Blog Archive for 2007

  • Duuuude.

    I just had a dream in which I was Liu Bei from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and was taking down jade war-striders using giant spear-lasers.

  • A New Challenger Comes!

    So, LiveJournal, you previously decided that Foxglove was the gayest-looking photo of me on the series of tubes.

  • Attention all Fairies!

    Yes, this means you - Mark, Andy, Eric, Little Andy, Racheet, Domina, Gemma and Mike!

  • A Lovely Image

    Good morning! Here’s a happy image to stay with you for the rest of the day.

  • Woo yay

    I just failed a credit check, god knows how. No new PC, and no Supreme Commander, for me =S

  • Eclipse

    Wooo! Shiny shiny moon ^_^

  • Old Men and Pubs

    Now that dream was… depressing.

  • Ian and Eric's Incredible Beach Adventure!

    Spring is in the air, flowers are blooming; what better time than to begin organising a party in four months’ time? Here goes…

  • Minamicon

    Another year, another three days of anime faggotry alcoholism. And now, despite being thoroughly knackered, I have to go to work and pretend to be conscious.

  • Spoils of Minamicon

    Now, I will break your ears.

  • Hamster Dance

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  • Attention all Changeling Players!

    Changeling Players!

  • Post-LRP

    Yay! Another great Maelstrom event. And now, another day of weirdness and finding it strange talking to people that are not part of the strange shared hallucination.

  • Seasonal Affectiveness

    Spring has come around once more, and almost by surprise has filled me with the same emotions that it always has. Sitting around in a t-shirt and shorts; walking home in the evening as the sun sinks low over the horizon, surrounded by a myriad of flowers; smiling and having fun. Worldly worries just seem so much less worth worrying about now that Spring is here and the long hot days of Summer are on their way.

  • Local Elections

    Tomorrow, I will be voting for this man. I am trying hard to pretend that his facial hair has not influenced my vote.

  • Tonight's Dinner

    Tonight’s dinner:

  • RABIES 3

    Southampton Students / Alumni

  • F4

    So, surfers can be separated from their boards by tachyon beams, eh? Man, the beach is gonna be fun this summer.

  • Coordination Post #123470

    Attention Soton kiddies and associates!
    Taste Bath Planning Thread!

    Right, Taste Bath is in a week's time, so here goes.

    We're booked in to the 12.00 to 4.00 event on Saturday 30th June.

    I have 10 tickets, most of which I think have been paid for.  There are nine people I'm very sure are coming, and two I'm not sure of.  So, if you know which of the bracketed people below is actually coming (or any other changes) please comment:

    Ian, Eric, Andy, Rhiannon, Mark, Lara, Chantelle, Sam, Paul, (Emily), (Paul's Dad).


    It's held in Royal Victoria Park.  There's park-and-ride services for those going by car, and for anyone arriving by train one can catch the X39, 14 or 17 buses.

    So that I can give out tickets and things, and still let us get into the place on time, let's try to meet at 11.30 in front of whatever looks most like a main entrance.

  • It's Been a While

    So, blog. As Claire reminded me, it’s been far too long since I’ve updated this. I’m going to try and stay up-to-date with it from now on, partly to rationalise my thoughts which are somewhat confused at the moment, and partly to see if writing LJ posts stimulates my brain to write actual stories.

  • Headaches of Doom

    I´m off work today, since I´m now on my third day of headaches and rest-of-my-body aches as well. Paracetamol doesn’t seem to work very well, whilst Ibuprofen does, which is kind of odd. Still, since the latter did work, I’m now in that really odd-feeling position of being off work whilst not feeling all that ill.

  • A Week of Software Joy

    So, this week’s been fun. Tuesday and Wednesday were each 14-hour days of doomful preparation for customer visits, which didn’t go awesomely. And they’re back next week.

  • Pregnancy and Pork

    Eric and I went swimming yesterday, and encountered another pregnant lady - cue half-hour impromptu womens’ meeting! I guess pregnancy is top of the list of “things that you can have in common with strangers that you can strike up conversations about”. Anyway, the end result of the meeting is that Eric now has detail for a antenatal fitness class, which might not be a bad idea.

  • Bournemouth Meet Organisation Thread

    Attention Soton Kiddies
    and those generally close to Bournemouth!

    This is the Ultimate
    Bournemouth Meet Organisation Thread
    of Ultimate Destiny!
    Not affiliated with any orgies, destinial or otherwise.

    WHAT?
    Three days of sun, sea, sand, and suffering*, in the wondrous seaside destination that is rainy sunny Bournemouth!  There'll be poi and staff fun, barbecues on the beach, fireworks, food, booze, and other good things!

    * optional

    WHERE?
    Eric's and my flat in Bournemouth.  This Google Map route should show you the way from the station, if you haven't been before, and this one should get you the last few hundred metres by car.

