Saturday, 24 December 2016

ups and downs of life

So Im about to face another christmas alone, but am far from sad about it, in fact its a bit of a relief. I had planned to spend it with someone I met on line and invited to stay with  me over christmas.
But rather than the funny cute witty girl I spent a lot of time chatting to, her evil twin sister turned up. It was clear on the 3rd day after 2 very tense days of her non stop yapping and arguing over the most trivial of things.

Its never good to say bad things about people, but wow, what a total cow, selfish, immature, irresponsible, and an absolute narcisist..

I could outline the crazy shit she did over the 3 weeks she was here, there wasn't a single day that went past (when she was actually here) , but it would end up as a novel.  She was making my life a living hell, and taking serious advantage of my good nature while simultanioulsy doing her best to run me down at every opportunity.

But after a series of stay overs with other people (probably men) she'd met on line(at my expense) she finally buggered off with some other guy. He's welcome to her, poor chap is in for a world of crazy, I had an incredibly lucky escape. Chrismas on my own is now a blessing.
Im dissapointed of course in one way, and its been a costly gamble, financial and emotionally, but I don't regret trying, I'd had worse blind dates, but you  can walk away from those. This was just a longer blind date.. It won't stop me trying again once I've had time to get over the impact.

And another up, last night Whetstone had their 1st proper gig, there were a few mistakes of course, I messed up one massive solo, but the fact is, it was a brilliant and lots of fun, We'll iron out the kinks when we review the footage, and increase our repetoire for new gigs. But it was brilliant.

Image may contain: 4 people, people on stage, people playing musical instruments, concert and indoor

And on the downside, I started to feel a bit crappy yesterday and was worried I woould not be able to perform my 1 song in the gig...but I managed it. But now I'm in the grip of a horrible cold.

oh well, shit happens.


Sunday, 18 December 2016

818 and the 1st reviews

818 pages, and still more to go, did I say a while back I was finished lol

its ok, I just keep adding to it and will edit it when I'm done.

my 10 students working through it are all providing really good info on missing content or confusions and I'm editing those in, this has been invaluable, and they all like it so far, which is even more ego boosting...

not much done this week, had a bit of a health scare, nothing serious just a little abcess in my throat that popped and I never felt it...but it gave me indigestion and bad taste/breath on an epic scale...anitbiotics to the rescue though


Sunday, 4 December 2016

800 pages

I have reached a major milestone....800 pages...its not all in a good correct order yet, but 800 pages..

wow...thats amazing.

800....I hope to fuck I don't get to 900.

Book has been pushed back to Jan 31st...I really hope I can get the projects up and running now.. The content will edit down, but the projects are going to be the killer on this... Thgey need to work, they need to be playable, yet not too complex

Must keep my nose to the grindstone and focus on it


Saturday, 3 December 2016

Silly old flatulent fart

Its true older men do lots of silly things for the sake of love and a pretty face.

But I doubt anyone can really claim to be as silly as me. Full story might come later, but lets just say there's no fool like an old fool.


Friday, 2 December 2016

Regroup time

Well, the book was supposed to be delivered yesterday, and it was, kinda, but its not finished! Content wise I feel its all there, but I have to put a lot more of the projects in there and they are not all done and therefore a lot of the project work is not properly documented...But I sent the MS, and am waiting for feedback. An extension has again been given, which will let me take some time off at Xmas.

I feel a little deflated about not hitting that, but it was clear about 2 weeks ago that I didn't have enough time to get the projects competed and other things were starting to creep into my writing time.

Oh well, 2 more months, as long as I keep at it at least the 20 hours pw I plan it will get done.


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Oh great, dentist time

Fantastic, lost a filling, so now have to call up the dentist and make an appointment to get the filling replaed and probably get my troubelsome wisdom tooth pulled, and maybe they can save a probably dead incisor which is the product of 25+ years of receeding gum, that has resisted every toothpaste nd mouth wash under the sun, even the stuff that really really burns.

Oh well I guess its time, I've been a bit scared of the denstist since the whole having my jaw ripped out cos of cancer thing...but its probably time I started my regular 6 monthly visits, after all i am paying bloody insurance for it.

Anyway, I have a special guest coming to stay with me for a few months, so denstist hassles aside, I've got a lot to look forward to today,  Lets see how that works out.


Thursday, 24 November 2016

tits. lost 9 pages

I had some comments in the margins of the book, using a Word feature, and to print out a few chapters I removed them, so I was more than a little upset to seem my 768 pages suddenly turn into  759 due to some reformatting of the size of the page..

oh well, its still going well, but not going to make end of the month delivery, a couple of the projects are holding me up, and I'm short some art and cartoons....will send what I have on Friday and get another extension.

