It’s time to plug other people’s events and stuff.

First off, Rhea is selling one of her pieces on Ebay.

In her words: This is a dream-like representation of an African landscape, 2007. My perception begins with layers. I want to see everything at the same time, everything hidden alongside all that is revealed, naked to my gaze. I want to see all the connections and comprehend them. View the world like a tapestry, with many scenes occupying a flat space to be studied at leisure. The world itself, though, is displayed in many layers that occupy space after space, as far as the eye can see. Yet within each of these layers possibilities are both hidden and revealed. Background planes are obscured from view and negative spaces provide windows to the layer beyond.

Her profile on MyArtSpace.

Next up, a perennial favourite, Monkey is doing his live event in Camden on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at Folkadot at The Green Note.  In his words:

My favourite night are having me back!
The Green Note is a lovely little cafe/restaurant/venue/place/thing just up the road from the Jazz Cafe in lovely old camden town. I read there a few months ago and they were great, the venue was lovely and the audience enjoyed it, which is always a plus…
So I’m delighted to be going back , and I would love to take a few of you with me..
If the set-up is the same as last time, I will be reading in between acts, which will be chilled acoustic sensitive types.
Come down, have some veggie tapas, a pint of organic Freedom beer, a nice mid-week sit down soaking up the tunes and then a little giggle at me.
Tell ’em Vinnie sent ya…

Regardless what the shifty Ferret said, I’m not going to post up my impression of the stag weekend, since it’s pretty much covered in his blog post. Instead, I have the following thanks:

  • Thanks to the groom for playing along with good humour and for being the cause for the stag do.
  • Thanks to the bride letting the groom off the leash one last time.
  • Thanks to the best man for organising the stag do.
  • Thanks to the owl man for collecting random tat as souvenirs.
  • Thanks to T for going further than he thought he could.
  • Thanks to M for moving our drinking up a gear with his lethal drinking games.
  • Thanks to A, R and D for their enthusiasm and good laughs.
  • And a very special thanks to the girls in togas.

I’ve already started working throough the photos from Friday and will hopefully will have them ready later this week. You guys are actually in some of them!

Okay, maybe not the return of marriage, since it’s not like we were swamped with them in the first place. And just before anyone panics/celebrates/dies of shock (delete as applicable), I’m not using my blog to offer a nerdy proposal to Penny. There is no purple/pirate wedding on the cards.

But, are engaged! Congratulations to them!

are married! And what a glorious wedding it was! It was particularly good to catch up with old school people who I hadn’t seen in ages.

And…

That’s it. For now. Until DeathOwl pops the question to his bird. 😀

But first, the weather…

Snow!
Then panic, chaos, delayed and canceled trains, people bundled up like Nanuk of the North (minus the yellow snow) and advice to “stay at home unless absolutely necessary”.
Closely followed by melting of said snow, and knock on effects on the transport connections caused by said few flakes.
Same as every year.

But anyway!

Last weekend was the birthday celebration of Ibis and there were gamers amundo! The festivities began, from my perspective, on Friday evening when Penny and I went to eat curry in Reading with those of Alison’s guests who had arrived a day early at the hotel. Oh, and Alison was there too, which was a relief. This did mean that Penny and Alison have finally managed to meet after all this time.
The curry was good, the company was good and it was nice to meet at least some of the people before actually engaging in freeform roleplay with them and their 25 or so friends.

What is freeform roleplay? Well, it’s like LARP but without the rubber swords. Hmm.. Not quite doing it justice. Tabletop roleplaying without the table. Or the dice. Or a great many rules. And with more GMs. And costumes. How about improvisational acting but with a prose character sheet and objectives? I think you get the idea.

The freeform in question was held at the excellently appropriate venue of and was excellently organised by . This being my very first freeform roleplay I was fairly nervous to begin with, especially as I didn’t know the vast majority of the guests. But all were friendly and I was eased in gently, playing the Lord Sandberg, a cunning manipulator of the political scene. Or at least he would have been if I hadn’t been about half a plotline behind everyone else. I’m afraid I didn’t do Lord Sandberg sufficient justice, but I certainly had fun trying to influence the leadership contest of the Conservative party. And thereby miss an entirely different plotline (or three) of occult goings on.

A lot of people had put a spectacular amount of effort into their costumes and really looked great. I wussed out and stuck with the tuxedo rather than hiring/buying a whole outfit.

