05 Mar

Sunday jottings

Today I am working on reviewing and finalising Chapter 3. A quick run thru sub-edit and then I need to gird my loins and encapsulate and summarise this monster of a chapter. Once done I can let it go for proof reading and comments from my supervisor. Must say I am very grateful for the support from Ann and Mark, having good people critiquing and checking the grammar is such a useful and supportive process.

I think keeping a daily journal of this process on this blog has value for me, and I shall keep doing so, private or not, since the value is to me in this task. Having said that, messages of support and comments are very welcome, I just may not reply anytime soon. I have disconnected from social media since it seemed to confuse some people.

Then, focus on finishing off the railfreight paper, hand it back to Dewan who has been a great co-author in converting the SPECTRUM deliverables into journal appropriate and ready stuff.

Looking forward to corned beef hash for tea tonight, another reason to be thankful to Ann…

 

04 Mar

Saturday at the coalface

Got up at 7am, worked on my full 10 page academic CV and then on a paper on railfreight, sorted out an issue on ECTRI SQL database and stopped work at 1500 hours.

Ann made me a great brunch. 

03 Mar

Chapter 3 almost wrestled to the ground

Chapter 3 is Research Framework, Methods and Techniques, and boy it’s a beastie. It’s almost done, 55 pages and almost 16,000 words long. I had already cut away the Research Philosophy and made it Chapter 2, so now I am a little troubled if this beast is overlong, or I have explained too much, or I need to simply cut some stuff out of this thesis. Too early to say, and not a problem I regret having. One last run through tomorrow and then proof reading and onto my supervisor.

a graphical onion

A probablE research design

01 Mar

Much better day

As usual, a good productive day following a day getting my head into the PhD-space. Lots of final stuff on Action Research, and some preliminary work on empirical surveys, Logical Framework Approaches and CANVAS.

A diagram of the probable PhD thesis

Probably the final thesis shape

In other news the two new Virgin V6 boxes arrived and they’re fast and zippy. They don’t do anything that hasn’t been around for a few months, but they do it straight away rather than waiting a week to respond! Playback between boxes also seems smooth which is very cool.

 

28 Feb

Slow Day

Had to re-read my work, some sub editing, and drew a good Framework graphic, but not many actual words scribed before intellect fled me.

Watched the Team on More 4, ambitious Belgian-Danish-German cop team up show. Seen 2 episodes.

Need to draw a more milestone based project plan for PhD tomorrow and crunch some page count.

26 Feb

February and it’s PhD time

Bloody heck! February is almost over, 1/6th of a way thru 2017 and what have we done? Well.. I have been utterly buried in getting the process of wriiting up my PhD thesis planned and started. Since I am now deep up to my neck in research philosophies, methodologies and techniques, you can be pretty sure I am 1: started and 2: not at the nitty gritty bit. Fortunately the nitty gritty really happened and is well documented by myself and others, so I think by beginning of March I’ll be past the philosophy and into cataloguing actions and outcome which will be good. My self imposed deadline is end May.

I am rising, going straight to my desk, and working until 3-5pm dependent on when my brain or dry eyes give out. Then I am able to read emails, do any minor ICT fiddling, and then retire to the TV to watch zombie slasher SF fantasy action zero thinking TV, or idly daydream about just how great roleplaying will be when this is over. I am not reading novels, but since I can really only do this as a 9-5 job, since it’s a 4 month stretch, other distractions are okay, as long as they are shallow and superficial. Oh, and I don’t go to the University unless absolutely forced to do so, too many monkeys there..

So, the fact that Amy and Mike are expecting their first child and our third grandchild, might derail me a bit. Ann is knitting like a knitting fanatic and turning out lovely jumpers, hats, blankets and the like. I am rather delight she has also knitted me a truly great winter jumper for last Xmas, and is now knitting me a rather lovely spring/autumn blueberry one.

We have had a very mild winter and it continues to be so. I try to ignore the politics, it’d kill brain cells I need for the PhD.

 

02 Dec

Tom has been travelling

For work I have been to Rome, Hotel Diana in fact, and attending a consortium building meeting, then back to London and we attended Uncle Denis’s interment of ashes at the Lawns cemetery in Great Baddow. Off to London where we attended a lobby event supporting the East Coast Mainline Authorities (ECMA) supporting 3bn extra funding for East Coast Mainline by 2030.

 

 

 

20 Nov

New website

I have changed our pages to a new ICT platform, WordPress, and am testing out the features and so on.
There may be some rogue posting or nonsense, so don’t fret about it for a bit, eh?

17 Jan

Back Under the Glowline

So, time to return to Glorantha I feel. It’s been years, maybe a decade or more, since I’ve gamed under the Red Moon, faced the terrors of Thanatar and charged with my Enlo against Blue Moon Moth Riders. You know what, I kinda bloody miss it, and purged of all the accumulated cruft of the Glorantha nerds and the mismatch between myself and Hero Wars, it’s time to worship the Dark Mother, riddle with Nysalor and embrace the endless history of Darra Happa.

