27 Mar

Various

I am watching ‘Tales of Earthsea‘, the latest Studio Ghibli film based on some part of the Ursula K LeGuin books. I loved the books, they opened the doors to non-Tolkien fantasy in a much better way than Moorcock. Sad to say, 60 minutes in and I suspect this as duff a film as the IMDB reviews suggest and LeGuin hints herself on her webpages. It wasn’t made by Hayao Miyazaki and isn’t patch on other masterpieces such as Nausicaa, Laputa or Kiki’s Delivery Service. Very sad.

Over the last week I have realised that there is no way I can afford to heat my greenhouse, save to stop the frost. I have moved all the seedlings and propagation indoors. I have created and planted a bulb area in my borders, and realised that my problem is that we have no topsoil. Since I am building my raised beds soon and they will need topsoil, I shall order extra and layer it onto the back beds. I have fertilised my raspberries, planted rhubarb plants, popped in a blueberry and potted on my tomatoes and fuschias. I’ll need to get my veg. bed sorted soon so I can plant out cabbages and lettuces in a fortnight or so.

I have been working all week, and although my boss is very keen that I do not travel too far, I think I need to get out and start my wider job soon.

Gaming wise there is no sign of the promised Traveller game so I think I may run some Gwenthia on Tuesdays now we have a full ruleset to playtest. I have a planned Talislanta game next Thursday with my son and his friends, I shall run Scent of the Beast. I have found the pretty rare Sub-Men Rising campaign by robin-d-laws. Maybe I’ll get to run it all! I am implementing the more restricted magic rules from Codex Magicus to throttle back magic a little and give a reason to wizards to track down spells and artefacts. It looks like darransims may run some HeroQuest Tekumel at Continuum and that would be awesome.. I hope he knows how popular it will be..

19 Mar

Diagnosis

Well I do have a diagnosis although, as with many rare and odd medical cases, it is not a 100% nailed-down with certainty. I have (and appear to still have) neurosarcoidosis.

Neurosarcoidosis (sometimes shortened to neurosarcoid) refers to sarcoidosis, a condition of unknown cause featuring granulomas in various tissues, involving the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). It can have many manifestations, but abnormalities of the cranial nerves (a group of twelve nerves supplying the head and neck area) are the most common. It may develop acutely, subacutely, and chronically. Approximately 5-10% of people with sarcoidosis of other organs (e.g. lung) develop central nervous system involvement. Only 1% of people with sarcoidosis will have neurosarcoidosis alone without involvement of any other organs. Diagnosis can be difficult, with no test apart from biopsy being completely reliable. Treatment is with immunosuppression.[1] The first case of sarcoidosis involving the nervous system was reported in 1948.[2] – Wikipedia, All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

It seems that reducing the steroid dose to 10mg a day has allowed various symptoms to return, my eyes, or more accurately the muscle around my eyes, don’t work properly and ache all day. On the higher dose they worked fine until 4-5pm. My face has also started to ‘freeze’ or ‘spasm’ intermittently.

So, we are increasing the dose back to 20mg a day for 2 weeks, 15mg for 2 weeks, 10mg a day for 2 weeks and some more MRI scans of my brain and spine in the meantime.

17 Mar

Open Source Alternatives

You know what you want to do.. you know which commercial software does it.. but some fool (maybe you or maybe a ‘Linux’ or ‘OS X’ friend) has got you on an operating system that doesn’t run it, or you don’t want to shell out more money..

What you need is free open source software.. but it’s all crap innit?

No! Much of it is brilliant, so what this site does is map a commercial programme you may know with the FOSS alternatives: so I want iMovie.. this will suggest Kino or various others..

This is a great resource and worth keeping whatever operating system you run to be able to save money, avoid piracy and support FOSS:

http://www.osalt.com/

Oh and while I am at it, a site just for OS X freeware software:

http://www.freesmug.org/

09 Mar

Talislanta Gaming Weekend

We had our second gaming weekend session. Simon stayed over last night and today we played my first ever Talislanta game. I have adored Talislanta for years and years and (according to Simon and Graham) wittered about it but never run it. It’s been something I have been a little unsure of letting people see since it is so cosmopolitan and alien and a little silly.. and everyone loved the setting, the system, I managed to ft the whole scenario in and everyone had FUN! FUN is our objective and so success all round.

I am SO happy!

02 Mar

Bloody Gales

HilaryBloody gales, hammering on the roof. Can’t sleep. When there was an earthquake I assumed it was the wind ripping off the the roof.. again. We have such a nice house but we live in such a valley of wind..

I am always slowly scanning, editing and cataloguing old pictures. The latest are a set from University and the NODDSOC 25 hour roleplaying events. Some nice nostalgia if you were there or know the people..

I have also posted an idea for sorting out WebDAV on Ubuntu Brainstorm. If you have the time please vote for it..

My steroid dose reduced again yesterday. I have been having weird little facial muscle “freezes” all week.. and an appointment with my consultant on the 19th March.

Looks like Hilary has had it. Obama looks to be the winner in the Democrat primary. Mind you I have nothing against Hilary except she has a discomforting stiffness, but I think women have a hard time balancing the sexism and expectations in political life, it’s a tricky one.

I am running a Talislanta game on the 9th March so I need to focus on that fully and deliver a great gaming experience. I hope people are going to come.. it’s gone a little quiet.

Tom