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'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Thomas

[ website | Beware the Jabberwock... ]
[ deviantArt | the-boggyb ]
[ FanFiction | Torkell ]
[ Tumblr | torkellr ]

Links
[Random links| BBC news | Vulture Central | Slashdot | Dangerous Prototypes | LWN | Raspberry Pi]
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[Other haunts| Un4seen Developments | Jazz 2 Online | EmuTalk.net | Feng's shui]

Week of books meme: day 7 [Wednesday 16th October 2019 at 10:53 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |nostalgicnostalgic]

"To post seven books I love, one book per day. No explanations, no reviews, just covers. Everyday I'll ask a friend to share the challenge. Let's share the joy of our favourite books and discover new ones!"

Day 7: The Wind Singer, by William Nicholson

Image credit: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13894415-the-wind-singer

Today I challenge... elemnar!
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Week of books meme: day 6 [Tuesday 15th October 2019 at 10:24 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |nostalgicnostalgic]

Whoops, missed this yesterday

"To post seven books I love, one book per day. No explanations, no reviews, just covers. Everyday I'll ask a friend to share the challenge. Let's share the joy of our favourite books and discover new ones!"

Day 6: The Children of Green Knowe, by Lucy M. Boston

Image credit: https://www.encorebooks.co.uk/the-children-of-green-knowe-6

Today I challenge... bunn!
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Week of books meme: day 5 [Monday 14th October 2019 at 11:42 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |nostalgicnostalgic]

"To post seven books I love, one book per day. No explanations, no reviews, just covers. Everyday I'll ask a friend to share the challenge. Let's share the joy of our favourite books and discover new ones!"

Day 5: Lirael, by Garth Nix

Image credit: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47629.Lirael

Today I challenge... rustica!
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Week of books meme: day 4 [Sunday 13th October 2019 at 8:53 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |nostalgicnostalgic]

"To post seven books I love, one book per day. No explanations, no reviews, just covers. Everyday I'll ask a friend to share the challenge. Let's share the joy of our favourite books and discover new ones!"

Day 4: Lady Knight, by Tamora Pierce

Image credit: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1135158.Lady_Knight

Today on LJ I challenge... puddleshark!
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Week of books meme: day 3 [Saturday 12th October 2019 at 10:43 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |nostalgicnostalgic]

"To post seven books I love, one book per day. No explanations, no reviews, just covers. Everyday I'll ask a friend to share the challenge. Let's share the joy of our favourite books and discover new ones!"

Day 3: Greenwitch, by Susan Cooper

Image credit: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13455397-greenwitch

Today on LJ I challenge... ladyofastolat!
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Today's computing puzzle [Saturday 12th October 2019 at 6:34 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |accomplishedaccomplished]

Today's puzzle is "why is my phone not connecting over USB 3"? Is it:

a) the USB 3 card is sulking and needs a firmware update
b) the drivers for the USB 3 card are out-of-date
c) the USB C socket on the phone is full of fluff
d) the dock is only wired for USB 2

Or perhaps:

e) all of the above?
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Week of books meme: day 2 [Friday 11th October 2019 at 11:01 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |contemplativecontemplative]

"To post seven books I love, one book per day. No explanations, no reviews, just covers. Everyday I'll ask a friend to share the challenge. Let's share the joy of our favourite books and discover new ones!"

Day 2: The Annotated Alice, by Lewis Carroll with notes by Martin Gardner

Image credit: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42288580-the-annotated-alice

And I challenge... pleaseremove!
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Week of books meme: day 1 [Thursday 10th October 2019 at 10:00 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |contemplativecontemplative]

A friend over on Facebook posted a new meme:

"To post seven books I love, one book per day. No explanations, no reviews, just covers. Everyday I'll ask a friend to share the challenge. Let's share the joy of our favourite books and discover new ones!"

They've not challenged me directly but that's no reason not to take part!

Day 1: Peter Duck, by Arthur Ransome

Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PDuck.jpg

And I challenge... allegramente!
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New shiny toy! [Tuesday 8th October 2019 at 7:58 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |excitedexcited]

A replacement laptop has been something I've looked into off and on for a few years now, but never quite could justify to myself as long as Aether was approximately functional. Last year however Aether finally died for good (GPU failure) and since then I've found the odd instance when having a laptop would have been handy. So with a potential upgrade for Nyx looming in the next few months (which will be another post) I went laptop hunting as I'd rather like to have at least one working computer.

Ironically, I bought the laptop just before the Grand Disk Failure of 2019... but not far enough in advance to have it arrive first.

Anyway, meet Alethia!



I've always been partial to ThinkPads (even if they no longer have the nice keyboards of old). In years gone by I'd have likely picked a T-series, but quite frankly they no longer have the features I want (DVD drive) and in the absence of those, the extra size isn't really necessary. I started looking at other models, and the X-series caught my eye with the Yoga variants in particular. And the result: a fairly tricked-out X390 Yoga! Being an X-series there are compromises - very little is upgradable on them, so I maxed out the RAM at 16GB and picked a Core i7-8565U processor.

With any luck, this will be another long-lasting system. I got well over 10 years out of Aether in all its forms - if I get 5 years with this one, then I'll be happy.

The only question left is how fast is it?



The answer is... fast. It's not the best-scoring system overall on pleaseremove's list but it does manage to hold its own, given the mobile CPU and embedded GPU (Intel UHD 620). And it has a secret weapon, in the form of an upgraded SSD - I replaced the stock drive (a 128GB Toshiba BG3-series model) with a 1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus which has utterly demolished all the competition on that list.
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All hail backups! [Tuesday 8th October 2019 at 7:20 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |accomplishedaccomplished]

The disk failure in Nyx proved to be terminal - any attempt to power it results in the drive powering up, flinging the heads back and forth a couple of times, and then spinning down and sulking. The internets suggest that a head crash is the likely cause and expensive data recovery is the only option. So it's just as well I have backups in place!

