luckykaa: (Wolf)
So that's November over.

A few people I know shun NanoWriMo and instead go for NaBloPoMo. The idea of that is that you post a blog entry each day. This is why I've been posting an entry every day (Those who missed one - that was a rant about work which is friends locked).

I hate to be smug, but it's a lot easier to do than 1667 words of novel per day.

The other one was NaNoWriMo rebellion. Didn't really have a desire to spend lots of time writing. Part of it was becoming fixated with my new toy (A PS3 - only been out about 9 years so that's how ahead of the curve I am!) but I do want an excuse to improve drawing.

The reasoning behind it was this - I'm not very good at drawing.

Let me tell you about "shitty_watercolour". On reddit.com, a poster set up an account with username "shitty_watercolour", where he'd paint a watercolour and post a link to it. This is his early work. There's actually a lot of dynamism and action there but in pure technical terms it's pretty rubbish. That was 2012. This is his work in 2015. He's actually pretty good these days.

So it's all about practice. A couple of pictures a day and I get to experiment a lot with expressions, poses and props. I still haven't worked out an era. I don't have a plot either, but I do have things happening one after the other o I guess that's story. Lots of exciting things happen in it. Just for no apparent reason. I'm tempted to go for retrofuturistic sci-fi with these characters.
luckykaa: (Wolf)
[livejournal.com profile] flickums said I should post about why my girlfriend is so awesome. I don't think she was totally serious, but there's no reason that should stop me.

There are many reasons! After a bried encounter at Nineworld 2014, we saw each other again at New Year. There was New Year kissing. I did keep her up all night (not that way - just by colonising the entire bed somehow), and she was too nice to prod me. But she still seemed to like me. And persuaded me that I really ought to stay at the party a little longer. We've since decided this is the time we actually got together.

I was still living a long way away. The next date was (I think) Redemption. I was on German time and am naturally a morning person. This makes me almost unique amongst geeks. Flickums was getting up at stupid a.m as well, so I had someone to have breakfast with. Other highlights of that weekend was flickums getting very drunk on chocolate wine.

I saw her again at Easter. She took me to York. Despite her lack of interest in trains she took me to the railway museum there (It's a really good railway museum - they even have a series 0 bullet train! She was happy because I was happy.

In August/September, we went on Holiday together. She heroically braved the aeroplane, and got through her fear of flying. And she made sure I hada brilliant time and she had a brilliant time herself. She persuaded me that we should get a room with a blacony overlooking the sea and since we spent every night on the balcony chatting and drinking, it was worth it! It was an absolutley brilliant holiday! Flickums made it brilliant! Also she took me to a really nice restaurant on my birthday, and bought me a T-shirt and was enthusiastic all week! And she really likes good food! There are many fine restraurants in Dubrovnik and we sampled several of them.

When I'm grumpy she's there for me. And she tolerates my terrible jokes. And she is an aswesome cook! Totally fearless in the kitchen.

A few more weeks and we've officially been together for a year!

WIDATW

Nov. 29th, 2015 05:45 pm
luckykaa: (Wolf)

Another weekend of [livejournal.com profile] flickums and geekery!

There was a bit of a delayed start because Thunderbird is still in car hospital so I had to get the train. But the people on the train have me tea and biscuits, so it wasn't all bad. And Flickums met me at the station because she's the bestest girlfriend ever. Then made me watch Clue because it is very silly, and has Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd in it. Dozed off a bit towards the end, so caught up next morning.

Went to the alternative Christmas market and  looked at some alternative Christmas stuff. Saw Mockingjay part 2. It's a pretty good adaptation. I never felt the second and third books were as good as the original.

Went to [livejournal.com profile] blazingskies' place to watch Doctor Who. We saw City of Death. Actually a pretty good episode, even managing some location work in Paris.

Sunday, watched new Who. It was a little odd.

Then finished off Spirit Of The Tentacle. Which seemed to go pretty well considering I'm new to the GMing thing. Feel I didn't give everyone stuff to do though. Also felt it was a bit too combat heavy. And I really need to learn how the system works properly, but that last one is more about experience. Have some idea of what I need to do when I run a game that I write.

luckykaa: (Wolf)

[livejournal.com profile] flickums seems to think my taste in movies is terminally downbeat. Since my favourites include jolly films like Terminator, and the permanently nighttime Dark City, and I just enjoyed Mockinjay part 2; she may have a point.

It's not all doom and gloom though. Here are the happy films I like.

The Fifth Element.  A double fudge sundae of a film. Everything about it is gorgeous from the futuristic New York to the Jean Paul Gautier's costume design. And it's so much fun!

