Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween

And indeed it is here, cos they don't really celebrate it. None of that nasty commercialism you see in the UK (and US of course) and none of that horrible horrible trick or treat nonsense where young thugs in training discover and master the skills of extortion that will serve them so well in their later chav years.

Nope just a normal day..a few pumpkins outside doors of course....none like this though

At least there's no silly kids going around dressing up either...Though this is so cute

thanks to TCE for the images :)

Thursday, 30 October 2008


Came home to an empty flat today, 1st time in a week.

man...that is actually physically painful.

At least I have a lot of work to do to take my mind of things, got to get ready for the new term and a new project starting up soon, so lots and lots to do.


Wednesday, 29 October 2008

I'm so roonrree

After having a full house for several days, Bina and Jodie left on the 4-50pm train........sniff

Danni and Keiran have gone to bed to get ready for their early start to catch the train to Amsterdam tomorrow, so I'm sat here on my own for the 1st time in days.



Tuesday, 28 October 2008

A Full House

Bina and Jodie arrived on Friday night, Danni and Keiran on Sunday so I have a full house at the moment. All the effort doing the decorating and building has finally paid off. Everyone likes the decor and all say I've worked very hard (well Danni grunted which is just as good).

And FTW Bina made a nice hot home made curry last night with home made chapaties.

Life is good (if a bit crowded)


Thursday, 23 October 2008

Hectic week

Not a huge amount of info to report this week, its been rather busy trying to finish up the last bits of decorating and assembling the latest delivery of ikea furniture. There's now a nice foldable sofa bed in the spare room and I have a kinda wardrobe in the main bedroom now so can finally hang up clothes. A little bit more papering to do, but I don't think I'll manage to get the halls done in time, but I don't think that matters too much.

I have of course bought the all important full length mirror, with 3 women about to descend on the place fighting for hairdryers and so on the mirror was kinda important to prevent bloodshed.

Work has been really busy and also a little dissapointing this week. Its the last teaching week before study and exams for this block, and I think I tried to pass on too much final information to them in the last lesson which has resulted in some incomplete lectures and confused faces, so its not been as satisfying as other weeks. I hope they all do well with their final assignments, 1 or 2 will certainly fail badly, but others have come on leaps and bounds in the last 7 weeks and I'm hoping to see them sail through. I won't get the same group of students till the end of the year so it'll be interesting to see how they progress now that the "easy" classes are over.

must go...gotta do some marking today and also finish up a wall.


Friday, 17 October 2008

is that it?

That was my weeks holiday? Wow that flew by fast, I spent most of it sleeping, playing games and just chillin', with short bouts of decorating to avoid the boredom.

Hmmm this holiday lark is quite relaxing but certainly leaves you with lots of dead time, I'm just not used to that. For years and years I've occupied myuself with programming or game play (for research of course) to an almost obsessive level which isn't good for me. So now having to find something to do else is quite tricky...Yes I could just program again and I confess to a little bit this week, but spending all day in front of a screen is not what I want to do anymore.

I revisited my misspent youth playing pool with Steve from work. Which was fun. But I think my pool hustler days are long gone. Really it was an excuse to go out and drink...hmmm yes I can see that being a problem given my rapid increase in red win consumption of late.

Anyway Bina and the mob will be decending next week so am really looking forward to that and I'll try to avoid drinking to much :)


Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Lowering the tone

Yes today is the day I lower the tone. Like my fellow Scotsman before me, Billy Connolly who blazed a trail on the subject so that we can all freely talk about this, the time has come to talk about Billy alluded to before...We Scots have a slight aversion to jobbies being left in the loo.....but let's hear Billy 1st.

Ok so after that trip down memory lane, I want to talk about Dutch loos..or more exactly loos in pubs...For some reason every pub/club/hotel I've been in in Holland has these odd little loos. Which unlike other places and indeed my own flat, have a little shelf kind of arrangement with the pool at the front the idea being that the water washes over the little shelf and your jobbies are wheecked (to coin a phrase) off to the jobbie factory for processing at a later day.

Now consider that you're sat there, minding your own business doing what you do when sat on a loo, examining the posters on the pub toilet door, waiting for that reassuring plop, that tells you job (jobbie) done, time to wipe, flush and run before the bartender asks you to buy a drink for the free use of his loo.

