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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Geoff's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, March 12th, 2009
4:29 pm
IQ meme
Ganked from novicejeweller who ganked it from ginasketch

IQ Test
Free-IQTest.net - IQ Test
Saturday, February 7th, 2009
11:14 pm
playlist meme thing
I'll preface this with the fact that I still haven't got off of my arse and transferred my CD collection to my PC so this is a very limited selection of tunes...

Taken from snaik

1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. No cheating and doctoring your list to make yourself look cooler than the person you took this from

Opening Credits:

First Day At School:
A Perfect Circle ~ Three Libras

Breaking Up:
Lion ~ Transformers Movie Theme

The Who ~ My Generation

Sex scene:
Hi Standard ~ California Dreaming

Life's Ok:
Stretch Princess ~ Universe

R.E.M. ~ End of the World

Big Wig ~ Smile

Getting Back Together:
The Firm ~ Star Trekkin'

Wedding Scene:
Blue Oyster Cult ~ Don't Fear the Reaper

Birth of Child:
The Black Crowes ~ Kicking My Heart Around

Falling In Love:
Snuff ~ I Can See Clearly Now

Final Battle:
Spin Doctors ~ 2 Princes

Death Scene:
The Monkees ~ I'm a Believer

Funeral Scene:
Red Hot Chili Peppers ~ Breaking the Girl

End Credits:
Useless I.D.s ~ Oh My Guard
Thursday, December 25th, 2008
6:36 am
Merry Christmas
It's far too early in the morning as far as I'm concerned but I can't really blame the kids... Darren is still sleeping and the other 3 are going through their stockings in Cam and Finn's room with the door closed. No, I must blame my wife who turns into some kind of manic, festive fairy in the early hours of Christmas morning. She was even singing 'Why are we waiting?' as I hid under the covers, the monster!

So now I'm downstairs nursing a cup of tea and breakfast chocolate orange (what, it's Christmas) and wondering when the wee beasties will be descending on us (and when I'll be forced to drag Darren's carcass out of bed.) ~Yawns~

More tea...
Thursday, December 11th, 2008
4:04 pm
Faewell old friend
Farewell old friend

I may be being sentimental and it may be just because I have young children but the news that Woolies, that bastion of childhood memories, had gone into administration left me feeling rather down. And the further development announced today that they have failed to find a buyer and are starting countrywide closing down sales has left me genuinely upset.

Now don’t get me wrong, I accept the fact that the demise was basically inevitable and has simply been accelerated by the current economic meltdown. Woolies has had no true identity beyond the fact that it’s Woolies for years now and they’ve struggled to compete with the direction taken by the big supermarkets and with online shops like Amazon. They got themselves into this mess by failing to adapt to changing retail conditions and have no one to blame but themselves.

And yet… and yet I don’t want to see them close. I don’t know about anyone else but I loved going into Woolies as a kid. The selection of sweets, the toys, the costumes… and when I was a bit older the CDs and computer games. It was a unique store and still provides me with fond memories today. And in many ways that hasn’t changed. Our local Woolies is the 2nd or 3rd largest shop in Yate Shopping Centre behind Tesco and possibly BWise (a cheapy clothing store that was seemingly taken over by qs at some point in the recent past). There are a couple of other supermarkets and a B&Q in the area that are larger too but they’re not in the shopping centre itself.

The thing is Yate’s supermarkets aren’t that big. They don’t have a huge selection of non-food goods. If I want toys I go to Woolies. If I want quality kids clothes or shoes I go to Woolies. If I want birthday (etc.) cards I go to Woolies. And while I’m there I’ll likely grab something else that I need as well like stationary or household goods. Their selection of that sort of thing is just better than our local supermarkets, and it tends to be better quality than the other local small shops that sell one of those lines. Heck, Yate supports 3 or 4 dedicated card shops and I still buy my cards at Woolies. Their selection of birthday cards for certain ages is far superior and it’s the only place I can usually get my cards of choice for giving to novicejeweller. And Cam absolutely loves going in there. It’s always full of so many things that make his eyes light up and is my first stop if present shopping for him, Finn or any of their friends who have parties. Not to mention the fact that the staff are always friendly and helpful.

