Penny sent me this link; Quite wierd. While I quite agree with people (in this case Everquest 2 subscribers) wanting to donate to the Red Cross account, I still find it a little wierd that they’re being encouraged to do so without leaving the game.

Furthermore, in a truly magnanimous act, Sony is not going to bill people resident in the affected area until they log in again.

Wierd.

Well, it has been the gaming weekend and gaming actually happened! Saturday’s Aberrant game was good fun and progress was made. I’m going to have to decide whether all this fame will go to John’s head (beyond the odd ego stroke) or whether he will stay focussed on his goals…

Quote of the day? Andy protesting that he was not, counter to accusations, as tight as a duck’s arse. He was more as tight as a prison duck’s arse, it being somewhat looser.

The night was a light one, the average working out at just under two bottles of wine each! (We never count the drinks in the pub beforehand.) And everyone was tucked up in bed by half twelve! Is this the beginning of the end? Does our collectively approaching 30th birthdays really mean we will become… sensible? I shudder at the thought.

The positive side of this was that people were not too hungover to play some Vampire on Sunday afternoon (yes, afternoon since the lazy bastards slept way past 11!) Kev found out that while vampires are not susceptible to a great many things that would harm mortals, gravity works on all of us. We did get to enjoy the mental image of a Guy sandwich, trapped between the lift he had just fallen on, and Tim’s character Yves on top of him, having fallen even further.

A good weekend.

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It seems Flickr have changed how their photos are linked, the URLs having changed from photos2x.flickr.blah to static.flickr.blah. Translation? All the pictures you linked to in your Blog no longer work. Luckily I only had two so going back and changing the URLs wasn’t too arduous. I don’t envy the people who have been photo-blogging extensively though…
(Amusingly, Flickr themselves have fallen foul of this!)

On a related note I, like Andy, have upgraded to Flickr Pro account. No ads, unlimited sets and no monthly quota.

Endless Games – Encyclopedia

I’ve updated the Story so far for the Vampire game in rough at the link above. I’ll be adding other cross links and encyclopedia entries through the day as work allows or as people prompt me with things they remember. (When was the bacon related punch-up between Guy and Justin?) or when I get character profiles.

Oh, and as for Aberrant, it’s somewhat incomplete but don’t forget to check out the incomplete and somewhat out-of-date Index of People for the Aberrant game. (Incidently, the vast majority of the Aberrant encyclopedia was assembled by Kev. Credit where credit’s due.)

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Well, I had a day off yesterday, and much enjoyed it was. And a much needed break. Weekends tend to be filled with sociable stuff which, whilst enjoyable, are often not exactly chill time. And that’s what I had yesterday.

Why yesterday in particular? Well, a few weeks ago I had a dilemma. I had a certain amount of spare money and not sure whether to spend it on a Sony PSP or a new mountain bike. After some agonising, I decided that a mountain bike would be a better investment. Healthier, more sociable as I could go on trips with Penny and a less constant drain on funds as games are expensive. So after some research, I settled on a Specialized Hardrock Sport, pictured right, and it was ready to collect yesterday.

Sadly, it wasn’t ready until the afternoon, so I was forced to spend the day chilling out playing computer games and reading (more on that later). But finally it was ready. I took the train to the rather excellent bike shop in Woking and then cycled in back along the canal. One thing is for sure. If I didn’t have one already, I’d want one. Light, sturdy and very responsive; An absolute dream to ride. I’m looking forward to punishing the hell out of it.

There’s quite a good interview with Neil Gaiman in the new SFX (Nr 136 out at the end of the month), but if you can’t be arsed to buy it (I know I’m unlikely to), it is available in full here. It’s somewhat censored, as Neil does like the word Fuck. (His acceptance speech to unexpectedly winning a Hugo was “Fuck me, I won a Hugo!”)

Now, back to that reading that I was doing. On Monday Mage: The Awakening was released and on Wednesday it finally got delivered to my local game store. I’ve read through most of it now and it’s quite nice. The rules are slicker and less open to abuse (though more rulesey than Mage: The Ascension. Don’t expect to be able to cast spells without the book in front of you for a good long while), the design and art is lovely, particularly the cover (except for WW’s new tendency of using a weird script font for chapter subheadings in a shiny colour that makes it hard to read) and it’s all quite cohesive.

