Monday, 28 June 2010

The replacement for the guitar that never was.

The PRS clone that I bought which never arrived seems to actually still be in some kind of postage hell..The seller has emailed me again to ask if I have recieved it yet, of course nothing has arrived and I've kept them up to date. But since getting my refund I've been hunting for a new guitar to replace it..

The seller sent me a tracking number again though and this time it has been updated, it appears to be floating around in The Netherlands somewhere, and has apparently been the subject of attempts to be delivered to somewhere in Amsterdam...perhaps customs? I dunno, but either way it has not arrived, and though there does indeed seem to be progress I have gone ahead and sourced a new guitar...and what a beauty I have found.

She's a bit of a frankenstien, built by a guitar enthusast from genuine fender neck (1999) and body(2008 contoured deluxe), and choice parts. I like this, since it means some love and care went into its construction and its going to be quite unique.

It is basically a telecaster custom deluxe...woooo..sweet...can't wait to get my hands on it.. It was right at the very top end of my kitty for a replacement guitar but I think she'll be worth it..I now have a good telecaster with extra tone options to play with.


Sunday, 27 June 2010

Oops...Eng-er-land are out

Now we don't have to listen to any more boring, this is our year, 1966, our best chance, best team, it's coming home, every one else looks crap, we're the greatest..BOLLOX for a few more years.

Seriously though, what is it with England football fans....surely you realise you have a good, but not great side and thats evident by the fact that you've not really won a dam thing since 1966 and that was with home advantage and a bloody lucky goal.

As a Scot I have no such delusions about my team...if we win we are grateful for our good fortune, if we lose..we at least try to go down fighting, but not much chance of us ever wining the world cup...unless its held in Edinburgh.


Saturday, 26 June 2010

Joffa Smifff RIP

When I was a young man, I left Sconny Botland to the unknown pastures of Manchester, which at that time was pretty much the centre of the game programming universe..Ocean Software was the cause of this..

Ocean employed two giants of programming Dave Collier, who was the undisputed master of the C64 and the very young prodigy Jonathan "Joffa" Smith. As a very new Z80 coder, Joffa was my hero, despite being a few years younger than me, he was bursting with talent and able to make a ZX spectrum do pretty much anything he wanted.
Parallaxing, smooth scrolling, multi voice sound, masses of sprites, animation, everything..he did it, and what was even more amazing was he liked to show you.

I can honestly say without fear that Joffa taught me more as a Z80 coder than anyone I ever met before, or since. He was genuinly a hero of mine.

We lost touch when I left Ocean, a few emails or forum posts every few years confirmed we were both still around..But I always regard my time in his company as a bit special, a masterclass in coding and one of the great developing times in my life.

He lost his way a little in later life, and he drifted a bit further away from those he knew in the early days.

He died today aged 43 after a long illness.

The Games Industry has lost someone very very special, I have lost someone who influenced everything I've ever done as a coder.

RIP Joffa.

You will be missed far more than you can ever realise.


Tuesday, 22 June 2010

things to cheer you up.

Couple of pics of our great day out at the Airshow

yup..thats had started raining, not heavy but enough to flush the rest of the VIP's in into the marquee....Me, the hardy scot that I am was quite used to a bit of drizzle, besides I was watching the Spitfire :D you should have seen the grin on my face.

And here is me ignoring everyone else....talking to the pilot of that same Spitfire..

See the grin? It never left my face the whole day.


sad today

Its been a strange day that I was looking forward to, as I was expecting to hear some good things at work over recent developments I've been ermmm developing!

But instead, today, I'm desperately sad and upset over something that I never saw coming, someone has shaken my very real and currently very raw feelings by making it clear that they regarded me in a very negative way I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined.

In any public forum there's going to be things you can't discuss, even though this is intended to be a public mind dump for me...but as other people are involved, I can't really say much, the person in question does not as far as I know even know about this blog, but I know others do. It has been dealt with privately and no one need speculate over ID's.