And today everyone who can is descending to pick the carcass clean of everything that they can grab. If this hadn’t happened I’d have ended up in there this weekend or next picking up some extra bits for Cam and Finn for Christmas and probably getting family Christmas cards as well. I’d certainly be getting Cam and Finn new trainers soon and they’d have come from Woolies. ~Sighs~ I know it’s silly of me but, yeah, I’m really, truly saddened by this latest casualty of the financial collapse... To the extent that I left work ½ an hour early to go to our local Woolies just to get a last shop in before they get cleaned out by bargain hunters. Sadly most of the Ben 10 clothes that I’d been planning to get for Cam had gone, as had a lot of the toys. Still, novicejeweller and I came home with 2 very large bags full of stuff.

I’d happily forgo the bargains if they stayed open though, I guess I’m just sentimental like that...

Current Mood: melancholy
Friday, November 14th, 2008
2:05 pm
One finds oneself decidedly UNAMUSED
So I'm at work today and it's lunchtime and I think to myself 'I really ought to actually pay the pool guys for coming and fixing our pool' so I log into my bank account to check my funds before calling them. I open my statement and what do I find? A whole raft of transactions to what appear to be online betting shops. None of them big, but a total of £60. Rather unhappy at the development I immediately phoned the bank and it turned out that, yes, all of them were betting shops; not only that but there were transactions at the start of the month, two on I-Tunes and another on one of the betting shops, totally £130 for a grand total of £190 in unauthorised transactions. Now the bank were very helpful, cancelled my card immediately (no new one until the end of next week now ~grumbles~) and said I'd be refunded for all of the transactions in 5 days. Nonetheless I am not happy by this turn of events. Not only that but looking back at my card transactions from the time leading up to the i-tunes payments I'm having serious difficulty figuring out when 'they' nabbed my card details.


It's not too bad in that it wasn't vast sums of money and I can afford the hit for a week and it's all getting sorted (although there are pending transactions from the last 2 days that are yet to show on my statement and will require checking at the start of next week to see if any of them are dodgy too. For the recording I'm thinking that, yes, some of them will be.) But it's still bloody disconcerting and annoying and not having my card for the week is going to be a right pain.


Current Mood: annoyed
Saturday, October 11th, 2008
8:45 am
memeity meme!
Because I was tagged by people that matter

A) People who have been tagged may write their answers on their blogs & replace any question that they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves.

B) Tag 8 people to do this quiz & those who are tagged cannot refuse (allegedly). These people must state who they were tagged by & cannot tag the person whom they were tagged by. Continue this game by sending it to other people.

Meme quizCollapse )

Current Mood: blah
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
4:12 pm
pinched from missdeathmetal and novicejeweller


a) Tell you why I friended you.

b) Associate you with something -- a fandom, song, color, photo, etc.

c) Tell you something I like about you.

d) Tell you a memory I have of you.

e) Ask you something I've wanted to know about you

f) Tell you my favorite userpic from your list

g) In return, you need to post this on your own livejournal
Thursday, September 4th, 2008
12:04 pm
My most recent addiction
I’ve blogged about EvE Online in the past; back when we were still living in Latteridge I started up a trial account playing as a Caldari (one of the 4 factions available) and enjoyed my time playing. I only played for 1 week of my 2 free weeks though; I swiftly decided that I had neither the time nor the money to play the game properly so cut myself off. Now, a good 2 years later, I’m back.

I was getting more and more interested in MMORPGs in general in the run up to the launch of Warhammer Online (later this month, for those who are interested) and ended up investigating other upcoming MMORPGs as a result. Two upcoming games that interested me were Jumpgate Evolution and Black Prophecy, both of which looked like they might fulfil my desire for a good, space based MMORPG.

Black Prophecy is still nothing but a trailer and some highly speculative fan forums right now so I didn’t take much notice of it; it looks really pretty though! JGE, on the other hand, is looking rather more fully formed and has a lot more information out there. It has trailers, lots of videos on various gaming sites, an active forum and actual dev presence. It also started to sound a bit too much like WoW in space with twitch based combat from a number of the dev videos. I’ll reserve judgement on that until the beta begins but, yeah, I loved the concept but the info released was putting me off.