The Karate Kid. One of tge 1980sest stories of triumph of the underdog.  And source of some of the essential references.  Wax on, wax off.

The Princess Bride.  Truly a story of true love. Miracle Max and Valerie are a perfect couple.  Don't see Buttercup and Westley working out though.

How To Train Your Dragon - Not only is it an awesome kids movie,  but it has one of the best movie soundtracks of the decade.

Flash Gordon - "Gordon's alive!!!" "Flash! I love you but we only have 14 hours to save the Earth!", and other great lines. Plus, that thumping Queen soundtrack including Brian May playing the wedding march!

So it's not all doom and gloom!  Just mostly that way.

luckykaa: (Travel)
I received an email offering "Black Friday" bargains on flights. Which is silly! Black Friday is an American thing, because Americans want to get their christmas shopping started early or something. We don't have a 4 day weekend, and it makes no sense to offer a discount on flights anyway!

But Victor Meldew stuff over, I really want to fly somewhere! Somewhere in the southern hemisphere or at least near the equator! New Zealand looks very appealing right now. Or maybe Rio De Janiero! Jakarta perhaps? Cuba remains fairly warm at this time of year. I have enough avios points for a return flight to Tenerife!

Looking out the window and seeing dark gloomy night, all I want is some sun! Preferably high enough not to be shining right in my face.

I just can't really afford the holiday or the time off right now.

Numberwang

Nov. 26th, 2015 05:22 pm
luckykaa: (TV)

Once upon a time this happened on Countdown.

Clever isn't it!

My dad is a fan of this show, and hyper competitive when it comes to the numbers game. When I visit I rtend to watch with him. There's actually some tricks to these, that James Martin used here.

The first trick is a simple one. When you have all 4 large numbers (for those not familiar with the show the large ones are always 25, 50, 75, and 100)  you can combine these to make 2 (50/25 or 100/50), 3 (75/25), 4 (100/25), 5 ((50+75)/25) and a number of other small numbers. The problem with this is you end up using up your big numbers.

What Mr. Martin did here was realise he had 954 from (100+6)*3*(75/25). Not a terrible score, but not perfect. There are the numbers to get the remaining 2 (50/25) but he's already used the 25. Still, we can use that as a start.

952 = (100+6)*3*(75/25)-50/25
or slightly more conveniently
952 = ((100+6)*3*75)/25-50/25

Those who do a lot of manipluating equations will spot something we can do here. We can factor out the 25

952 - ((3*75(100+6) ) - 50 ) / 25

And there you have it. James Martin had no idea what the intermediate number was. He didn't need to. People actually use this sort of trick all the time. It's unusual to do it with such a huge number, but the rules are no different. The real trick is spotting that under the pressure of a 30 second time limit.

For those who prefer the letters game, there's this:


luckykaa: (d20)
Dice are an important part of RPGs. I'm sure there's a perfect mechanic somewhere. I did try coming up with a new one years ago when toying with Tales out of anchor with [livejournal.com profile] flannelcat. Never worked though.

The classic mechanic is simply to use the dice score. Add the die to your skill, and if that's higher than the difficulty level then you succeed. There are other arithmetic mechanics, but they're generally equivalent. Here's the thing, no matter how inept you are at a skill, it should possible, through sheer chance, that you will succeed. Likewise, no matter how high the skill, it's possible that something goes wrong; the sword breaks, the gun misfires or whatever. And because this is a about the story, this theshold should actually be lower than in the real world Million to one shots should happen all the time; maybe not nine times out of ten, but once or twice per session makes for some drama.

And this really doesn't allow for that sort of nuance. You could make a natural 20 a success, and a natural 1 a failure but that is a bit artificial. The other problerm is the linear level. A high level will win statistically 19 times more often than an untrained character. All tasks are clamped to that range. It's a little unsatisfying.

Savage worlds uses an interesting mechanic. You roll a polyhedral die, with the number of sides related to your skill level. If you roll the maximum, the die "explodes" - you get to roll again and add to the score. This can happen multiple times. You also get to roll a D6, and if that rolls higher you take that score. The D6 may also explode. This does make it a lot less predictable. It also means in principle, anyone can manage any difficulty. If I declare a difficulty of 600 for firing an arrow in the air, the wind taking it and it hitting the villain killing him, then there's a mathematical possibility (approx 1 in 653 318 620 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000) that after rolling a hundred 6's in a row the bottom level character succeeds. Plus it allows polyhedrals, which I like because I'm a maths nerd and Iike platonic solids. People seem to criticise it a lot though. Never really been sure why.

