04 May

May the 4th be with me

I got up about 8 and settled down on the sofa for a change.. and opened up a big stats file and jumped right in. It’s got me in it’s grip, so when the Muse is with me it’s great, but I do miss seeing people and networking and all that. It’s been really sunny here but much colder than a few weeks ago, but the sun’s great through our big windows.

At 4pm (how appropriate) my birthday started proper with some great pressies. Janet got me some of the Roger Hargreaves Dr. Who books, the First, Fourth and 11th Doctors. Very jolly and I will be able to share them with young Oliver!

Books

Dr Books

Ann had got me, as well as some new aftershave, a bloody great headset for my Xbox One S, a Turtle Beach no less:

Headset

Headset

I tried it out playing Forza Horizon and it has great sound, is very comfortable and the sound is awesomely good. Ann need not be bothered with the noise and we can be together, she can knit and I’ll play games.

Matthew got me the 10.5 year Anniversary edition of Brian Froud’s Goblins book. I had a much earlier edition years ago but lost it, or maybe it never was mine, so it was a great present. Oddly, I feel the goblins may have got at it before it got to me!

In addition Ann got me a very cool sign for the games room:

Beware of Zombies

Beware of Zombies

But the peace de la resistance (as Del Boy might say), is the very big, very heavy and very cool giant D6..

Then we went to Santanas, one of our fave restaurants and had some great food and I got the giant birthday Tiramisu!

It has been a great birthday, thanks everyone and especially Ann who was even willing to give up cheese for me.. but let’s not go mad, eh?

08 Apr

Design, Monitoring and Evaluation

I had a headache so I bypassed another day working the data sets in the spreadsheets and picked up a book on design, monitoring and evaluation frameworks I have bought. Very pleased I did, lots of very nice ideas and matrices I can use in Chapter 8, 9 and probably even 7.

In other news I planted out the marigolds, had hot tub, and read a review of the Dark Souls boardgame. I have read the overview, which is not quite the same as a play review in Tabletop Games magazine. The conceit seems the same as DS, in that you collect souls and can eventually trade them in. You fight hollows, and encounter traps. Eventually you meet a mini boss. The mini boss is run by a card based AI, that means that the mini boss has some predictability. So you die. Then you respawn and go in again, and the miniboss is driven by the same card AI. I am not sure but I think it may be that each time you play, as in a full game, the cards the minibosses get are random. SO a miniboss has a repeatability and predictability in each game you play, but not *between* games.. each game is different. That seems clever way to replicate the ‘learn the bosses’ feature but keep the game fresh. Of course eventually you hope to meet the BIG boss.

Weather has been really nice here. Mike and Amy have bought a new house.

 

04 Apr

The March of the Data Continues…..

Lots of number crunching and script running and graph making and nit picy data cleaning done since Friday.. grrrr… maybe 50% thru thesis now… grrrr…

Yes this is dull, but it means something to me

Yes this is dull, but i’M NEVER GIVING UP

In other news, Mike and Amy are about 0.01% through their latest project, but isn’t he lovely?

Olly!

Oliver looking statesmanlike!

15 Mar

Update

Ann poorly Monday. Not much achieved. I had terrible back, neck and head pains.

Tuesday I had a CILT Railfreight Forum workshop which we hosted at the University. Very pleased with it, and great to see the group meeting outside of London. Scotland next, I believe! Enjoyable group, old friends and new faces. Head and neck pains very bad, resorted to codeine.

Wednesday, started to get back into groove but needed to pop to hospital, and then had Hedley’s round to look at guttering to consider replacing it all. Had a good chat with Bruce C re urban logistics.

Not much progress made.

 

12 Mar

Lots of visiting done

Thursday, Northampton, Janet, sleep.

Friday, drove to Auntie Doreen’s interment in Chelmsford, Ann said some lovely words. The tablet was very tasteful and it’s very nice that Den and Doreen’s ashes are side by side in the ground together.

Together Forever

Then some final house clearance at Bramwoods and we got some quotes for the furniture removal. Then back to Northampton.

Saturday, I went to Hemel Hempstead to Nathan Baron’s 40th. Fun, Dr.Who themed, nice people who I had good chats with about Mythos, ICT, tattoos, and roleplaying. I met Nathan’s Mum and all in all it was a very pleasant do. I stayed in Hemel, listened to the new Radio 4 adaptation of War of the Worlds, very good.

Sunday, drove back to Northampton, picked up Ann, drove to North Hykeham in Lincolnshire to see Mike and Amy. Drove home.

Have a lot of ideas re the thesis buzzing round my head but also quite a lot of other work stuff I need to do this week.

 

 

 

 

08 Mar

Monday

Monday

Had a short meeting with Mark, he’s happy that I have a good set of methods and techniques in place but that I need to reduce the volume of words in Chapter 3 that lead up to it. I was meant to be working on the railfreight case studies paper for ETRR, but I really can’t cope with the fasting and deep thinking so I abandoned it and went home via Clas Ohlson and CEX! Man from Baliol/Bailey estate agents to value the house.

Tuesday

Up and at em, full engaged in finalising my rewrite of the SPECTRUM case study paper for ETRR. Did a very big rewrite, and quietly happy with it. Then went through Mark’s edits on Chapter 3, and passed it to Ann for a proof read and sub edit.

Had a bean burger for lunch, and a nice mushroom-cauliflower-potato soup for tea. Revised and updated my CV and then watched an episode of Stan Lee’s Lucky Man on Sky, followed by the new season of Top Gear with Matt Le Blanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid. I enjoyed both, which is interesting since I never liked Clarkson and maybe he tainted the old TG for me. They went to Baikonur in Kazakhstan, the driving bit was fun, but I also have a romantic idea of the Cosmodrome, after all that’s where Yuri Gagarin blasted off into space.

 

 

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…

 

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.