the Santas and Xmas tree felt tacked on just to make it an Xmas special. I began to wonder if there was any point in Harriet Jones, Prime Minister. And the Doctor slept for about 30 minutes.

Then the Scythorax? went from being actually damn scary (unlike the Slitheen) to silly, to scary, to silly, to er... not really much of anything. And once again they mentioned those gawd-awful Slitheens in one of the more cringe-worthy bits of the episodes.

Torchwood clearly has potential though.

But... CAN WE PLEASE LEAVE THAT DAMN LONDON COUNCIL ESTATE NEXT YEAR? I'm starting to hope Billy leaves after Season 2 so we can actually get some alien worlds and less Chav Culture/Eastenders.

And I thought the Doctor doesn't do domestic.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Xmas...

...discerning blog reader. It's been an interesting Xmas eve with old friends popping up out of the woodwork and midnight mass back at my old church in Monifieth.

Anyroads a healthy regimen of turkey, Doctor Who and Family Guy is definitely called for today. And I now own a portable DVD player for the trains home in future! Woo hoo!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Vacation Time

After fleeing Leicester on Friday I'm back in Dundee for Xmas. I've handed in my thesis to the binder, though it won't be done until a week after I leave next month. And gone shopping a lot in the town.

Saw Kong the other day - good film, but too stupidly long and too many characters that become redundant. And they let Andy Serkis act without the aid of CGI for more than 5 minutes.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Holidays Are Coming...

It's being an interesting few weeks now I've gotten over the lurgy. My legs ached Monday and Tuesday due to fencing, in fact on Tuesday morning I and one of the TAs both paused while climbing the stairs due to our legs being stiff

I was going to writ my WFRP game is running full steam (in fact I wrote that and saved it), but the following thread that my player's should not read as it is spoilery (and I'll give them the jist of it later) should tell you otherwise.

At work my modules are winding down and I'm finding myself at a bit of a loss as to what to do at work, but I've decided to take next week off and go home, prolly visit the extended family etc.

I managed to organise a lunch for our TAs at the Lansdowne (one of the places Steve and I ate at when he was up, it's so good I went twice) and thus added pheasant to the list of species I pose a population threat to. I've also got the School of Mathematics and Computer Science meal tomorrow (passed up the fencing meal to go to that sadly so it better be good). I've even got a few funny tales I'm not posting here for fear of retribution, but you'll hear them at some point I'm sure.

Oh, and congrats to Dr. Steve.

Not for the faint of heart....

Brings a new meaning to the Old One's will rise again.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I'm apparently one of the less interesting characters in Lost (given how the first 2 episodes seemed to be him going around saving everyone).

You are Jack. Self-appointed hero and doctor
extraordinaire, it's your job to save everyone.
You have little time for fun and games, but you
do like a good stiff drink every now and then.
You prefer your stitches black and have been
known to make gross pasta comparisons. And if
anyone needs CPR or a tracheotomy, you're the
correct person to go to.

Which Lost Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, December 04, 2005

More quizzes

Your results:
You are Hulk
Green Lantern
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
The Flash
You are a wanderer with
amazing strength.
Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...


You go out of your way to build bridges with people of different views and beliefs and have quite a few religious friends. You believe in the essential goodness of people , which means you’re always looking for common ground even if that entails compromises. You would defend Salman Rushdie’s right to criticise Islam but you’re sorry he attacked it so viciously, just as you feel uncomfortable with some of the more outspoken and unkind views of religion in the pages of this magazine.

You prefer the inclusive approach of writers like Zadie Smith or the radical Christian values of Edward Said. Don’t fall into the same trap as super–na├»ve Lib Dem MP Jenny Tonge who declared it was okay for clerics like Yusuf al–Qaradawi to justify their monstrous prejudices as a legitimate interpretation of the Koran: a perfect example of how the will to understand can mean the sacrifice of fundamental principles. Sometimes, you just have to hold out for what you know is right even if it hurts someone’s feelings.

What kind of humanist are you? Click here to find out.

Friday, December 02, 2005

We're all so tyred...

Just got the damn car wheels changed again. I'm not parking it in my spot until after I get the original fixed.


Got up for work today, pulling myself out of bed to get in for my lab. I got literally round the corner before my suspicions were confirmed - I had another flat tyre. Same side, different tyre.

Either someone wants my parking space desperately or I'm incredibly unlucky.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Random Train of Thoughts

Had good fun back in Dundee last week. Caught a weird and very crude show at the Rep, Ubu the King, Harry Potter 4 (more on that later) and generally chilling out. It was good reminding myself what home looks like and the train journeys were quite relaxing (note - taking a laptop makes long journeys pass much quicker). The journey up was harder than the journey back, though I had to stand as soon as I changed trains into the crappy English Midland rail network.

Thing's haven't been dull since I got back.

After getting back to work in Leicester on Monday ol' faithful B. decided to act up again. He's not been happy with me taking holiday in term time - originally gleefully tell me I would lose most of my holidays as I couldn't take any during term. On my return he lasted about 10 minutes before bringing it up as an excuse for him not to do any work that day on our help desk.

On Tuesday, while en-route to work for my 9:30 lab I got a puncture about two streets away on the main road to Uni. Rather than be run over by the mad motorists of Leicester I finally got to use my AA membership, so my 9:00am arrival turned into a 10:30 arrival.

The AA guy was really helpful but the wifie on the phone asked daft questions because of the nature of my AA membership. She wanted to know the date of my last servicing. I gave her a vague date, she wasn't happy. She demanded silly bits of information such as the postcode for garage that serviced me (Arnold Clark's on the shore front on Dundee - would you know the postcode off the top of your head after a breakdown). Purely by chance I had the receipt from my last service so I was able to find the date, address and postcode of my last service. My blood donor card meant I was also able to tell her my bloodtype.

After I limped into work A. recommended a particularly fine tyre company to repair the puncture and they even fitted it back on for a mere £8. Last year (yeah - I expect no more flats for a while) when I got a puncture it cost me an extra £50 to resurface the alloy-wheels that had been scratched and I drove 8 miles before realising.

Sitting in my car at 0 degrees centigrade waiting on the AA dude probably explains why I've come down with yet another cold and taken the day off work. I suspect I'll be paying for that with the office Fuhrer tomorrow.

Also I was forced to choose between my staff-do and a fencing meal on the 15th. I've chosen the staff-do so it should be interesting.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

"The Ability to Fence is Insignificant Next to The Power of The Left Hand"

I had my first proper fencing bout today after two weeks of reffing on the sidelines and not having time to dig in properly. I also got to be El Presidente on another bout, which was only marginally less taxing than fighting! My opponent was quite experienced but in the end I annihilated her with a pretty decisive coup-de-fin at 5-3. The fights went on for quite some time as well (the other teams having had 2 additional matches before we were even done) with quite a few rounds where we both mananged to stab each other simultaenously (not a good thing if it ever is for real).