Anyway, Nyx has now been rebuilt with MOAR STORAGE! Nyx now has a brace of three Toshiba P300 3TB drives to replace the collection of random older hard disks in it and my data folder has been largely restored from backups. Unfortunately there were a few casualties of the disk failure: my email database did not get cleanly backed up and Windows Live Mail refuses to touch it. Fortunately the emails themselves are fine (stored as individual files), just the metadata and folder structure was lost. That's been rebuilt from the online email servers and at some point I'll reconstruct the offline folders.

I also discovered that Windows Live Mail supports RSS feeds! And, by default, it subscribes to a MSN feed and archives all the posts. I apparently have nearly 100,000 archived news posts which weren't helping matters.

All that's left is to redownload all the not-backed-up stuff!
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Coastal karting! [Saturday 28th September 2019 at 9:20 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |excitedexcited]

It's not my birthday, but that's not going to stop the pasta nighters making an outing to Teamsport's Gosport go-kart track!

With just the five of us (plus two others who'd booked the same session) we didn't have enough for a grid start and so just did a pair of 15min open timed sessions. This is our fourth outing to this track, and the second one since they changed the layout a few years back. I'm still undecided over the change - the previous layout had a much better run-up to the bridge and a wider corner off it at the end, but the new one has more variation to it. I'm still struggling to work out the best line to take before and after the bridge with the new layout.

I came 5th fastest in each session which I'm happy with (best lap 34.592s in the first session, 34.251s in the second). In both sessions my average time wasn't particularly good, but that's not helped by pitting in the first session to fix the pedal adjustment (they slipped back as soon as I pushed them!) and several spins in the second session as I experimented with lines. I can at least claim none of my spins resulted in a yellow or red flag! The second session had some particularly good moments - while Jonners did lap me, I managed to keep pace with him for the following lap. Then right at the end he passed me again just before the bridge... only for me to take the place back as I got a better line up onto the bridge. Go me!
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Batten down the hatches [Saturday 28th September 2019 at 5:45 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |optimisticoptimistic]

This time I got two phone calls back-to-back from the Environment Agency's autodialler: a flood alert for Fareham to Portchester, and a flood warning for Fareham specifically. The gist of it from their emails is:

Sunday afternoon's tide at 12:30 on 29/09/2019 is higher than normal due to unsettled weather with strong South Westerly Force 7 winds and large waves. The weather increases tide table values by 0.3 m (surge). The forecast tide is 5.38 metres Chart Datum (2.65 mAOD) at Portsmouth. For 1 hour either side of high water, the tide will exceed the top of the slipway at Lower Quay, flooding a small number of properties. The road, at Wallington Shore Road, will also flood. Until Tuesday (01/10/2019)‚ tides are high enough to cause minor impacts at each high water. The largest impacts will occur on this tide.


Probably not quite enough for me to have a moat, but it'll be close...
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Quote of the day [Friday 20th September 2019 at 10:43 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |sillysilly]
[Playing |Miso29 - Snowboard Kids "Avalanche" OC ReMix]

pleaseremove failing to remember when I last visited:

pleaseremove: too... many... things... one... tiny... mind...


And a bonus quote in a chat history I just stumbled across: elemnar describing an unfriendly piano score:

elemnar: It's got nothing but parallel octaves which are a bit like mild cheddar. Somewhat lacking in flavour but still an edible form of cheese.
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Computer woes [Sunday 8th September 2019 at 11:19 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |pessimisticpessimistic]

Computer hard drive: *snicker-snack! snicker-snack! snicker-snack!*
boggyb: eh?
Computer hard drive: I AM ERROR

Well that's most annoying. The data drive in Nyx has failed (which is unusual for me, normally it's the backup drive that goes). I had some inkling of it earlier today but thought no, it'll last long enough for me to order a replacement - but it apparently took offence to a RAM upgrade I did this evening and is now sulking and refusing to talk to anything.

Fortunately my data is backed up - this is far from my first time picking up the pieces of a broken computer and I should be out maybe a day's worth of changes. Unfortunately that drive was also home to a fair amount of other stuff not backed up due to size. It's all replaceable, just annoying to have to go through and find again...
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ASUS P5K-E DDR2 memory channels [Sunday 8th September 2019 at 6:19 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |geekygeeky]
[Playing |Infiltrate ~ Unreal Tournament 2003 demo]

Warning: very techy post ahead! This is mainly as a reminder to myself, because I can never remember how DIMMs should be laid out and the docs never explain it well.


ASUS P5K-E DDR2 memory channelsCollapse )
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The lost art of calculating refunds [Tuesday 27th August 2019 at 9:28 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |surprisedsurprised]

So a few months ago I went to visit pleaseremove in Cornwall for the weekend. I took the train - normally it's a fairly civilised journey and it's by far the most sensible option for a weekend trip to his - but this time there was more fail than usual...

boggyb 15:26: My train from Westbury is cancelled [due to a fire alarm in the signalling centre] - new eta 1944
pleaseremove 15:28: nice
boggyb 15:30: On the plus side, yay delay repay
pleaseremove 15:32: lol. i assume it isn't a real issue if they have an "upto 20mins". aka, if you know that, why not let them just stay
boggyb 15:33: Will let you know if I see smoke
boggyb 15:47: New eta 1928
pleaseremove 15:48: roger
boggyb 17:21: Am at Bristol Temple meads. New eta 1944
pleaseremove 17:25: k

Ultimately I was delayed 1 hour and 8 minutes, which fits into the "50% refund of a return ticket" delay repay category. I stuck a claim in because why not, and it was approved! GWR awarded me £8.43... for a 15-29 minute delay. Um.

There was a handy appeal button, so I clicked it and put in an appeal pointing out that I was delayed over an hour and giving my actual journey and reason for route ("the WSB to PLY train was cancelled and the National Rail app showed this alternative"). Squeezing all that into the tiny 250-character "Additional Appeal Details" box was a challenge but I managed to fit my actual journey in there as well.

