Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Rimmer Stu Experience...

I've uploaded some photies of the new pad, some fencing ones that might as well get backed up, and some general Leicester photos on my photo blog. So I uploaded all the stuff I should've uploaded months ago, fixed links broken due to an "upgrade" and added in a video blog which contains lots of videos. I don't appear in many thankfully!

The Old Blowhard Dr. Stu on Dr. Who

During the Big Move (tm) I thought I'd continue my commentary on Doctor Who. Because I'm like that.

Wow - now that was an improvement over the previous episodes! Best episode of the season not counting the Xmas Special, this episode had real emotion between the Doctor and his old companion, marred only by soap operaness from Billie Piper and the inevitable catfight between SJS and Billie. Maybe its me but they do the Doctor some injustice by bringing this level of sexual tension into the companion relationship. It really makes the Doctor a -very- dirty old man!

Anthony Head was wasted - he should've been the Master. Mind you they might reuse him, though given this isn't a RTD episode they probably won't. The whole alien plot was interesting. For once they weren't just trying to steal money, and what was especially good was when Giles was tempting the Doctor the opportunity to play god and resurrect the Time Lords. Though why doesn't everyone try cracking that mathematical algorithm? I know I'd have a try if no-one else does, and I certainly have the imagination of a child!

Rose loses even further points in my book when she had the gall to pull a face when Mickey finally signed up as part of the Tardis crew. Rose is really due for a serious slapping right? Well done Mickey! You've obviously done the maths!

Since roughly 50%-75% of the episodes take place in the present day he is only in slightly more danger by actually accompanying the Doctor. And he will get to see all the amazing places they talk about that they went to between episodes. I just hope he gives the other two a reality check and doesn't end up dealt with as brusquely as poor, dumb Adam.

K-9 didn't get a lot of screentime, and given he seems relatively immortal I don't understand why the Doc doesn't take him along for the ride. I wonder if this spin-off will actually be connected to the Doctor Who series and feature SJS?

Oh, and if you want to see something really gross I tracked down this link to my least favourite Doctor on Wikipedia. Amazing what learning can do.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Moving On...

Most of my boxes have been moved thanks to Al and his very large car boot, and after breaking for a pub lunch at the Old Horse (did I mention I like that pub) I unpacked all the vital components in my new flat.

So I unpacked the TV and DVD.

Then I checked my inventory, tried to read my metres and tried to hoover up a lot of the dust that seems to have permeated the flat.

Nothing major has gone wrong but it seems I'll need to buy a freezing unit, a decent hoover and learn how on Earth my heating system works and see about getting a phone/broadband/TV system fitted before I go criminally insane. And get rid of some stuff as space is a little tight.

Other than that all is well and its going to be an interesting long weekend.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'm not insane, dammit!

From the Cthulhu SaniTest

Your SaniTest(TM) Results

Your score is: 139

For easier understanding, the HPLHS SaniTest assessment algorithm converts your raw score to a scale of 1 to 10. This number is your INSANITY INDEX.

INSANITY INDEX 7.92 Well, that's a pretty high score, although safely away from the really scary end of the madness scale. Your score indicates that you are extremely delirious. You may be prone to disordered speech, confusion, and paranoid delusions. (Although president George W. Bush exhibits many of the same symptoms, in his case they indicate immense stupidity rather than actual madness). Other notable people who score at this level include actor William Shatner and former surgeon general C. Everett Koop.

This quiz also ends with a page of nutbags that proves Six Foot Hobbit is also a cylon. So far two humanoid models have been uncovered by me, Napoleon's #1 soldier. Ribbit, gibbit.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Some Sharpe and Witty Commentary, Plus Dr. Stu on Dr. Who

Once again I post my opinions on what I've been watching lately...

Sharpe's Challenge - Fantastic! I can't believe they got Mr. Moviestar Bean back for this, but thank goodness they did.

Part One felt a bit like Sharpe by numbers, with the following elements culled from every Sharpe story, including:-

1) Wellington charges Sharpe with a mission
2) Intelligence guy briefs Sharpe and gives him a more personal reason for going forth and being heroic
3) Violent and nasty Sergeant that is a clone of Hakeswell and doesn't mind murdering a Colonel with little provocation.
4) Simmerson, the most incompetent general ever, is in charge of the operation and makes every decision incorrectly. How on Earth did he go from retirement in Sharpe's Regiment (my favourite of the old series except for Sharpe's Justice, also set in corrupt old England) to being posted in India?
5) Vaguely competent middle-ranking officers who respect Sharpe but have to obey Simmerson
6) Seemingly impenetrable fort
7) Evil renegade officer that is a mirror of Sharpe, played by another Pierce Brosnan Bond villain no less!
8) French dudes

They even conveniently made poor Sharpe single again so he could sleep around and then he didn't even get the girl in the end. Also I don't remember Sharpe or Harper verbally bitch-slapping Simmerson in previous episodes, so good on them, though I began to feel by this point in part 1 that the script was someone's Sharpe fanfic.

