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Monday is my birthday, and to celebrate Jane is going to show me around Paris for a long weekend. We're off tomorrow morning, and arriving back on my actual Birthday (Monday), which is _also_ the anniversary of the first time she hugged me (after she came to the airport to meet me off the plane back from my trip around the Southlands).

I arrived home to discover that she had made this wonder in the living room:


And I am looking forward to being allowed to open any of the things underneath it!

(Jim is being left with strict instructions that he is not allowed to eat any of the boxes. Or the tree. Or be sick on any of them. Or peek inside.)

Interesting Links for 17-08-2017

Aug. 17th, 2017 12:00 pm
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The Blood is the Life for 17-08-2017

Aug. 17th, 2017 11:00 am
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Interesting Links for 16-08-2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:00 pm
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The Blood is the Life for 16-08-2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:00 am
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Interesting Links for 15-08-2017

Aug. 15th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Esoterrorists is a game I've looked at and found quite interesting, from some excellent designers, but have never run:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Esoterror2017


"Revived from November 2015, this collection features The Esoterrorists by Robin D. Laws (Feng Shui, HeroQuest, Hillfolk) from Pelgrane Press. As an investigator for the benevolent secret conspiracy Ordo Veritatis, you defend modern-day reality against a loose network of occult terrorists, the Esoterrorists, who try to weaken the protective Membrane and summon Unremitting Horrors from the Outer Dark. The Esoterrorists was the first RPG to use Robin's GUMSHOE System (seen in Trail of Cthulhu, Night's Black Agents, and many other RPGs of detection and mystery).
We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders and music players.
Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to the charity chosen by Pelgrane Press co-owner Simon Rogers, Cancer Research UK.
The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$106. Customers who pay just US$8.95 get all four titles in our Player's Collection (retail value $44) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • The Esoterrorists 2nd Edition (retail price $15): The original GUMSHOE System investigative game of sinister occult conspiracies. We also include The Esoterrorists 1st Edition (retail $9), because Pelgrane gave it to us so why not?
  • The Esoterror Factbook (retail $15): An indispensable reference for assets, protocols, psychogeography, Membrane permeability, and Techno-Macho Utterances.
  • Dissonance - Music for Esoterrorists (retail $5): Four atmospheric tracks by composer James Semple encompassing suspense, action, and horror for The Esoterrorists or any modern mystery game. Includes the music that introduces the ENnie-winning podcast Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $17.95 to start, also get our entire Gamemaster's Collection with seven more titles worth an additional $62:
  • The Esoterror Summoning Guide (retail $10): The Ordo Veritatis summarizes what it knows of the enemy's world-threatening methods.
  • Book of Unremitting Horror (GUMSHOE version, retail $15): A boundary-crossing collection of truly disturbing modern monsters.
  • Albion's Ransom: Little Girl Lost (retail $9) and Worm of Sixty Winters (retail $9): A complete two-part campaign of battle against a climate catastrophe in northern England.
  • The Love of Money (retail $10): A full-length campaign investigating Esoterrorist funding sources, and what they're doing with all that rhodium.
  • Profane Miracles (retail $5): Leonard (Fate Core) Balsera's fast-paced investigation of a millionaire supposedly raised from the dead.
  • Six Packed (retail $4): A gruesome revenge killing in a London slaughterhouse leads to a terrible threat from the Outer Dark.
There's going to be at least one item added after launch: When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early."

This is a fun system and I think it's pretty good value - but as usual (especially when I recommend things) I have to point out that I get this stuff free if I want it, your opinion may differ.

Home again, home again...

Aug. 14th, 2017 05:31 pm
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[personal profile] ffutures
Didn't get to the Dead Dog in the end - there was a huge crowd waiting outside when I got to the hotel where it was being held and I got the impression it was going to be very crowded if I ever got inside. Ended up going into town for a meal with friends. At which point, wanting to take a couple of pictures of the architecture of Helsinki Station, I discovered that my little Fujitsu bridge camera appears to be dead. I could have used my iPhone but for some reason it never occurred to me, so I've ended up with no photos of Helsinki. I hope it's just bad batteries, charging them now and crossing my fingers, but I've a feeling it's more serious.

My flight home turned out to be an hour earlier than I thought so there wasn't really time to do any sightseeing today - plus the most direct route to the airport was the station near the convention centre so I didn't need to go back to Helsinki station anyway. For Dublin in 2019 I really must add a couple of days one side or another of the con to do some proper touristy things.

Got home about five to the usual pile of mail - unfortunately the battery for the Eos 400D I got hasn't arrived, so I can't test it yet. But everything else is OK so far, I had a pretty good time, and given the total cost of the con (and food at the convention centre) the dead camera (if it is) is about two extra meals worth of annoyance rather than a huge disaster.

later - forgot to mention something announced at the closing ceremony: the predicted membership was around 3000, in line with previous worldcons in non-English speaking countries. Instead they got a hell of a lot more - I think they said 5800 plus, the second biggest membership ever. The reason for the initial confusion with room sizes was that all of the arrangements were made with the lower figure in mind, most of the excess signed up in the last couple of weeks before the con.

I have no idea what caused this, but they did handle it reasonably well once the initial panic was over.

Interesting Links for 14-08-2017

Aug. 14th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Instead, I was seen by a doctor last night at the Out of Hours service, who checked with the Eye Pavillion, who told me to come in at 2pm today. So Jane got me there in one piece (crossing roads and navigating festival-goers being tricky when any change of brightness causes intense pain), the doctor checked it was nothing unexpected, and that my iris was not stuck to my cornea (like last time), and then handed me some Maxidex and Cyclopentolate. The former reduces inflammation, the latter stops anything sticking to anything else while it recovers.