    WHEN?
    The last weekend in July, that's Friday 27th to Sunday 29th.  Coming and going pretty much any time during those three days is fine!

    Car parking could be an issue - technically, cars can't stay parked in the visitors section for the *entirety* of Saturday.  I can redirect you to a nearby place to park for a while if you don't feel lucky.  Also, we should only really take up one visitor's space, so if you can work it out so that only one car turns up that'd be awesome.  We're only 15 minutes' walk from the station!

    WHO?
    Soton kiddies and anyone around the Bournemouth area.  Overnight arrangements are going to be the trickiest - our flat can sleep maybe 5 in some degree of comfort (if you find the floor comfortable) or up to 12 if you're really friendly and don't mind sleeping in the bedroom or hallway.  We have two sleeping bags and

  • The Bug Folder

    More happy news from the exciting land of joy that is software engineering!

    Today, on our project, we finally implemented a bug-tracking system!  Yay!  Only 1 year 3 months late.  However, of course, it couldn’t be Bugzilla or any of its cohort - after all, only two people on the project have actually got the hang of Subversion; Bugzilla might just be over the limit.

    No, we have the Bug Folder.  Not, of course, an electronic folder, but a real one with paper inside.  Many printouts, in fact, of the “Software Problem Report Form”.  (Presumably the word “bug” is too common, or just doesn’t produce such a good abbreviation.)  So, today I generated 5 SPR Forms.  They are wonders to behold:
    <ul><li>They have nowhere to actually assign the bug to someone.  So, they just sit in the pile until programmers rifle through them and catch sight of something that they recognise.</li><li>They also have nowhere to mark the bug as fixed.  There’s a

  • Hurrah for Dreams

    There were lots of us - over a dozen, at least - walking in the woods, when we chanced across a clearing where a lady was brushing leaves away in a big circle.  She told us not to step in the circle, so we didn’t, but we waited to see what she was doing.  It looked like she was clearing up after something, and when she’d finished she came to talk to us.  Eric and I told her about being expectant parents, and she gave us some kind of blessing, then we chatted some more and all went home together.

  • ZOMG

    They’re playing the Dragon Half ending on the Proms right now! </Cultural_heathen>

  • Bournemouth Meet Re-Announcement

    The Bournemouth Meet is only two days away! This is my final warning to anyone who wants to come and hasn’t signed up yet!

  • Cleaning Frenzy!

    That… was a lot of cleaning! The flat is almost spotless now, ready for a dozen people to descend upon it this weekend! Whole rooms have been reorganised, it’s quite scary. There’s now even some sense of order in the kitchen! And my recipe books are accessible!

  • Bournemouth Meet: Finality

    Thank you to everyone who turned up and made the Bournemouth Meet shiny and awesome, even though we didn’t manage to get much sunshine or barbecueing done! It was awesome to see you all again. Hopefully there’ll be another one again next year, and maybe it might actually feel like July then too!

  • Jumping on the Bandwaggle

    Fear my INFPishness!

  • The Time Approaches...

    That time’s approaching ever faster now. I’ve started thinking about it in terms of days rather than weeks or months, which just adds an extra bit of scariness to it.

  • The End of an Endless Dream

    In my dream I was myself, mostly, although there was undeniably the nature of Oisin mac Cumhaill about me. I was so besotted with the ladies of one family that every generation I would return for a night, from fairyland to the human world, in order to spend a night with the youngest lady of the family.

  • Sunshine and Biology

    There are clouds inland, but not here. This close to the coast, in the summer, they just seem to pass us by. And so, day after day the sun bakes the ground, and the wind is warm enough to be barely an interlude. Work isn’t too hard at the moment, despite having taken on responsibility for half the project’s software. (Now everything’s version controlled and such, it’s not too difficult!) Thus, I have the time to spend my lunch sitting on the wall of the harbour, listening to the screeching gulls, the screeching tourists, and the water lapping against the rocks below.

  • Of the Past, the Future, and Premature Autumn Twilight

    By nine o’clock the sun has already set so deeply that it is time to draw the curtains against the night. The sky is full of clouds, obscuring whatever moon and stars there might have been; ready to dampen this town again tonight and tomorrow.

  • Cheap stuff!

    If anyone wants 5% off stuff from www.homeofpoi.com, they just sent us many money-off-code sticker things. Comment if you want one!

  • Gah! Mothers, who'd have them?

    I didn’t realise this before today, but apparently Eric needs to weigh 10 stone, and Social Services come to take away the babies of pagan parents. Also, knowing one’s limits and asking for help are frowned upon. And the mortgage advisor is “really sad that I’m not more pro-active”.

  • Fatherhood

    I am now the father to Joseph John Renton, born 1.35am Monday 27th August 2007, weighing 7 lb 5 oz.

