31 Jan

Helsinki January 2007

Helsinki January 2007
Originally uploaded by tzunder.

Arrived in Helsinki on a Finnair flight on which there were at least 6 people from the company Ann and I used to work for. I had a nice trip chatting to my old boss, we used to have some ups and downs in the old days but I have a lot of respect for him. Not that I wholly chatted, I also read up on the work I am doing here in Finland.

To that end I am here, in my hotel room, working on the Mac and I thought I’d take a pic just to show how utterly vile the weather is out there. It’s not as cold as usual, and they’ve had a mild winter, but it’s grim enough for me!

29 Jan

Helsinki, Giant Spiders and Flickr

I am getting ready for Helsinki, but my belly button hurts so I am going to see the doctor this afternoon. We have almost completed resubmitting the EPSRC bid, and all I have to do it fit a week’s work rewriting a work package for a project into 24 hours.. piece of piss!

I am reading an old (1991) [a href=”http://www.flyingbuffalo.com/catalyst.htm”]Flying Buffalo[/a] book of roleplaying scenarios, and am quite intrigued at how poor layout was before proper computers, and also how the adventures have been quite cunningly written to both conform to the old hack and slay dungeon delving paradigm whilst still leaving a window to roleplay your way through them all with a minimum of violence and a maximum of interaction. Even the giant spiders have an agenda and can be parleyed with. Mind you I do like some tactical combat as well, so don’t think I’m all good.

On flickr I have admired some of the 365 Days project work. Essentially you take a picture of yourself every day for a year. Some are as mundane as you might expect but some are astonishingly inventive and clever. It looks to me as though the women are the most inventive, and also in the majority in this group. Some you can barely believe are self portraits, although I do know how they can be done, a tripod and remote release is helpful! I don’t know if I could do this, I am just not very nice to look at 365 days a year!

One thing I shall try and do this week is finish the Religions chapter for Gwenthia and maybe even configure the Joomla site I have parked at www.gwenthia.com

27 Jan

Smoking.. Not

Still off the fags. Over a month now.. Have decided to try having a small goatee for a month or so and see if it suits. Have repaired my motorised satellite and bought a new receiver for a bargain. I have been working hard on the Gwenthia rpg with Loz and Pete.

24 Jan

Back To Work

Well I am still not totally better, my stitches are a little infected, I have to rub antibiotic cream on them, and I can’t do lifting, but I am well enough to start back to work on Thursday. Of course I haven’t done all that I wanted in my time off, there are still DVDs to watch and books to read, but never mind.

Big news and I chose my avatar carefully.. we have given up the fags.. Dec 23rd we stopped and it’s going well. Ann is using the new drug Champix which has suited her very well. I went cold turkey.

I am away in Helsinki all next week, and this first half of the year looks very full indeed, lots and lots of project work.

Gwenthia progresses well, we have almost finished writing a RuneQuest version, and are looking for playtesters. I am kinda sad that in the end we couldn’t get Chaosium to talk to us long enough to do it for BRP, but I am sure their priorities are elsewhere. I also kinda wish we had done it as a totally indie-style game, but that would have opened too many cans of worms I think..

10 Jan


Hi. My op went well and stayed keyhole. My gall bladder turned out to be inflamed and infected after all so it took longer than usual. Everyone was very kind and helpful and professional. I feel a bit knocked about still so shall return to rest now.


02 Jan

Matt at Pier A, Battery Park, New York, 2006

This was a very cold and miserable Boxing Day and we hopped on the Subway, 1 line, and zoomed down to Battery Park to take a Harbour cruise. It was fine as a cruise but the guide, Arthur, was hilariously crap. He was incomprehensible, ungrammatcial, historically and factually inaccurate, kept referring to small drawings in his hand that no-one could see and emotionally fragile.

Some classics:

“911 was the first time the US has been attacked on home soil by a foreign nation..” If you don’t see why that’s stupid on at least two levels I refer you to the Burning of the Whitehouse in the 1812 War, and which nation was it that attached the Twin Towers, exactly?

“The Brooklyn Bridge is named after Roebling..” Well the Roebling family certainly built it.. or did they?

“The Brooklyn Bridge was built by a cable..” Ah, not the Roeblings, and why is it called the Brooklyn Bridge then?

“An Archipelago is an island surrounded by water..” As opposed to an island surrounded by jam?

“Many people aspire to leave Brooklyn and make it big in Manhattan, I know I have dreamed of leaving.. Barry Manilow.” Does Barry know?

“On 9/11, after the accident..” So they didn’t mean to do it? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay and all that has been a terrible mistake?

“1/12th of all the world’s gold is stored here, under the ocean.” The fact that he then said that there were 12 federal reserve banks perhaps suggests where he was coming from but not where he was going to..

“No-one builds anything in New York anymore. Not cars, not newspapers, well yes newspapers, but nothing else..” This was as we passed a construction site so maybe he was getting manufacture and build confused?

I could go on but most of the rest would be sheer nonsensical use of English that would look poor even in a book. I just felt so sorry for the poor Asians and tourists who either didn’t understand a word he said, or even worse, did understand the words and absorbed some of the sheer rubbish he was talking..

Ah well, he said that a recent cruiser, a Manhattan native, said he’d learnt more in the 40 minute cruise than in the last 40 years, I do hope he forgets it all again soon..