Right now, for all sorts of reasons I'm emotionally very fragile, I literally cry at adverts on TV, sad songs, people saying nice things, people saying sad things people just waving...and people saying things that make me sound like someone I don't recognise. Its all side effects from the surgery and dealing with having a major illness, I can logically deal with that and make excuses when I’m crying at a sad song lyric, but still…I cry a lot, I feel every emotion welling up and am totally unable to stop it…I’m bad tempered, impatient and very very emotional.

Perhaps I'd be better able to deal with this a few months ago, or in a few months’ time, but today it just screams out and I can't shake it, all the good vibes I have been getting from people and now something negative stands out. Something I can't even get my head fully around. I don't expect everyone in my life to like me, but equally I don't want or expect anyone to feel the way this person does about me and has kept under wraps for months it seems.

Since when did I give a damn about one person’s opinion? Dunno...I really don’t! Normally I would not be in the slightest bit bothered if I was accused of being a mass murdering nun raping baby eater because I’m very happy and comfortable with who I am, and believe me I’ve done a huge amount of soul searching the last few months to review what kind of person I am and how I will be remembered…yes that’s maudlin I know, but ask anyone with cancer…you think about this…a lot, it goes with the % badge.

It’s not as if I'm emotionally close to this person though I have always liked and respected them and got on well till this revelation of feelings. Now I have to try to see past this and rebuild what I thought was a friendship but perhaps was more of a toleration. Maybe it can't be rebuilt and thats also sad.

Still it hurts to hear people say things that I don't feel are true but clearly they do...Where did the seed that generated those feelings come from? Me, somewhere perhaps...a throwaway comment or a misunderstood remark? But I'm sorry I don't accept that I'm the person they see, indeed some examples of my behaviour were things I remember clearly and I saw them in a very very different way, though I now realise why they acted how they did at the time which I remember thinking was a bit “off”.

I need to try not to react badly over this even though right now I feel like I’ve been kicked in the nuts while just recovering from being on the floor after being kicked in the nuts!

Anyway.....I don't intend to discuss details, I just want to record this here so that hopefully when things are better and I'm back to being my old water off a ducks back self and this person stops taking my every word as an insult, I can look back at this and wonder where this girlie feelings emotional crap is coming from, must be too many female hormones in the apartment just now.

Oh gawd noooo...perhaps my radiation superpower is girlie feelings....arrrrghhh, I mean whaaaaa!!


and the point was???

Just back from my 1.25 appointment with the dentist, an appointment I had to rearrange my entire day appointment which was supposed to be so important they re-arranged their day around it when it was booked, an appointment where I had to cycle accross town to get there on time

And what happened during this appointment?

They just gave me my dental moulds and told me to give them to the Dental Hygenist when I saw her next....on Thursday.

WTF!!! That was a total waste of my time and interfered a lot with my day.
I hope they don't try that when I'm in a grumpy mood or they may experience a bit more of my dulcet scottish tones than they are used to hearing.


Monday, 21 June 2010

Harvey's new friends

We needed a dog sitter when we went away for Bina's Birthday weekend, fortunately some students helped out and entertained Harvey

I dunno why the world is sideways here

Harvey clearly had a good time :D


Ahhh but he was Fantastic

Unless you spent some time in Manchester in the 90's this probably means nothing......

But a true comedy genius has passed on. (aarrghhh cancer again!!!)


Saturday, 19 June 2010

Fantastic Day.

Yesterday Bina and I were given a huge and unexpected treat. A student at NHTV, Jan Pijpers, who I don't actually teach but chatted and joked with, was part of a group of students who organised a welcome back gift for me. Which of course was my lovely mad black kilt (which needs taking in still). Jan however also managed to discover that I have a love of aircraft...and his dad is an officer in the Dutch Air Force, responsible for organising events...such as the Airforce's annual air display in nearby Glize Rijen :D

In an INCREDIBLY kind gesture, Lt Col Pijpers arranged for us to have VIP tickets to the event, and we therefore got to see the show from the exclusive comfort of the VIP marquee, where we were introduced to the Lt General in charge of the airforce, the Air Commodore in charge of the base and were treated to food and drink all through the event.
Loads of fantastic displays including the Red Arrows all watched in comfort and style with just about every senior officer of the Dutch Air Force present. I took over 150 pics, so it'll be a little while before I can sort them through for posting, but I will do soon.