Anyway, both of those games (especially JGE) had some comparisons to EvE on their forums and it got me thinking about the granddaddy of space MMOs again. Eventually I broke down and signed up to a new trial account, this time becoming a Gallente pilot specialising in drones and blaster boats. Thus far I’m having a great time! I’m playing more than I should (sorry novicejeweller :o( ) but damn it, it’s good. I’ve found a great player owned corp to join (the Butterfly Effect Corp for anyone who plays) who are a cool group of people who support a relaxed and diverse range of play styles, which is just what I need. I’m focussing on mission running with an eye to pvp play once I’ve got my skills up a little and can actually do something more useful that just tackling people in T1 frigates. Heck, I’ve even got a skill plan (skills work differently in EvE, they train over time, not through grinding, you grind for ISK (money) instead) worked out for over 400 days! Talk about long term planning…

Anyway, the ‘upside’ of this is that I now have a MMORPG with which to waste my time and it isn’t, as I had assumed for about 2 years, WAR. I don’t have the time or money for 2 MMORPGs and I’m now invested in EvE so, much as I’d like to, I’m going to have to give WAR a miss for now. I know, some of you will be shocked by this announcement and some will be amused but hell with it, I’m getting my Sci-Fi kicks and they’re more important to me than fantasy ones. Of course if WAR’s first expansion is Skaven vs Lizardmen as I’ve been predicting for the last few months then I don’t think you’ll be able to keep me away :o) .

Now, to my Domi, I have pirates to kill and ISK to earn!
Thursday, July 31st, 2008
6:38 pm
Sunday, July 13th, 2008
6:09 pm
Blame novicejeweller...

Your result for The Attachment Style Test...

The Cuddleslut

40% Anxiety Over Abandonment and 27% Avoidance Of Intimacy

You're mostly secure, but sometimes you need a little extra reassurance to make it through the tough times. You are usually affectionate and sweet, and you find it easy to fall in love. An encouraging word from a crush or a loved one can motivate you for weeks.

Fictional character with whom you might identify: Kaylee (Firefly/Serenity), Hiro Nakamura (Heroes)

KayleeFrye.jpg HiroNakamura.jpg

Other Attachment Types:
Secure: The Unicorn | The Cuddleslut | The Free Agent
Preoccupied: The Cling Wrap | The Squid | The Insect
Fearful: The Doormat | The Leper | The Exile
Dismissing: The Hermit | The Stone | The Player
Confused: The Waffler

Take The Attachment Style Test at HelloQuizzy

Friday, May 16th, 2008
12:34 pm
Game Chef 2008
Just a quick heads up for anyone who reads this and doesn't check my Dread Fuzzy Designs LJ account that the results for this years Game Chef 2008 design contest are out. I didn't win the whole thing (unsurprisingly) but I did get an honourary award! I'm well chuffed.
Thursday, May 15th, 2008
8:11 pm
So I've developed a new project recently; I'm building a prototype boardgame to playtest it for a designer based here in the UK. First a little background. As some of you are probably aware I spend a certain amount of time perusing a website called Board Game Geek, by far the best website in the world dedicated to board and card gaming. It's also one of the coolest, most interactive sites I've ever seen with almost all content user generated. But I digress. I use the Geek (as it is known) to do a fair amount of research on potential purchases before I consider dropping any money on them and it hasn't steered me wrong yet). I also try to keep abreast of games in development to see what cool, new things are on the horizon.

One of the games that I've been keeping an eye on since early this year is Ascendancy, a game with a sci-fi theme that has nothing to do with the old 4X computer game of the same name (I know, I was disappointed too!) Now, I love me a space/sci-fi theme in a game and this is just one of a few that I'm keeping an eye on, the others being Supernova and Galactic Emperor (which I may have been weak enough to pre-order...) But back to the point. Just recently the designer of Ascendancy put out a call for anyone interested in playtesting the game and willing to assemble it themselves from pdfs and whatever they have lying around. I decided 'what the hell' and signed up.

I now, after an email exchange with said designer (Nigel Buckle for the curious among you), have a whole raft of printouts sitting on my desk ready to be turned into cards, counters and map tiles. Plus I have to figure out what to use for a mammoth load of different markers that don't come in the pdfs. All in all it's a slightly daunting prospect but also pretty cool. I already did a home made version of the expansion for Vanished Planet which was fun, although far less work than Ascendancy promises to be, so I have some small notion of what I'm letting myself in for. This should keep me occupied for awhile though.