My opponent was also quite crest-fallen when she picked me and discovered I was a lefty. It's actually very easy to flick a right-handed opponent's blade to the left side and then riposte at the open torso. Added to the fact I seem to be quite accurate at hitting what I'm aiming at with a blade (which is good because I can't hit the broadside of a barn with anything else) makes up for spending a good 5 minutes looking at foils and trying to decode drunken and blurred scrawlings of "LEFT" from "LUFC" (Leicester University Fencing Club).

Of course it took me many bouts to realise I could try parrying to my left and quickly stabbing my opponent rather than always parrying to the right, riposting and either getting countered or dodged. But I won, and from my POV it was almost like something out of a movie - a really long, tiring fight that ended with a good finishing move on my part.

Next week is exams - but alas I can't make it. Fortunately I can take the exam the week after, assuming I get back from the trip to London I'm planning before a ridiculous hour.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Choo Choo

I'm off home next week it seems. I was casually enquiring about my holiday allowance (seeing how my only holiday was 10 days long) and discovered I had 14 days of allowance left.

And I couldn't take these in term time.
And they had to be taken, bar 4-5 days, by the 31st of December.
And term ends on the 16th of December.

So - not enough days outside of term time to take holidays with.

I managed to haggle a long weekend home (actually Wednesday-Friday) next week as I have only 1 class during that period (Mondays and Tuesdays are my busy days). Happily I even have all next week's coursework done, meaning I can do most of next week's work on Monday or...

... on the train. For I am using public transport (though sensibly my changes are 20 minutes apart). So I will be back in Dundee it seems late Tuesday night until Sunday afternoon. And not shattered from driving! I plan on taking a laptop, some marking and some XViDs of Rome or Smallville or some such and chilling on the train.

Everyone Else Was Doing It


scroll to bottom to copy the html

IMDB's Top 100 Best Movies of All Time
generate this HTML for your own page at



Didn't See It/
Started It/
Finished It/
Hated It!


Godfather, The (1972)


Shawshank Redemption, The (1994)

Finished It


Godfather: Part II, The (1974)


Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003)

Finished It


Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002)

Finished It


Casablanca (1942)

Finished It


Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001)

Finished It


Schindler's List (1993)

Started It


Shichinin No Samurai [Seven Samurai] (1954)

Finished It


Star Wars (1977)

Finished It


Citizen Kane (1941)


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Finished It


Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)


Rear Window (1954)


Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Finished It


Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Finished It


Memento (2000)

Finished It


Usual Suspects, The (1995)

Finished It


Pulp Fiction (1994)

Finished It


North by Northwest (1959)


12 Angry Men (1957)


Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le [Amelie] (2001)


Psycho (1960)

Finished It


Lawrence of Arabia (1962)


Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il [The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly] (1966)


Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)


It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Finished It


Goodfellas (1990)


American Beauty (1999)

Finished It


Vertigo (1958)


Sunset Blvd. (1950)


Matrix, The (1999)

Finished It


Apocalypse Now (1979)


Pianist, The (2002)


To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)


C'era una volta il West [Once Upon a Time in the West] (1968)


Some Like It Hot (1959)


Third Man, The (1949)


Taxi Driver (1976)


Paths of Glory (1957)


Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi [Spirited Away] (2001)


Fight Club (1999)


Boot, Das (1981)


Double Indemnity (1944)


L.A. Confidential (1997)


Chinatown (1974)


Singin' in the Rain (1952)


Maltese Falcon, The (1941)

Finished It


M (1931)


Requiem for a Dream (2000)


Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957)


All About Eve (1950)


Se7en (1995)

Finished It


Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Finished It


Saving Private Ryan (1998)


Cidade de Deus [City of God] (2002)


Raging Bull (1980)


Rashômon (1950)

Finished It


Wizard of Oz, The (1939)

Finished It


Sting, The (1973)


Alien (1979)


American History X (1998)

Started It


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)


Léon (1994)

Finished It


Vita è bella, La [Life is Beautiful] (1997)


Touch of Evil (1958)


Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)


2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Finished It


Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)


Great Escape, The (1963)

Started It


Wo hu cang long [Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon] (2000)


Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Finished It


Clockwork Orange, A (1971)

Finished It


Amadeus (1984)


Modern Times (1936)


Ran (1985)

Finished It


Annie Hall (1977)


Jaws (1975)

Finished It


On the Waterfront (1954)


Braveheart (1995)

Finished It


High Noon (1952)


Apartment, The (1960)


Fargo (1996)


Sixth Sense, The (1999)

Finished It


Aliens (1986)

Finished It


Shining, The (1980)

Finished It


Strangers on a Train (1951)


Blade Runner (1982)

Finished It


Metropolis (1927)


Duck Soup (1933)


Finding Nemo (2003)

Finished It


Donnie Darko (2001)

Finished It


General, The (1927)


City Lights (1931)


Princess Bride, The (1987)

Finished It


Toy Story 2 (1999)

Finished It


Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

Finished It


Great Dictator, The (1940)


Sjunde inseglet, Det [The Seventh Seal] (1957)


Lola rennt [Run Lola Run] (1998)

Started It

Which movies have you seen?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Source of the Goodness

I've been reading numerous blog posts on the new Highlander film written by Adrian Paul, the guy who plays the current Highlander (who offed the old Highlander in the last movie) and is Executive Producing the new film, Highlander: The Source.

I'm actually really looking forward to it despite the fact every post seems to report some disaster or other, the budget isn't exactly massive on this film, Christopher Lambert isn't in it and I didn't win the prize draw to visit the set in Lithuania. :P

However apparently there's going to be a big Highlander convention just down the road from me in Leeds next year. I'm tempted to go for the once-in-a-lifetime experience (these are usually in places like LA and Sydney, so this'll be relatively cheap even if it is $150 just to get in the door).

Still debating whether or not to go.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

And now it's official

Word's come through that if I give 2 bound copies of the thesis to the Postgrad Office in Dundee, and 1 bound copy to my supervisors, 1 for myself and 1 for my parents (better save up for this I suspect) I will get my PhD. Yay.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The End of All Things

It's in. It's done, quest complete.

I've just submitted my final thesis draft. Cue dramatic montage involving volcanos, towers exploding and mass-armies of algorithms triumphing over dark ignorant orc-types.

I'm glad to be with you, here at the end of all things.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Story So Far...