Fantastic, just fantastic. A particular highlight for me was the Hunter and Spitfire displays, I am much more into Vintage aircraft than Bina who loves big noisy jets, so the Spitfire display was fantastic. Imagine my near schoolgirl glee reaction then when Lt Col Pijpers, taps me on the shoulder and introduces me to Air Commodore Chris Lorraine, who was the pilot flying the Spitfire display.

He joined us for a drink at our table as I quizzed him about this Spitfire and his experience of it. He had just started flying it and was equally excited about it, it was an absolute pleasure to talk to him and hear a little of his background. He'd only had 10 flying hours in the 1942 Spitfire, so he gets a big thrill every time he flies it.

I've never been to an air show as a VIP before and I have to say I never want to go any other way again, just an amazing experience, Lt Col Pijpers was an exceptional host with his son acting as a perfect guide all day, we were treated like royalty and the smile took hours to leave my face. I tried to express my delight as I was leaving and thanked him again for the 50th time, but I think it just came out as "wibble wobble flubble" I must write a letter of thanks and appreciation for making such a memorable day possible.

I dont' have enough superlatives to express how much I personally enjoyed it, Bina was also totally overwhelmed by the event as all the big thundering jets whizzed by her smile got even bigger. A perfect start to her Birthday weekend, this was just as much a treat for her as me. I kept turning to her saying "how cool is this?" in an ever higher pitched voice.

Later, to top things off..Bina went for a pre-birthday girlie night out, with drinks before hand, still in our VIP formal wear as we had little time to change (I looked AWESOME in a suit with tasteful Simpson tie). When the girls headed off to do whatever it is that girls do when alone in the presence of large amounts of food and drink...we boys went for a curry.

VIP Airshow and curry.

How, I mean really, how can you have a better day?


Thursday, 17 June 2010


I'm giving up guitar, its just obvious I am never going to be able to play like the guy I saw tonight at the Mezz

Newton Faulkner, at this point some pics may help ID the chappie if you dunno who he is but my phone went into 20 secs to take a picture mode so I didn't get any.

Wow...just amazing skill, great voice, and bloody funny chap who put on an extremely impressive one man show that is hard to beat. Bina couldn't make it so went with my collegue and fellow guitar nut Oliver, who was impressed.

I was a bit pissed though at the time it took for him to come on stage.. The Mezz is standing room only and after an enjoyayble few songs by the support act who's name I can't quite remember, there was an over 30 min wait for the ginger guy to come on. Standing around waiting for over an hour on a very very sticky floor != fun!

Worth the wait for sure but by the end of his set I was really desperate to get a seat, and a drink.

Oh and what the fuck is wrong with people who pay a fairly hefty price to come to a music gig and then talk loudly OVER the music the whole time...I asked them twice to stop talking and twice they very politely appologised and stopped for 4 or 5 minutes.


anyway....enjoy a vid, I will try to find pics from someone who whent there. He played this..amazing (edit..managed to find a vid someone posted from the night..and if you are really clever you can work out which of the silloetted heads is mine...hint not the tall guy (to his left))

Also given the way things are in my life just now..this really got to me when it was was performed. (edit..someone posted the actual performance from the Mezz..enjoy)

the Lyrics say ..

And if I had one chance to freeze time
And stand still and soak in everything,
I'd choose right now.

yeah....though by right now, lets say the last couple of years....:D Soaking them all in, they have been amazing. MORE please.


here's a short clip from the actual concert where he was telling a story about how he was in a meeting with some radio people who wanted him to do a cover song and he was trying to break the clear tension of the was very funny and of course lead to the amazing cover of Teardrop


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

My g/f...superstar!!

