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.

Portal Companion Cube

So the aim is to build myself one of these out of EVA foam:

Portal Companion Cube

Starting out the planning out, I looked up lots of images online, and got to work with my maths set to draw out some templates.

Then I could use the templates to start cutting out the EVA foam

Once all the cutting was compelte I got my first look at what the finished cube might look like:

This is the first Chamfered piece

This is the first Chamfered piece


The next stage to to sand and chamfer the edges, as you can above the edges are not straight and will need a 45 degree chamfer cut into them, this is going to be challanging around the curved surfaces.

I am little unsure about how the EVA foam its taking to the chamfering, My plan is to chamfer one set and see how they take I can always change plan if needs require it.

2014-11-11 08.12.23
So I have built two corners using the chamfering method, and one without. As you can see the chamerfered one, EVA foam does not take well this sort of fine detailing. The one on the right is looking a  lot better.

Have a brier chat with my executive consultant ( Maddi ), I have decided to lose the chamfer, it would have been nice to add the detail, but I think it will take away more than it will add.

I have also been using them to test out the Plasti-Dip which I am using as a base layer paint, and you can see in the background I have been testing out the hot-pink I am going to use for the heart.

A first look of how it might end up:
2014-11-12 21.46.38

So I have assembled most of the corner pieces, and and sanded a good few of them. I am pinning the parts together, then glueing the inside, and then the outside. Spreading the glue around to fill in gaps. Then sanding it down.

I am hoping the layer of Glue, pasti-dip and paint will smooth out the joints.

Progress as off 24 – Nov!

Nothing much to report past this point, although I think my grey paint might be a tad dark. I expect to have a finished project tomorrow!

Todays progress:

2014-12-03 21.30.01

It is finished !

2014-12-05 14.16.38

Cheese Souffle

Not much to say about it really, its a Cheese Souffle. I am just really proud of it, me and and wonderful lady Ellie decided to tackle making one for the first time 😀

This Blog does not have enough cats

This is Ellies new cat Berry, its amazing 😀

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 😛

Doc Ock (London Comic Con October 2014)

So this was my first attempt at a real cosplay, I failed to take many pictures of the build as it was rather rushed but the result is pretty good.

There is an aluminum frame running up my back, attached the that is 3 lengths of 13mm hose running in 4 directions. ( 3 lengths per direction ).

The segments of the arm are made out of 15mm pipe lagging, duct taped together, with a line of yellow electrical tape running though the middle to give effect.

The claws are crafted out of EVA foam, and glued together :)

Then add welding goggles and a (ladies ) trench coat

Third and final day in Paris

This was my last day in paris, I had stayed with a new couch surfing host. The lovely Marion and Theo.

The evening before Marion needed to go shopping and had taken me to a sort of shopping district, mall thing. It was a few rows of shops, it was interesting but there was not much I could not have brought in England. I tried a chocolate olive which turned out to be something like an M&M a bit of peanut, then chocolate and then a shell.

I decided to spend my last day in Paris on a visit to the Palace of Versailles.2014-07-08 12.02.07

As you can see the approach is incredible, ( though the clouds did some extra work for me here ). The only thing I can think of that gives me the same feeling of approaching majesty is St.Peters. Your whole walk to Versailles Tells you clearly that this is a palace, and the people in it are better than you, and you are tiny.

2014-07-08 12.46.06

I found out using my UK passport I could get free entry, being a backpacker, this was the best news EVER. So I lined up for an hour at the ticket office, to get my free ticket. Only to find out my passport WAS my free ticket. So I then joined then 1.5-2 hour queue to get into the palace. About 20mins from door, the heavens opened. I could not believe how many people who had waited over an hour where just abandoning the queue! I was getting soaked, but I didn’t mind  I knew I could change into dry clothes from my backpack. I lovely little old Chinese lady tried to protect me with her  umbrella but I declined, In Mandarin  which surprised her!

2014-07-08 14.47.112014-07-08 15.05.19

Above a couple of pictures of the inside of Versailles, I didn’t get much time inside. The nearly three hours of queues had robbed me of quite a bit of time, and my goodness was it packed. I have never felt like cattle so much my entire life. Pushed from room to room, barely able to move. I would have loved Versailles, but I lacked the piece to enjoy it, or even to stand still for two minutes without being shoved over. It was beautiful though, the paintings and the frescoes made me think of the Vatican. I would like to visit again when I have more time, and also to see the Gardens, I caught the odd glimpse of them out of the windows and if many videos I watched, and signs I read are to be believed they are the true treasure of Versailles.

Second Day in Paris ( The Church of Saint Sulpice )

I did much more on my second day in paris, in face I sort of did everything. The Eiffel tower, Champs-Élysées, Arc de triomphe, Montmartre etc…

2014-07-06 11.58.36

But the place that still sticks with me is Saint Sulpice. It is the most beautuiful church I have ever been in. I say this with a little hesitation as though my travels over the next month I would visit I lot of churches, and I became aware that I grew a little sick of them. So maybe some of my pleasure was dude to this being my first experience of the architecture of continental Europe.


It was certainly a new experience for me, my pictures do not capture it well, but the atmosphere is so different from any church in Britain which I can now only think of a “lazy gothic” They are large and dark and oppressing, but without the truly dark magisty of being Gothic.




I suspect I am a hypocrite though, and when I see Durham again, I will love it, and my loves are mostly those of the new and different. For all my rambles  Saint Sulpice is a beautiful magical place, light and airy. I feel like I could spend an afternoon in Saint Sulpice and feel at piece and happy. I am finding hard to describe being there, it is a happy place.






It was my real pleasure to see the Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice, which is an astronomical measurement device in Paris, designed to cast a shadow on the ground in order to determine the position of the sun in the sky.

I enjoy studying the history of science and took a great deal of pleasure in visiting it and leaning how it had once worked.


The sunlight passes through a small round opening in the southern stained-glass window of the transept, at a height of 25 metres, forming a small light disk on the floor; this disk will cross the meridian each time the sun reaches its zenith at true noon. The sun will cross different parts of the meridian depending the time of year, as the sun will be more or less high in the sky at noon. A point on the meridian is marked with a gold disk which shows the position of the sun at an equinox. It is located right in front of the altar.

The first day of my Adventure ( July 5 2014 )

This was the first day of my adventure across Europe. In some ways the most boring, but I was very proud of myself for going at all.

Spent the night before carefully packing, repacking, checking tickets and planning,and then it was time to be off:

I caught the

  • #5 bus from Sainsburys to Winchester station
  • Train from Winchester Waterloo
  • Tube from Waterloo to St Panrus
  • St Pancreas to Garde du Nord!
  • Then Paris Metro to meet my Host



Florence was lovely, she very polite and welcoming, bless her she had even cooked for me but had not realized that I didn’t eat fish. She had a lovely little apartment which I liked a lot, I wish I could have taken a picture without being rude.

It was split horizontally like a giant bunk bed, which took up most of the room and had a living room underneath.

Much like this



The Elevator upto her apartment was an experience all of its own, tiny unlike English elevators I barely fitted in it with my backpack on it was more like a vertical coffin.

After some food she was kind enough to take me on my first tour of paris, which ended at a out door cinema set up by the banks of seine. They were placing songs from the musicals both English and french and everyone was singing along.

Here are some of the photos I took along the way:


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:

1 2 3 4 5 6 17