Category Archives: Blog

Frames for xkcd posters

As you might remember from this post. Randle Munroe of xkcd was kind enough to sign a couple of his posters for me. So I used my christmas money to make some frames and mounting for them.

Then (with ellies expert help ) hung them up. They look great.


So myself and my lovely partner decided to read five of each others  favourite books.  Which is a lovely idea, but it has been hellish to decide which to pick. I love too many books for too many reasons.  Anyway here is my list:

  1. A short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. I chose this as it represents my constant yearning to understand as much about everything as possible.
  2. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. This book is a go to favourite mine. It has computers, and space and strange new culture,  and rebellion.  Its a book where the terrorists are the goodies.
  3. Guards! Guards! By Terry Pratchett. This is here, as it my favourite Terry Pratchett. It is funny,  and unpredictable, and you will be changed by it before you even know it.
  4. Cats Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Like everything  Kurt writes, it is bizarre and absurd,  and will lie to you to teach you the truth.
  5. The Player of Games by Iain M Banks. A wonderful  introduction to the writing of Iain banks. The characters,  the twists,  the cunning….

It was a difficult list to put together,  the books that are most important to us often contain a little of our soul.  Its hard to only share five,  of hundreds  of books and novels  that have changed you or even just thrilled you and made you happy.  I have also tried to pick books Ellie will enjoy, there is no point making her suffer though a book I love,  just because I love it, I would like her to enjoy it to.

Near misses for the list included (Ellie you may request a swap for any of these)

  • Speaker for the dead.
  • Rendezvous with rama
  • The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • The name of the wind
  • The use of weapons.
  • The drawing of the three /wizard and glass
  • Monument.
  • Surely you a joking Mr Feynman
  • Dirk gentlys holistic detective agency.

Update 27/01/05


Ellie has now given me her list:

  • The Reef by Nora Roberts
  • Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
  • The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseni
  • The Girl who saved the king of Sweden by Jonas Johassor
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen

Boat Party !


For the IBM Graduate party this year will all got on board the Princess Caroline. It was a nice experience.

The afternoon went a little like this:

We got on board from 13.30.

I arrived about 2 ish, and I walked from Southampton Central and was greeted by lovely staff, and given a welcome drink. Also got a chance to show of my Christmas jumper:
xmas jump
14:15 – 15:45 Christmas Lunch

Alas they forgot our starter, which was to be soup. But made up for with with a complimentary glass of wine. There were also crackers, and party favors provided by Alex’s mum. ( A couple of Ferraro Roche

15:45 – 18:30

Cruising, DJ upstairs, quieter area downstairs (quiz and maybe other games). Everyone seemed to have a good time, the quiz went well ( My team came in a respectable second ).
The Captain was kind enough to let myself and some friends into the control cabin to have a look around, but alas did not give us a go.

 19:00 And home we went

2014-12-11 18.21.43

Where I used to live

I had the chance recently to pass one of my childhood homes. I was out on my grandfathers boat and we moared up near by so me and Ellie went for a visit.

Its strange, its all alien to me.

Its a reflection of how memory works, when you access a memory, you get the bit you want out, and its imperfect, so you try and fill in the little details, lots of which is just your imagination guessing. Then your brain stores this new memory over the old one, This repeats every time you think back and recall a memory, slowly changing it from memory to dream. Except you believe in it, it is real.

So this is the house I lived int, and its only just resembles the house my mind grew up in. Some of it is that I was a child then, and I saw things differently, some of it of course is the change that happens with time.

I think I spend the years of 6 to around 9 there, I am not 100% sure. When I arrived I was year 2 and when I left I was in year 5 ( I think ).

This is house that my gran says she fist met me at. She says she saw me this skinny little boy walking down the road with a dog on a bit of string, with the cat following behind.

My dogs were Megan the lazy bones obsessed with rich tea biscuits, and Zeus the German Shepard, would break out of his shed to wait for me at the end of the lane.

This is were I just jump from the hay bales in the barn down the road. I would ride my bike around the tiny little nine house village.

I would hide in the fields of crops, and make little forts in the clearings, I would be awoken at 5am by the sound of combine harvesters.

Where I used to sneak into Stanford hall and watch the hovercraft racing, and St John Ambulance used to keep an eye on this little boy, hoping over the fence and hiding in the trees to watch.

XKCD @ Union Chapel

Randall Munroe on Answering the Unanswerable
Thursday November 6 2014 | Union Chapel

So I got to meet one of my hero’s last night.This man:

He has MAD duck stacking skills

You know when your about 16, and trying to define yourself and you find some rock-star or model and worship? Well I found Randall Munroe. xkcd was maybe not in its infancy, but certainly a toddler. I saw xkcd 152 As my first ever comic, and then read backwards like a maniac, and then waited every Monday Wednesday and Friday for updates.