The dinner and speeches after the gaming event were great, particularly Alison’s half hour speech in which she spoke about everyone present, which was a nice touch. And then some very nice people gave me a lift home at the end of the night.

Happy Birthday Ibis and thanks, I enjoyed celebrating with you and your friends.

Well it’s been forever since the last blog post since it’s been so busy over the Christmas period. But also means there are plenty of things to blog about.

The first major event after the last blog post was the acquisition of our very first . We meant to start small, maybe a little three footer. Maybe four. Five maximum. But we weren’t too disappointed when we ended up with a beautiful seven foot beast. A beast that helped us decorate.

The Thursday before Christmas itself, our Christmas food arrived in the Tesco order. Sadly they had not been able to source, nor substitute, my Christmas venison. Needless to say I was terribly disappointed. However, when we went through the shopping bags we found… A three kilo free range organic turkey! It wasn’t a substitution and we weren’t charged for it, so free turkey for me!

Around about this time, we got an early Christmas present from our landlord who has extended our lease for another year at the same rent. We continue to have a home in Woking for the foreseeable future!

Next up was Penny’s departmental with the emphasis on mental. It was themed ‘Gangsters, Molls, Pimps and Hos’ and Penny and I both went as rather than the more popular gangstas or pimps. There were plenty of hos on display though. All credit to Pimp o’ Claus who managed to bring the sexy back (to paraphrase Justin Timberlake) and secure himself a pay rise by thrusting his groin at his seated manager during a singing competition.

Christmas Eve saw us firstly in Canary Wharf on the ice rink for Penny’s first go at . And she did very well considering it was her first time. After that we were off to ‘s for the Christmas Eve bash, which was fun.

Christmas Day at last! And there were ! I got a trip to go and do in Milton Keynes and an open activity voucher which I intend to use to go on a tall ships day out of Portsmouth. Also four ultimate DVD Sean Connery Bond movies and the Casino Royale book. Secret Santa sent me a pirates treasure chest of nostalgia sweets. But fear not, no gobstopper has been able to shut me up yet!

On the 27th we took the to go and see my parents. Unfortunately the weather was lousy, but we did manage to do some sightseeing in . We also managed to see the excellent Casino Royale while we were there and I was glad to have read the book on the way over first.

was spent at Kev & Lynsey’s and we were also joined by Tim and Karen. A pleasant evening and excellent food cooked by Lynsey as ever.

So there you have it. All the news that’s fit to blog. Now I’m back at work and my fitness regime begins tonight. No more pies for me…

Jessica Louise Ball was born in time for afternoon tea yesterday and weighed 8 pounds 12 ounces. Mother and child are healthy.

Congratulations Stu and Sam!

The Weekend

Well, the Ferret beat me to a sum-up of and did a far more detailed job of it than I would have done. I will, however, add that the vodka was an excellent Russian vodka called Stolichnaya, or to it’s friends. The weekend neither followed the original plan (beer festival) nor the backup plan (easy Friday night, pub crawl Saturday, hangover Sunday), but still very much enjoyable, perhaps partly due to the unplanned nature of it all. I still want to do a major pub crawl of Woking though, so people can expect to have me muttering about that at some point.

I’ve enjoyed watching the first Season of Doctor Who. It certainly had it’s weak episodes as well as it’s fun ones, so it’s worth continuing to watch, though not fanatically.

Google Docs & Spreadsheets

As you can , I’ve been messing around with Google Docs recently, formerly Writely and Google Spreadsheet, now combined. The docs part works nicely, especially now that it supports Beta Blogger, though I still wish they’d have more link options, like supporting tagged links. Spreadsheet though, despite having a great many functions was always missing thinks like charts and retrieving information from web pages. And so I was tempted to move back to .

Imagine then my surprise when it was announced that . In other words, Google hired the developers rather than buying the solution. I can only hope that this means that some of IRows features will migrate to Google Spreadsheet as they’re sorely lacking. Current Irows users are basically being told to export their docs as Excel spreadsheets (including charts) and upload them to Google Docs (without charts). That’s going to put some noses out of joint…

These bi-monthly updates are getting quite tiresome, especially as they seem to be becoming a habit. It’s difficult to blog at work and I tend to get distracted blogging at home. Must try harder!