And the Tremere are back! But this time, instead of being Mages that became Vampires (as in Vampire: The Masquerade), they are now Vampires that became Mages! Huzzah! Well, not exactly. It’s like WW felt they ought to include them, had some good ideas but never had them properly polished. Expect some house rules regarding that and regarding Sleepers causing paradox.

I love this site. Or rather I find the reason for it’s existance amusing. The tabloid press, particularly during the silly season, has a fondness for making up or exagerating EU legislation. And so, the European Commission’s Press Office in London monitors these stories, and describes on the site what the truth behind them is.

All the classics are here, from straight bananas to standardised condom sizes.

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Bad statistics and binge drinking

I love this article almost as much as I hate the abuse of statistics to grab headlines in the press or to grab soundbites in parliament. And all these reports, most often commisioned by a group with an agenda, never give you all the raw data that you’d need to make your own mind up.

As for the terrors of binge drinking, yes it is ill-advised to drink so much (and/or in bad combinations) that you do bad things to your health, your surroundings (I include people in this category, AKA collateral damage) and your self-respect. But unless you’re doing it all the time, it’s ridiculous. While I accept that my drinking last Saturday can only really be described as an (accidental) binge, enjoying a couple of glasses of wine with a meal is not a binge, even if you do so a couple of times a week, and go out to the pub with your friends once or twice.

And anyway, I’ve given up smoking, so I still need one vice to cling on to. But it’s certainly not going to be massaged statistics.

First off, I never really covered the bank holiday weekend. It started for me on Friday evening when I went up north with Andy, getting into Arnold just in time to get a couple of drinks in before last orders.

Saturday involved some shopping and, once Tim had arrived, traipsing around a few pubs in central Nottingham, enjoying the ale and killing time until the rest of the reprobates managed to show up in Nottingham. At seven we then all met up in a pub in Sherwood, there was a brief flurry of gifts for Karen from the absent Penny and the present Tim. After that? Well, Bryce has already covered it here, so I won’t go over it again. But let’s just say I felt awful for about 2 days after the event. Not a great thing really, as I was working on Monday.

For some reason I ended up watching two chick flicks this weekend. Personally I think my decision-making ability was diminished to my hangover and that I was taken advantage of. But since I have seen them and since some of you are in the position to be coerced into watching chick flicks, I may as well review them for you.

First up we have , starring Will Smith and Eva Mendes. Watch this film if you want somewhat amusing, formulaic, heart-warming pulp. It is light-hearted if you can’t be bothered to engage your brain and fancy the odd chuckle at Will Smith’s expense. This film is harmless.

Next we have , starring Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. This is in no way formulaic, heart-warming or light-hearted, and although it has the odd funny moment, it’s occasional, ironic and black comedy. This film is the anti-Hitch. It is an intelligent look at modern messed-up relationships, truth, lies, loss and obsession. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still mostly a chick flick. But it’s certainly not a traditional entrant into the category and should not be recommended to anyone who likes a happy film or wants avoid thinking.

And goodbye to the license for . The experiment didn’t last long, and to be honest it wouldn’t have even got off the ground had I done more research first instead of listening to the . (Sidenote: is particularly prone to techno-utopianism, especially when it comes to copyright. It’s understandable as Wikipedia is, as a whole, a techno-utopian project, but it’s not very encyclopaedic when there is no criticism to be found of techno-utopianism or the Creative Commons idea, while there is much criticism of traditional copyright.)

So I did a little more research with the help of and Google. The key problem with the CC license is that a) it is irrevocable, meaning that it can never be fully copyrighted in the future and also that it can never be fully released into the public domain; and b) that the author loses control of who references the work and under what circumstances. An example from a Reg article:
Take this example. A Linux advocacy group emails me to ask permission for a reprint of an article, and I’m delighted to grant it. The Daily Express asks for permission, and I tell them where to shove it. Now that’s a freedom I don’t have by adding an unnecessary license to my work. Now let’s say the Linux advocacy group has been taken over by people I don’t like. It asks for another reprint. I can change my mind, of course, but that’s because I haven’t signed over my rights under an irrevocable license. (And very few people tagging their work with Creative Commons licenses seem to realize that they’re irrevocable).
In other words, if I copyright Lethe, not only do I retain control of what people do with it, but it is my decision if I ever release it fully into the public domain or, (and I’m under no illusions that this is likely, just so we’re clear here) I enjoy some kind of commercial success.