Still, once I'm done I'll have a copy of an unreleased game that I will, with the help of thoughtfulwolf and the rest of my gaming group, get to playtest and, hopefully, influence the final version of. Cool!
Tuesday, May 13th, 2008
1:00 pm
Where in the world in nuclear_powered?
Ahem, right here. Honest. It’s weird, I’ve been active on LJ for ages now but I’ve only really been using it for commenting on other people’s entries, not making my own. I’m not sure why, perhaps laziness? That would be pretty typical.

So what’s going on in the world of me? I’m back at work these days as a contractor working for what was Project Services and s now VT Nuclear Services, PS having been bought out by VT Group earlier this year. I’m working part time for more per hour than I was and I’m actually quite enjoying it. Sure it can be boring on a day to day basis as there isn’t always a lot of work on but when I do have something happening (which is more often than not to be honest) then it tends to be quite interesting. It’s good to get my brain stimulated again and, quite frankly, the extra money is bloody useful!

Of course it all means that I’ve had to start using my Limited Company, Dread Fuzzy Designs Ltd., properly for the last few months. I nearly drowned in confusion trying to figure out my year end taxes but got there in the end. Now I have to sort out PAYE for this year ASAP before HMRC start breathing down my neck. One for this week that is.

And speaking of DFD Ltd. I’ve been progressing the other side of that business as well recently. Anarchy is coming along slowly but it is progressing and I recently entered Game Chef 2008 and completed my game (currently titled The Three Clans, although that will likely change) on time. I’m now involved in the critiquing portion of the competition but the whole thing should be coming to a close soon. For more on that side of my business you’d do better checking my dread_fuzzy LJ account, which I keep semi-up-to-date.

Other than that life is ticking along. I still spend my Friday (and often Saturday) nights gaming, although I now actually have a roleplaying group on Fridays! We’re playing some traditional 3.5 Ed. D&D and I’m really enjoying it. It’s wonderful to be able to indulge my hobby outside of conventions again. Plus when that doesn’t happen (and on the Saturdays) I’m getting plenty of board gaming in. I can only thank thoughtfulwolf for reintroducing me to the world of board games, previously left behind when I was a child. It’s amazing how far game design has come in that sphere in the past 10 or 15 years, truly amazing.

Current Mood: okay
Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
8:11 pm
Procrastination's what you need...
Meme pinched from missdeathmetal  and novicejeweller 

Bold the things you've done
Add three of your own

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula

7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said "I love you" and meant it
9. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight

28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb

33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had/Have amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football

61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain

65. Gone to a drive-in theater and saw Smokey and the Bandit
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married

73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in a Rocky Horror Picture Show
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking All the time
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication Not yet, but I'm working on it
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Broken a bone
113. Gone on an African photo safari
114. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
115. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
116. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
117. Ridden a horse and fell off
118. Had major surgery
119. Had a snake as a pet
120. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
121. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
122. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
123. Visited all 7 continents
124. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
125. Eaten kangaroo meat
126. Eaten sushi
127. Had your picture in the newspaper
128. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
129. Gone back to school
130. Parasailed
131. Touched a cockroach
132. Eaten fried green tomatoes
133. Read "The Iliad"
134. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
135. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
136. Skipped all your school reunions
137. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
138. Been elected to public office
139. Written your own computer language
140. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
141. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
142. Built your own PC from parts
143. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
144. Had a booth at a street fair
145. Dyed your hair
146. Been a DJ
147. Shaved your head
148. Caused a car accident
149. Saved someone’s life
150. Gotten a seven letter word in Scrabble.

151. Written a fan letter.
152. Put a fist through a window.
153. Traveled on the Staten Island ferry
154. Met someone famous up close
155. Been in a graveyard at midnight
156. Changed your own oil
157. Saved an animal's life

158. Driven all night
159. Been in a hot tub with members of the opposite sex
160. Travelled on the Star Ferry in Hong Kong
161. Seen pandas in real life
162. Had a completely perfect day
163. Proposed to someone - and been accepted
164. Crawled over a ravine deep underground

And now mine:
165. Walked across the charge face of a nuclear reactor
166. Read Stephen Hawkins 'A Brief History Of Time' cover to cover... and understood it
167. Participated in a live demonstration to save a TV show (Farscape in London in my case)
Saturday, February 9th, 2008
8:26 am
I got meme'd!
Tagged by missdeathmetal to do this meme:

A. List seven habits/quirks/facts about yourself.
B. Tag seven people to do the same.
C. Do not tag the person who tagged you or say that you tag "whoever wants to do it".