On Thursday we went out to the Last Plantaginet, a Wetherspoons, for a good feed and late dinner. Friday saw Steve explore Leicester while I worked and discovered the joy of drinking Loozers at lunchtime. Friday night saw us see Brothers Grimm with yet another loud mumbling guy sat behind us in the cinema, proving it doesn't matter where you go in the UK, ignorant people pay up to £6 to sit in a theater talking to their mates and texting. The film itself was quite good though I was a little confused in places. It was a Gilliam effort though.

Saturday afternoon saw a visit to the Space Museum (near to B's number 1 tourist recommendation, the sewage works). Rather than seeing how a U-Bend works we made our way through some pretty fascinating exhibits, went into the space theatre and tried numerous spacey-type adventure things including a 3D simulator.

Saturday night saw us go to the Worst Pub In Britain - the Wyvern's Arms. We were going to go into town to Jongleurs but the Leicester transport system totally conspired against us, but at least we got a good look at the fireworks.

As to the Wyvern's Arms it's down the road from where I live. Upon opening the door we were assailed by loud music and smoke. If that wasn't enough the place was pretty filthy. The pregnant woman smoking and drinking Smirnoff capped it for me and after a swift pint (we couldn't talk after all) we fled back to mine to watch more DVDs and drink more beer.

Then came Sunday. Now I have to admit I'd been cynical about the whole November trip to Alton Towers, but the rain in the morning made me even more of an unbeliever. Ironically it only rained on Sunday, and hasn't rained since until now, Friday night.

Finally when we were 20 miles outside of Alton unable to see through the car windows I chickened out and drove us to Bugman's Bar in Nottingham for a game of chess and a cheap burger and drink. And some shopping. And not much else. But we did waste our tickets we'd prebought over the internet.

Steve took it all well and I think he enjoyed himself despite my ranting about things in general. I've decided I need to get myself a bigger place though to be honest, so I may be thinking about moving again come January. All in all interesting times.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Vitamin C High

Having been ill again with my 3rd flu in as many weeks I've now developed a Vitamin C habit that involves drinking a pint of OJ in the morning, evening and so forth to avoid the student germs I'm obviously no longer immune to. Did more fencing, and finally actually got to stab someone in a vaguely competitive exercise that showed me how being a leftie gives you an advantage.

Unlike when I moved here my weeks are getting pretty full. Got my RPG fix on Monday. Watched Saw 2 on Tuesday night - which was more disturbing than Saw 1 - and discovered the fun of chauffering the ultimate hyperactive back seat passenger. Tonight was good fun with my WFRP group derailing my plot in some mad cap scheme for cash which ended up with one player nearly dying and another fighting for his life. And for tomorrow Steve is coming round this weekend and a dark trip to Alton Towers is in the offing.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Young Enterpeneur Award

So, 4 kids just turned up on the doorstep trick or treating. Somewhat surprised I had only to hand 4 Muller-probiotic-milkshake-yoghurt-type-drinkie things as opposed to cold hard choccie bars and the usual goodies. Only when I doled out the all-too-healthy snacks to the kids did I realise...

Halloween isn't today!

There's a fairly good racket going on their. I admire their entrepreneurial spirit.

When there's no more room in hell...

...The simulated dead will walk the earth

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Evil Graduate Recruitment

I found this on the defunct Cult website. Pretty cool if they'd added more content.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Mind your manners!

Found this Pythonesque website while trawling today.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Slogging, Stabbed and Sleepy

Work's been a bit traumatic this week for reasons I won't go into, but there's peace at last as I'm home alone this week due to my housemate being on holiday. He told me he was leaving around 7am, but this actually meant he was going to wake me up loudly at 8am watching TV on full-blast and not leave until after lunchtime. Given I'd been up to 2am on Friday most of Saturday was a haze.

I went fencing again today, despite feeling a little groggy and despite this had a pretty good time and the workout did me the power of good. They had equipment that fit me - that is didn't quite fasten up but stayed where it should - this week so I had the thrill of being stabbed back occasionally. And learned to parry - in other words move the foil in a straight line to the right.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

En Garde!

On Sunday I took a drive up to Manor Road, my former claustrophobic residence when I first moved to the City of Cheese and Not Much Else. You see it turns out I lived about five feet from the sports centre where my fencing class was being held.

So how did it go? I was expecting ritual humiliation, but it was ok, aside from the fact that being left-handed makes finding a foil less fun. Being told to look for foils inscribed with "Left Handed" on the pommel rather than "Leicester Uni" or a drunken "LU" that more resembles "LE" is a bit of an ordeal.

It was actually quite good fun. The coach is actually quite amusing, and there's drinking after the classes which makes me rue the notion of driving in to the class. I don't think I missed much last week given the coach didn't turn up and we started working on footwork and so forth, and the lunge which is a very basic move. I did get a bit narked though when it turned out all the jackets and so forth were for skinny people and I was made to stand to one side in a corner while everyone else (including larger people) took it in turns to get stabbedd. The armourer assured me that this would be taken care of next week.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Another Update

In a rare effort to fill in time and become more cultured I watched Puccini's Turandot at the University and it was good, though the crowd seemed a little too stuffy for my tastes. Tomorrow sees me fencing, which may be bad as in the past month I've gotten really out of shape.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Movie Roundup

Been a while since I did a movie roundup- but here's what I've been watching lately.

A History of Violence: Very good, very scary, very realistic movie about violent people. Aragorn is a diner-owner that discovers being the last of the Dunedain means you're pretty handy in a fight when people point guns at you. Or something like that.

Serenity: Good, so good. It deserves a sequel. Speaking of sequels...

Dracula II Ascension: Sequel to Dracula 2001, which I liked despite having the most awful Virgin product placements. This movie and its sequel were a Dimension horror movie shot back to back in Romania. In this one, Dracula, apparently not so dead after the first movie, is taken from the morgue by a bunch of medical students so they can extract his wonderful regenerative powers and use them to better mankind. And make a quick buck. Much like this film. Which is 75 minutes long, far too short for a film.

Dracula III Legacy: Sequel to the sequel, shot at the same time to save cash. Bizarrely only 1 of the medical students in #2 survived and he's back along with a poor man's half-vampire, half-man Blade, who must destroy Dracula without succumbing to evil himself. The ending to this is quite good, though the movie itself is cheap. They have to travel Romania and defeat the vampire king who has done a Doctor Who and regenerated into Rutger Hauer for 5 minutes. Roy Schnider also co-stars for 1 minute as a Yoda-like Cardinal who tells our poor-man's-Blade not to succumb to the dark side. Evidentally Schinder's cameo is as memorable as it is long as Blade-dude doesn't listen in the end.

Various Peter Cushing Dracula's including 1972 - which is a 'retro' indeed!