And after waiting a week... my appeal was successful! They awarded me a full refund for a delay of 120 minutes or more. Err.

Because I'm me, I emailed GWR pointing out their mistake (and taking advantage of an email letting me type more than 250 characters).

That was over two months ago, and I got absolutely no response to the email. So... thanks for the unexpected 100% refund?
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Blazing Paddles [Saturday 20th July 2019 at 10:28 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |excitedexcited]
[Playing |M83 - Fields, Shorelines and Hunters [Before the Dawn Heals Us]]

Time once again for the annual Fareham Raft Race! Will Rafty McRaftFace manage to keep their position for another year?

After the unsettled weather of the past few days today was gloriously sunny and stayed dry for the entire race (which caught me out - I was in the sun for all of an hour and got sunburnt!). The course was again a simple there-and-back - head up the creek (ideally with a paddle!) from the pub along the promenade, touch the wharf at the top, then paddle back down... into a blustery gale. Not all teams made it back to the start/finish line!

Rafters, get ready...Collapse )
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The dragon that ate the moon (partial lunar eclipse) [Tuesday 16th July 2019 at 11:01 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |thoughtfulthoughtful]

-"What will be, if I ate the moon from the sky?"-the young dragon asked.-"It looks so delightful!"
Dragon that ate the moon, AlviaAlcedo on deviantArt

I'm sure there's ancient mythology explaining eclipses as dragons eating the moon...



Lunar eclipse photosCollapse )

There was another faint point near the moon tonight - only the brightest stars and objects are visible from my flat thanks to a street lamp outside. Fortunately Home Planet has an artificial horizon!



Again decoding the symbols, is Jupiter off to the side and is Pluto (which is far too faint to be visible), so it must be which is the symbol for Saturn.
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Arduino thermometer [Tuesday 16th July 2019 at 7:52 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , , , ]
[Feeling |hothot]

What with the glorious sunny weather, I wondered how hot my flat actually gets. It's certainly felt far too warm recently.

Now, the sensible way to find out is to go and buy a thermometer. But Robert Days are closed for the evening. So instead I dug out an Arduino kit I was given for my birthday (Elegoo's "The Most Complete Starter Kit for the Mega 2560") and set to work...



The answer: 27°C!

Code!Collapse )
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Pasta night! [Monday 15th July 2019 at 10:53 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |sleepysleepy]
[Playing |M83 - Let Men Burn Stars [Before the Dawn Heals Us]]

Posting things a little out-of-order here

Pasta night is back! It went on hiatus for a month or so due to the usual hosts being sidetracked by a twinpocalypse (as jonners99_uk called it), but now that things have settled down a bit it's back to normal (in as much as pasta night is ever normal).

This week was mostly spent catching up but we managed to fit in a couple of rounds of King of Tokyo. It's basically Godzilla meets Highlander - each player plays a typical B-movie monster (such as a kraken, giant gorilla, or MECHA DRAGON) and takes it in turn to either attack the monster in Tokyo, or if they're in Tokyo then attack all the monsters not in Tokyo. Whenever the monster in Tokyo is attacked they have the option to leave Tokyo, at which point the attacker enters. Last monster standing is the winner!

That's basically it - actions are determined by rolling a handful of dice (with results of punch, heal, gain energy, or gain victory points) and there's cards that can be bought with energy to gain bonuses, but at the end of the day there can only be one King of Tokyo!

I also explored a different route to pasta night - on the approach to Emsworth the radio was warning of dire traffic along the A27, so I took the A3(M) towards Petersfield and picked up the A272 following half-remembered routes and bits of family trips. Time-wise it took about 10 minutes longer than usual, probably due to encountering a tractor somewhere around Midhurst. Fortunately the bit of the A259 between there and Petworth has a couple of short bits of dual carriageway for passing such things, and if I drop the MiTo down to 2nd gear (!) I've got plenty of acceleration to play with. I did the same route on the way back to familiarise myself with it, and aside from a couple of awkward junctions around Petersfield it's a reasonable route, if more likely than others to contain tractors.
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Jupiter [Saturday 13th July 2019 at 11:32 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |sleepysleepy]
[Playing |Nightwish - Sleepwalker (original version) [Wishmaster]]

Back in the present after the previous backdated posts

Glancing out the window earlier tonight, I spotted a bright dot next to the moon (at about the 5 o'clock position)...

Night sky photosCollapse )
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Spontaneous Cornwall holiday, day 2 [Sunday 23rd June 2019 at 11:12 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Where |Saltash, Cornwall, UK]
[Feeling |refreshedrefreshed]
[Playing |Nightwish - FantasMic [Wishmaster]]

Last day of the holiday! This weekend was the Saltash Regatta and today there was a Saltash Churches Together service being held on the waterfront. I've never been to this part of Saltash before, or twigged quite how hilly Saltash is - a few years back I did go through a stroll along the high street, but that and the Tamar Bridge is a fair height above sea level.

Saltash photosCollapse )
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Spontaneous Cornwall holiday, day 1 [Saturday 22nd June 2019 at 8:06 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Where |Plymouth, UK]
[Feeling |surprisedspontaneous]
[Playing |Nightwish - Deep Silent Complete [Wishmaster]]

Day 1, and the real reason for posting before I forget to.

A friend of pleaseremove's had promised a boat trip, so today we headed over to Plymouth for it! The plan was to motor out and moor up upriver somewhere for a picnic lunch, but we scratched that plan as we realised we'd have had to set off much earlier for any chance of a mooring. So instead we motored out to our usual favourite spot at Cawsand Bay... only to realise when we arrived that the wind was in entirely the wrong direction for this to be a decent anchorage. On to plan C, and across the sound to Jennycliff - not our usual anchorage, but a good spot when the wind is wrong for Cawsands.