1. I really enjoy cooking, even though I have zero 'traditional' knowledge on the subject and usually just make it all up as I go along.
2. I'm a total geek and really enjoy tabletop roleplaying games and board/card games.
3. I have my own limited company called Dread Fuzzy Designs Ltd.
4. I still want to be an astronaut.
5. I hate eggs, mushrooms, fish, baked beans and tomatoes and I wish that I didn't.
6. I was a good little Christian school boy growing up.
7. I split my head open on the last day of school when I was 5. There was a lot of blood and getting your scalp stitched together feels weird. I did get Battlecat as a present though so it was all okay.

I now tag:
novicejeweller (or alwaysuncertain, whichever you want to use for this), amyrlin1271, gbsteve, ginasketch, littlestkobold, boxninja and nebhead.
Wednesday, December 19th, 2007
10:59 am
Sick. Again.
I'll tell you what, I'm getting really gorram tired of getting sick so much at the moment. It isn't funny and it needs to stop universe. You hear me? No more uncontrollable shivering fits thanks, and I don't even want to discuss flaying my throat raw when heaving up black/grey liquid bile at 4 am (and 7 am for that matter). I wouldn't mind so much if this were a one off but damn, I've been ill so many times since the weekend before Dragonmeet that it's just getting silly. I think my immune system is on vacation or something. As are my knees.

Current Mood: sick
Wednesday, December 12th, 2007
4:09 pm
And now for Mr Pratcehtt
Well fuck. Fuck. Fuck Fuck FUCK!


So, today's good (if bitter-sweet) news about about Brandon Sanderson being selected to finish the Wheel of Time after Robert Jordan's tragic passing in September has just been swept away quite brutally with news that Terry Pratchett, one of the greatest living authors of comedic and satirical fantasy (hell, one of the greatest ever, possibly the greatest) has been diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's. Link below:


Not a good year for one of my favourite genres of literature :o(
9:32 am
Farewell Mr Jordan... Welcome Mr Sanderson
So, Robert Jordan, author of the hugely successful Wheel of Time series, passed away on September 16th. I didn't post about it at the time, I wasn't really posting on LJ then, but it deeply affected me. I discovered the WoT books in my first year at university after my nan died; she owned the first 7 books (number 8 hadn't come out yet at that point) and I kinda inherited them on the basis that my parents had bought them for her in the first place and I love me some Sci-Fi and fantasy when I'm reading. I went through all 7 books in very little time, seriously damaging my attempts to revise for my post-Christmas exams that year (not that it mattered, it being the 1st year and all) and fell in love with the series. Ever since then I've been following the series and was once a very active member of one of the 2 biggest WoT sites on the internet, wotmania. Indeed, it was through there that I met my wife and it was a huge part of my life for a couple of years, I still have friends from there now. So you could say that I have a lot to thank Robert Jordan for (or possibly to curse him for, depending on your point of view ;o) .)

Anyway, back to the point. His passing affected me greatly, I still get slightly teary-eyed reading about it now. I know that a lot of people trash his writing and the lack of plot movement, especially in the later books of the series, but it will always hold a special place in my heart. Besides, in the last couple of books it had really begun to pick up again and plot threads were being resolved left, right and centre. You could really feel the momentum building towards Memory of Light, the final book. And then he died. Ouch.

Now his 'replacement' has been chosen. I say replacement, the honest truth is that no one could ever replace the man behind the Wheel of Time and I don't think that anyone would ever try. His widow, Harriet, has, however, now selected the author who will finish the series on behalf of the departed Mr Jordan. His name is Brandon Sanderson and I've never heard of him before and, to be honest, I think that's probably a good thing. Besides, as someone commented on the thread on RPGnet, at least is isn't Kevin J Anderson! Having a little look at Brandon Sanderson and reading the Tor announcement it seems that he is a relatively new author with a small number of critically acclaimed fantasy novels under his belt. He's also a huge fan of the series and it was one of the chief influences that shaped his writing career. There's a nice interview done by Jason at Dragonmeet up there. His comments on Asmodean and Moiraine certainly predispose me towards liking him anyway.

