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Specky, Diddlysquat, Game Crafters' Guild & Othersuch
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17th-Nov-2008 04:15 pm - Game over
Specky
Ok, just for completeness, I'm signing off here.

Not that I've actually been here in a few months, but there ya go...

Anyway, to anyone still linked in to my LJ, farewell! My family and I are leaving these cold and miserable shores to live and work in the Middle East. I'm leaving in a little over a week, I really doubt I'll ever be back except occasionally to visit a couple of family and look in on my house once in a while. I certainly won't be popping along to Gaelcon :)

Me relationship with LJ was *of an era*, an era that has now long passed, so I shan't be back here again. I'm currently blogging elsewhere on the web, and if you really needed to and knew me well enough to know a little about my business and interests, you could probably find me there.

So farewell and good luck to those who know me. I hope you all get where you want to be and appreciate the things you experience along the way there.

Toodles!
Specky
I got a phone call the other evening at home - around teatime, on Saturday, which is an unusual time to get a call at home in my house (actually, I'm not sure there is a pattern for calls to our house because they occur so incredibly infrequently...but there ya go). It was one of those lovely people from RedSea looking to do a survey.

At the time I tussled for a few seconds between telling them I was too busy and actually doing it, but I to be honest I think there's a little bit of public service you ought to do now and again (I shall return to the efficacy of the process later...bear with me). So I asked the young lady how long it would take. "Ten minutes" she said "depending on the length of your answers". That actually sounded like a long time, but I was wandering around the kitchen putting things into pans and chopping things, so what would be the harm.

So off she went with herself.

I suspected it might be something to do with the Treaty thing, and she did ask me which way I would vote in one of the first five or six questions, but there was only one question like that, the remainder being mostly very wishy-washy about children's activities and my opinion on Science Foundation Ireland and whether I had a telephone.

Many years ago I was stopped in the street in London and participated in a Gallup poll - the purpose of which eludes me now - and those guys very conveniently rang me back at 7.00am that Saturday to thank me for my participation. "Thank you too" I said...or something like that.

Anyway, about the RedSea thing.

- it was much too long. Ten minutes is a very long time. It probably puts many people off from participating because it is too long, and it also probably skews the results of questions towards the end because you get bored and start answering randomly. Maybe they randomise the questions but that's still wasteful
- the subject matter is too varied. OK, so they've persuaded you to stay on the phone, but they don't need to bend your ear so much for so long on so many things that you can't remember what you're talking about
- the ABCDE from "not at all" to "very much" agree/disagree method is tedious


Look RedSea, I really think you'd do better if you rang up and said "can I just ask you one question please?". Ten second phone call. All over in a flash. So you run the risk of getting throw-away answers...well, do you think that's not what you get after 10 minutes of pummelling the person on the end of the phone?

I am not a statistician. I'm probably wrong, but mass data collection exercises like this for the purposes of informing newspaper reports seem to me that they ought to have much larger sample sizes, and doing the 10 minute slog with a humourless soul down a phone line wouldn't look like tht most promising way to encourage that.
18th-Apr-2008 01:34 pm - They make it sound so good...
Specky
...like it's made out of lasers or something.

http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4news/20080417a

I just can't decide how I feel about this sort of thing. My natural reaction is one of cynisism and scorn, whilst my practical head says "oh good, now I don't have to do all that boring rules stuff".

...oh God, I've actually wasted 34.7 seconds thinking about it
9th-Apr-2008 05:39 pm - An odd feeling
Specky
Weird.

Yesterday evening I has this strange hankering to write some code. It was actually more than just a hankering - I actually had the little internal dialogue about "you know, maybe I could work on this little project...where the hell would I find the time?...the pint will not go into the quart pot, something will have to go."

When are they going to perfect that drug that means you don't need to sleep any more? I could really do with those hours back.
31st-Mar-2008 05:12 pm - A moment of clarity
Specky
I didn't come through he weekend particularly well. It wasn't really all that busy, but I don't feel it was particularly efficiently spent - and particularly not as I now feel totally exhausted.

Yesterday was particularly poorly spent, and the loss of an hour didn't really help too much. The result was me, trying to get stuff done last night and utterly failing due to fatigue.

I haven't been at the "it seems like such a good idea that I just put my head down on the keyboard and close my eyes for a few moments" stage for a while now, but it *did* seem like such a good idea at one stage that I gave it a try. I never actually *sleep* under these circumstances. I just enter a slightly different mode of awakeness that involves no motion and no rational thought. On this occasion I sat up after a *while* with the sudden brilliantly clear thought "That's it!! Of course! I am Batman."

The precise reasoning behind my moment of clarity faded so quickly that I cannot now recall the exact details, but it seemed VERY indisputable at the time.

I decided it was time to go to bed about then.

Saw "Horton Heard a Who" on saturday as part of an enormous day out with my daughter. She's reached the stage of being utterly engrossed in movies in the cinema then asking lots of very detailed questions afterwards. We had a very enjoyable day. Did altogether too much for a day of that particular size and had an unreasonable amount of fun, all things considered.