Boat trip photos with spontaneous warshipCollapse )
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Spontaneous Cornwall holiday, day 0 [Friday 21st June 2019 at 8:00 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Where |Saltash, Cornwall, UK]
[Feeling |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Playing |Nightwish - Crownless [Wishmaster]]

I've yet to finish posting the last two Cornwall trips, but this one deserves uploading before I forget to. There was more spontaneousness than usual for myself and pleaseremove.

Time for another weekend trip to visit pleaseremove! The first day was taken up with train fail and little else, hence day 0. The train fail was an unexpected diversion via Bristol Temple Meads, due to my train from Westbury being cancelled (in fairness due to a fire alarm at Westbury signalling centre, so better than the usual excuse from British Rail). Since my train from Fareham was also delayed I missed a change at Bristol and didn't get into Plymouth until the evening. On the plus side, yay delay repay! Now I just need to convince GWR that I was delayed by an hour, not 15 minutes.

Photos!Collapse )
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Training swag! [Tuesday 18th June 2019 at 10:54 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |productiveproductive]

At work we're thinking of using C++ on an upcoming embedded project (historically our embedded stuff has been in C). As it happened while we were discussing this a colleague found a heavily-discounted training day on Embedded C++, so a few of us went along to it.

The course itself was a mix of going over existing (for me) ground like object-orientated programming (though for one of our devs that was all new to him) combined with interesting new tidbits (I hadn't realised just how much was in the C++ standard library for functional programming). It looks like the course was pitched as a taster session with the aim of getting attendees to come along to a full 5-day course. Overall I think I wasn't quite the target audience, though I still found it useful.

More importantly though is the training swag that we all got...



There's the usual mix of marketing bumpf and cheap pens, along with printouts and a USB stick of the course material, and a bag of gummy bears. But the real prize here is the dev board (a Renesas TB-S1JA) - we all got given one to use for the course and to keep!

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Please Remove Your Feet [Sunday 2nd June 2019 at 7:54 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |nostalgicnostalgic]

This one's from a couple of days ago, while pleaseremove was trying to lock down a new Mattermost server...

boggyb: Wait, what? My team's gone!
pleaseremove: Muwhahahaha
boggyb: Of course, you know how this will all end
pleaseremove: Heh... with a message that says "sod it, you're all banned!"

This then sent both of us off on a nostalgia trip... "sod it, you're all banned!" is from the original Please Remove Your Feet forum that pleaseremove and I ran for a few friends way, way back in 6th form. It didn't last long - the quote is the very final post, after pleaseremove permanently ended the mod wars, and we thought the forum had been lost to the mists of time.

Except I did a bit of searching, and found an archive I'd taken...



It's not going back online - the actual posts are best left back in 2004 where they belong. But it was a wonderful moment of nostalgia to see it briefly resurrected.

As to why it was called "Please Remove Your Feet"? Well that's a question best asked of pleaseremove...
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The tech support force is strong with me this evening... [Sunday 2nd June 2019 at 7:10 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |amusedamused]

Summarised from a Skype call just now...

pleaseremove: I've finally got my new router working!
* pleaseremove rants for 5 minutes about websites that hide the latest firmware version
pleaseremove: ...except I can't get the port forwarding to work. I've added an entry for the web server.
boggyb: What IP address does your router think it has?
* boggyb tries that address
boggyb: Works for me.
pleaseremove: Oh sod.
* pleaseremove tries that address
pleaseremove: That's working. That wasn't working ten minutes ago!
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Pasta night! [Monday 27th May 2019 at 11:51 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |sleepysleepy]
[Playing |Roger Joseph Manning Jr - Sandman]

It's been far too long since pasta night was a thing - for one reason or another, after the 8th April it wasn't until last week that I could make it to pasta night again.

Last week was mainly spent nattering and catching up, followed by a short session of Smash Bros wherein I reminded everyone to ph34r the pikachu, or at least take it semi-seriously. The final match of the night went surprisingly well for me - somehow, and I really don't know how, I achieved an almost flawless victory against Jonners, Matt and Kyle, taking most of the KOs as well. I haven't been practising, honest!

This week we ended up giving Power Grid a go. It's one of those games that comes with a bajillion complicated-looking rules, but actually has a fairly straightforward play sequence (though not helped by it continually mixing up "rounds", "turns", "phases" and "stages"). The aim is to buy and fuel power stations, and at the same time build cities to power. Buying power stations works by bidding in turn until only one bidder is left, fuelling then happens in a single pass in reverse turn order (so the last player gets the cheapest fuel), and then city building again happens in one pass of reverse turn order. Then everyone consumes fuel to power their cities (or as much as possible), fuel is restocked, and players get money based on how well they did. Simples!

The complication, as always, is from the strategy, and that happens on many levels. I ultimately managed to shoot myself in the foot by successfully bidding for a power station that I didn't want to get, which gave me cash-flow problems for the rest of the game (we ended it probably about two-thirds through due to running out of time). Beth on the other hand managed to do stunningly well both with power stations (concentrating early on renewable ones, which are more expensive to buy but don't need fuel) and city locations and was the ultimate winner. Definitely one to play again, though maybe when we've got a bit more time (then again, having played it once next time should go quicker).
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MEP elections 2019 [Thursday 23rd May 2019 at 5:54 pm]
Thomas

boggyb

I've voted, and not for you!

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Skype fail [Wednesday 22nd May 2019 at 10:53 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]

Once upon a time, sending files via instant messenger actually worked. Reliably. But nooo, we can't have nice things anymore. As this recent Skype chat shows...

pleaseremove: this is the most frustrating thing to enter a password on... and also, the most evil...
* pleaseremove sends video (judging by the thumbnail, it's an IoT widget with typically terrible UI)
boggyb: that looks like it could be awkward
boggyb: on a related note, I have discovered yet another Skype fail...
* boggyb sends screenshot (of me trying to play the video)


pleaseremove: lololol
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Bonus election propaganda: 2019 UK MEP elections [Tuesday 21st May 2019 at 11:50 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |contemplativecontemplative]

Bonus propaganda time! This Thursday it's the MEP elections that the Tories have failed to avoid!