So, there's hope yet for the series to be finished and the plot threads and stories to all of those characters that I alternately love and find infuriating to be tied up. Today, the world seems a slightly brighter place, although the news is bitter sweet as it once more reminds me of the passing of one of my best loved authors.

Friday, December 7th, 2007
8:44 pm
Rock 'n' fuckin' roll!
(Well, not really, but I'll get to that in a bit.)

So, you know how there's always someone with tenuous links to a relevant celebrity for some event or other? This time I was that someone! novicejeweller's best friend George (short for Georgina if you're curious) is married to a guy named Troy. He's nice enough, master farrier by trade, never spoken to him much myself as I don't tend to go around there. He's also best mates with Sean, the drummer from the Manic Street Preachers, and goes to see their gigs all the time, usually for free.

Last night (Thursday 6th December 2007) they were playing the CIA in Cardiff, one of the bigger dates on their tour given their nationality and history, and Troy decided to get together a big group of people to go down. I'm not sure how many of us there were in the end but I think it might have been 15 or more. This included myself and novicejeweller as well as alawston and his other half Anna. I invited him along (with permission from Troy and George, naturally) as I know he's a huge Manics fan (in fact he'd seen them earlier on this tour at Reading.)

Anyway, we all gathered at Troy and George's place somewhere in the wilds of Chipping Sodbury (see alawston, it does exist :op ) before setting out, convoy style, for Cardiff. Man that was an interesting drive... the weather was fucking foul; dark, wet and very, very windy. It was a horrible night to be trying to convoy like that but my car made it to the car park in Cardiff without too many incidents (well, one of the other cars reversed into me coming out of Troy and George's drive, which was a bit ridiculous, and I couldn't actually see more than a couple of cars in front of my on the mototrway for the entire journey but other than that...), although man was that a hairy drive. I don't want to do that again any time soon!

From there we walked to the CIA, getting drenched along the way, and inside. Troy collected out (FREE) tickets and a bunch of pink wristbands, the usage of which was not immediately clear to us, and in we went. We got ourselves drinks (water for me, I was driving), wandered in and joined the edge of the crowd. The gig was AWESOME. I'm not the worlds biggest Manics fan and have been too lazy to buy any of their albums since 'Everything Must Go' but I have always enjoyed them and really liked their earlier stuff. I've never seen them live before though. They were fucking loving it! And it showed, their stage presence was great, although there wasn't a lot of crowd banter, just big song after big song. My personal favourite was when they launched into 'Slash and Burn' from the 'Generation Terrorists' album, but as I say I'm a sucker for their earlier stuff.

Eventually the set ended (predictably with 'Design For Life,' not that I'm complaining, it's a great track) and people started filing out. It was at this point that George informed us (wearing her AAA [Access All Areas] pass to match Troy's) that the pink wristbands were to get us into the after show party! Naturally novicejeweller had already wandered outside for a fag without hers at this point so there was a bit of a panic before she wandered in wearing a new one; Troy had found and rescued her rather drunk self after being informed of the situation by George. Phew! I was extremely relieved to have my wife back.

We went upstairs and wandered into the party. It was all very civilised (no crazy rock and roll excess I'm sorry to report) but very cool and showbiz. James Dean Bradfield and Sean were around, although Nicky Wire didn't show up which is a shame cos he's a real character. I mostly chilled out (with more water) and accompanied my drunk wife and 2 friends but there was an amusing moment where alawston noticed Sean talking to Troy and George (like I say, they're best friends) and went up to be all squeaky and fanboy-ish at him. He kinda nearly choked and was hovering at the edge of the conversation until novicejeweller strolled over there, put her arm around him and (with all of the confidence that too much alcohol and having met Sean a few times when round visiting George instils in a person) broke into the conversation and introduced alawston in the subtlest of ways.

It was all cool though, alawston got his picture taken with Sean and we went back and sat and chilled until it was time to go. Thankfully it had stopped raining whilst we were inside so the drive back was quite easy (I could see more than 2 cars in front of me on the motorway, that was a major improvement!) We got back here at 1 am or thereabouts having had a great night and a wonderful time. I'm glad that I went and shall have to thank Troy and George again next time that I see them.

Monday, December 3rd, 2007
9:57 am
Dragonmeet 2007 (is it a Tradition yet?)
So, yeah, it's been awhile since I updated, I'm crap, blah blah blah (and for various people, yes, I just lost), etc.