But, and this is lovely, there are so many choices.

Firstly, and I don’t mind saying this, there is HeroQuest with the tailored match between the the recent setting books, all redolent in simple d20 keywords and meshed neatly between culture and game. There is some truly lovely stuff in the sources that meshes with HQ, and yet.. I’ve never really enjoyed a game of HQ, although a lot of that might be from the Hero Wars action point economy that bored me to tears. Also, and although I can enjoy the depth of Glorantha cultural minutia, it has been what turned me off the setting for so long. I am, and always have been, more of a greatsword swinging Zorak Zorani than a Lhankor Mhy, and so I don’t think it’s HQ for me.

Secondly there is RuneQuest. We approach a time of possibly the best moderately complex version of RuneQuest that we’ve ever had, one that fixes the old issues about divine magic, montheism in a polytheistic world, makes a bloody good stab at sorcery and delivers a folk magic that actually feels folksy and useful to a carpenter or potter. We don’t have Adventures in Glorantha yet, but Hannu Kokko and the Finns are making a very good stab at it with their proto-cult write ups and the joy that is the RuneQuest Encounter tool online.. a party of Chaos cultists heading out from SnakePipe Hollow, I don’t mind if I do. Only problem, I think RQ6, like earlier RQs, doesn’t scale to Heroic, which is, after all why HeroQuest was first conceived.

Thirdly, and this isn’t as mad as it sounds, is OpenQuest. Combined with the RuneQuest Classics RQ2 reprints from Rich Meints, or a selection of RQ3 adventures, one can run an OQ game in Glorantha with barely a flutter. The spells have the same names, the stat blocks are very similar, and OQ is lighter and involves less rethink that RQ6. I know Simon Bray runs all his Glorantha with OQ these days and if that isn’t a recommendation I don’t know what is. So, possible and do-able, but one also can’t help wondering if maybe a copy of RQ2 or RQ3 might also fit in this camp, they’re easily pickupable in the UK on ebay, if you haven’t already got them all on the shelf, which I have.

Fourthly, and here the ZZ beserker in me wails in joy, 13th Age Glorantha! This riot of a d20 game that won me over to D&D after 34 years just made me think of Orlanth, the Red Goddess, Kyger Litor, Yelmalio, etc. as I turned the pages. This is a game for the Heroic, and by setting it in the Hero Wars when Argrath wages devastation on the Lunar Empire, and the Red Moon wages it back in an apocalyptic frenzy that cracks Glorantha from Choralinthor Bay to Valind’s Glacier, is the time for the power and crazy that is a 13th Age player character. So, and this is a defininte, the d20 will come to my Glorantha table, but it will be rolling high and not low.

But that’s not all.

Oh no.

I have a steadily growing collection of skirmish minis and skirmish rulesets. I know Sandy Petersen is playtesting a Gloranthan Gods War game, and I suspect that like his earlier Cthulhu boardgame, this may lead to a big fat bunch of 28mm Gloranthan minis.

So how to skirmish in Glorantha?

Well the Glory Geeks, that brave band of Gloranthan wargamers, have valiantly field Hordes of the Things Gloranthan armies in the HOTT fields of war, and indeed Rich Crawley’s Goranthan HOTT bands are great to play. Just ask him, or Jane, for army lists and where to get the rules and you too can be playing Gloranthan battles in under an hour a time on your dining room table. I am odd though, I don’t like to base my figures in blocks, since I am a roleplayer first I like them singly based. So, not HOTT for me, although always up for a game.

Rich and I have been enjoying Song of Blades and Heroes from Ganesha Games in recent years. A fast 28mm/15mm/any scale skirmish game free of any tie in with any minis maker, SoBH or SBH is enjoyable, wonderfully generic, quick to learn and play, and leaves your minis free for any other use since it has no basing needs. I know Rich has done Glorantha with it and I was almost there until I saw..

Of Gods and Mortals, or OGAM. Published by Osprey this is in fact a superset of SBH, where gods (40mm+), avatars (28-40mm) and their forces (28mm) battle it out on the field of war. What could be more Gloranthan? Cacodemon and his warband facing down Storm Bull and his? It’s appealing isn’t it, and I think I shall have to lay down the ten quid to get OGAM and see how it’ll work if and when some good Gloranthan minis come out, so come on Sandy!

And that’s not all.. after all, if Sandy P does get the Glorantha boardgame going, is there any chance of resisting that?

Must go, Cragspider is calling..

The Troll

HQ: http://www.glorantha.com/product/heroquest-glorantha/
RQ6: http://www.thedesignmechanism.com/runequest.php
OQ: http://d101games.com/books/openquest/
13th G: http://www.13thageinglorantha.com/

SBH: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/3080 … and-heroes
OGAM: http://www.northstarfigures.com/list.php?man=159&page=1

And then this:
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