I must confess, normally I've paid little attention to MEP elections. They've usually ended up happening at the same time as local elections and there's been almost no campaigning material specifically for them - I always got the impression that the main UK parties didn't try particularly hard with MEP elections. I've still voted of course, but that's not due to any effort on the part of the political parties.

This time, however, it's all different because of Brexit and has almost morphed into another Brexit referendum. All the parties have Opinions on Brexit (some may as well be single-policy parties!), and roughly summed up they are:

  • If you want to be in, vote Lib Dems, Change UK, or Green.
  • If you want to be out, vote The Brexit Party or UKIP.
  • If you want to shake it all about, vote Labour or Conservative.


Anyway, on to the Party Political Broadcasts and snark! Since last time (a whole three weeks ago), the BBC have changed their website and it's no longer alphabetically sorted, because why do a useful thing when one can do an unhelpful thing? Sigh. Full-text search it is! Oh, and you can't filter the results to just available programmes because again that would be a Useful Thing and we can't have Useful Things.


The Conservatives get to go first because that's the order the results came in. A collection of totally unbiased talking heads try to justify the chaos by saying it's everyone else's fault for playing politics. Oh, and the Maybot turns up to point out how voting Tory is in the national interest.

Next up, Greens! They're trying to convince everyone that the MEP elections do matter, really, honestly. Look, we even outnumber the Lib Dems! And we're green!

Labour on the other hand have a new film trailer full of gratuitous slow-mo. Showing in cinemas 23rd May, only Labour can save you from Theresa May's deal! We're not sure how, but we'll think of something!

According to UKIP it's all so simple: we voted to leave, and therefore we must leave. And by "leave" we mean "rage quit". Now. Or else.

Now for the Lib Dems. This time they get sidetracked by the glory days of the coalition, before realising that it is indeed MEP election time. Only the Lib Dems can stop Brexit! Oh, and we'll improve the economy and stuff.

Plaid Cymru have dug through their toy chest to put their clip together. The conclusion: everything is Westminster's fault.

New party on the block, Change UK, want to shake up politics with change! Change all the parties! We'll even let you change your mind on Brexit! Bring it on, Brexit Party!

Finally it's the turn of the SNP's latest film, A Tale of Two Cities. Or Two Parliaments. Or something. We'll let you know once Westminster stops ignoring us.


I wrote that list at the top before watching those clips, but looking back on it... yeah, that about sums it up. Labour haven't a clue what they want, and the Tories appear to have a clue except they're merrily self-destructing. The Greens, bizarrely, have moved from being another joke party to actually making a serious effort now - compare the current clips with earlier instalments (such as the Race to Number 10 board game from 2017 or their boy band music video of 2015).
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My computers eat power supplies [Tuesday 21st May 2019 at 10:32 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Playing |Fluke - Eko]

My desktop, Nyx, has been mildly unstable for a while now and I've had my suspicions about whether or not the power supply is beefy enough. It's a very tricked-out system - oh, I'm only running a single mid-range graphics card, but every single drive bay has something in it and I've almost run out of PCI/PCI-E slots. This came to a head the other day when I was trying to use a bus-powered USB scanner and it kept dropping out. So to investigate, because I've never quite trusted the reported motherboard voltages, I stuck a USB power meter into the back of Nyx...



4.71V, on what should be 5V. I'm actually surprised Nyx ran at all with that. SpeedFan doesn't report much better:

+3.3: 3.14V
+5: 4.73V
+12: 12.10V

Upgrade time!Collapse )

So did the upgrade work? Well, SpeedFan now reports:

+3.3: 3.28V
+5: 4.99V
+12: 12.04V

And those numbers have been rock-stable for the past few hours, while previously they would fluctuate a bit under load. Result!
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boggyb's highly inaccurate guide to the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 Final! [Saturday 18th May 2019 at 8:00 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |excitedexcited]
[Playing |Eurovision Song Contest 2019]

It's Eurovision Song Contest time again, which means another highly inaccurate liveblog!

So if you win the Eurovision Song Contest, you get to land a jumbo jet at the studio using drones for runway lights? Someone's been watching past British entries for inspiration (a few years ago our entry was a very over-the-top cheesy aircraft safety briefing - not our finest moment)...

This year's theme appears to be triangles and dancing - triangular shapes everywhere, and dancing is actually required for the video postcards. Anyway, on with the songs!

  1. Malta: Okay, that's quite neat. Incredibly gimmicky, but neat nonetheless and one of the better uses of video projection I've seen.
  2. Albania: Impressive.
  3. Czech Republic: Cue the slightly mad drummer to provide backing for a life story. Reminds me a bit of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song...
  4. Germany: Aww... though at times the vocals seem somehow off.
  5. Russia: And their singer has got lost in a hall of mirrors before being trapped in a shower. This might be best described as "trying too hard with special effects".
  6. Denmark: Aww
  7. San Marino: Word soup lyrics? Oddly enough, there was a recent article on training AI to come up with Eurovision lyrics, and the result was similar word soup...
  8. North Macedonia: Wow.
  9. Sweden: Meh.
  10. Slovenia: Lost in their own little world
  11. Cyprus: Um. I wonder if this was carefully timed to be post-watershed what with the clingfilm-and-gaffer-tape outfit?
  12. Netherlands: Decent entry.
  13. Greece: Sword ballet?
  14. Israel: Oddly enough, this makes me think of an Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical...
  15. Norway: I rather like this one.
  16. United Kingdom: We wish to make it very clear that the universe is big.
    And we now have an interlude with interviews around an ironing board? Okay...
  17. Iceland: They are aware that this is Eurovision and not a death metal nightclub, right? And is that singing, or just white noise?
  18. Estonia: Apparently it's stormy out or something?
  19. Belarus: You do know you're supposed to take the smoke machines out of the flight cases first?
  20. Azerbaijan: So this is how the robot uprising begins...
  21. France: Sometimes, one just has to make a point with a sledgehammer.
  22. Italy: I think this is also trying to make a point?
  23. Serbia: Okay, that's good.
  24. Switzerland: Meh.
  25. Australia: Ringwraiths vs Elsa boss battle? No, wait, they're just doing scarecrow impressions.
  26. Spain: Quick, escape from the dolls house!


