Dr S-Who-se Thursday, Oct 25 2012 


I have a Cat in a Hat now.  Cats in Hats are cool.

I’m The Doctor, but don’t ask Who

Just meet my old girl, dressed in blue

You may find me a wily old fox

And not a madman in a box.

 

Travel through time, and travel through space

To anywhen, and anyplace.

From Big Bang to Big Crunch

To farthest star then back for lunch.

 

Remember, I never ever use a gun.

So when danger comes I’ll just shout RUN

I sonic open the strongest locks

But I am not a madman in a box

 

I’ll wear a scarf, or fez or suit

And piece of salad, or Converse boot.

Destroyer of Worlds, the Bringer of Darkness

The Oncoming Storm (All me, not Harkness)

 

You’ll see pits and quarries that all look the same

Monsters of ice, beasts of flame

There may be homicidal pepperpots

Who are scared of a madman in a box

 

Fixed points in time cannot be changed,

For reasons mad, weird or deranged,

There’s one more thing, now let me think,

Ah yes, you must never ever blink.

 

So as I travel through time and space

With Sarah-Jane, the Ponds and Ace,

Through the thrills, the spills and shocks,

I most definitely am a madman in a box!

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(Second) First game of Dux Britanniarum Sunday, Sep 30 2012 


Dux Britanniarum (DB henceforth) is the new Early Medieval (aka Dark Ages) game from the Two Fat Lardies.  I had played in the demo game at the Newbury Wargames Show about a month ago, but Friday night was the first time I’d played where I had any true grasp of the rules.  The are specifically designed for the early period, Romano British v invading Saxons, 5th century stuff, though they could easily be used with later periods.

My regular opponent ‘Sunjester’ had bought the rules, along with the card packs (more later) for £25, as he had lots of 25mm figures that hadn’t seen a table for some years.  The book is approx 100 pages from the look of it, printed on high quality glossy paper in colour and ‘perfect bound’, similar to the TFL recent releases ‘I Ain’t Been Shot Mum’ (version 3) and ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’.  The pro’s and cons of the increase of production values is argued on wargame fora across the internet, so I won’t go into them here, except to say I liked the general look.  The card packs are playing card sized, rather than the oversize cards produced for IABSM.

(more…)

Olympic abbreviations in full Wednesday, Aug 8 2012 


Times/Distances
WR – World Record
OR – Olympic Record
PB – Personal Best
SB – Season’s Best
MSLH – Mum Still Loves Him
PBD – Plucky But Doomed
LFYW – Last Four Years Wasted
JPE – Just Plain Embarrassing

Athlete Specific
CYNHO – Country You’ve Never Heard Of
NRSIAW – No, Really, She Is A Woman
MBOD – Must Be On Drugs
AICIDWG – Amnesty International Case If Doesn’t Win Gold
(NB, this was introduced in 1989, following the removal of GOG – Gold Or Gulag)

Event Specific
Beach Volleyball – Women
NA – Nice Arse
BOC – Bit Of Cellulite

Basketball
FT – Freakishly Tall

Diving – Men
PFMAW – Porn for Middle Aged Women.

If you ‘know’ any more, please add!

Don’t Tell Your Mother Tuesday, May 15 2012 


A poem dedicated to fathers and sons.

When things went not quite wrong
But then again not quite right,
Dad would lower his voice,
Just like a conspirator might,
And we’d grin and smirk
One to the other,
He’d wink and say
“Don’t tell your mother.”

(more…)

Thoughts upon life after death. Wednesday, Apr 18 2012 


Funerals are not for the dead, they are ceremonies for the living.

It was my honour on Tuesday to support three people who are very special to me through their time of grief.

Paul had little choice but to entrust me with looking after these people, who were also very special to him. It was clear from the eulogy he has set the bar high. I will do my best to live up to what he would have wanted.

To my Wife Saturday, Apr 14 2012 


Grow old with me, my Love
And hold my hand in the autumn sun,
Grow old with me, my Love
By my side in days to come.

Grow old with me, my Love
And watch our kids find love of their own
Grow old with me, my Love
Family will be seeds that we’ve sown.

Grow old with me, my Love,
And wrinkled, and forgetful, and fat.
Grow old with me, my Love,
I won’t regret any of that.

And when you’re old with me, my Love,
Know my heart will still be true,
So when you’re old with me, my Love,
I’ll be happy I grew old with you.

Man Rules Thursday, Apr 5 2012 


A collegue emailed me this.  I said to her “Did this really need to be written down? Really, like it isn’t obvious?”

 “At last a guy has taken the time to write this all down   

The rules

These are our rules!

Please note… these are all numbered “1 “ON PURPOSE!

1          Men are NOT mind readers.

1          Learn to work the toilet seat. You’re a big girl.  

If it’s up, put it down.

We need it up; you need it down.

You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.  

1.         Sports on TV:  

It’s like the full moon or the changing of the tides.

Let it be.  