Prophecy Uprising: Sequel to the Prophecy Trilogy with Christopher Walken in it. This movie and its sequel were a Dimension horror movie shot back to back in Romania... again.

I like Prophecy. Not amazing - but it was the story of a group of angels (read psycopaths with a license to kill from the big man upstairs) who are miffed that God likes humans more than angels, enough to give them souls in fact.

The angels are so miffed a civil war breaks out in the Ethereal Planes between loyalist and jealous angels. The jealous ones want to destroy humanity. Of course in a budget saving measure we never see this ethereal war, only a bunch of guys in trench coats pulling each other's hearts out. Or not even that in Prophecy Forsaken, which must've cost about 500 rupees to make.

Anyway, this one doesn't have Christopher Walken in it. It's about an American girl in er... Romania... who finds a holy book. And Sean Pertwee plays a British cop... in Romania... who rides around in a car with Satan, who it turns out is just a depressed Gothic fellow.

Prophecy Forsaken: Still in Romania. Turns out that book that the evil angels want tells who the anti-christ is. If they don't kill the anti-christ it will be the end of days and all the worthy souls of humanity will rise to heaven. And the bad angels don't want that. Nice plot, but nothing happens really other than angels trying to kill the heroine, and then she foils them by scattering the pages of the book throughout Romania. Did I mention the anti-christ is from Romania?

Fortress 2: Christopher Lambert, who escaped from a maximum security penitentiary in the first one, is captured by the very people who owned the original Fortress. Rather than kill him they put him in a fortress prison in space. He escapes. See the flaw in the plan? Do you?

Red Eye: Wes Craven directing a thriller, not a horror movie. The old nightmare of sitting next to a psychopath on a plane, only this time he's not hijacking the plane!

Sin City: Finally saw this on DVD. Very good film noir though I laughed all the way through it. It was just trying to be too serious and gritty. Like when Bruce Willis says Jessica Alba's letters were the only thing keeping him alive in prison.

Microsoft Mobile

Visiting I discovered they're making mobile phones. Naturally I thought I'd share a few photoshoped images I made...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dilbert Lives!

So - what's new? Not much. Work is getting interesting with the students around but a certain co-worker has managed to become even more of a pain in the nethers. We had a tense meeting with our bosses on Friday which ended up with B. looking like a complete arse and making it clear in his five years of service he has picked up no understanding of our role at all. He even shouted down proposals from the boss before we could hear what they were. How he keeps his job is a miracle.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Monday, October 10, 2005

Serenity Then!

Serenity is good. Very good. Very witty. Very dark. People die, crazy things happen and most of the characters get a fair amount of screentim. Didn't like the final dark secret that River uncovered, it ruined one of the best things in the Firefly mythology. They killed off my favourite character. Like a punk. But it still rocked.

So sad though - apparently the comic (which deals with the Blue Hands dudes from the series) was originally meant to be an animated prequel a la Animatrix or Clone Wars. That'd have been 2 new Firefly stories for the price of 1. Denied dude!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Call of Cthulu

As part of the "Stuart is Ill" special weekend of posts I thought I'd also mention the Call of Cthulu movie is finished and I've just ordered the DVD from the States to sit on my "Movies only Roleplayers will Understand" side of the DVD shelf next to the Gamers DVD. It's good to see a fan project finished unlike some I could mention.

And now to watch Sin City before a late beddy-byes. It's looking unlikely I'll be fencing tomorrow. Next week life begins - with roleplaying, Puccini and even fencing being on the menu!

Serenity Now!

Thanks to the wonders of the internet you can watch the first 9 minutes of Serenity here online for free. I lasted about 1 minute in before deciding to wait for the inevitable cinema trip.

Some Saturday Links

What with the whooping cough and all I've had a lot of time on my hands and here's a few links I've been perusing...

How It Should Have Ended

The most wacked out album comments on Amazon

Star Wreck

Friday, October 07, 2005

Ill... again!

I'm off with the flu again, it started on Wednesday night when I went to see A History of Violence (which is very good BTW). Stubbornly refusing to go off sick Thursday-Friday again this week it got bad all yesterday when I was rather surly to some of our students who came by the desk when I had a massive headache, and last night I think I had a temperature or somesuch and began to hallucinate that the Stu Mobile was being broken into, melding into a different car with an evil black Corsa and plotting to kill me. Mind you I might have been asleep by then...

So I'm off work again this Friday. This is somewhat miffing as I had plans Thursday night and would like to prove to the University I can actually work a full 5 day week without falling ill. Work is actually picking up with the students being back (despite the reenacting of the guard scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail with some of the Chinese students who seem to have trouble understanding my Scot's brogue) so it's irksome to be off when there's so much to do. And I hope to be better by Sunday for fencing fun and so forth, and certainly by Monday when I'm giving my first lecture in Leicester.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Happy Birthday Steve

Happy birthday to Steve, who is now older than me again.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Students, Fousands of 'em...

It's the first week of term, or as I prefer to think of it as Fresher's Days, here in Leicester. It literally took me a half hour to withdraw some cash out of the bank machine and buy a sandwich.

Not that it was a problem, I had plenty of time to read the Bushisms poster on the wall next to the ATM and "Prayers for the single girl" over the shoulder of the girl in front of me in the queue. A lot of prayers about would-be husbands. *shudders*

Officially this is Week 1 of the university calendar. Of an 11 week calendar. They do things differently here than any Scottish Uni I've ever been to. On Day 1 and Day 2 of Uni you have registration, tuition fees payment, Fresher's Fayre, the Sport's Union Fayre, computer registration, introductory lectures and library registration all happening simultaenously. There's a queue downstairs that stretches for 3 floors It's madness!

On the upside I've joined a couple of Leicester socities. I'm going fencing on Sunday it seems if I remember to buy some track suit bottoms. More hilarity later.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


But with bunnies.

Since You Last Tuned In

I made the horrendous journey home and spent all of Monday sat in work with nary a person for company. It was quite depressing - since no-one came to see or speak to me I felt I could've just bunked off work, had another day oop north and no-one would've been the wiser. I felt so irked I made sure I went to lunch in the staff-room so everyone would see I'd not decided to remain in Saneland. I got so bored by the end of the day I even started providing blurbs for my Shetland gallery on this blurb. Naturally B. turned up on Tuesday around 11 to ensure I didn't have the same dull day twice.

I've continued to run my WFRP game. This week actually saw some action but I need to learn the WFRP combat rules.

I've finished my first Greyhawk module in about a year.

I've been off work sick for Thursday and Friday with the cold I must've caught off everyone who seemed to have a cold in Scotland. And apparently worried my mother by doing so.