And that's the lot! So to sum up, my favourites are Albania, North Macedonia, Norway and Serbia, Russia are trying too hard, Malta actually know how hard to try, and Cyprus and Iceland are trying their luck with NSFW entries.

Interval act 1: past contestants perform each other songs, continuing with the borderline-NSFW outfit theme. I think this is one of the strangest interval acts I've seen...

Interval act 2: bit of an odd collection of genres and instruments. Seemed a bit short and underwhelming though.

Interval act 2.5: okay, that's a nifty trick.

Interval act 3: other benefits of winning Eurovision: getting to go to the ball and rap about bananas.

Interval act 4: gothic steampunk pirate Madonna? Accompanied by monks wearing gas masks with flowers of all things. I take it back - this is more weird than the first interval act was. Oddly, the dancers in black remind me of the witch's assistants from the Howl's Moving Castle film...

Anyway, the lines are now closed and it's time for the results! I do find it wonderfully quaint, all the live links and the "This is $capital calling" greetings as each country announces their jury votes. Even today, getting all the satellite linkups together must be quite the achievement. Surprisingly Malta have not given the UK any points (for many years they gave UK the full score in protest at the traditional bloc voting). The Netherlands' presenter is over the moon to have been chosen to take part. Yay, Norway have given us 2 points so we are not on "nul point"! Romania have chosen to yodel their points? Someone has let the Russian presenter loose on a piano. Greece have decided to up things by deploying an electric guitar.

So with all the jury votes in, it's surprisingly close with no runaway winner. Sweden is leading, with North Macedonia, The Netherlands, and Italy not far behind. And unsurprisingly the UK is almost (but not quite) bringing up the rear - our entry this year wasn't bad, just nothing special.

On to the phone votes! There's an awful lot of points up for grabs, so theoretically anyone could still win it. I think they've changed the order though - last year I think they went from lowest score from the phone votes, this year they're going by the order the jury ranked them. And the UK is quite definitely last with 3 points from the phone vote, giving us 16 total. At least we didn't get the fewest public - Germany are ahead of us, but got nul point from the public! Now Norway have just been catapulted into first with 200 points - they're unlikely to win, but that just goes to show how different the juries and the public think. The public also like Iceland a lot, but only enough to put them into 4th (for now). And Russia's performance was popular too.

With 5 to go, I don't think it's possible to call it with the new announcement order. With 3 to go there's still 4 possible winners - Italy, Sweden, North Macedonia or The Netherlands (oddly the same top 4 after the jury votes).

With 1 to go... aww, North Macedonia didn't get anywhere near enough from the public. So it's The Netherlands or Sweden. I think it's The Netherlands - the points seemed more equally distributed this year and Sweden need over 250.

The winner is... The Netherlands! And with that, g'night!
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Not now [Sunday 12th May 2019 at 4:02 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Where |Deya Village Ruins]
[Feeling |sillysilly]

While exploring the ruined Deya Village, I stumbled across a Stone Talus looking for a fight...


https://youtu.be/WPrAdvKtmyg
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WHIRRRRrrrrrrr...... *beeeeep* [Friday 10th May 2019 at 12:31 am]
Thomas

boggyb

That's the second power cut in a fortnight round here, and judging by the outage tracker it's again taken out a sizable chunk of Fareham.

It was actually a little disconcerting: the lights flickered for several seconds before the power went for real, followed by random battery-powered widgets complaining that they were now using battery (at least the smoke alarms were quiet having had their batteries replaced after the last power cut...). But the real surprise was the YouTube video I was watching on my phone (The Ballad of Mad Cap'n Tom) kept streaming without any glitches as my phone merrily switched from WiFi to 4G data. For all I rant about modern tech it's nice when failover actually works!

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A plague on both their houses [Friday 3rd May 2019 at 9:33 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |amusedamused]

In the wee hours of the morning the BBC quizzed figures (starts around 22m30s in) from the three main English parties as to what they thought would happen. Roughly paraphrasing:

Conservatives: ...yeah, we're probably going to lose councillors. Hopefully just 500 but maybe a thousand if it goes badly.
Labour: we lost 200-odd councillors last time and want them back.
Lib Dems: a three-figure gain would be awesome.

And the results with all 248 councils declared, compared to 2015 results:

Conservatives: lost 1334 councillors
UKIP: lost 145 councillors
Labour: lost 82 councillors
Greens: gained 194 councillors
Others: gained 662 councillors (quite a lot of independents doing well on local issues)
Lib Dems: gained 703 councillors

Well, that exceeded everyone's expectations - consensus in the run-up was that the Tories were going to get a kicking (the government traditionally does badly in local elections), but they didn't expect to lost quite so many. And the Lib Dems have done spectacularly well out of the resulting chaos.

The BBC deployed Prof Curtice to sum it up as the electorate collectively deciding "a plague on both your houses" of the Tories and Labour, which seems about right. The Tory leadership is still pursing Brexit at all costs with the only argument being how much of mess they're willing to make of it, while the Labour leadership can't make up their mind whether they want to be in/out/shake it all about. I've thought for a while now that the Lib Dems could do very well if they went all in on a single issue campaign of stop Brexit, and they've only gone and done just that with spectacular success.

Bring on the MEP election chaos!