So, Bryce already covered and the return to . It’s a shame the service wasn’t great at the end as I know it’ll put people off the restaurant. There’ll always tend to be a tendency of “Well, the food was good, but the service wasn’t so hot. Let’s try somewhere else…”
Incidentally, according to Wikipedia, Lalibela is “ is one of modern Ethiopia’s holiest cities”.

Work is going okay. I’ve decided to stick to the job I was hired for rather than moving to more ‘exciting’ areas. I almost shocked myself how easy the decision was in the end. How things change…

Last week, of course was and Penny and I carved pumpkins. Much fun indeed and photos in the link.

Last night was the , which wasn’t bad. However, and I do hate to say this, the firework display in Aldershot was better…
I took some and some , allowing me to mess about with .

Next weekend? The .

And in the meantime, this month is National Novel Writing Month, to it’s friends, and I am taking part this year. The goal? Fifty thousand words in one month. And I’m already behind…

Bryce has the bulk of my weekend out west fairly well, but let me fill in the gaps.

Getting to Cheltenham from, well… anywhere, can be a bit time consuming and First Great Rippoff don’t seem to allow any discounts of any kind. I never thought I’d find my opinion of South West Trains improving! But eventually, after a three and a half hour journey from work to Cheltenham involving three changes, I made it to ‘Nam just after haf past four. This left just enough time to dump bag and head off on a trek in search of beer; a local pub crawl if you like. The main destination was the , up on the hill. Naturally, as it was a decent trek, we needed refreshment on the way. The last leg of the journey was through a field of (unworried) sheep but at the end the wedding party filled Hotel was worth it, particularly for the view from the beer garden at sunset. Annoyingly I once again didn’t have my camera with me, but this is the closest picture I can find of the . On the way back, past more sheep, we of course just had time for two more pubs on the way home, before witnessing the return of the .

was nice on the Sunday, the meeting point of the Avon and the Severn and home to the Abbey. A very pleasant little town, though I did think the Olde Worlde pennants on all the shops were a bit pointless.

In the afternoon, it was into Cheltenham proper for a mooch around (pub crawl) which was much enjoyed. As opposed to my journey home. A bus driver with all the time in the world made me miss my train. I still made it home in good time, but I had to take a lot more connections and cruise a wave of later trains and dodgy connections to make it home. Quite stressful.

Penny’s computer, Albert, is coming together nicely. There’s still a lot of music to copy between computers and strip out the duplicates and there’s another couple of hardware and software tweaks to go, but he’s up and running. Soon I’ll be able to upgrade my computer, as soon as I decide whether to go the AGP or PCI Express route.

Anyway, although I started this post almost immediately after returning from Bryce’s, it’s now over a week and a half afterwards so I’m going to leave it there.

has already blogged the party of the weekend quite extensively and there’s not much I can add to it, but I’ll make a few comments.

Firstly, Pirates 2 was good fun. The first half was very much “Look at the comedy pirate and his crazy antics!” while the second half was some more serious pirating and a real rollercoaster ride. In short, it was good and I’m looking forward to the concluding part. Disney must be laughing all the way to the bank.

In comparison, Superman Returns didn’t do very well at all. The US takings for last weekend for the big blue boyscout was a mere $11 million compared to a piratastic $62 million. Woops.

The party itself was a blast; I enjoyed it muchly. It was good to get som many together, including people who had come quite a way that I hadn’t seen in ages.

I skipped the quiz mainly so I could spend some time catching up with Stu & Sam, and then skipped most of the karaoke, mainly so I could skip the karaoke. I seem to recall being shanghaied into one song where a machine accused me of being tone deaf. Hmm… I didn’t know I was supposed to hit the notes! Otherwise I would have tried and ended up with a really low score!

Sunday was major mong day as I nursed my hangover. I think I earned it though!

Trains seem to be quite a mess this week. On Monday we had ticket inspectors and while there were no lousy excuses to be heard (Last time I heard “But I’ve taken this train for weeks and never bought a ticket before!”) but I did see a very respectable looking gentleman legging it from fare enforcement officers down a platform!

Penny’s trains are a mess this week, what with the Farnborough Airshow being on and then on Friday/Saturday we have the train . I can just about get into London, but it’ll be impossible to get out. Two trains an hour from London on a Friday night? It’s not going to happen. I have no idea what I’ll do if I can’t work from home that day.