Late on Saturday I was nearly run off the road by Ali G's 4 lookalikes doing 60 miles per hour who decided to change lanes, overtake me while I was changing lanes and go round a corner at the same time. I'm now thoroughly convinced that Leicester is a dangerous city to drive in after dark and if I stay here another 12 months I'll be in some kind of traffic accident with some convertable driving son of a Sultan running me off the road in his quest to show off his bling on every street corner in the city centre.

I had a look in at the DeMontfort fresher's fayre, though compared to Dundee it is a bit of a washout. Being somewhat more multicultural actually works against Uni societies. All your Chinese join the Chinese society, all your Islamic sorts join their religious society and so forth rather than join any of the other societies, so a lot of the DeMontfort societies are woefully undersubscribed. Leicester is due to have one next week, so stay tuned.

Oh and I ran over a lot of prostitutes and pedestrians. No I haven't become a Leicester driver after midnight, I'm playing GTA Vice City.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

There and Back Again

Here is an artist's impression of how tired my eyes feel after the 9 hour draft back to the City of Cheese and Curry. I didn't get past Jedburgh until 3pm, and was unfortunately unable to procure Jethart Snails owing to the establishment that sells them being closed.

The M1 was especially hellish at 7pm, and I think next time I may go via the M74 on the way back. It certainly seemed quicker on the way up.

It was good to be back, even if it was only for a fortnight, but I especially enjoyed my sojourn to the Real Real North (tm) as well as my explorations in the Real North, before returning to the alleged North of the Midlands. Unfortunately I didn't see everyone to dispense puffin poo and Shetland ales but they will be distributed or consumed in a responsible manner back down here. Burp.

Coming soon: Post Number 250!

Friday, September 23, 2005

2,500 hits and counting

I notice the site has gone over 2,500 and at least half of those can't be from me. It's been a wild ride, with some rants, good news and of course my all-time favourite thread complete with a whopping 19 comments and a subsequent thread.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Shetland Gallery

My Shetlands Gallery is now online. It's big and may take more than one sitting, plus I've more to add tonight!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Home James

Made it back to good old Dundee last night. I was anticipating the journey from hell, with the plane being 30 minutes late and the train being early etc. and me being stuck in Aberdeen but none of that happened. The flight was even early so I managed to get an earlier train.

Amusingly when I was pulling up at Sumburgh Airport last night I had to park in the staff car park so that Alex could get his car back. One of the staff took exception to this until I explained it wasn't my car and I was just returning it to its rightful owner who worked in the airport and thus could park it there. She later turned out to be one of the x-ray machine operators in the airport and apologised profusely while scanning my dirty linen in her x-ray machine. I also got called up by name by the boarding chappie - I was expecting them to stop me leaving Shetland as I was smuggling out too much ale but it turned out they just wanted to write a different seat number on my boarding pass.

Today's excitement is a trip into town. I've got to dump off a box of papers my old boss asked for. It's a bit akward as they've all got a new building and the box is pretty big. Above and beyond the call of duty.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sizzling Pigs, Lighthouses and Jarls!

I've had a sizzling pig at Osla's, which by the way is the best place to eat. It's a pancake with cheese, bacon and maple syrup. Part of me died when I ate this artery hardening treat, part of me never left my usual seat in Osla's.

After this and dropping A. off at work I proceeded to Sumburgh lighthouse. A pair of dutch hikers looked at me oddly as I drove all the way up the hill, proving how lazy (and short of time) I was.

I also went to Jarlshof, a set of ruins covering 4,000 years of life near Sumburgh Airport. They had a pretty neat audio tour-guide. I also purchased copious amounts of alcohol to take back to the mainland. Oh, and most of the postcards I've sent should've turned up.

It's been fun, but I thought I'd end with a nice piccie of a sink full of Shetland water.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Gonna Need a Montage For All This!

So I've been on the Shetlands a few days. It's been great - real calm and quiet. Agent Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks fame would describe it as a place "where yellow lights mean slow down instead of speed up". People outside of Lerwick don't need to lock their doors and a man trapped in the toilets is a big news day.

So far I've done the following:-

1) Been in a wind power generator while there's been actual wind.
2) Gone on 4 ferry rides.
3) Been to the northernmost point of the northermost island in the north. I've sent some postcards from the northern most UK post office. Let me know if you get one. If not someone else in your city probably has a postcard and is scratching their head in disbelief.
4) Driven L. and A.'s car - which was scary for everyone concerned. It's not the same as driving my car!
5) Eaten puffin poo*.
6) Discovered the above is very very nice actually.
7) Discovered the greatest restaurant ever, Osla's, who do meatball pizza. That's meatball with pizza. That's 2 meals for the price of 1! Grrreat!
8) Bought loads of Shetland beer.
9) Visited Scalloway castle. And been given the key for the castle. I even have a humorous movie of me opening my castle with my castle key.
10) Visited Scalloway museum.
11) Watched Team America and started quoting it incessantly (hence the title).
12) Remembered how to spell incessantly.
13) Taken far too many photos for my photo blog to upload in this sitting.
14) Discovered Shetland tap water is suspiciously yellow. I have a wonderful photograph of this to show later.
15) The picture er... pictured above is of Unst Bus Shelter, the most northerly bus shelter in the UK. And it has lots of cool facilities you don't find in an ordinary bus shelter. Mostly 'cos people would nick them, but not in the Shetlands.

* Puffin poo is made with coconut, white chocolate and sugar and stuff. It's not real puffin poo.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


I'm now in the Shetlands after one of the most turbulent flights I've had in a while. Maybe I shouldn't have seen Red Eye last night with Steve. Or maybe thinking about Lost all through the flight was the problem. Or maybe there just was a little more turbulance than usual.

Additional note - why does Aberdeen have the worst airport bus service from the train station. Missing the hourly bus I took a taxi for a very kingly sum. But it allowed to do some shopping in Aberdeen and get some out of print WFRP books.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What I Did On My Holidays Miss

I was so preoccupied with packing and not running around at the 11th hour I forgot to post an entry saying I am away. Which I am. I'm in Dundee you see.

After a 7 hour slog up the M1 pausing only briefly to see chums, read for an hour straight in a service station and have the old junkfood combo of pizza and chips I've had a pretty good time.

So far I've caught up with ma famille, been to Arbroath to visit Mr. T. of this parish, dressed up as a monk with Mr T. Jnr. and done as much touring and wandering about as time will allow. Photos to follow but the dratted ancient laptop doesn't like my digital camera.

Today I went to Edinburgh after I had the car in to get its horn actuator repaired under its warranty. Driving without a 100% functional horn hasn't been a lot of fun but the Stu Mobile has had total hooting success since the Arnold Clark mechanics got their hand on it.