To be honest, I'm actually quite happy with the Fate system. 4 dice with + and - on, plus your base skill must equal or exceed the difficulty. So basically another arithmetic system. But it gains in one respect - aspects. You can tag an aspect and get a bonus. It works. Although there it's mainly about supporting the story. If you do something awesome then you are more likely to succeed. It is about the story. It works.
luckykaa: (Exterminate)
As well as unofficial participantation in NaBloPoMo (where I blog at least one entry per day), I'm also gettingon with my NanoWriMo Rebellion, where I draw some comics.

I still haven't quite worked out what the plot is. Or what era this is set in. I do have a reasonable handle on my character - Penny Pitman, intrepid journalist, with a photographic memory and a tendency towards getting in too deep.

So far I have a load of stuff happens with no real explanation, but I am looking for excuses to do some action. These are a bit scrappy and sketchy  because they're just sketches. I will probably ink over some of the better ones.

At one point she apparently steals a plane. I just quite liked the pose on this one.Pics underneath )

Since I was never talented at drawing and I still am not particularly, I am quite pleased with the way these have come out. Still, I am getting a few pics that I'm reasonably happy about.
luckykaa: (Wolf)
So my parents came to visit.

This had several practical upshots.

I had much nice food. They stayed in a hotel with a very nice restaurant attached. They seemed to think it was a good place to eat. I had a very nice game pie one night and an equally nice slow cooked belly of pork the next. I now have al my folders full of assorted paperwork. Way too much paperwork but at least it's here. I am rid of a surplus TV that was just taking up space.

So pretty nice weekend. Was good to catch up wioth the parents and exchange holiday photo viewings. They went to South Arfrica. I still hadn'e shown off my Dubrovnik pics.

Really wish I was more set up for entertaining though. I guess I could have cooked a meal for them but I'd prefer to have a proper dining room to do that. And roast carving equipment. Still maybe that will come.
luckykaa: (Yarr!!!)
Parents are visiting me in Leicester so we decided to see Richard III (Or "Uncle Richard" as the people in the hotel called him).

Interesting exhibit. The history is a little dense. Lots of political shennigans, and confusingly everyone is called Richard or Edward. Richard Duke of York had several sons, the notable one were called Edward and Richard. Edward became Edward IV and he had two sons called Edward (later Edward V) and Richard. Edward IV's brother, also called Richard became Richard III. It seems there were allegations that Edward was illegitimate and therefore so was Richard and Edward, giving Richard the claim to the throne, being the oldest legimitate son of Richard. Richard allegedly killed Richard and Edward. Still, the history lesson was informative, once I'd worked out which Rich was which, and I learned

Actually Richard III, despite the character assassination done by Shakespeare did establish some reforms in the legal system and generally try to be a good king (and therefore was a good thing). It is quite possible that the princes dies of natural causes.

I actually found the science bit upstairs a lot more accessible. Various interviews with the archaology team, and lots of tech used in the forensics. There was a wealth of information. Still surprising that the remains were lost for so long. The MRI tells us all the injuries he received. The mitochondrial DNA tells us that this is the right guy. Basic analysis tells us that he did indeed have a distorted spine.

Seems a little pricey for quite a small exhibition, but not a bad place to visit.
luckykaa: (Exterminate)
There are three weeks left on this contract. Apparently my contract renewal is tied up because it's close to the end of the year.

Given they normally deal with this 6 weeks before contract ends, the "end of the year" seems to last a hell of a long time. I guess this is de-riguer for big business.

To be honest, this is one of the reasons I miss the games industry. The work was stressful, but there was a strong attitude of "get shit done". Smaller more competitivie industries are lie this. Not because of any particular magic. Simple Darwinian evolution. The inefficient companies run out of money and die.

Bigger companies are harder to kill. As long as they're marginally profitable, they continue based on inertia. But there's no mechanism to weed out inefficiency. So inept departments carry on chugging away, bringing the cost of the whole company own. Most of these don't even have cost and profit of their own, so unprofitable departments can't be removed.

Small companies have their own issues. The lack of weight means they get pushed around by their clients. Games studios are always pushed by their publishers to commit to release dates. And startups are even worse because they're constantly reacting and fighting fires.

Clearly I need to look for a medium sized company.
luckykaa: (Car)
I'm considering a mortgage. As a contractor, things are a bit complicated, but there are specialists advisors in this area. The advisor wants an updated CV. I also need to actually work out whethere there's a signed contract here.

Also my contract is coming to an end. That means I need an updated CV.