Fair enough, we all get that...But when using one of these Dutch loo's, there is no reassuring plop, rather worried; you stand up and there awaiting your inspection is your poo; in its varying degree's of brownness proudly sat on the shelf awaiting the flush after inspection.

I don't get the Dutch have a thing about inspecting their poo? Do they award points for colour, consistancy, length, form etc...I mean..what?? What is the point of having your poo, land on a little shelf to greet you when you stand up.

Well thats not the end of my rant dear no, there's more I'm afraid. Having not had a lot of fibre in my diet of late, my poor jobbie was somewhat lacking in the consistency dept, so I probably would lose marks for that, but it certainly made up for it in quantity and varying shades of brown.

Not being Dutch however, I took my usual Scottish approach of flushing my jobbie away.......and it wouldn't go!! It was glued to the shelf!

This was 10 times worse than a floater, this was a sticker. And there were people outside waiting to use the loo, and as Billy has explained, no Scot will admit to ownership of a jobbie in a toilet, shelf or otherwise.

The lack of a suitable brush or other prodding instrument meant I had to just keep flushing, adding a bit of bog roll from time to time to aid purchase, but to no avail. 6 flushes and 6 refills later, my unprocessed jobbie factory material, refused to go. Time for LOAD of bog roll and wait for a full tank before flushing.

At last some movement, but it still took 3 more full flushes before my jobbie mound slide away under the clear cascade. (poetic eh!)

My conclusion to this is two fold...Dutch people have an unhealthy interest in poo, and the loos are not designed for fat Scotsmen who need a bit more roughage in their diet.


Monday, 13 October 2008

Monday....a lazy day

Not through choice though, had a shocking headache last night and no aspirin or paracetamol in the flat and no where to buy any, so wasn't able to get to sleep till 6am...then got woken at 9-30 by a delivery and went back to no I didn't have a drink yesterday

Headache has gone I'm pleased to say, and a trip to the shop has secured some asprin in case it happens again...Oh I do miss 24 hour shopping.

But the result is today is a lazing about day snoozing to catch up on sleep.

Weather here is fantastic today though, very warm and though not exactly sunny, its bright..Wonder if this will be the last warm day before Autumn really starts to bite


Saturday, 11 October 2008

A week off?

And time to get some work done...ermmm hang on thats not right?

Am going to get my spare room decorated in time for Bina,Jodie, Danni and Keiran's visit at the end of the month...Been prepping the walls for ages now so hopefully this is the last big push to get it all done.
I also have to nip to Ikea this week sometime after the paper is up and buy a bed though I'm thinking a futon is going to be more useful as the spare room is also my office and I won't really be having people to stay that often.

In programming news, it looks like my next project is moving towards a green light so will try to get a few days to myself to get my DS Dev kit set up again and start adding to my game engine in readiness for the work. Due to the fact I can't work full time on a project now I've asked some colleagues and even a few of my students if they want to help out so we can form a small loose team, which will be fun I think :)

But I mustn't count chickens, I've long since learned that until you get that 1st cheque in the bank a project is never certain. And this one could fade away at any point.


Wednesday, 8 October 2008

A good excuse to drink

At last a reason to have a celebratory drink instead of a sad old man on his own drinking to dull the pain drink...ermm not that I'm doing that you understand!

My most recent DS project, UbiSoft's How to pass your Driving Test has finally been given NOE approval, so it should be on the streets in November.

No really I just drink red wine for the taste.

Am really pleased about this, as it was a very nice fun simple project but the approval process took forever with Nintendo's usual approval process being somewhat swamped at the moment.

Then, rather than supply a list of defects or issues then sending back (which Ubi's QA really should have caught before submission), they have a tendancy to find one thing then send it back for a fix and resub. So the whole process can take a while.

It's not as if I'm drinking every night...well not a whole bottle.

This time it took 3 attempts...well 2 and 1 request to waive. But it took over 2 months to get final approval. Thats the longest I've had to wait for an approval in years and it was really annoying the hell out of me.

Its just a little pick me up after work, or dinner or whatever.

Thanks to the guys at Route One for hiring me for the gig and for their really quite excellent production and managment approach. Its nice to meet a company who deal with issues so calmly and easily, even the normally frustrating repeated submissions were handled with calm and manners not often seen in a developer chasing a tight deadline.

I mean you get a deposit back on the bottle right, so its like saving me money?