1          Crying is blackmail

1.         Ask for what you want.

Let us be clear on this one:

Subtle hints do not work!

Strong hints do not work!

Obvious hints do not work!

Just say it!  

1.         Yes or No is a perfectly acceptable answer to almost every question.  

1.         Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That’s what we do.

Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.  

1.         Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument.

In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.  

1.         If you think you’re fat, you probably are.

Don’t ask us.  

1.         If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one  

1.         You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done.

Not both.

If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.  

1.         Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say “during commercials”…  

1.         Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.  

1.         ALL men see in only 16 colours, like a Windows default settings.

Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a colour.  

Pumpkin is also a fruit.

We have no idea what mauve is.  

1.         If it itches, it will be scratched.

We do that…  

1.         If we ask what is wrong and you say “nothing,” We will act like nothing’s wrong.

We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.  

1.         If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, expect an answer you don’t want to hear.  

1.         When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine…Really.  

1.         Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as football or motor sports.

1                    If when you ask us what we are thinking we say nothing, it means we are thinking of nothing.  This is perfectly possible.

1.         You have enough clothes.  

1.         You have too many shoes.  

1.         I am in shape. Round IS a shape!  

Thank you for reading this.

Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight;

But did you know men really don’t mind that?  

It’s like camping.

How to seduce a writer. Friday, Mar 9 2012 


Good advice from Neil Gaiman.

In my experience, writers tend to be really good at the inside of their own heads and imaginary people, and a lot less good at the stuff going on outside, which means that quite often if you flirt with us we will completely fail to notice, leaving everybody involved slightly uncomfortable and more than slightly unlaid.

So I would suggest that any attempted seduction of a writer would probably go a great deal easier for all parties if you sent them a cheerful note saying “YOU ARE INVITED TO A SEDUCTION: Please come to dinner on Friday Night. Wear the kind of clothes you would like to be seduced in.”

And alcohol may help, too. Or kissing. Many writers figure out that they’re being seduced or flirted with if someone is actually kissing them.

http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/18932682858/as-requested-by-too-many-people-making-the-last-post

Gay Marriage, Atheist Marriage and the Church. Sunday, Mar 4 2012 


Once again a celebate man in a dress tries to tell the world we have to believe his mythology

From the BBC today

The government’s plans for gay marriage have been criticised by the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in Britain.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, said the plans were a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.

He said the idea of redefining marriage, which David Cameron has said he supports, would “shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world”.

Full article here

Dr John Sentamu, Arch-Bishop of York said similar on the 1st Feb.  They are, of course, both wrong.

Oddly they both say they agree with Civil Partnerships for the gay community.  Do they know the legal difference between a Civil Marriage and a Civil Partnership? It is Absolutely Nothing (apart from the second word).  Both partners have EXACTLY the same rights as people in a marriage. Legally they can’t be called ‘marriages’, but everyone does – ‘civil partnershipped’ is such an awkward phrase.

At this point I’d like to give a belated ‘Congratulations’ to Suzie, a friend of mine, who proposed to her girlfriend on Christmas day- two years to go and I’m already looking for a new suit!  Here’s the thing.  They haven’t been going to civil partnership fairs, they haven’t been looking at civil partnership dresses, nor trying to find an affordable civil partnership photographer.  Guess which word is used instead?  It turns out they are the same events as straight people go to.

I asked the LGBT rep at work how the gay community felt about the legality of the word ‘Marriage’.  She said while they would prefer the word ‘Marriage’, it is the only difference, and the Gay community have better things to try spend their time on.

So what the clergy are arguing about is a word.  They want it to keep it associated with religeon.  Orwell pointed out in ‘1984’ if you control language you control the way people think.  They seem to want to redefine the history of marriage.

Modern marriage in the UK is a reletively recent phenomenon – the law was tightened up in 1753, mainly to stop disputes about who was actually married to who. Before then it wasn’t uncommon for a couple to just live as married, often after a short informal ceremony along the lines of ‘Oh well, if you really must’, though with no legal rights, and every one in the village knew they were ‘married’. (Today’s fact, many of these informal marriages were ‘solemnised ‘ by the couple jumping over a broom, hence the phrase ‘living over the broom’ for an unmarried couple living together.)  Sometimes a ‘wandering priest’ would give a blessing, though this still had no legal validity. Basically the law of 1753 said “You have to tell everyone in advance what you are going to do, where you intend to do it (in case of objection) and sign a legal document to say you have done it.”  It was less about religion, and more about record keeping.  Every village had a church, so the bureaucracy was already in place.

Which brings me on to Civil Marriage.  In the UK a civil marriage ceremony may make NO reference to religeon (one couple were told they couldn’t have ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams playing at the ceremony).  If two atheists who can’t have children get married it is still ‘a marriage’, not a ‘civil partnership’.  The Church knows that the boat sailed long ago on that one, and don’t object.