Other stuff I need to deal with on a regular basis is my expenses.

All this stuff piles up. I have other things to do that feel so much more fun! And is it really worth my while claiming for a Sainsbury's £3 meal deal?

And because I neglect it, even more piles up!

I have a whole month of receipts to plough through! Which is actually probably only about 20-30 bits of paper. It feel like so much more though.
luckykaa: (Video games)
Video game RPG was never a genre that hugely appealled to me. I do like a decent storyline in a game, but I tend to prefer things to require a little less investment. But [livejournal.com profile] flickums gave me a copy of Dragon Age Origins and forthed about it do damn much I thought I ought to give it a go.

Took me a while to create a character. So many choices! How do you choose! Then, even worse I had to pick a name!

I've actually got really into it. Flickums got upset with me for being a brutal pragmatist at times. What can I say? There's a world to save. A few extra deaths of NPCs is a fairly minor issue in the scheme of things. I apparently completely failed to pick up several potential party members by skippping Lothering (and killed another).

Not being familiar with the genre, there was quite a bit of a learning curve. I simply had no idea how anything works, and there's quite a few conventions that are apparently common to RPGs. How important are various skills? How much effort should I put into balance? I seem to  have cocked up in a few places in learning. I largely skipped past the whole Lothering thing (I have a save from earlier so I might go back to that but I've gone way too far). My main problem is frequently gettng my ass handed to me. Also load time stinks! Why must it take so long!

So signing off. I sdeem to be trapped in a sloth demon, and need to get out.

Kafkasoft

Nov. 17th, 2015 06:22 pm
luckykaa: (Robot)
I thought I'd have a look at the microsoft online store. I was hoping to be able to find a podcast reader.

It wanted a microsoft account. Apparently I already had one. I tried the password I use for accounts that contain no useful information. Apparently none of them work. I tried resetting it. Apparently my usual password had already been used and I couldn't re-use it. So I tried logging in with that password again, and possible variations. They didn't work.

Then I tried clicking on the link that seemed to suggest it would delete the whol account. Seemed like a nice idea. That would mean I could restart from scratch.This may have been a mistake. It didn't delete it anyway.

I tried resetting the password again. Rather than sending another link, it demanded another email address anbd then sent me a form. This form required information like the last 5 email subjects I'd sent (I've never sent any through the server), my XBox user ID (I don't have one) and a bunch of other info they can't possibly have, plus my date of birth and a postcode.I gave them all the information they could possibly have. Apparently that's not enough to identify mTe. I'd have thought name, DoB and postcode plus email address would convince most people but apparently not.

I created a new account with my google email address. and tried to use that to download the app. "There's a problem at our end" apparently. Great.

Meanwhile I tried to find an email address so I could get a human being. Eventually, after much hunting, I found a contact us form. The response I got was a link to a message sent to my locked account. I sent another contact, this time specifying the new account. They actually did send that to my email address. They didn't tell me anything remotely different or useful. So I sent a Data Protection Request. Mainly to see how they respond to that. If they want information then they can damn well tell me the information they want!
luckykaa: (cortina)
So, after the drive to Coventry, my car started spewing out lots of steam and got very very hot. Stopped at a petrol station, refilled the coolant. Got me home. Checked the next day, the water was empty. So I booked it into a garage. I went for the one that answered the phone on a Saturday afternoon.

Perhaps I should have picked the one that had parking. Actually I found myself not quite liking the mechanic. Perhaps it was that he was smoking. I dropped it off anyway because I needed to get to work.

They checked for leaks and didn't find any. Apparently the emissions are way over where they should be. The diagnosis is a head gasket problem. While this is comon in Rover/MGs of my car's vintage, it has had the head gasket replace in the past. And the reasoning seemed very reminiscent of the symptoms that don't on their own indicate failure. Although I do have a few of them.

Now, I did get the used car warranty when I bought the car. Will need to look into that. I have no idea how that works in practice. Was hoping the mechanic would be able to tell me but sadly not.

Thing is, if it is a head gasket problem, and I do need to fork out some of my own cash, I wonder if it's worth it. It's an expensive job. Especially when the engine's in the middle rather than the more traditional and sensible front. It probably means there's a lot of hassle involved getting the thing out.

For now I'm travelling by bus.
luckykaa: (Video games)
Everyone's been talking about Fallout. Thought I'd have a look to see what the fuss was about.

Feels very 90's. Probably because it's a 90's game. Apparently there are another 3 games in the series. But Gog.com has the first in the series for pocket money prices, so that's another game to add to the shelf.

