Monday, 29 December 2008


No really..
I sneezed this morning, and as I did so I felt a popping on my left side below my ribs and the next thing I knew I was writhing around on the floor in agony. Must have pulled a muscle or something when I sneezed. Still very painful when I cough or sneeze, both of which are happening rather too much for fun.

Dammit...I'm ill I tell ya......nurse???




Sunday, 28 December 2008

chills, colds and no sun

We got home last night to chilly Bradford, I now have Bina's cold..thanks, and when we got back to her place it seems her niece had kindly been round and switched everything off.
Including the the place was bloody freezing, 12 hours later with the heating on all night its still chilly.

But even better, she switched off the Sky box at the all those nice Chrimbo progs we were going to watch when we got home....none recorded.

ah well at least most of them are on BBC Iplayer but Bina's mad about losing her Christmas eps of her soaps.. :D

Right off to the chemist for some proper cold meds then get some work done this week. Having no school to deal with will give me time to catch up on my DS project which I've been making some notes on during my break, want to try to get well ahead during this break. I only have a week's teaching to do when I get back then another 3 weeks to make a serious dent in the code.

Thats if this cold don't kill me first....hmm might be flu, I am a man after all and y'know how poorly we can be when we get sick.



Wednesday, 24 December 2008

chills, colds and sunburn

Hello from the sometimes sunny Canary Isles and the hotels extortionalty expensive internet kiosk so I have to make this short.
Bina has had a stinking cold for the 1st couple of days but she's starting to feel better now. The weather has been a chilly 18-22degress :D yeah I know, but becuase she feels so crap the slightest breeze has her reaching for a jumper.

But generally we've managed to find some sun in various places and as Bina is getting over her cold we're going futher afield and having a great time.

Typical pasty scot that I am, I turned bright pink at the 1st sight of a large round yellow hot thing in the sky and have repeated the process several times now resulting in a nice red shade which I am told will eitehr turn a nice shade of brown or a result in a nasty flaky effect..we'll see.

Hope you are all enjoying yur traditional chilly christmas's

I must go now, theres a sangria with my name on it.



Thursday, 18 December 2008

Another one down

Yup, yesterday(today) was my birthday, and I spent it largely by myself, but before you all go ahhh I do generally prefer it that an inveterate teen who refuses to grow up the passing of years gets harder every year. And I don't always react to it well. Its now got to the stage where saying I'm 39 is starting to stretch reasonable credibility, so I might have to go up a year.......or 2.

But on the plus side I've been helping to introduce Poker to my work colleges and organizing a pool of people who meet up at various homes and play friendly 5 euro games till chucking out time.

Last week we played at Dr Ken's place, which was good fun, Dino my collegue at IGAD won a fairly large amount of coinage from the good Doctor's change jar, on that occasion. Tonight though on my birthday we played at the bosses house, Frank, who supplied extra nibbles and beer.

I am glad to say I won and took home some folding money. Frank came 2nd, and Dino 3rd. Sadly Rob who was playing well and amassing a decent pot had to leave early and his chips were sacrificed to the bank. But I think we've managed to make several converts to the great game of Texas Hold em.

All in all a good birthday..But time for bed before my last classes of the year.

I will be heading over to the Uk on Friday for a night before going to the Canaries for a week, so probably won't be on here till after new year I'm planning a computer free week ;)

So for you few, you happy few, who dip in here from time to time, firstly , thank you for you patronage and comments. Secondly, may I wish you a Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous new year.

have fun.


Monday, 15 December 2008

Free at last, Free at Last

Passport arrived eventually, and now that its sorted I have been able to book a week away in the Canaries over Christmas, with Bina, who I hope will enjoy a week on the company of yours truly.


House Arrest

Well it feels like it on 2 fronts

TNT tried to deliver my Passport on Thursday, but I was at the office so tried to re-arrange a re-delivery.
Unfortunately the tracking slip the driver left was unreadable, and looked like a 10 digit number instead of the 9 digits needed by the service centre to arrange for delivery.

I have the say the customer service desk were incredibly helpful, trying out multiple combinations of numbers before admitting defeat, then asked me to scan it in and send to them. Which of course I did, and the lady said she's re-arrange it for Friday once she got the scan.

So all day Friday, I'm in and waiting...nothing. Stuck there till 6 pm waiting for a package.

So again I call up the TNT hotline this time to get another even more helpful lady who also tries the various numbers approach before asking me to forward the scan to her....Which I did, and she asked me to hang on while she got it.

And here is the problem

I've obscured some of the numbers but to me that looks like 5 7 (or 3) squiggle....
and that squiggle was the problem I could not tell if that was 01 or 07 or what.

Anyway, thanks to Netty at TNT who got the scan within seconds of it being sent while I hung on the phone she recognized it as an 8...yes folks thats an 8. It seems in some parts of Holland they write the 8 I never knew that...and I still find it a little hard to accept, but at last problem solved.

So now its Monday and I'm sat in waiting for my passport to arrive. At least I am hoping its my passport and not a letter asking for further info/photos or something...that would be a real pain.

On the other front, I'm ill, wasn't able to get to sleep till 6am last night trotting to the loo most of the night...So stuck in, feeling crap and dog tired.

Nice start to the week...Still, 2 weeks Holidays starting next week :)


Friday, 12 December 2008


Thats my student fail rate in 1st year basic C++ programming, I was hoping for lower but a couple of silly "lack of attention" fails put the rate up. Its not bad at all, better than last year apparently but I really wanted to get below 20%.