Edit: updated with final numbers
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Election propaganda: 2019 local elections [Thursday 2nd May 2019 at 10:36 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]
[Feeling |contemplativecontemplative]

It's local election time for some here in Blighty, which means it's time for another collection of Party Political Broadcasts for me to snark at! This is a bit late as I forgot about them because the local council isn't up for election.

The BBC's making them increasingly awkward to find but I think I've managed to track them down by puzzling through the iPlayer filters - at the time of posting they're listed in the middle of this page. At least the BBC actually understand that "A-Z" is a useful sort order! Anyway, on with the nonsense...


This time I started with the Conservatives... and predictably it's all about how terrible Labour and the Lib Dems are at running local councils and how awesome Tory councils are at building ALL THE THINGS. With a bonus cameo from the Maybot telling everyone how clear the choice is.

Labour are using a charity donation advert to point out that austerity isn't over, and only Labour has the courage to fix things by spending money. Oh, and Labour will build ALL THE THINGS as well (with a notable lack of Corbyn).

The Liberal Democrats are no longer the 3rd biggest at Parliament (they're what, 4th or 5th these days), and so start by taking the opportunity to reminisce about their glory days before getting sidetracked with Brexit. Eventually they realise that the MEP elections aren't for another month.

UKIP only have a regional clip this time, for Northern Ireland of all places. They use a management presentation to rant about NI politics and say how they'll make everything a priority.

The Greens, unusually, have a serious broadcast about changing ALL THE THINGS. Hopefully.

Nothing from Plaid Cymru or the SNP, and it's probably too soon to expect anything from Change UK (the new Lib Dems?) or The Brexit Party (Nigel Farage's comeback tour).


It's an unusual pile of clips. Local elections are always different here - it's much more about local issues and much less about central government, and historically parties beyond the main two (Labour/Tory) do a lot better in local elections. It's common for a local council to end up with no overall control and no-one really has a problem with it (unlike the coalition government of 2010 which confused everyone). Even so, there were surprises - Lib Dems have gone all-in on stopping Brexit, while the Greens actually pointed that they were taking things seriously for a change. Labour and the Tories didn't disappoint though with their traditional mutual blaming of each other for everything.


Well the polls closed half an hour ago and with it only being local elections there's no posses of students frantically counting votes to be first to declare, so it'll be tomorrow before we get any idea how the votes have swung. It could make for an interesting preview of the upcoming MEP elections...
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All the fail! [Sunday 28th April 2019 at 1:07 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

Today was one of those mornings...

Just as I'm getting ready to set off to church (bright and early - I was on the projection rota today), the power went out! Fine, I can carry on by torchlight.

Of course all the smoke alarms in my flat then took the opportunity to demand fresh batteries.

At church we had no sound coming through the main PA, despite the desk and amp being live and sound coming fine through the aux PA and foldbacks. Turned out someone had switched off one of the many plugs, which happened to power the equalizer for the speakers and the induction loop. We managed to track that down about 10 minutes into the first service (when most of the A/V rack has power, it's not obvious that a little neon right at the bottom is off).

Also at church we had no heating! It's a hot-air system, and it appears that the blower for it has packed up (so the boiler room was nice and toasty but nothing else).

Anyway, I'm now back at my flat and have power once again. Two of the alarms have been fed - I need to pick up more batteries to feed the heat detector in the kitchen - and hopefully now it's the afternoon that's it for today's fail!
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Nintendo Labo VR [Saturday 27th April 2019 at 8:45 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, , ]
[Feeling |sillysilly]

My latest silly toy: Nintendo Labo VR! Surprisingly good, given that it's basically Google Cardboard with a not-particularly-high DPI display (6.2" 1280x720 display giving 237dpi - for comparison my Sony Xperia XZ1 has a 5.2" 1920x1080 display giving 424dpi). I think it works because of rather than in spite of the low resolution - because the pixels are visible, it's not trying to be ultra-realistic and so doesn't fall into uncanny valley territory.

That said, it's really disconcerting watching a first-person VR video of someone eating sushi.

Actually buying it was full of hilarious fail - I pre-ordered it direct from Nintendo just in time to get it on launch day (so I thought) but then the tracking code got stuck on "Sender preparing item". So I messaged a few days after the estimated delivery date and they quickly responded first saying it was delayed, then saying that it was lost in transit and they'd refund me. The refund arrived... and then the tracking code updated as Royal Mail finally received the parcel. It eventually turned up and there was a bit of back-and-forth between myself and Nintendo support to work out how to actually pay for it ("it's arrived", "we're sorry to hear that it was damaged", "it's undamaged, but arrived after you refunded me", "ah. Erm. Have you got a PayPal account we can bill?").
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Chocolate mug cake! [Saturday 27th April 2019 at 5:57 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |curiouscurious]

Oh yes, I've got a blog here haven't I...

Anyway, over Christmas I was given an instant-chocolate-brownie-in-a-mug kit which made quite good chocolatey goodness, and unlike my previous mug cake attempts did not result in cakeapocalypse.

Unlike all the other mug cake recipes I've found it doesn't include egg in the ingredients, so today I thought I'd have a go at reverse-engineering the recipe. The ingredients list on the kit was basically sugar, self-raising flour, chocolate chunks, and cocoa powder, with butter and milk added to make it up. So based on that and other recipes online I've guessed equal parts sugar, self-raising flour and chocolate. The rest mostly followed the recipe on the tub, and ended up being more-or-less:
  1. Put 15g butter in a mug and microwave for 10-20 seconds until melted
  2. Add 15g sugar, 15g self-raising flour, 15g cocoa powder, a few chocolate chunks, and 30ml milk. Mix well.
  3. Microwave for 60-90 seconds
  4. Let it stand for 5 minutes

The result: a sort of chocolate muffin in the mug. It came out a bit dry with a hint of baking powder aftertaste, which I think is more down to me not getting the mixture right than anything else. I'm using mechanical scales with 25g divisions, so measuring things this small is tricky, and I think I ended up adding too much flour! Next time I'll just measure everything out in teaspoons instead of by mass.