Most of the game is pretty self explanatory although the icons would have been better if they had tooltips on them. It's not hugely obvious.

It's a pretty cool back story. Somwehat satirical. The FMV isn't full motion, but probably would have been had I been playing this in 1998.  So far I've found Vault 15 and established that there's bugger all in there except some loot. I guess the loot is sort of handy. Probably need to get back to Shady Sands. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the brief. Although this is why I tend not to go for RPGs. I lack the attention span to pay attentionb to the cutscenes. Give me a mission!

Wish these rats would stop biting me. They're really quite upsetting.

Windows 10

Nov. 14th, 2015 12:44 pm
luckykaa: (Exterminate)
My PC came with a free Windows 10 upgrade. I thought the best feature of this was that I could wipe the entire OS and remove any junk that HP felt I absolutely needed. This did mean I had to reinstall the Cyberlink stuff which is actually useful and it took a bit of time to find it, (and work out which of the half dozen applications with names like Cyberlink_HHQTB2 is which). To be fair to HP it seems that there's actually very little shovelware.

So, Windows 10... Feels fairly similar to all other versions of Windows to be honest. Disk drives are still represented by a single letter. Starting with C: for reasons that now seem very quant. Microsoft have put back the start menu - which I never really felt was perfect, but people seemed to like it. Oddly, it no longer says "start", which I thought was the original point. I seem to be in the minority who actually liked the metro interface, at least conceptually. I like the idea of having apps always available. The problem for me was that it wasn't fully integrated enough. I want to be able to put a twitter feed or news ticker at the side of the screen and "full screen" for the app I'm interacting with to be considered the rest of the screen. The legacy desktop should have been just another tile.

There are a couple of features I like. Fingerprint login is pretty cool. Windows has supported this for a while now but this is the first PC I've have that had a scanner. Also the file copy dialog has been improved. It gives a nice chart showing transfer speed. And if there are multiple copies in progress they can be paused. Would be nice if they could be queued instead.

Something thats strange is that there are two settings apps (settings and Control Panel), with overlapping functionality. Actually there's a lot of this. Functionality is spread all over the place. I can never remember whether I want wireless settings, properties, network settings, or adaptor settings to set up the various bits of internet. Apps can be started from the start menu, all apps, the taskbar, or the desktop. Application config is in the registry and advanced system settings.

On the whole it seems quite okay. That's all I really want from an OS. Okayness.
luckykaa: (Exterminate)
I just wanted a new PC. I didn't plan to go to Coventry! But Currys had a pretty decent piece of kit on clearance available only from that store.

It's not too long a journey. Mostly motorways. Sadly this journey is happening at rush hour on a Friday. Will have to see how it goes.

Am looking forward to a nice new piece of kit. I've been informed that I will want to upgrade to Windows 10.

Just need to think of a name. Generally I go for a Sci-fi theme.

Furiosa, perhaps?
luckykaa: (TV)
CBS recently announced there would be a new Star Trek series. And that's about all they said about it, before going off on a tangent about their new pay straming service, proving that Star Trek is still seen as nothing but a cash cow by the studios.

I do wonder what it will be.

I very much expect it to continue in the Prime universe and ignore the JJ Abrams films. Could it be Star Trek: The Next Next Generation? With the same time skip from the original seriesm featuring the Enterprise-J or thereabouts? The time between TNG and now is actually larger than the time between TOS and TNG so it would make some sense. Obviosuly by this time, things will have moved on. Trips to the Delta quadrant will be a 5 minute trip to the shops. The Borg will have to be involved. Although since Voyager Nerfed them so effectively, I can't see them being much cop unless there's some sort of alliance with them.

I'd like to see something a bit different though. Maybe something that isn't centred on one of the Federations top ships. With a crew that isn't meant to be the best. Competent people with good equipment doing their jobs well is not the best way to create drama. Throwing people in at the deep end with inadequate equipment and impossible odds is!

We have a long wait ahead. I guess we'll find out in 2017.
luckykaa: (Wolf)
I appear to be becoming old. I'm seriously considering buying a property. The fact that I can afford one in Leicester makes this even more likely.

But do I want to live in Leicester?

Pros: It's pretty cheap. Very central for the rest of the country. Not too far from flickums.
Cons: I don't really feel I fit in here that well. And I'm not finding it easy to make friends.

There are many other places I could go. Nottingham is close, also cheap, and there seems to be more stuff happening on meetup.com

Or I could go for Bristol. Not too expensive. Not too far from everywhere. I still have a few friends from when I was at university.

Maybe I should jsut stick a pin in a map. That seems to put me in Scarborough.
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