Didn't buy anything in Edinburgh except a copy of SFX to read on the return trip. And renew my young person's railcard, which is good because I don't feel I am a young person anymore, but the harassed young lady didn't need to know that. I did umm and ahm over the price of the attractive £40 Islander sword (which looks suspiciously like the Macleod Highlander sword, photos coming eventually once I work out how to get stuff off my phone). I went into Edinburgh on the train around 11am and wound up strangely rushing to get back to Dundee before 5-30pm owing to the wonderful train system. One would think that the 3pm train would get you the 1 hour journey back to Dundee by 5-30pm but owing to Scotrail's computer being on the blink, a train from Bristol becoming a bus and the destruction of Dundee's link-bridge between the station and the city centre in the name of progress I had to play a real-life combination of Frogger, Super Mario Brothers and Prince of Persia to get from the train station to Arnold Clark in 15 minutes before it closed.

With the petrol crisis looming I'm loath to take my full-tank of petrol anywhere tomorrow in case I need it to get back to Leicester. Unlikely, but I intend on catching a movie this week and hopefully seeing Land of the Dead before I go back to the land of cheese. And of course tune in for some Shetland adventures.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Yes Indeedy

We've all been there mate.

If I Had a Hammer

Ran my first WFRP2 session last night. It was good fun, though there was little by way of action, which is a shame because I had a great cliffhanger in mind. You can read about it on this blog by er.. me.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


This would be hilarious if it wasn't so sad.

Curry, Beef, Hammers and New Orleans,

I've been organising a leaving do for one of my colleagues. He's leaving and not being replaced which means one less ocean of sanity in my workplace. A certain other fellow point-blank refused to do it when asked, claiming it was not his responsibility as he'd organised the office Xmas 2004 lunch. Ocean of sanity I said.

This also means unfortunately I'm most likely going to have to eat curry for lunch, which is not a good thing as I don't like curry or spicy food, and I've broken by diet after losing 3/4 of a stone or so in the past 6 weeks. I don't plan on restarting until after my hols. I'm off to have some cheap roast beef in a minute downstairs in preparation.

I've also drafted myself into DMing Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Wednesday nights. I'm planning on running the Enemy Within campaign, since I've been raving about it for so long and it saves me having to write something original on the fly. This is replacing our Shadowrun game which was set in New Orleans and thus seemed to be in poor taste.

On the subject of New Orleans, it is sad to see New Orleans in such a terrible state. Horror stories of all the suffering (including most strikingly to me, the vast number of pets simply abandoned in the evacuation) aside this was one of the few places Stateside I really wanted to visit. I'm going to avoid planning any other "must-see" trips anywhere in case this becomes a trend though lately I've considered learning Italian and going to Rome.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

TV Cream

My new fave website. Be wary of the "Save Doctor Who" Band-Aid mp3.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Stu and the Gadgets

Yup - I've finally upgraded my mobile phone. mp3 player, video camera and digital camera all in 1 (though no flash). If you're a guru on these things it's an LG U8330 with a pretty reasonable contract and plenty of free crap.

Of course in true Stuart Kerrigan tradition I'm 19 minutes to register it today, but expect "Here's my new number" texts at some points. If you have a mobile. And can take texts. Move along.

Stu on Tour

We interrupt our regular diet of D&D movie trivia, geekdom and other twoddle to bring you this announcement.

I'm going off on hols on the 9th 'til the 25th, going back to Dundee initially and then the Shetlands, and then back to Dundee. I've finally got my approval (it took my boss two weeks and much prodding to tell me it'd be approved - we have a close relationship here), and soon it'll be time to start packing again.

Which is good because Leicester is swiftly turning into the most boring place on Earth where my routine is go to work, come home, eat, watch TV, bed, intersperced with going to the gym or swimming.

So - this time, don't be out the country, on holiday, ill, absent, abducted or whatever.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I knew it!

Outcast Genius
65 % Nerd, 69% Geek, 56% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in all three, earning you the title of: Outcast Genius.

Outcast geniuses usually are bright enough to understand what society
wants of them, and they just don't care! They are highly intelligent
and passionate about the things they know are *truly* important in the
world. Typically, this does not include sports, cars or make-up, but it
can on occassion (and if it does then they know more than all of their
friends combined in that subject).

Outcast geniuses can be very lonely, due to their being
outcast from most normal groups and too smart for the room among many
other types of dorks and geeks, but they can also be the types to
eventually rule the world, ala Bill Gates, the prototypical Outcast


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in either of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality

Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 71% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 92% on geekosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 91% on dork points
Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid

Sunday, August 28, 2005

D&D2: The Verdict

So - is it as bad as the original?

No, but then what could be?

D&D The Elemental Might is a direct-sequel to the first D&D movie unfortunately. But it doesn't explain the dire ending to the dire D&D1.

Unforunately it's still set in Izmier (which is now a Kingdom complete with king, not an Empire with an empress - but hey, what's continuity?). And they've forgotten that the kingdom has a golden rod that controls gold dragons, which is a bit of a problem as that kind of mojo is very handy when a very nasty firebreathing black dragon turns up to threaten Izmir.

In another bout of amazing continuity Bruce Payne's villain, Damador, is now a wizard, rather than the toadying warrior sidekick he was in D&D1. And he's undead, because he explains he was cursed by Jeremy Iron's wizard Ibu-Profien (despite the fact that in the first movie Damador was last seen hurtling towards the pavement very, very quickly. Maybe undead-pizza wasn't going to be a very threatening villain).

Anyway, in order to get over his bout of undeadness Damador finds this orb that allows him to awaken the black dragon, and the city of Izmir arranges a party of five adventurers, a knight (read fighter), a rogue, a cleric (of Obad-Hai, that well known Greyhawk... er Izmir... deity), a wizard and a barbarian to go off an get the orb back.

Yup - the plot is pretty cliched, but it's fairly solid unlike the first film. It's definitely on par with Hawk the Slayer (which I like) and has a fair amount of D&D elements in it. And no stupid beholders.

The guy who plays the knight is pretty good as they've realised that using actors with British accents rather than Californian drawls makes for a more authentic medieval experience. Who knew? He's also married to (a different and English accented) wizard which makes me suspect he was meant to be Ridley and the mage from the first film in the original scripts and they didn't bother to change the names.

Everyone gets stuff to do in this film, unlike the last one where most the characters sat around going, "They must do this alone" while the main pair bumbled around. Even the mage-wife gets a hefty dose of plot. And the rogue is pretty competent.