It's now time for my yearly Dragonmeet report (remember, if I do it this year it becomes a Tradition™ so I will be forced to go every year, just so that I can write a report.)

I went to Dragonmeet. I got sick. Again. I came home. The end.

Okay, okay, more detail :op

I wasn't sure whether I'd even make it down this year, what with novicejeweller and I being in the grip of some kind of major financial crisis. Luckily for me thoughtfulwolf has spare cash, a generous nature and a severe dislike of driving on long journeys. What that translated to was him being willing to pay for myself and Darren (attending his first con) to go as long as I did the driving. All good, Dragonmeet 2007 was on!

Some more back-story first though. I was ill the weekend prior to Dragonmeet. In fact I was ill at a low level for most of the preceding week, although it had died down to a blocked nose and accompanying sinus headaches by the Wednesday. Indeed, I was feeling pretty much okay by the Friday. Until I tried to sleep. I put it down to nerves (and by the time I woke up at 5:30 am I felt fine again) but I felt sick on Friday night when I was trying (and frequently failing) to sleep.

Anyway, Saturday and Dragonmeet came around. I was up at 5:30 am, thoughtfulwolf got here at about 6:10 am and we were out the door by about 6:40 am, with Cam and Finn in tow. I headed to my sister-in-law's (a journey that is, barring a detour to actually get to her house at junction 17 of the M4 basically on the way) and we got there at around 7:20 am to drop off the smaller kids, remove one of the car seats and stop crushing thoughtfulwolf in the back. From there it was a drive to Reading, a train to Paddington and a tube to High Street Kensington followed by standing outside for about 15 minutes (well, for Darren and myself, thoughtfulwolf is a demo-Bunny for Loony Labs so gets in a) free and b) early, although misses out on the swag bag at the door, muwahahahahahahaha!) The wait was made somewhat more interesting by observing Graham Walmsley engaging in anti-marketing outside, dressed in a suit, handing out fliers promoting traditional RPGs and waving placards with slogans such as 'Ban the Collective Endeavour' and 'Play Safe, Not Unsafe.' Amusing, although I did give littlestkobold a quick ring to see if it was one of the CE as I've not actually met Graham IRL before so wasn't certain if it was him or not. I was right, I felt vindicated and everything ;o) .

Anyway, the doors opened more-or-less on time and we went inside. The first thing we did was to check out the games that were being run in the morning slot. The Cthulhu games (which Darren wanted to play) we already fully booked up so we signed up to a 1/2 hour demo of Fear Itself (I think... for some reason I keep getting the name confused) at midday run by gbsteve. I also got to say hi to Dee, one of my old roleplaying group from back in Croydon who was once again acting as a gopher this year. It was very cool to see her again, I loved that RP group :o) .

Anyway, once we'd done that we wandered over to the Collective Endeavour stand to say hi to littlestkobold and some of the rest of the CE crew and well, I'm not sure where the time went (I know we went downstairs to say hi to thoughtfulwolf and the other bunnies but other than that I don't recall actually doing much), but I suddenly realised that it was 10:30, time for the game design seminar with Luke Crane, Jared Sorenson and, it turned out, Fred Hicks. There was no way I was going to miss that! So, I left Darren to it (he wasn't interested) and headed over there.

It was very cool to see those guys in action and damn but Luke is full of manic energy all of the freaking time! I liked that their first action was to just remove the tables set up for the to sit behind and 'preside' over the audience. It was a nice touch, although one that would have been lost on 90% of the eventual audience as almost everyone turned up late. Anyway, they started off talking about the 'Big 3' questions (you know, what is your game about, how is it about that, how do you reward the players) and going through them for some example games, primarily D&D but there were some audience thrown out examples as well, the most interesting probably being Traveller. After that they went into some detail getting those questions answered for a couple of games from the audience, a process that was very interesting to watch. Sadly by the time they'd done those two games it was virtually midday and I had to duck out early to go and play the demo with Darren. Still, I'm glad that I went; it was definitely a worthwhile experience.