Right, time to set up the next project, there's a few in the air. But I have to be careful to choose the right one. Since I have considerably less time for development now I'm teaching. hopefully I can work with Route One again soon but they tend to need fast turn around times and I'm not sure I'll be able to manage that on 25-30 hours a week.

Oh its not that kind of bank, they don't pay for the bottles? Maybe I'll wait till the weekend before I have that drink.


28 years and still crap

That's how long I've been LEARNING to play the sense of rhythm, no feel, no co-ordination, nothing...2 party tunes and a load of chords.....28 years....But I keep trying and who knows, maybe next year it'll be 3 tunes.

I want to play like this

I never will....but then again...neither will anyone else...amazing!!


Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Nothing to report move along please

Nope, nothing new, aside from an annoying pimple on my bum getting aggravated by my bicycle seat....not want to know about that? No..ok then, probably wise.

Been a nice quiet weekend, spent most of the weekend snoozing....I'm enjoying this new working life style with this strange new "time off" concept.
Though with idle hands and mind, and less and less decorating to do I have noticed that I am drinking far too much....The flat is starting to fill up with empty wine bottles and even a couple of scotch bottles waiting to go to the bottle bank...Thats probably a little too much, so am going to limit myself to a bottle an hour from now'll be hard but I'm shure I can hic.

There's a weeks holidays next week, a chance to get all the last little bits of decorating sorted before the 2 parts of my family descend on my now seemingly quite small apartment (5 people in 3 rooms).

Still looking forward to it though, just so long as they don't drink all my booze.


Saturday, 4 October 2008

Enjoyed the craic but not the ciggies

My work collegue Dino discovered that the Dubliners were playing in Breda last night, and since I've not had a chance to take in any shows since I arrived here it seemed like a chance to get out and have a good evening.

I must admit I was well aware of the Dubliners music, since I basically love all kinds of music when played by proper musicians but was unaware of the fact that front man Ronnie Drew (he of the huge beard and gravel voice) had not only long since left the band, but had as recently as 6 weeks ago passed away.

So there was an air of tranquility and reflection in the concert that I hadn't really expected. But all the same, it was nice to see these grand old men of the Irish music scene doing their thing. I've attached a pic, but am sorry its so crap, I've just discovered my new phone does not have a zoom function...bah!!

Dino, Karena his g/f, and I then decided to have a few drinks to finish the evening and in what we thought was poetic reasoning decided to head to O' Mearas, the Irish bar in town. They planned on having a few Guiness's and as that is the only place I can get my usual pint tipple (cider) off we went.

But far from being awash with rowdy Irish music fans braving the drizzle after the concert, it was apparently full of ....smokers....yes SMOKERS...This was a shock considering that in Holland, smoking was banned a few months ago in public places.

Disheartened, but thirsty we decided to buy a drink and see how it felt,but our lungs having been smoke free for quite some time, were not too happy with the blue smog that surrounded us.

A conversation with the bar manager, herself puffing away happily at the bar, revealed that a number of the bars in the area had decided to club together and produce a kitty in the event that they get fined for breaking this rule and therefore felt they could protest enmasse against what they saw as an unfair restriction on their trade.

Personally as an ex smoker I've never really been one of those evangelist anti smokers, I quite like the scent of tobacco smoke in small doses (perhaps it reminds me of my youth :) )
But being enclosed in a small pub, the doors and windows closed to keep out the damp night air (or the city officials who police the no smoking ban??), was more than a little too much.

Counting around there seemed to be about 6-10 smokers in a pub filled with 70+ people......
So basically to satisfy a minority of miserable bastards (and I assume the manager) who couldn't be arsed to go outside the majority were having to suffer, though in typical Dutch, don't rock the boat, mindeset they were letting it slide.

Selfish gits...I hope the inspectors come soon...I know I will be making a point to find out where I should complain about it...I want to drink my cider in a smoke free environment.

We left our drinks and sought out a smoke free bar in town. The policy designed to attract more smokers to the bar had in fact turned away 3 thirsty non smokers, their loss!

We ended up at Dante's in the town square, a nice quiet cafe bar/art gallery place where despite the lack of cider a good night of drink and craic ended around 2am and I managed to cycle back home to await the inevitable hangover. I won't post pictures of how I look this morning...lets just say I'm a little fragile...and smell of fags.