On the plus side, cakeapocalypse did not occur!
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Quotes of the day [Saturday 23rd March 2019 at 6:22 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |sillysilly]

The house group WhatsApp sometimes throws up weird mini-conversations...

boggyb: Churchy question: is it worth saving empty wrapping paper cardboard tubes for crafts?
M: I saw "churchy question" and got all ready for a theological conversion... I have no (helpful) theological answer to that question.
boggyb: Haha, sorry to disappoint
Ca: Mmmm, the theological implications of cardboard tubes. I'm sure there's a sermon illustration in the somewhere! 🤔

boggyb: Wandering round B&Q and I can hear someone testing a doorbell
boggyb: I did not know saxophone solo was an option
Ch: That should never be a doorbell choice
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Lent photography, day 7 [Wednesday 13th March 2019 at 10:43 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
Mark 1:28


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Lent photography, day 6 [Tuesday 12th March 2019 at 10:41 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

"What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?"
Mark 1:24


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Lent photography, day 5 [Monday 11th March 2019 at 10:34 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

No, I've not missed a day - the photography challenge skips Sundays

"Come, follow me" Jesus said "and I will send you out to fish for people"
Mark 1:17


Cross-posted to deviantArt


Team House Group, at the beach in 2017
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Lent photography, day 4 [Saturday 9th March 2019 at 11:46 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

"The time has come," he said.
Mark 1:15


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Lent photography, day 3 [Friday 8th March 2019 at 9:02 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]


Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
Mark 1:10




An origami bird I made for prayers in housegroup last year.
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Lent photography, day 2 [Thursday 7th March 2019 at 8:59 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

And this was his message: "After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie."
Mark 1:7


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Lent photography, day 1 [Wednesday 6th March 2019 at 8:48 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|, ]

Over on FB, a friend is running a Lent photography challenge/group/thing wherein she's posting a daily piece of scripture from Mark's Gospel and challenging the group members to reply with a relevant photo (ideally taken that day). It looks interesting and I do mean to post more, so I'm having a go at it. Let's see if I managed to keep it up!

I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit
Mark 1:8




The baptismal font and etched glass windows of St John's Fareham, taken at the Ash Wednesday service.
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Zombies! [Tuesday 5th March 2019 at 9:30 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]
[Feeling |sillysilly]

While on the topic of gaming, St John's Fareham held a pancakes and board games evening on Shrove Tuesday. elemnar came along as well and we joined a group playing Zombicide (wherein you try to escape from a zombie-infested city while not getting eaten by zombies - so basically, Shaun of the Dead). We had the weirdest luck with zombie spawns - on the very first turn I drew the abomination spawn card (high-strength zombie, hard to kill) and so we spent a chunk of the game carefully avoiding it. For the scenario we picked we had to collect three food items, get the green key, use it to open a door to the blue key, and then escape. Of course the blue key and the exit were at opposite corners of the map.

Over the game we put together a very silly strategy: elemnar proved very good at rolling well on the hit dice and mowed down zombies with a pair of sawn-off shotguns, which caused all the other zombies to head towards her (the game mechanics are that the zombies head towards the most noise).



We took advantage of that, and her character ended up aggro'ing the zombies by emptying the shotguns in an empty room (our record was 6 noise counters). This did then result in her being chased by the entire zombie hoard...



...while another group snuck round the back to retrieve the blue key. We then all made our way towards the exit, leaving all the zombies (and I do mean all - we ran out of zombie figures!) to congregate in the middle of the board as we leapfrogged through already-cleared buildings to reach the exit. Somehow we all survived!

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Pasta nights! [Monday 4th March 2019 at 11:30 pm]
Thomas

boggyb
[Tags|]

Let's try and update more than once a month, shall we?

Pasta night has still been happening, with a succession of games as the mood and the voteamabob takes us.

A few weeks ago I persuaded Paddy to bring Stone Age along, and played a 4-way game with Louise and Jonners as well. I find it's a very mathematical game in a way - it's all about playing the odds of the different resource sources and working out what on the board is most likely to be achievable, and what to have as a plan B or C if the dice don't go the way you want. I generally concentrate on gifts of civilisation cards and tools which tends to work out in the end. The gifts of civilisation build up quite nicely (you score the square of the number of unique cards and there's eight to collect) and the tools are overpowered combined with bonus multiplier cards... but on the flip side I do tend to be struggling for food in the late game while my opponents have usually built up on the agriculture track. Perhaps I'll experiment with a different approach next time?

Last week I played Ticket to Ride on the US map. I (in yellow) started with a set of high-value tickets that happened to mostly line up and somehow achieved all of them, though my resulting network was a bit more branched than usual due to conflicting on routes. This meant I missed out on longest route, and because I didn't draw more tickets I missed out on most tickets as well... while I think it was Jonners who got incredibly lucky with drawing tickets and completed masses of them, passing 100 points on tickets and bonuses before the trains were totted up.



And this Monday just gone, the Reduced Pasta Night Company numbered exactly 6 and so we dug out Settlers of Catan with the 6-player expansion. We played a slightly house-ruled version (open hands, no hand limit from rolling a 7) with the 6-player special building rule (at the end of each player's turn, all other players have an opportunity to build) and the game came right down to the wire. I (again in yellow) was in position to win on my next turn by claiming largest army (with two knights played and a third in hand), Louise (in green) was a settlement or two away from a win thanks to longest road, and Jonners (in brown) with three victory point cards in hand only needed one more point for the win. Martin (white) was getting close after recovering from a disastrous starting position and Matt (blue) and Vicki (red) were out of the running. And victory ultimately went to... Louise, by squeezing in one more settlement for victory!



The 6-player game changes things up a bit, especially with the special building rule - this lets one build before rolling and so take advantage of adding more possible resources to the dice roll. The larger map helps a lot with finding good starting locations and didn't feel quite as cramped as a 4-player game on the standard map does.
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