It's a pain, because I have to take the Maxidex hourly for the next two days, then 6 times a day for a week, then 4 times a day for a week, then thrice daily for a week, twice daily for a week, once daily for a week, and then I can finally stop. So I've installed an app on my phone to tell me when I should, and am letting that worry about it for me.

Also, the Cyclopentolate seems to cause my eye to focus slightly less well, so for the week I'm using that I suspect I'll have a bit of a headache (as I do now).

But! I am not in as much pain as I was, and my eye is probably not going to explode. So yay!

Interesting Links for 13-08-2017

Aug. 13th, 2017 12:00 pm

Restarting the writing

Aug. 12th, 2017 09:55 pm
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I've been meaning to write more for ages. But nothing quite seems important to share, which frankly is a pretty silly approach to take.

So, I'm going to try writing more:
Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon, as projected onto the inside of the dome at Dynamic Earth was entertaining, but largely because of the music. The graphics were, frankly, the kind of thing I used to see in 1990s demoscene disks. Basically a more modern take on this kind of thing. Which isn't _bad_ per se. But it was pretty uninspired, and not up to the quality you'd expect Pink Floyd to demand.

The local council are great. Well, when it comes to emergency sewage problems. Where the drain outside the back of the building flooded, leaving raw sewage coming in under the back door to the block. I paid for it to be cleared, and they couldn't, so I got my insurers involved. And they told me I'd need to get everyone in the block onside to pay for their share. And then Mandy at work recommended I talk to the council, who had someone here within two hours to say "Yup, that's a health hazard, and it affects multiple homes", and then had an emergency team out three hours later who had plans of where the drains were, found drain covers _under the grass_ and sorted it all out. And will now bill everyone in the building separately, so I don't have to worry about that!

The NHS are great. Because I have a recurrence of uveitis, which flared up over the last 24 hours. Previous occurrences were in October 2012, in January 2014, and in February 2015 (links more for my own future reference than anything else). Happened a week after seeing my family, and coincided with my IBS playing up, which may be A Thing. Anyway, I called the 24 hotline for non-emergencies, and they've given me an appointment at 23:10 at the Western General hospital, so I'll be leaping onto a bus in 45 minutes to be seen at the Assessment & Rehabiliation Centre.

Jane is lovely. And came on holiday with me and my family (parents, my brothers, and their partners/children), played lots of board games, went for walks with dogs, and is about to come to the hospital with me to keep me company. (Actual holiday post to follow at some point. Possibly even with pictures of dogs).

Work is good. And I am currently involved in multiple things I am enjoying, and stretch me. Favourite things of the last year or so are getting to learn PowerShell in a fair amount of depth, and finally getting to fix a bad design decision I made circa 2008 and remove a huge amount of duplicate code.

Worldcon 2019

Aug. 12th, 2017 11:21 pm
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[personal profile] ffutures
Another good day at the con, they seem to have got their act together on putting programs into rooms that are large enough to hold them.

Heard at the end of the first panel that Dublin has won the 2019 bid, as expected, so should be headed over there in about two years. Some fun guests including Diane Duane and Steve Jackson.

And both of my program appearances went well, including the fanfic one that worried me a bit. Tomorrow's the last day, but I want to stay for the dead dog party in the evening so won't head home until Monday afternoon. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see the sights a bit before I go.

Interesting Links for 12-08-2017

Aug. 12th, 2017 12:00 pm

The Blood is the Life for 12-08-2017

Aug. 12th, 2017 11:00 am
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Hugos

Aug. 11th, 2017 07:27 pm
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 Waiting for the Hugo award ceremony to start. No wifi in this hall so will post from my phone if I can. I'll add the winners as announced as comments on Dreamwidth. Live journal users should read them on Dreamwidth.

later - read the full list here: http://file770.com/?p=36918

Friday Five

Aug. 11th, 2017 03:35 pm
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(questions via [community profile] thefridayfive)

1) What is the most outrageous style you've ever rocked?

When I was a young 'un, there was that brief period when shell suits were incredibly fashionable, but before they had been discovered to be ridiculously dangerously flammable, and we had a non-uniform day at school. Every single other person in my class came in a shell suit. Some of them had those colour change t-shirts that showed your armpit sweat even worse than grey marl does. I wore cut-off denim hot pants, fishnet tights, an Alice Cooper t-shirt and a leather biker jacket.

I think that tells you everything you need to know about my attitude to fashion.


2) As a teen, were you an emo, goth, punk, grunger, or prep?

Um. I never could be bothered with the make-up requirements for goth, but I suspect I tended more that way in other respects, with bits of punk and grunger too. I mean, I never did do the blue stonewash jeans classic rocker look, I always wore black and purple.


3) Have you ever had a crazy hairstyle/colour?

Ever since I was 18 right up until the present. I'm normally one or more of blue, purple, or pink, but I've been other colours too. Went jet black once; didn't like it.


4) Do you think we ever really grow out of our teen selves?

I certainly haven't. But then I was quite elderly in outlook from about the age of 18 months, so... (this is possibly down to the autism, which obvs was undiagnosed when I was a young 'un.


5) Is there any fashion style you wish you could wear but maybe don't have the confidence?

It's not the confidence, it's the tolerance for pain. I wish I could wear halter neck tops, but my boobs are so heavy that they give me horrific neck ache within seconds of putting them on.

Interesting Links for 11-08-2017

Aug. 11th, 2017 12:00 pm

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