Still I'm quite sure most of those who failed will pass the re-take and go on to handle the rest of the year with ease.

I'm very very proud of my students (I don't think they read this :) but I'm sure they know), some of them were absolute beginners when they came to NHTV and have developed into really promising game programmers. A few in particular are going to be superstars if they don't get too big headed along the way ;)

I get the same bunch again later in the year for some more advanced programming and I hope to continue to see them improve and develop as they have done.

There's something quite magical about watching people you teach suddenly develop their own thinking processes and start to understand what they are doing. I call it a lightbulb moment, I'm quite convinced that once you get to that moment, your job is pretty much done and programming is very easy indeed and my role is just to push them to developing their thought processes and expose them to new ideas.

Of course getting to that lightbulb moment can take a while, and often they start out as 5w Bulbs, but it doesn't take long once that switch has flicked to see a full 100W shining away.

You can't buy the sense of achievement you get when you have a class of 100W bulbs sitting in front of you all starting to believe they know more than you.
Then watch them lap up everything you throw at them as you desperately try to prove you still know a tiny bit more than them.

I love this job.


Sunday, 7 December 2008

Warning Scottish people look away, Tablet on display

I was trying to explain to one of my colleagues the other day what Tablet was and realized there's really just no way I can do that, its neither toffee nor fudge but something in between thats much sweeter than either. Its made by boiling loads of sugar with sugar enriched condensed milk and butter (unsugared)..hmm healthy. Afer boiling for 30mins or so, you take it of the heat, allow to cool then stir really hard for a minute or two so that it starts to form sugar crystals while still being liquid then you pour the setting mixture into a flat buttered (hmmm) tin before it sets in your pan. Then leave to cool and go hard.

At its best it should be hard enough to bite and crunch, but as soon as it hits the wetness of your mouth it dissolves into a sweet grainy mush that is guaranteed to give you tooth decay and put on 50lbs with one mouthful.

Its a very Scottish sweet that I've only occasionally seen outside of Sconny Botland and its also unusual because home made tablet is always preferred over the few commercial brands that you can find. You'll find it at galadays, and fairs and almost certainly your local shop will have an auld biddy that supplies them with a steady supply. This was crack for kids before we had drugs.

So as everyone is bringing sweets and biscuits to work, as part of the run up to Christmas (I think) I decided I'd take some tablet to work so they can try it for themselves. If you're Scottish...don't look, close the site now. You may find the urge to go make some for yourself too overwhelming.

I just hope I can stop nibbling it before I go to the office.

hmm one more won't hurt.


Warning Warning, a coding post

if (!coding && (weekend == true))
{ // better do some laundry

if (washer == empty)
if (ClothesInWasherBasket>0)
Printf("Bloody hell, didn't expect that)
Printf("Better have a look around just in case though!");


{ // washer must be full so...
Laundry = wet;

if (Laundry == dry) DotheIroningDude();



if ((rand(100) >=60) && DoWeHaveTime == true) MaybePlayAGame(OptionalDrinkLotsofBooze);

Anyway, quiet couple of days, been busy working away on my DS game engine, which need some extra physics added to it to improve its collision detection systems. I still haven't managed to get to Ikea but I promise I will soon, but a couple of good nights sleep have left me refreshed and felling a lot better so am cracking on with everything as fast as I can.

Working with Dino on a project and he has asked for these improvements which gives me an excuse to dive into code I wrote over a year ago and optimize and enhance it.


Thursday, 4 December 2008

its what time

right thats it for sure, after work I'm off to Ikea to get me some curtains. I went to bed at 11pm last night having had a coule of late nights doing some bug hunting. I finally found the bug yesterday, and was dog tired, so went to bed really quite knackereed and looking froward to a solid 8 hours.

So why the hell did I wake up at 3-30am and haven't been able to get back to sleep...arghhhh its the new street light it has to be.

might as well do a couple of hours work and see if I can get back to sleep after.


Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Am not going to get a motorbike.

Mum will be pleased at least....

As much as I want one, I just cant justify the cost of it against the benefit, I won't use it to get to work as its a short cycle distance, which I enjoy. And I can't honestly see it being practicle to ride down to Calais, pay for a chunnel spot then head up to bradford at the weekends.

Considering the overall cost of the bike, insurance, taxes, fuel, chunnel tickets etc. I might as well just get train and plane home a couple of times a month and I'll still be better off over the year.

bahh..We wants it we does...but we can'ts have it.


Monday, 1 December 2008

December already

So this is it, the mad run up to Christmas....where the hell did that year go? Has the Alzheimer's kicked in? Am I perhaps in that stage of my life where years become months, months become weeks and weeks become....what was I talking about?

Anyway..They have a big thing here on the 5th Sinta Klass Night(from which we get Santa Claus), but I don't really know what the protocol is for it. Is it a present day or just drinks and parties?

Certainly there's a lot of blacking up and spanking people under the guise of being Black Pete, Sinta's sidekick who punishes the naughty kids.

The PC brigade who banned gollies would be apoplectic over this strange custom here. Black face paint and gollie sales go through the roof this time of year in the indeed I would imagine do lawyers fees for sexual harassment, especially bottom spanking type litigation.

Anyway, its been a fun year so far, despite a bad start its picked up and gone from strength to strength. I'm really looking forward to my Christmas break in the UK though and a chance to start making those trips more regular.

But mustn't slacken up, still got a couple of weeks of work to get through.