I always enjoyed xkcd because it is whats it says on the tin “A webcomic of romance,
sarcasm, math, and language.
” If you stop and think and realize that one hell of a range of subjects. I love that there was no line between those subjects either, it was saying you can be nerdy and in love, and you can be nerdy about love, and mathematical about love, and even sometimes you need to put down and math and just love.

Sometimes he just connected to me as one of the few people who seemed to think like me.

This was a very potent mix of subjects for me to hear about. It also taught me a told, as anyone who knows me will know I am fascinated by learning. Some of the best XKCD comics are ones I did’nt understand because they introduced me to new and interesting bits of maths and physics.

I sort of miss some of the older comics, they where really a sort of diary in someways and held a more personal note that the comics he publishes now. I’m not complaining everything grows and changes, this is how we get amazing new ideas like What-if

What-if is the highlight of my week when it comes out. Its humorous and exciting and educational all at once.

I’ve grown up now, and dont quite worship Randall anymore, he is a human afterall, and I from what I know of him, I think he would disapprove of worship, or anything other than a polite thank you, and a “that comic was awesome”. Still everything xkcd holds a special place in my heart, and if I was to pick a top 10 people to be stuck on a desert island with I can tell you he would make the cut.

Anyway getting less emotional!

His talk was amazing, He did a more details breakdown of his “Table of elements” What-if which was very fun to hear especially when he got distracted and rambled. Mostly about fluorine and how evil it is.

Then did a Q&A with Simon Singh ( Of Fermat Last Theorem Fame ) Taking questions from the audience 😀 including one of mine !

Q: I know you love the wacky science the US did during the cold war, what is your favorite paper that you have found.
A: An analysis of the forces required to drag sheep

He was then kind enough to sigh both my posters, and my copy of What-if ( I could’nt find my xkcd Volume 0, I suspect Cat has it ). He was very kind and polite despite having had to sigh books for the last hour, and make the same small talk over and over again.

It was amazing, and unique opportunity, I am very glad I got the chance to go and meet him.

National Noval Writing Month

I’m going attempt to write a novel as part of . I doubt I will make the 50K word mark they suggest, I don’t have the time, or the spelling & grammar, or you know…. the ability to write very well in general.

I am going to aim for 25K, if I make that, for this year it will be a success!

This is the quick outline I have so far:

Gereral Idea:

Posative sci-fi

Buddy cops, one grim anti-tech, and more cheerful and upbeat.

Humans embrace technology at the end, realise they will never be replaced by it, only encanced.
They can work together

20 Chapters Around 2500 words each.

1)Introduction, establisihes the AI switch on a plot point, maybe written in the form of a news article.
2)Introucuce our tropy buddy cops, Crime happens!
3)Investigate crime!
4)Kick Crimes ASS using SCIENCE!
5)Evidence is unvalided, AI looks bad! corporate coruption etc..
10) Death of Cheerful Cop.
14) Find the end of the trail, evidence if bullshit.
15) Switch on chapeter! Moral dilema !
17) AI attacks crime, human helps
18) Human Attacks crime, AI helps
19) Human leans AI not so bad. realise they need each other
20) Eliloge

I wonder if it will actually end up anything like that 😛


Its nice to get a reminder of quite how far I have come. I found this picture at my grandmothers house. I couldn’t believe quite how much weight I lost so I made a little gallery starting the with image I found:


I did almost nothing this weekend, which was a rare change for me. You see, I have this horrible fear that if I fail to use my spare time wisely, I will just become this lonely boring old bachelor. Who sits a lone with his TV dinner and watches the match, so I tend to over compensate.
This means I fill all my spare time with traveling, and learning, and doing things. This was my week:
Monday: Kickboxing & RPG, Talk to ex-gf
Tuesday:Olympic Wreasling + Weekly shop
Wednesday: Jiu-Jitsu + St.John Ambulance
Thursday: MMA + Grapling + Comedy Club
Friday: Talk to my dad + Valentines time with new lady friend
Saturday: catch the train to leeds + go to my friends house warming
Sunday: Catch the train home, + catch up with my Mum & Cat.

So anyway this weekend I did nothing, I slept, I took long baths, I ordered in takeaway. It was good, and a reminder that I need to stop and recharge from time to time.

Its that post again

The one that says that I am going to update this more often, but then sits embarrassingly at the top of my page for lets say…. A year?

Intresting things that have happened since the last post:
Still working at IBM
Had two basass holidays

  • The Isle of Wright
  • Cambridge

I discovered the joys of alcohol, which resulted in me

  • Trying to climb the side of a building
  • Creeping between clares legs and yelling BAZINGA!
  • Falling off my chair, and ordering fictional drinks at the work christmass party

I lost a lot of weight ! I think I was about 92kg at the low point, currently more like 96kg at the momment

I broke up with Nikki

I moved house

And lots of other things I will blog about another day ( YEAH RIGHT )

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