There are very few fight scenes in this movie - the ones there are seem to be over very, very quickly. The best one if about 5 minutes into the movie and it is a sparring match between the kniggit and some peon. There is no final battle to speak of - the heroes just spook the baddie's horse and he falls off it and he's arrested. And stuck in jail. And that's it. Enough said.

Now go hence and find someone to make Dragonlance into a trilogy of movies.


Or They Said Lightning Never Strikes Twice... They Lied! They Lied!

Many of you will know of the Dungeons and Dragons movie - a film which has a place in everyone's heart. If they suffer from some affliction of the heart. Some of you have even sat through the excellent "Stu and Alex's Commentary" version of this film, which I am told is more enjoyable than the original film. Some folk I know even got a refund when seeing it in the cinema as they didn't show the Lord of the Rings trailer.

They've made a sequel.

Worse yet, I have managed to get an early copy of this inevitable train wreck. Look at the poster...

Note the lack of blue lipstick on the all-too familiar baddie.

In preparation for this thankfully all too uncommon event I've inflicted my DVD of D&D1 on my housemate - including the wonderful D&D cameo deleted scene where you see Jeremy Irons hamming it up one second, and the next second after "cut" is called walking off the set realising what a terrible B-movie his Oscar winning Shakespearean self has been contractually manoeuvered into making.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday's Cool Link: Leeroy Jones

The Adventures of the Paladin Leeroy Jones. High geek content but so funny - especially "At least I've got chicken."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Financial Leper 2: The Curse of the Deadly Revenge of Vengeance Caused by Mild Upset

So, my day of financial woe continued.

On Saturday I discovered that my bank statements, which I have never seen since I first moved to Leicester, were being delivered to No. 31 in my street. As I'm a 13 (gee, can you spot the data entry problem there?) this has made it a little difficult to check my finances. I only discovered this thanks to the ever-so-clever postman who reasoned that since another letter for me was going to 13, maybe this one was as well.

I reasoned that perhaps the reason my phone order was declined was because my address and my account's address are not quite the same. Either roads it was something I needed to fix ASAP.

Anyroads, if you've read my blog before you know that the Bank of Scotland branch in Leicester is useless. Their stock answer to any question is to tell you to use the phone-banking service. After all they can't do money transfers, standing orders, or even allow me to query my account statements on their computer. It hardly seemed likely they could allow me to change my address.

In fact it seemed as probable as the teller saying, "For the inconvenience here is an extra 5 million for your account. And have my wife thrown in as a bonus too."

Realising this I used the BoS phone banking service. Since it would save me a trip down to the city centre only to be told to use the phone service. However the wifie on the phone informed me they couldn't change my address for me - the only way I could change my address was by popping into my branch...

... which is 365 miles or so away.

Needless to say I was somewhat vexed.

So she qualified by saying I could pop into any branch of the BoS and get my address changed.

Needless to say I was cynical, due to my previous experience with Leicester's muppet squad branch.

Blind-faith at the ready I popped into the BoS in Friar Lane, Leicester, after work. I walked up to the teller, noting that for a change there was no enormous queue and equally enormous wait which would culminate in said stock answer involving a phone and me possibly smashing the glass in an attempt to insert their phone service into the teller.

I smiled politely and informed the teller of the minor clerical error which meant total strangers were getting their mits on my financial information. He looked at me like I had two heads and...

get this...

no really...

here's the twist...

you won't see it coming...

you will laugh...

no I don't have 5 million sitting in my account...

it's not that sort of twist...


give me a minute to compose myself...

the words are forming...

He told me...


I'm not mad you know...

Well, not mad in the loss of sanity, perhaps loss of temper though...

Enough already...

He told me to use the phone banking service!

Now - I'm normally a nice, polite person but I would describe myself as swiftly becoming "stroppy" with said fellow. Minorly irked, a bit hacked off, riled, prickly, upset, vexed. I was all those things. At the same time.

I politely informed him that it was said phonebanking service that had told me that this branch, being a branch of the Bank of Scotland, would be able to ensure the reversal of the numbers "31" to "13". He remained steadfast that, despite being a bank, a Bank of Scotland bank, which by definition deals with bank accounts, they could not deal with this.

I know - perhaps the maths of reversing 2 digits is a little beyond Leicester's branch.

Or maybe their brains are wired so they can't do it. A sensible precaution to stop £5,000,000 becoming £0,000,005. None the less he seemed adamant, nay crystal clear that phonebanking could deal with this. I however was more adamant, more crystal clear. In fact I was certain! So he said he'd get the relevant form for me.

The "form" I had to fill in was a piece of paper, taken, I suspect from their printer. I'd wager it's a dot-matrix, given how up to date and on the ball the branch is.

A blank piece of paper. I'd to put my account number and details in, and he would forward it on to the Broughty Ferry branch. So I scribbled down the basic concepts of how to reverse "31" into "13". I even went so far as to explain it in English.

After this I queried him that the process of changing my address would take 7-8 days to come through (though I suspect that's if the branch is working at peak efficiency and no-one increases the level of sedatives in their water-cooler beyond normal levels). Unfortunately they couldn't provide any confirmation if it went through, but if I got my bank statement delivered next month it might be a good indicator, if a little late if the opposite happened.

Fairly certain said piece of paper would not disappear into whatever filing system they keep I wandered away, muttering words like "incompetent" and "idiots" and contemplating all the various other banks in Leicester I could open an account with that might save me the trouble of taxing the minds of Leicester's Bank of Scotland branch.

I returned home, and phoned up the Carphone Warehouse people and it turns out Mare wins the grand prize for guessing correctly - I'm not quite yet on the electoral roll. However if I got to a Carphone Warehouse shop with 2 proofs of address they will run a credit check which will probably not end in me being labelled a big risk.

Wow - what a long rant.

Financial Leper

Having not got my new phone from Carphone Warehouse I emailed customer care and got the following gem:-

"I am sorry to hear that you have not received your order you requested on the 18th August 2005.

Having investigated your customer account. I am sorry to inform you that your order was declined. Please be advised we have sent you an email to inform you this on the 18th August 2005."

No reason - no justification - no clue. I'm certainly good for £10 a month, but it may be that I've only just moved.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


My japanese name is 原 Hara (wilderness) 翔 Shou (soar).
Take your real japanese name generator! today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Technology - who'd use it!

I've joined the ranks of the passport holders since my passport arrived by courier on Saturday morning. I'm also waiting on getting a funky new phone to replace my old one, given it only recharges its battery after about 60 or 70 failed attempts. The charger interface has just never been working 100%. Thing is it was supposed to be next day delivery (or 2-3 day delivery) and I've had no word so far on it.