So, onto Fear Itself. Darren and I had time to grab a quick drink before the demo started (and I had to go and grab Graham who was doing a bit of a book signing for a fan and had forgotten that he'd signed up for the demo) but then we were in. gbsteve has been working on the Gumshoe system demos a lot since last years Dragonmeet where I know that he wasn't that satisfied with the Esoterrorists demo (and nor was I, as I wrote in my report for that year) and it did show. I wont give away the entire scenario but it brought out pretty much all aspects of the system in a successful manner and showed how they worked and interacted. Darren had fun too, I know because he told me ^_^ .

Speaking of which, I'm not 100% certain what Darren got up to whilst I was in the seminar but I know that it involved a demo of Piledrivers and Powerbombs by Joe Prince, which he really enjoyed (so much so that thoughtfulwolf didn't buy him the game for Christmas and I didn't get it signed by Joe, really, honest guv... Ahem.)

After Fear Itself we went for lunch because, well, we were hungry! It was Darren, thoughtfulwolf, littlestkobold, the aforementioned Joe of Prince of Darkness games and myself. We headed down to Prett as it was just gone 1 pm and Darren and I were signed up to the Dark Heresy demo at 2 pm so we didn't really have time for Wagamamas (sadly). Thanks must, I should add, go to Dee at this point. She knew how much I (and Darren) wanted to play in that demo so she signed us up as soon as the sheet materialised. Sometimes it's good to be friends with a gopher ^_^ . Lunch was nice enough, although nothing too special (Prett's hot meatball wrap thingie was pretty good though) but it was here that the day started to go wrong for me. I got cold. Cold as in 'why the hell am I shivering, it's a bit chilly out but not that bad' and 'okay, I'm inside, in the warm, everyone else is fine, why the fuck am I still shivering' cold. That didn't bode well but I figured if I warmed up I'd be okay.

Oh, I should probably mention that on the way to lunch I got a message on my phone from novicejeweller saying 'you need to call me. Now.' As attention getters go a message like that from your wife ranks pretty highly. Needless to say I called her immediately and discovered that my sister-in-law, the one who I had left our small children with, had gone into labour 2 months early and was in the hospital! There, obviously, wasn't a whole lot that I could do about it at that point and it turned out that the plan was for my mother-in-law to head over there, look after the kids for the day and then drop all 4 (yes, that's my 2 nieces as well as my 2 sons) off at ours at about 5 pm. The joy! ~shudders~

After lunch Darren and I wandered around the trade hall, I bought him a dice bomb and then we got some tea and headed down to the Dark Heresy demo table. I was still feeling unreasonably cold. I was pleased to see that the DH demo was being run by the same guy who had run the 'sweet meat' WFRP game at Conceptions in February, he's a good con GM and I like his style, even if his name escapes me. The game was good and I enjoyed it but I don't feel able to give a decent description of it. You see, as the game went on I started suffering (mostly tightly controlled) shivering fits, then the tips of my fingers became noticeably numb, next I started to feel more and more queasy until, at around 4 pm (the game had begun at 2 pm) I had to apologise and flee the table. I ran to the blokes loos (and my god was I thankful that thoughtfulwolf was passing to direct me) where I heaved up lunch, breakfast and last nights dinner. It was not good. I was, in fact, sick. Again. Damnit!

Needless to say that cut the convention short for the 3 of us travelling together. We said our goodbyes and I phoned Steph to figure out what was happening with kids and Dax. I got Jay. Jay's lovely but he isn't very useful and novicejeweller was out at the shop so I figured I'd call again later. So, short tube journey (thankfully) followed by 1/2 an hour on the train from Paddington to Reading. That nearly finished me off. The swaying and rocking was giving me stomach cramps. Still, at some point my phone beeped to tell my I had a text message, it was from O2 telling me I had voicemail. I assumed that novicejeweller had tried calling me when the train was at a point of no reception so I called her back. Turned out I was going to have to pick up our boys after all but that we wouldn't be having the girls as well. So, good and bad with the good VASTLY outweighing the bad.

Anyway, long story short, I drove us back from Reading, via my sister-in-law's (who was back home, having being given anti-going-into-labour-drugs), to Bristol without crashing the car and killing everyone, which was something of a feat at that point. I really did enjoy Dragonmeet 2007, I just wish it hadn't ended so badly and that I'd had more of a chance to mingle at the CE stand. As it was I spent yesterday feeling like shit as well and am only just starting to feel a bit better today. Stupid illness.

Roll on Dragonmeet 2008!
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