The move from Spain to India was quite jarring in this, and I must confess my knowledge of the India campaigns is even less than that of the Napoleonic campaigns.

Part Two however was fantastic from the get-go, though Simmerson was pushed aside abruptly half way through. This was without a doubt the best an episode of Sharpe has ever looked (Sharpe's Waterloo suffered from budget cuts and recycling footage from Waterloo the movie). The Forlorn Hope, breaching etc. was done much more spectacularly than in any of the old series, and the end fight put me in mind of Rob Roy's climax. Slightly.

Definitely getting burned onto DVD tonight!

Incidentally, another picture of Sharpe from a parallel dimension...

Doctor Who - Argh. Where to start?

New Earth was barely ok as it was a little too camp for my liking. There's only so much "Ooh, now I'm a man. Look I have new bits" that I can take. This is supposed to be Doctor Who, not a cruder version of Red Dwarf.

As said the plot ended very deus-ex-machina and I did wonder how those plague zombies survived, and how on earth were the viruses only spread by touch, not by air? Surely all the air in the hospital isn't completely sterile particularly when being hammered with every disease ever (which isn't the best way to run controlled experiments)?

I suppose it is the year 5 billion...

Which is the other problem with this, by 5 billion surely even the grass itself should've evolved, much less humanity, into something completely unrecognisable. Without the nostalgia for the current era as well.

At least I hope by 5 billion people have more important things to worry about than suspiciously 20th Century style dinner parties on suspiciously 20th century film projectors, genitalia, and naming cities after civilisations 5 billion years ago.

It does seem to be typical of Russell T. Davies that he writes the more inferior scripts in the series full of toilet humour and jokes more belonging in his Queer as Folk show. For example Boom Town was very silly with the "date" for the condemned Slitheen (god please don't use them again!), don't even get me started on the Big Brother one (again, it's the distant future, BB is hopefully by then a long forgotten slump in TV history), though the final episode showed promise even if the Bad Wolf thingy was completely pointless.

Tooth and Claw was better episode was better but it suffered from

a) kung-fu monks for no reason. Now obviously one line explaining all the monks were Glasweigan would have sufficed. :)

The monks were doubtless hard, but how did they know kung-fu? What happened to them at the end of the episode? After all, once the wolf was dead the heroes still had to deal with fire-arm wielding kung-fu fighting monks who seemed quite capable of preventing them from leaving the manor. Seems like this is a future episode, or (more likely) a forgotten plot-thread.

b) More RTD silliness for silliness's sake - the "nakedness", remarks about the laird and his masculine evil-kung-fu-fighting-turned-evil-butler-oh-god-I'm-out-of-hyphens, and most especially the let's get the Queen to say "We are not amused" over a £10 bet after just watching a man get ripped to shreds tested my believability over what was otherwise a scary episode.

c) Not very Victorian - some of the things Doc and Rose said would get them ostracized from most polite Victorian society muchless 'er maj's. And I suppose as someone pointed out, it did at the end.

However it had some clever ideas in it. Are they leaning towards making the Doc and Rose far too "laugh in the face of danger" until they get some sort of reality check? God I hope so, 'cos I can only take so much Billie Piper. I am beginning to think they need to ditch her and give Tennant his own companion.

Call of Stuthulhu

I have this game and I'm not afraid to play it. Honest. Until the giant worms show up.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Return (again)

The dark grey overcast sky, the hooting of horns behind you when someone fails to immediately pull off from a green light, being stuck behind a 10 mph road sweeper on a blind bend, sudden stopping buses and suicidal pedestrians reminded me I was in Leicester as I drove to work this morning.

I managed 8 hours yesterday despite being stuck behind some awful learner driver outside Matalan's in Dundee :) and got back in time to watch the new Sharpe, which is pretty good.

Other than that Uni is still very quiet with the kids all gone for the hols, the office is in disarray and I'm cooking up things to do to keep me occupied before the big move on Friday.

Other news - I have set up a radioblog playlist so people can hear all the weird music I like to listen to. It can be heard here or on the link on the side.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


I picked up the Red Dwarf VII DVD recently because it had a special feature reconstructing a forgotten episode and I realise how much I'd forgotten how good the show was. And that my favourite episode was "Stoke Me A Clipper", though anything with Ace Rimmer in it was excellent.