So exactly what ‘values’ is calling it Civil Marriage, rather than a Civil Partnership undermining?  It can’t be religeon – there is no religeous test for marriage.  It can’t be parenthood, there is no requirement married couples have children.

So, Cardinal, how is gay marriage a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.  Exactly how are you being subverted?  If it is a “universally accepted human right”, then how is denying it to gays making it a “universally accepted human right”?

Or is the clue in the word “grotesque”?  Could it be that O’Brien (who was against civil partnerships) and Sentamu find the whole ‘gay thing’ just a bit icky?

I ain’t dead… Monday, Feb 13 2012 


…to quote Granny Weatherwax.

Between writing my ‘book’ (currently at 80,000+ words) and planning the Kriegspeil for this coming Saturday, I’ve been a bit busy, computer-wise.

The Kriegspiel is getting to be a bit big:  not only am I lead Umpire (PANIC), but it looks like 10+ attendees.  It’s different in concept to other K-S I’ve played/helped umpire: it’s all about the planning.  I joked that I’m looking forward to the 19th, as I get my inbox back!

Sunday I will (hopefully) publish an AAR, plus the rules I wrote, along with the counters etc.

Hello Readers, everywhere. Friday, Jan 13 2012 


I keep track of hits by using the WordPress stats page.  It also alerts me when I have new followers etc.  I can’t help but think most of you are disappointed most of the time.

This blog is so eclectic that what ever you subscribed to is probably only a fraction of my output, and the rest of it is of very little interest!

My characters surprise me again. Friday, Jan 13 2012 


There is a phrase I’ve come across in the online writing community ‘Pantsing’.  This means ‘Writing by the Seat of your pants’ – ie making it up as you go along, with minimal plotting ahead.  It seems that most writers sharing their experiences online are a mixture of Pantsers and Plotters (ie have it all laid out before start), myself included.  The previous post on this blog revealed the surprise this can lead too.

And now it’s happened again.  I am happily writing a scene, I know exactly what the next bit is (not the precise words- imagine having to write a presentation: you know the topic, you just need to find how to vocalise it).

THEN the lead character reveals with NO WARNING WHAT SO EVER that he almost had one of his closest friends committed to hospital under the Mental Health Act.

I literally had no idea!  I finished one paragraph, went to write the next and he said something completely different.  I had just enough time to stop myself writing and add a set up for the next 250 words correctly.

Mind you, this whole chapter has been hiding surprises from me.  I knew it existed- its a party, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about.  I just knew it needed to exist as a bridge between two major plot points.  A little later I realised I needed to introduce a new character to tie up the loose ends in what I suppose is the ‘C’ arc of the book, and I look at this as yet unwritten chapter, and find this guy fully formed with a appropriate back story, as if just waiting for me to find him.

Ok.  I may be getting a little wierd as I get older…

The trials of writing Monday, Jan 2 2012 


I’ve started writing again.  The current story is the longest I’ve ever written – it’s approaching the point where it may become a full size book, it’s far longer than the than short stories I’ve written before.  It thrown up a few interesting problems I’ve not encountered before.

I don’t write from the beginning all the way through.  I know what ‘set pieces’ through out I want to write, as I know the general progress of the story.  If I have a good idea I will often start that bit before I forget it, especially if I’m stuck with the earlier story – often one part will inspire another part, and allows me to use tricks such as foreshadowing.

However, because it is so much longer the characters are obviously having to be more rounded.  It turns out that they seem to have a life of their own, no matter what I think.

My female lead has talked the male lead into asking her out to dinner.  I was as surprised as he was.

THAT WASN’T THE NEXT BIT. Now I have to write a whole restaurant scene because she thought he was going a bit too fast.

Thanks dear. I sometimes wonder whose narrative it is!

The problem appeared to be the way I was writing her speech – it’s the classic joke about how a man can say three words on the phone, because he saw his mate last week, but a woman will speak for an hour because she isn’t seeing her friend until this evening.  I felt she was speaking too much like a man.

Once I gave her a less clipped way of speaking; fuller sentences etc, what she said changed, and it became obvious the way she thought was different.

Later the male lead was got drunk by his best mate. I thought it was so he could work through the issues around the woman he loves. Turns out he told me something completely different- why he feels guilty about their other best mate’s death. I didn’t know!

Also I didn’t know how he had died – the official story (which I knew) isn’t the same as what actually happened.

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m sane…

2011 in review Sunday, Jan 1 2012 


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Remember those who keep you safe at Christmas. Saturday, Dec 24 2011 


HAPPY CHRISTMAS.

May your children not wake up too early!

And while you are finishing off the turkey/goose/duck/nut cutlet, spare a thought for those who have to work. Not just the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq (the Taliban understandably not being so big on Christmas), but those who provide direct services to you, who still have to be there to provide public service.

I am speaking of the police, medical staff, firefighters, even social services, who are on call. A special mention to those Prison Officers I work with who are rota’d in to supervise the ‘guests’, rather than spending time with their families.

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