The Stu Mobile is sick - the horn is working less than half the time. I've been over to the local garage and they reckon its the switches on the steering wheel, not the horn itself, which means a bit of a job to replace the switch. Of course my car is supposed to have a 3 year warranty but my experience with Arnold Clark has been less than positive so far. I've a 10% discount card on all repairs and servicing which has not applied to any repairs and servicing I've received so far so I expect my warranty will doubtless only cover work done at Arnold Clark shops, or some other small print, of which there are no shops in Leicester.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Kingdom of the Most Majestic Stu

I've been playing Nation States, which I found out about on Life 60 Degrees North. It's a game where you create a nation and each day a moral issue is posted to the web. You answer it and it determines your nation. Without further ado:-

The Kingdom of the Majestic Stu

Keep track of this every day - the country will change.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Alton Towers Photos

Finally uploaded the in-ride photos of Alton Towers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Dr Stu on Dr Who

Just watched the first McCoy episode, Time and the Rani, on UK Gold (mmm... Sky Plus means I can watch shows that come on at 7am). I watched all the Colin Baker ones except the Dalek one which they didn't show.

Sorry Brad, but Colin's Doctor is awful.

Trial of a Timelord makes next to no sense. He pushes people into acid baths, fires guns and just generally acts like a roleplaying character with a very arrogant player.

However McCoy was brilliant during the first episode. Little things like solemnly taking his hat off when he accidentally led a monster to be blown up on a mine, while Colin Baker would've arrogantly swanned off making some sort of intellectual quib with as many words as his peripetatic diction would allow consummation of.

Mind you it's still not all grins, all Bonnie Langford seems to be there for is to scream at an annoyingly high pitch. I'm sure it will be a plot-point one of these days - maybe they'll need to break some glass.

Careful What You Say

I've ordered a mega cool 1 Gig MP3 player from Aria last night and am looking forward to getting it. One of the many cool features is it acts as a dictophone so I may do some audio-blogging while I'm on my hols and I can record the many, many witty conversations we have in the office. Can't wait to violate some human rights. And start calling the player "Diane".

Monday, August 15, 2005

More Office Humour

By demand from certain parties, more office humour involving B.


"Ben Shui"

"Ben Shui", not to be confused with "Feng Shui" is B.'s way of making a student-proof nest that discourages students from bothering him by making his office as inaccessible as possible without a five mile hike.

You might have noticed we redecorated the CW303 office. We got l-shaped desks. We chucked out old disgusting furniture, like B.'s old bookshelf.

B. when he got back on holiday couldn't live without it, as he has nothing to hide behind when students come in. B. stormed out the office suddenly and dragged said old bookcase into the office, placing it against the wall and then moving his l-shaped desk against the bookcase. I've a diagram for your reference... I also used to have photos of him struggling to stretch across his desk to reach books in the shelf, only to discover the desk completely blocked them. I deleted them for more interesting photos.

B. also put his partition at a 45 degree angle until he realised he couldn't get out of his chair, get out of his office space (once we shoved the spare chair he demanded for visitors in front of him).

Sadly the unique Ben Shui can no longer be seen as he eventually realised. However he managed to spend 2 days fiddling with his bookshelf non-stop


On the clock

B. sends round a high priority/urgent email that is going to take the student problem's database offline at 12 for 15 minutes. Not sure if it's 12am or 12pm (so he can take it off precisely at midday) he asks to make sure. Then at midday he tries to take it offline and edit it but the server has crashed.

Yelling about how unfair it is, and cussing and swearing like a sergeant-major B. has a kiddy-style tantrum and storms out of the office. One of these days I will get a movie file of these tantrums.


The Mary Whitehouse Experience (or the first time I suspected B. had lost his marbles)

Ben said one of the previous escapees from our office used to keep porn in the office.

Yes I was cynical.

But B. told me this was true.

Porn including such titles as "FHM", "Maxim" etc.

Now, if like me you were labouring under the impression that such things were not actually porn you were obviously wrong... at least according to Mr B.

B (pulling out copy of Maxim and shoving centre-fold in my face): "Look, dirty isn't it? Ugh, ugh..." (various other disturbing noises. I'm fairly certain he used the word, "Dirty" like the weird cleaner on that episode of Black Books)

S (rather dumfounded and shocked that B. would shove something he considers porn in my face): "Err... isn't that a lad mag. I mean she does have clothes on."

B: "Yes but its so offensive." (proceeds to show several other "pornographic" images to me and puts magazines back neatly in the cupboard).

S: "B. if you're so offended by them, why haven't you thrown them out. It's not like he's going to come back for 4 magazines from last year."

B: "..."


Today's excitement is that last night B. was on University Road when a lady of the night propositioned him. And naturally he thought we'd all want to know about this.

S: "So were you so offended enough to call the police on her?"

B: "No, that's not my job."


Friday, August 12, 2005


My Nemesis photo came in the post yesterday. I looked very very sick in it. I shall try to provide a scan of it at some point.

Office Humour

Some more wit from real conversations in the office. It helps if you're a programmer or read Dilbert...

In conversation about the on-line marking system we run:-


S: "I'm a little concerned about your marking system, B. No-one else understands it."
B: "That's fine."
S: "But, what if you were run over by a bus or something."
B: "Well they could just go back to using the old paper system. It's fine."
S: "So why replace it in the first place, especially since maintaining it seems to take all your time."
B: "..."


S: "How do you use the constants TRUE and FALSE in PHP?"
B: "Oh, I don't use constants. I use 1 and 0 in my code."
S: "I could believe that."


Oh, and this gem ties into the whole TRUE and FALSE thing...

B: "I should do the Software Engineering module. I have an MSc in Software Engineering."
Various People in the Office: "Shame you never learned anything obviously."


S enquires if B thinks he's a team player since he treats everyone else in the office like they were scum and villainy.

B (paraphrased): "Yes, I'm a team player, I just don't like unnecessary communication. I think people should communicate as little as is necessary. We need less effective communication."


B (paraphrased): "My blasted CD-R drive doesn't work under Windows XP. I need Nero."
S: "Say, you have a CD-R drive. Why do you make poor U. burn all the CDs for the students on his computer?"
B (paraphrased): "Well, it's my CD-R, I paid for it and brought it in, I don't see why I should do it. Burning CDs isn't my job."
G. the Sysadmin fellow in the office looks at B. oddly.

(Page 3 of the Job Description: "assist with occasional teaching related jobs, including... creating of departmental software CD-ROMs...")


In a discussion about answering student queries

B: "They'll need to employ someone else to do that."

(Page 2 of the Job Description: "Assist in providing a drop-in troubleshooting service for students run by the Department...")


I've never seen anyone have so many convincing arguments for their own redundancy.