There's something fantastic about watching the opening sequence of the episode with Ace diving out of the plane on a plastic crocodile, fighting Nazis and rescuing the princes. And then there's a medieval bit with lots of jousting. Top episode.

True Red Dwarf VI, VII and VIII had some forgettable episodes, like "Rimmer World", "Beyond a Joke" or the very last episode of the series (what was that about with Death?). It definitely belongs on the list of shows I wish they'd renew, along with Twin Peaks, Robin of Sherwood and Babylon 5: Crusade.

Recently I finally managed to go back to the Union with my amigos and we spent the evening playing a really sad Red Dwarf quiz (it was either that or gay kissing chicken, so I thought we did really well by opting to be sad rather than camp).

To give you some examples of the questions, here's a bunch of brainteasers to see if you are sad enough to drink with us...

1. In the beginning of the episode Dimension Jump Ace Rimmer meets 4 characters before embarking on his adventure. Which one of those characters does not say "What a guy" in the episode?

2. Who sang the song "High Noon" during the episode Queeg?

3. What is Stuart's favourite joke involving weaponry in the episode Angels and Devils? (hint: It involves blades).

4. Who are the team members in Can't Smeg Won't Smeg?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Liberal Lad

I've always thought of myself as socially right-wing and economically left-wing, making me a well balanced central individual overall. Apparently I'm wrong dude.

You are a

Social Moderate
(55% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(11% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

Happy Easter y'all. I am back home, well and truly climatized now thanks to calzone, the Monifieth chipper, several pitchers of bizarre coloured liquid and honest to goodness fresh air!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

From My Inbox

During the 11 hour drive home the following appeared in my Inbox...

Titanic 2: The Film They Never Should Make


Monday, April 10, 2006

Nationals 2006

Got back from the Nationals in Sheffield yesterday and I'm on my way back to Dundee for the first time in 4 months, but I thought I'd pause to tell you about how it went.

This year I didn't play Open Fantasy or D&D, I went for Myths and Legends, an excellent category that better damn well be there next year!

Apparently there is quite a large cross-pollenation between Leicester Uni's fencing and roleplaying society. One chap I met on my first week of fencing was there playing Bloodbowl and the quiz guy from the Ratbar was playing White Wolf. (I play with DeMontfort Uni as I actually know folk in that society).

Proving its an amazingly small world J... from the 2004 flashback was in our group and was in good form, as was the girl with the t-shirt. Also joining me was another J..., a chap from DeMontfort Uni (my current club), Di from Stirling and a lass from Manchester.

First of all Sheffield has a lot more women in it than I remember. Not just women roleplayers but babes judging by the tavern we ensconced ourselves in on Saturday night.

We were staying at the Grosvenor House Hotel about 20 minutes away from the uni. I thought the morning walks were quite pleasant but the hotel itself was pretty pretentious and while it tried to be posh reminded me of a certain cheap working man's hotel in Nottingham. Maybe it was the kebab thrown in the corridor late on Saturday night, or the fact neither of us could get our room open without shoulder barging it, or the fact they insisted on taking my credit card so I could order from the bar and yet refused to serve me on Saturday night.

Minor accomodation issues aside it was quite pleasant, the drink was good and the food we had both days made me feel -very- full. But how were the games I hear you ask? Or is that the voices in my head...?

Day 1 - Pendragon

Pendragon, for those of you not in the know, is a game set in the idealised Arthurian mythos. It's a time when men were knights, women were damsels (often in distress) and it was a time of High Adventure(tm). As we're all knights everyone is subtly different (some a Roman, some are Christian, some are devout, some are not so devout).

The character I played was kind of like Mulder from the X-Files. I was a Pagan (i.e. worshipping nature, goddesses etc.) which meant I believed in faeries at the bottom of the garden, abductions and so forth. The rest of the party were Christian, and unlike most 6th century Christians seemed to feel the urge to act like the Spanish inquisition. They were cynical at best when I tried to persuade them our party had been abducted by Faerie whilst on a mission to rescue some peasants but eventually my superior knowledge and the sheer weight of evidence convinced them.

We jousted fey knights for possession of the peasants, trounced the rogues valiantly as befits Arthurian knights and returned to the land of mortals with glory and renown. Only by pulling a comely wench could the game have gone better.

Day 2 - Robin Hood (7th Sea)

This was interesting, a stripped down version of the 7th Sea system where heroes are so tough they can take on 5 men in one go (I did). We were playing Robin Hood and his Merry Men. I so desperately wanted to play Rob but being a gentleman/idiot (delete as appropriate) ended up as Little John instead.