It is looking good though.


Thursday, 17 November 2016

756 and still finding things todo

As I was writing I added a lot of todo notes, things that needed code or art, so I'm going back through those and shit...there's a lot.

The Page count is rocketing up due to the code snippets going in, but sometimes I need to have a little discussiona about what's doing and that's eating up time

damn this thing is never going to end past 1000 pages


Saturday, 12 November 2016

721 yup, flying now

As I expected, adding in code snippets and explaining them is really quite a straightforward way of moving forward, Also a few illustrations nave gone in to bulk things up.

I am still having some nightmares about how to explain physics, I'm not going to try to write a library, I am just going to use Bullet Physics, but I dunno  how much I need to explain the concept...and indeed learn exactly how Bullet works, (I tend to use PhysX)  I will tell you when I get it all working in place...and then decide how to write about it.

Anway, code is flying out, pages are flying out, its going well. The 2D stuff is complete, and I've got to put together a couple of SVN repositories so my students can test it for me...



Thursday, 10 November 2016

700 pages....homestraight here we come

I hit 700 pages last night, wow....what a landmark.

I'm pretty much done with the writing now, really its a case of including code snippets and explinations of what they do and its done..  That almost certainly will take it up past 800. and I need to edit it down then

I printed it out the other week at 550 pages and its 2 inches thick double sided printing too...probably 3 inches now.

Flipping through it, its very nice, still a few things I need to pad out a bit, and maybe some things to drop, but it really does seem to be quite complete to me, It should take a beginner from Hello World, to Halo...not sure they'll do it in the 30 days I had originally hoped for, I added a lot of small tester projects in there to compliment the game projects so things grew...

Of course I still have to finish the projects, sometimes thats a bit frustrating becuase I really can't go into the level of quality/depth I normally do but as long as its expandable, the readers can take it to new levels.

Cannot wait to finish I can go out and do things again.


Sunday, 6 November 2016

oops had to kill 10 pages

I'm starting to lose the plot, I repeated a section I'd already written afew weeks ago, so I had to examine both versions and merge into 1.. lost 10 pages doing that. But was able to get them back in the session explaining a top down chase game, as a means of demonstrating environment interaction. and then twisting that into a side view platformer

There is actually a lot of repetition in some parts, not direct repeats like this, but restating a point made a few pages before, I have to edit that sort of stuff out. A point well made does not need to be restated, it can be referred to but not defined twice... Sometimes though when I pop back to finish a section now that the code for it is complete I do that in the code explination.,

That's one reason why I am aiming for 800 pages before I start to edit, I'm bound to lose 50 or more in the edit process with things like that.

Can't wait to get to 700 pages though, hoping to do that tonight when I add the code for the chase and platform games.

the other 100 "should" now come quite easy as its almost all code explinations, only the Physics stuff to really explain, and I'm using an engine so I'm not really going to get too into  the maths, just set it up, show it working and let the user get into it.

I can see the bend for the home straight, time to kick for home.


683...I need a break

Nope, can't take a break, have to get more pages written, but it is starting to feel complete. Only the section on Physics is still in a frameowrk format, I'm hoping I can work that out next week.

This week finishing up the 2D code, pasting it in, and then clearing up the 3D work which will of course use the physics.

2 reasonably quiet weeks coming up, so hopefully will be able to devote more than 4 hours a night to it.

Ah well if its not done, its not done, I will have to extend again, I think the publishers will be impressed by the amount and quality done..

I hope :D

In other news....there may be romance in the air, or their may not, not really sure yet, been chatting online with someone and we're going to be meeting up soon. Will have to just play it by ear.


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

670 pages its getting there

I think, think its all there...still need to pad a few sections and do something about so simple AI concepts.


Sunday, 30 October 2016

653 and counting

653 pages...its getting close to the end, though I'm kinda stuck on occlusion culling at the moment, I do know what it is and how to do it, but its quite a chore to get it up..I have to though, as one of the games requires a portal rendering system....ho hum
I also need a lot more graphics, and don't have access to a tame artist...that might prove to be a problem.

I wasted quite a bit of time trying to draw a very large scene, thinking it was possible, but it turned out I'd totally got my sums wrong and there as now way a 128M GPU could cope with the numbers I was sending...oops.

Sound is also proving quite hard, but mostly due to needing to take small steps and follow a lot of tutorials...and only with wavs at the moment

And lastly I am having some real problems with procedural texturing....even though I have copious notes on it, I'm struggling to explain it in the simple way the book demands.