  • Moving Hospitals

    Quick update - we’re transferring to Bournemouth hospital this afternoon. Unfortunately, due to an outbreak of something-or-other, we won’t be allowed visitors there. I’ll post if this changes, but at the moment it looks like 2-4 this afternoon in Poole is the last time anyone can visit us. Sorry!

  • Leaving Them Behind

    Once again I have to leave the hospital at 9pm, letting Eric and Joseph sleep all-too-cutely together. It’s very difficult to leave them behind, when I desperately want to stay. It’s going to be even odder on Thursday, when I have to go to work and somehow pretend to be doing something useful rather than wishing I was back at the hospital.

  • The 5am Feed

    We got home from Guildford at 6pm yesterday after heavy traffic on the M3, only for Joseph to get very yellow and start wheezing. Thus, £12 of taxi later we pitched up at Poole Hospital. We had to stay there until almost midnight for them to do a few tests eve though they didn’t think anything was particularly wrong. Joseph fed nearly constantly from 9.30 until 11. Another £12 back home, and he was hungry again…

  • Keyboard advice

    Eric has declared my keyboard “icky”, so I’m on the look-out for a replacement. (It also isn’t fond of capital letters some days, so it’s sadly not as if cleaning it would solve all the problems.)

  • Science vs. Magic, Round 1

    Philosophy time! This is the first of possibly many posts I’ll make, to dump my thoughts onto the internet and see what people make of them.

    I, for want of a better phrase, believe in magic. For the sake of argument I’ll define magic thus:
    <blockquote>The ability of a mind to affect reality as perceived by it and by other minds, either directly by thought alone, or by physical actions that are not directly physically related to the desired consequence (e.g. causing it to rain by cloud-seeding involves interaction with clouds, thus not magic, whereas a rain-dance does not involve direct interaction, thus it’s magic).
    </blockquote>Feel free to take issue with that.

    In an attempt to quantify this belief, I’ll say that I am about as convinced that magic is possible as I am that the Copenhagen Interpretation is possible. To people who have never come across the concept before, both seem ridiculous. However, I believe that I have seen enough evidence for them both that I am convinced. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t convince an opponent of either that the object of their opposition is actually a feature of reality. However, I’m pretty sure I could talk around someone who already seems predisposed to believe in that kind of thing (e.g. convince a religious believer of the existence of magic, or a chemist of the existence of quantum indeterminacy).

    So, how can I justify my belief in either? I’ll begin with magic.

    As far as I know, our commonly accepted scientific knowledge contains no mechanism by which magic can sensibly exist. The idea that a mind can directly influence the world without physical action isn’t currently scientifically viable. The idea that something can have an almost unrelated consequence is way out on the improbable fringes of chaos theory.

    These thoughts drag me inexorably in the direction of Mister Berkeley and Idealism. However, the age-old question of whether a tree falling when no-one is there to hear it makes a sound or not raises its head.  It seems silly to suggest that it wouldn’t.  As I understand it, Berkeley’s response is “God is always watching”.  Along with sounding like a bit of a cop-out, this seems at odds with the current understanding of the quantum realm - the fact that indeterminacy seems to exist suggests that (either we’re not really getting it, or) there is no universal observer.

    It seems logical that a tree falling when no-one is around should make a sound.  Perhaps it’s an integral part of what it means to be a tree.  This, they tell me, is Phenomenalism, or something like it.

    However, I have issues with that too.  For example:

    It’s not an intrinsic property of a plastic ball that it should be underground.  In fact, it’s not even a very likely property for any ball in question.  However, say you had a plastic ball.  You bury it in the ground, cover it up perfectly, and don’t tell anyone about it.  Even if there is no reality outside of what’s in our own heads, you know the ball is there, so it is.  No-one else has any opinion on the subject, because they don’t know about it.  Now, say this ball is left for 200 years.  You’re long dead, so no-one knows about the ball.  By chance, someone digs in just that spot.  They find the ball.  If there were no absolute reality, and no-one knew about the ball, it must be random chance that the digger found a ball.  Which leads me to suppose that the chance of him finding a ball was there - and presumably the same - regardless of whether

  • Casserole

    I just had a rather graphic dream about butchering bunnies.  It’s not fair!  I completely missed the farmers’ market this month. =S  wants bunny

  • ARGH

    Joseph’s constant screaming is making me feel sick now. I only get four hours a day to do things that aren’t sleeping, working, travelling or cooking, and I really wish he wouldn’t scream constantly for at least three of them…

  • Halo 3 Discountage

    If, by some massively unlikely feat of probability you want Halo 3 but haven’t already bought it, I’ve got me a £5 off voucher you might like. First come, first served!

  • Emo Update

    My apologies to anyone who read my crappy emo post last night. I’m clearly not treating either Eric or Joseph with the love they deserve, so I’ll have to try harder from now on!