Bina has been working for months on an am dram play with an english speaking theatre company in Dordrecht. She has steadfastly refused to let me hear her rehearse or see her in costume/character

Saturday we finally got to see the grand diva in action. And of course she was brilliant.

As I knew she would be ;)


Saturday, 12 June 2010

Board, CPU, CPU, Board

Had another attempt at installing my Q6600 quad core CPU, into the new PC, but it won't work. Even though it POST's and goes to set up where it stays happily doing its thing, it simply refuses to boot any kind of OS, hanging within 5 seconds or so of starting to load.

Of course this could be some issue with my board not happy with a Q6600 or it could be the Q6600 that is damaged from the powersurge. I need to try and find someone with a sapre working Q6600 and see if it boots up ok...I'll put some feelers out.

Not too worried about this as a i7 monster PC is in the planning stages so there's no need to spend a fortune here to get this puppy working but if the Q6600 is actually ok, I can sell it to contribute to the i7 monster.

Anyway I tidied up a few issues, its working fine, even with an old and comparativly slow Pentium960D in place it acually nips along quite well with Windows 7. I'll see if I can pick up a modest core duo on ebay to give it a bit of a boost while I am planning/saving


Monday, 7 June 2010

The joys and perils of Coffee

I posted this in the cancer blog as it is obviously cancer related but it did make me smile so here is the funny edited for extra 20% funniness.

So today was my consult with the new Radiotherapist/Oncologist at the Dr Verbeeten Institute in Tilburg . I suppose by British terminology you would call it a private clinic, it seems to specialise in cancer and cancer treatment, nice and posh.

I had no idea how long it would take to get there, so I decided to get a taxi from the station and off we went, 12 mins later I arrived 35 minutes early..oh well..I'll know next time.

Nothing much to report aside from a ridiculous Charlie Chaplin moment on my part.

On checking in they give you a token for the coffee machine, ok it was early and I needed a caffiene boost even though I usually don't before seeing the doctor, to avoid coffee breath as he's sticking his head in my mouth. So off I went to get my coffee. Token for coffee/melk/suiker and voila...

Brown and white streams start gushing out of the spouts. plastic cup dropped down, I rushed to grab a cup from the collection of cups stacked on the sideboard next to the machine, but too late, the precious fluid had stopped flowing..

I walked back to the fancy glass reception desk to ask for a new token, gesticulating fairly mildly I thought and pointing back to the machine. Not realising that the cup I still held in my hand was in fact a used cup, still containing a small amount of coffee from its previous use...

This small amount, now became propelled through the air, watched by me with sinking heart as time slowed down alowing me to track the brown coloured badness headed straight for the young blonde receptionist behind the desk, the blonde, very clean receptionist and her extremely white blouse........

Fortunately for her at least, the momentum of the coffee was more of a slow arc than a straight bullet projection, I was only pointing to the cofee machine absentmindedly after all, not thrashing my arms around in a range.

So the velocity was above "cup escape" velocity but below "in your face(or blouse), bitch" velocity, so the arc slowed and it didn't manage to clear the desk, but it did splash just before the top surface and trickled all the way down before leaving a nice splash on the carpet.

I apologised profusely as she handed me a new token and explained my actions, which she had missed as she was picking up a new token and probably wasn't expecting to be showered with brown liquid, while at work.

New token in place I took more careful note of the instructions in Dutch which I now realised said "first put your cup under the spout", I should read more, especially things in red at the top of coffee machines...I found clean cups and this time managed to provide myself with a full cup of coffee and began my wait....watched by a dozen or so slightly bemused cancer victims waiting for their turn with the still white bloused receptionist.

So I sat and waited for my name to be called, and while I waited, I watched mildly, amused and embarassed as 1st the receptionist cleaned the mess, then a cleaner came to clean the desk and floor.
The cleaner however seemed to be a little stumped. So she called for help. After a very short while, armed with a wealth of exerience in these matters, the cleaners supervisor comes to inspect the coffee spill which had managed to seep between the glass and its holding bolts.