The scenario was set 20 years after Robin's pardoning and was a brilliant idea for a movie...

Robin Hood vs. Dracula

If they can do Freddie vs. Jason they can do this surely!

Anyroads, muttering about Robin had gone soft and things weren't like the old days we went to Witby to stop a gathering of goths... I mean vampires... from taking over the world. And won. Huzzah. Though at times it did feel the other characters were there to make Robin look good the game was definitely cinematic.

I have photos. Mostly of people wearing bunny ears. Coming soon.

Next year - Edinburgh apparently. Bradford won it again but this time gave it to relative newcomers GEAS to host.

Friday, April 07, 2006

This is the Sickening!

I can't believe these guys slate one of my favourite films. The Director's Cut is much better. Honest.

Nationals Are Coming

Well, I'm nearly off to the Nationals in Sheffield. Unlike the poor saps up north I don't leave until 4pm which means I'm in work today making a pretty Java 3D scene for practice.

In the meantime because I'm leaving sharpish I thought I'd amuse those of you not going with some "Classic Adventures of Stuart Kerrigan" re-runs. For those of you bored or who have have no idea what the Nationals is like, I rooted through my archives to bring you the story of the Nationals 2004, which was in Sheffield. Again.

Hark ye now and hear of a more innocent time, when men were men, women were women and I was pretty much 2 years younger and much the same. Hear of a time before Leicester, and endure a flashback special effect as we go to...

The Student Nationals, Sheffield, April 2004

Every year the University roleplaying societies hold a Student's Nationals where the various clubs duel out over competitive roleplaying (basically roleplaying where DMs arbitrarily decide who is the best). I must have been to 6 of them now, playing farflung categories as Cthulu, D&D, Chivalry (Pendragon - which I actually won!) and now Open Fantasy (basically any fantasy RPG they can find someone to DM).

This year was in Sheffield. I'm familiar with Sheffield's campus as I went to a conference there... or so I thought.

After 7 hours or so on a University minibus that seemed to wobble in the April wind, the first hour of which I discovered my initial chair selection was somewhat dangerous to my pelvic region and chance of having heirs, I was a little bit tired. However others in our party had it worse, including a car which was involved in a crash near Newcastle.

I stayed up to about 2am that night, drinking other people's beer (which always tastes best) before retiring to my bed. I think I did likewise on the Saturday night. Despite my 8:15am wakeup I was surprisingly alert both days. I went to call out the games.

Now, let's take an interlude to explain my attitude towards D&D at the Nationals, and why for the past 2 Nationals I've played in, I have given D&D a mile's breadth...

I've never enjoyed D&D at the Nationals. The first year I did it, in Glasgow, it was exceptionally dull. The first game having obviously been written the night before using dungeon geomorphs (basically random dungeon maps). The second game had obviously had nothing like that much preparation used.

The second year I did it, it was some bizarre PvP scenario, where there were no roleplaying encounters and the only combat beyond some cannon-fodder orcs was with other members of the party, who were secretly all-powerful liches that were a bit indestructible.

Last year I ran the D&D - using retrofitted US RPGA scenarios (no time to write them!) and I hope it was a lot of fun. We had a murder mystery on Saturday and a plot-ridden hackfest on the Sunday (hangovers probably would get in the way of a cerebral Sunday scenario, say that 3 times!)

Suffice it to say I like D&D - hell, I write enough of it, but I will never return to play it at the Nationals. Besides Egor seems to have a monopoly on that category.

Now, I was sharing my thoughts on D&D with my fellow players and DM in the Open Fantasy. As I sat down I peered over the table, only to see the DM set down a set of 3 familar books.

Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide... Monster Manual

But, no, we were not playing D&D, but rather a D20 Renaissance game.

Sounds promising I thought. At least I knew the system.

Suffice it to say that it was D&D. And a dungeon hack, with a suspicious "written the night before" feel to it. Sunday was L5R, a setting I am not really comfortable with.

If a person were to ask me in the street which game I would more likely have enjoyed a campaign of I would have answered D&D, but however it was the L5R that was infinitely superior this weekend.

Now I shall go on to describe my group. Apologies to those who I do not remember the names of.

J... - Older roleplayer, very good. Had an encyclopaedic knowledge of L5R and enough gumption to turn his hand to the characters he was given at. Came in a well-deserved 3rd place, being the only person on our table to win (there are 3 tables of players, and 3 DMs, who decide which players win what). If I'd been picking winners on our table it would have been a toss up between him and...