  • Loveless

    Cat-boy transfers to school.

  • Eternal Sonata

    News at Ten: Chopin knows spoilers for Dreaming Awake.

  • Halloween Costume?

    Right, Halloween party on Saturday and I have no idea what to go as. Here’s the suggestions so far:

  • November

    It’s that time of year again, when the bright and cold mornings inspire in me the unfortunate desire to sit at train stations and write and – here’s the unfortunate bit – drink train station coffee. I appear to be making my way through about a litre of it at present, and thankfully it’s still in the “warm brown caffeine” stage rather than the eventual entropic state of “cold brown grit”. My problem, however, isn’t my choice of overly-expensive beverage but that I seem to be out of practice at writing. I’ve spent the last ten minutes staring at what currently exists of my story “The Lost Sky”, and have written nothing. It stands at a phenomenal 3 pages.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">That, I suppose, is why I’m writing this instead – I’m trying to at least get the desire to write going again. Does anyone out there in blog-land have any good advice on how to get writing again? Working solutions to be paid for in hugs/beer! =p</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm; font-style: normal;">Semi-related rant: The rail network should have WiFi. I don’t necessarily mean the trains – it’d be nice, but technically complicated and expensive. Just the stations would do, the same stations that already clearly have an internet connection so that they can update their live departure boards. I would pay for this, and I’d bet half the suits-with-laptops on this train would too. Does this exist somewhere, and Britain / South West Trains is just lagging behind? I can’t believe it’s so novel an idea that no-one in the rail companies has considered it.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;">(Side question that I doubt anyone knows the answer to: Do all stations with live departure boards have net access? I’ve noticed a lot of stations have TV-style aerials on long poles, pointing in roughly the direction of the next station on each side. Do they use this instead? If so, I can’t see them liking the idea or running a net connection over that just so I can blog from the arse end of Dorset…)

  • Suspicious Fairy Activity

    Never have I been reminded more than I was today that fairies come in all shapes and sizes. Specifically, those responsible for the tangling of string, rope and miscellaneous cords whilst no-one is looking.

  • Job-Hunting Appeals

    Warning: Epic Rant Ahead

  • Who needs a Music Collection?

    Since I got my eeePC, I’ve been experimenting with streaming music from the ‘net rather than from the hard disk of my desktop. I’ve come to the conclusion that my music collection has been somewhat surpassed by Last.fm.

  • Caffeine and Cash

    It’s almost relaxing to sit here on the train, watching the colours of autumnal Dorset slide past. I’m finding looking out of the window oddly compelling today, despite the fact that all that’s out there are sights that I see every day. Perhaps because it’s 10am, much later than my normal early-morning trip to work - trains just don’t run early on Sundays. Or perhaps it’s the ridiculous amount of coffee that I consumed whilst waiting for it, which unike the usual barely-caffeinated brown water seems today to have been ultra-strong. In fact I’m feeling quite high, which is an effect of caffeine I thought I’d left behind at about the age of 14.

  • Software Engineering LOL

    I’m not sure how other companies approach milestone releases. I get the impression from various bits of software that I use that the big open-source projects tend to have a series of alpha, beta and release candidate releases during the months leasing up to a release, complete with feature freezes, code freezes and all sorts of other measures to keep things under control.

  • Thoroughly Weird

    So, last night’s dream involved:<ul><li>Staying in a hotel that looked like an old Oxbridge college</li><li>Steam trains passing about three feet from the window</li><li>Joseph screaming due to a bug in the code</li><li>Receiving a commendation from work for making something out of toilet rolls and sellotape</li><li>Claire, but aged about 14</li><li>Rhiannon with an over-the-top Westcountry accent.</li></ul>

  • Loneliness and Wanderlust

    From having four visitors, suddenly we are on our own. Eric is having a nap, Joseph is trying to sleep, it’s dark outside and the lights are down low… Though nothing fundamental has changed, I’m feeling lonely now. I can’t find the words for just how much I miss Southampton; how much I miss having everyone around all the time. Hell, right now I even miss Eric, though she’s only in the next room.

  • Version 1.0

    Guess how many bugs are left in my code? None. That I know of, anyway. The last three and a half weeks have been quite insane but now, now, it is version 1.0.

  • Tonight...

    Tonight, Eric and I were going to go to the cinema, then to the pub. She decided she wasn’t keen after all, so…

  • Home for Christmas

    Fittingly, today, the fog and the frost never lifted over Dorset, or at least my bit of it. I headed into work half-heartedly, did nothing all day, and left at 2pm. Even though I’m only off for two weeks, leaving the place and disappearing off into the mist has an odd kind of finality about it.

  • A Christmas Message

    In an age so concentrated on consumerism and tacky plastic ornaments, I believe we should all take time today to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.