Am off to Amsterdam on Wednesday morning. Looks like I will need to be up at around 3.00am to get to the airport. Charming. Thank goodness my travel arrangements are not being brought to me by the letter T or the number 5.
27th-Mar-2008 08:18 pm - Warp
Specky
Just for a second there, I thought it was Friday.
23rd-Mar-2008 02:34 pm - Egg-scrutiating
Specky
I was having a little difficulty remembering what Easter was all about.

Not the religeous nonsense, I couldn't give a hoot about that, to be honest (cool story though, all the nailing up and stabbing and pulling down and sagging ribcages and crown of thorns and being dead...then NOT being dead again and all that...someone should write a book or make a movie or something...).

No, it was all the other everyday stuff like when the shops are open and when the pubs are open, and when is a restaurant not a pub...and is it open anyway...

Very confusing. Anyway, as a result (my excuse) of my confusion, I have remained hidden away for the weekend and tried to get a few things done. Actually, that's not entirely true.

Right, so I *intended* to get a few things done, but everything is just so distracting at the moment. Friday I did - erm - not very much. Annie and I toddled around a bit, had lunch, went on a short visit then came home and pottered around the house. I fiddled with some of the MANY photographs I have from Disneyland that need a little tweak here or there to make them almost perfect. Annie did her own stuff mostly.

Saturday I spent mostly in the attic attempting to get some of the junk sorted out as it looks like this year's big project will be finishing off the roof space. When we built our house, it was *designed* as a single storey...however, actually made the roof high enough for rooms upstairs, and put in a "cut" roof as opposed to a preassembled job...and we floored it too, so the upstairs of our house is - and has been since the day it was built - one enormouse rectangular room, complete with floor and some velux windows. The only thing we didn't do was to put in stairs or partitian the area into smaller rooms...because that would have made it into a two storey house.

We applied for planning to convert the upstairs into a real upstairs a few years back but never quite got around to the final step; but now that I am homeless and demanding a place of my own in the house, we decided it was probably time to get our fingers out. So this year - perhaps...

The problem with having an *almost* converted attic has been that it is extremely easy to dump crap up there, and believe me, we are experts at dumping crap (actually, it's mostly a skill of my own...).

Fifteen bin bags full of clothes have been carted off to the clothes bank this weekend from up there. I have another - I dunno - maybe ten bags full of old toys that may go to a car boot some time soon (or my wife knows someone who takes toys for Crumlin hospital) so one way or another we'll get rid of a whole pile more stuff too.

I've been totally ruthless in making a huge pile of old stuff I no longer need. I've thrown out endless electronic components - thousands and thousands of resistors and capacitors, tubes and tubes of ICs...all pretty much worthless (or worth less than the time it would take to catalogue what's there). I've kept a pile of the higher value items to try to flog elsewhere.

I also have a heap of stuff to go on eBay - old test equipment and the like. The problem with selling stuff on eBay though, is I end up spending more time buying things than I do selling them. I've already spotted a couple of things closing today that I'll bid on later to a value probably exceeding what I'm about to sell. Sigh...

What I *do* know, is that I have an awful lot of things on my back burner at the moment, and I need to pull one or two of them into the light and get them finished.

Game Crafters' Guild is about to lapse into the annals (anals?) of history. The domain registration expires in a few days and I'm not inclined to renew it. I have another project I may build a website for shortly though...but not game related.
18th-Mar-2008 09:23 pm - Just like we dreamed it...
Specky
A little over a year ago I promised my daughter we would go to Disneyland (the Paris one, that is) to see Minnie Mouse. This was a promise made just before she went into hospital to have a series of eye operations, all of which are now over and done with and all of which were a resounding success. The only *problem* as such, was that she couldn't travel for a few months, and by the time she was ready to go we were well in to the summer season and couldn't really go for reasons of not having the time.

But the inevitable has to happen, especially when there's a small person with a memory like an elephant mentioning that they STILL haven't been to Disneyland on a daily basis.

So, a few weeks ago we got the thing booked up and headed over for a short few days prior to Paddy's Day. We tied the visit in with a trip to some relatives in Brussels, and headed over to Paris on le TGV.

We arrived in the parc on Thursday and left on Saturday afternoon, and I can tell you - by Friday evening I'd seen more Mickeys than Mark Almond at a backstage party....allegedly...

But hey, look, the place is pretty amazing. The attention to detail in the construction of the place is very impressive, the shows and parades are extremely well staged and the kids just love it. The queues are interesting, but with the fastpass system that's not really so much of an issue.

Merchandise, merchandise, merchandise...I need say no more.

Seriously expensive food and drink.

Unbelievably unhealthy food and drink too.

Anyway, we've been. It's a machine. It's impressive but we won't be going back for some considerable time if ever.

I was a bit disappointed at the shortness of some of the adult rides too, but that's probably just me being picky.
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