Je... - Good lass. Very good roleplayer. Overlooked when it comes to prizes, which is a crying shame. Played with Jess in Open Chivalry 2 years ago. I enjoyed it, she didn't. It certainly didn't show at the time however, as I seem to recall her knight, "Rory the Red" being quite memorable. Je... had the good fortune? of playing my wife on the Sunday. Good sport. :)

Foreign Girl - Quiet, but competent. My mind boggled as to why her con badge read, "Do not bother me. I am sleeping." Either she has a very enthusiastic boyfriend, or she just knows roleplayers too well.

Quiet Guy - Quiet Guy knew D&D/D20 and he knew L5R. Therefore he was a pretty competent roleplayer, a kind of quiet and useful type.

S... - The rest of the table (including the DM) were not sure if it was shyness, the effects of alcohol or something else which deserves more understanding than I was capable of at 10am on a Saturday.

S... seemed content to say nothing for the entire game, sitting there, shoving as many M&Ms into her mouth as she could, and occassionally choking on them. At the risk of seeming unkind S... needed to be brought up to speed on what was happening any time she was required to make an action. This usually resulted in her doing something completely random. On the Saturday I dubbed her the 'Random Dwarf Table' given her tendency to fall asleep in combat, look for the kitchen or throw grenades at things we really did not want to grenade. Like engines.

A sample of the random dwarf:-

DM: "Ok - S... there are 20 orcs charging you. What do you do?"

S...: "I'll sleep."

My favourite was on the 2nd day... (dialogue probably changed due to crap memory than to protect the innocent)

DM: "Ok - the evil samurai has approached your shugenja with his sword. If you do not step in between him and the shugenja he will possibly attack him."

S...: "Why would I do that?"

DM: "Because you are his bodyguard?"

S... (learning character's background for the first time despite 45 minute preamble the DM gave us): "I never asked for that!"

DM: "Sorry - I decided this when I was generating the characters."

S...: "No, I will defend myself."

SK to Shugenja: "Sorry dude."

English Dude: English Dude fancied himself as being a gentleman and the leader of the group, that is to say, regardless of which character he was playing. You might have seen him wandering around the pub on the Saturday night with a top hat and cane on. I would like to believe it was a costume, but I could see that as being his normal dress style as well.

He was basically the avatar of everything that I might find annoying. Bossiness, an inability to keep his hands off my character sheet - even to the extent of writing things on it for me, an inability to keep quiet and not offer advice, and so on.

I'm not talking awkward, but rather telling me what to do every time I wasn't sure, and annoyingly enough this makes you look dumb as you simultaenously decide to shoot the monster with your gun to him telling you to do it.

So, there you have it. Of a table of 7, there was me, 4 decent people, 1 oddball and 1 prick.

Saturday's D&D was promising at the start but there was no roleplaying after lunch, only a series of 4 predictable hackfests as our 6th level characters took on baddies that I estimate were around 1st level. Crossbows and muskets proliferated the game to remind us it was renaissance.

Sunday's L5R - which upon learning that was the Sunday's system, I dreaded (previously we'd had an Open Oriental category to catch L5R when Dundee ran the Nationals).

It was fun however. I played a Rank 5 Dragon Magistrate - basically a detective with this barmy idea that Rokuganese courts should consider 'evidence'. However my character had (when played by someone else on Saturday) been discovered to have 0 combat skills, which means any attacks on him automatically succeeded. He was now mediocre at Japanese archery - sadly not something that staves off assassin's blades (which made me wonder how I made rank 5).

It was fun. The party had a pretty decent history together, for instance I was married to Je... who had cheated on me with Quiet Guy (at least it wasn't English Dude), while J... was a pretty fecking competent bodyguard (perhaps explaining why I was rank 5 magistrate, not rank 5 fertiliser). My character was even useful - as it was a murder mystery! Yes - a murder mystery!

The Awards ceremony at the end was mercifully quick. Only 3 out of 20 person team won, and Egor won D&D again, making him insufferably smug. He seems to show remarkable consistency in winning it - though his winning streak was broken last year by him having to DM it.

Sunday saw the minibus depart - and after only a few potential collisions and a few crap exestential conversation with M..., who we quickly discovered is a moron - we arrived in Dundee where the chaps kindly drove me back to Monifieth and my bed by 3am.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Another Weird Link

I have too much time on my hands.

How to traumatise your child.

Taking the Hobbits to Isengard

I've been laid down with the cold that past couple of days. I really shouldn't get the cold. It makes me find songs like this masterpiece. If that doesn't convince you I'm ill, nothing will.