After a few back and forth attempts at cleaning this side then the other, and the word coffee being said often enough to convince me they were talking about coffee,- the rest of the conversation was in Dutch but may have included the phrase some clumsy English man (I'll forgive them)- the supervisor made a call. Answered soon (they are bloody fast these people) by the arrival of the supervisors supervisor. Who, after a few moments of managerial hands on hips having the situation explained to him (the word coffee was used a lot again.),had a go with the cloth as well.
They then tried to remove the stain of coffee that could be seen had slipped in between the glass plates and the mounting bolts.....

Then my name was called and I had to leave the show...which could well have ended up with a whole slew of managers and perhaps even a CEO, saying the word coffee a lot..and something about clumsy Englishmen (no really its ok, they don't know the difference)

I must admit, even though I was the cause (and it was a total accident) I took some pride in knowing I was keeping these 3 fine people in work.


Sunday, 6 June 2010

All assholes are the same?

Nope...not at all, I know quite a few assholes, by anyones definition they are assholes, but they are nice people generally and I get on with them. Perhaps my own asshole past lets me tolorate them more.

But there is one type of asshole I can't deal with, the racist, arrogant, total no hoper who blames everyone for his problems and has a huge chip on his shoulder that lets him think he's better than everyone with absolutly nothing to back that up.

These kind of assholes, deserve a totally different label, tossers. I can't really abide tossers, so I'm delighted that one I had to work with recently has now left to pastures new, while insulting all the little people he left behind and trying to make himself seem terribly important.

Enjoy the new job won't be long before they also realise you are a tosser, perhaps one day you'll realise that its not really cool to be a tosser.....hmmm nah that would require some capacity for intelligent thought not something I've seen much of.


Saturday, 5 June 2010

What a great town

The sun is shining and of course when the sun is shining the Dutch get out and about.
There's lots going on today, the famous smakvol tasting event where all the local restraunts provide samples of their menus, not quite all you can eat, but loads to try. Unfortunately my mouth can't open wide enough to satisfy my stomaches desires, so I'll pass this year.

Also there's some kind of yoof hippity hoppoity thing going on in town, with music, dancing and skateboarding skillz on display..reespekt.

And as always the town is full of people sat around laughing, chatting and drinking coffee, tea or the odd beer.

I love this place.


Friday, 4 June 2010

oooh half so far

I have repaired one of my drives, the main storage data drive...yippee. I did a PCB transplant from an identical donor drive.
I now have all my source code...probably the most valuable asset I have..I did have some of the more recent projects on the back up system but its good to have the historic code back

Now I have to find a donor drive for my Samsung HD300LJ, which was the boot drive and contains some un-backedup paperwork and documents...These drives are a bit thinner on the ground..ebay has one in the USA but they want too much, plus postage plus probably import costs

If anyone has one...let me know, otherwise I'll just have to keep my eyes open


Thursday, 3 June 2010


I bought a cheap t-shirt from the guitar seller I mentioned a few post ago, and left immediate bad feedback...sure enough he got back in touch and refunded me both the cost of the guitar and the t-shirt.

result....he wants the feeback removed...I'll give it a couple of days. He claims another guitar is on the way, if so I will indeed pay for it. But somehow I doubt it..
I'm really not one who has a big downer on human nature, I always give people the benefit of the doubt, so I'll see what develops, but I do rather think the effect of negative feedback and the warning it sends to others may have more to do with his getting back to me than his alleged return from holiday.

How bizzare, as I was typing this..I got a call on my mobile from I assume it was my guitar selling friend apologising for the oversight.....I didn't answer, but I did listen to the apology and a request to pay when it arrives.

Perhaps my faith in human nature is indeed well my money back and an apology......oh go on then I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.


Tuesday, 1 June 2010

New Blog

Not going to be as funny as this one, but I promise I will try to treat cancer with the utter disdain and ridicule it deserves.

My Cancer Blog