I mustn't think too much about all the things that are still needed to be finished, I know there's still a lot of project work, but like all computer projects it boils down to doing 1 task at a time until they are done...thats all I can do.. I have a month left. I think I can certainly get all the content I want in. Whethere the demos will be as good as I want is another story!


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Well thats not workiing

Damn, the diet is not going well, though I do confess to a few cheats, I did think I had cut back a lot on my food.. Lots of walking, lots of increased mobility, still a reliuctance to go to the gym.
I have been sick since Frieday with a cold, and did a bit of feeding it...but not to excess.

But nope, the weight is not going down, and still hovering around 92/93KG depending on how desperate I am for a pee.

Going to have to try harder, and most certainly need to stop cheating, and do more excersise.


Saturday, 22 October 2016

New band, new

This isn't all the band, and we've decided on a name, Whetstone...we're still messing about with song styles and set lits but we have a gig in December so we need a few videos, we decided to have one acoustic number for promo purposes, we didn't expect much from this..

but what we amazing

I honestly get goosebumps listening to this Rosemary is going to be a great addition, this is a raw audio upload from the camera mics....the mixed version where we add a touch of warmth, tone the guitar and beef the bass, is amazing.


oh but of course...

I am now on holiday, basically the equivilent of half term, a whole week off, I of course plan to do lots of book work, ideally get 100 pages or more done...and 2 projects done.... If can can crack 700 pages by Thursday I am going to get ratarsed drunk on Friday as I spend a final week editing and adding code to bring the book up to its final form

But what happens at 5pm on Friday as my holiday officially starts..

my nose starts running.

Yup,...a cold, soon to be man flu, soon to be the bubonic plague....
Its saturnday, I'm sat on my couch, bleary red eyes, 2 bits ot tissue stuck up my nose and unable to focus even on this work has been done.



Tuesday, 18 October 2016

592 pages...but still so much to do

I really wanted to crack 600 pages tonight, but I just ran out of steam. I have written and frankly learned more about 3D maths in the last few weeks than I have ever known in 20 years. Its not a subject I enjoy, but writing it out and explaining it in ways a fat 52yo Scotsman would understand has made a lot of things clearer to me. I knew a lot of this stuff, but I didn't "know" it, however researching it has made it more clear to me. I suspect writing this book has filled in a lot of dark spots in my understanding of maths.....not all of them, its still mostly magic to me, but quite a lot of things now seem clearer/

I've still got to clean up a lot of the projects and go back into the book to make sure I've not edited the code listings too much. Beginners hate when the code in the book does not match the code on the website. But certainly for most of the 2D projects and the 3D base projects it should be fine adding code listings that users are expected to type in is a clear 50 pages.

The 2 final 3D projects, an enviroment explorer and a 1st person shooter, are not yet started but the foundation projects for them are done and looking so cool. I have never actually written anything so low level before, I've always had an engine provide me with access to graphics and entity classes, but here its all been my code, and fuck me it works :D

I might need to sit down with some colleagues though, to get a few more simple graphics and models/textures out of them to make the games a bit more interesting graphically.

Next week we have a week off, and am confident that I can spend that time to smash the 600 and maybe the 700 page barrier.

I am guessing that I probably need to write 800 pages by the middle of November, since I am quite sure I will need to edit it down to 700-750, before I hand it over to the publisher for their edits at the end of November.

I sense a home straight, I'm not quite there but its just around the corner.


Friday, 14 October 2016

Ah like art me, I don't know much about it but I know what I like

We had a field trip to Den 'Haag today, a city I've been through many times but never acutally visited. Its was very nice. We went to a couple of art museums. The Gemeente Museum being a "proper" art museum where the curators were at great pains to tell me to looke after my "children". I refused and argued with the classification. They are university students, adults, not children.

And also we were told to keep quiet, even to the point of not talking about the exhibits...really don't like that kind of snobbishness. The students were discussing and in one case of an interactive maze, were laughing and enjoying the interaction, only to have a snobbish old bag, insist they be quiet and leave the exhibit....really missing the point I  thought. Art is ment to excite...not be subduede

Their big catch is a 35 million Euro, abstract piece by Piet Mondrain, the guy who did all the blocks and line paintings,...apparently it cost over 35million.................yup you can walk up and probablly touch it....though I am sure the curators will die of a heart attack..

Sorry.....I like art, I even like some abstract art...but.........not geting it, pretentious nonsense in my mind.

After the Gemeente  we went to the MC Escher, now that was talent, skill and staggering beauty. really wonderful and strange things I will go there again one day


Monday, 10 October 2016

Ahh matrices...

Bloody hate them, I screwed up a simple thing and it took me ages to locate it... OpenGL uses Row Major ordering...must remember must remember.


Friday, 7 October 2016

Still 92kg

Not entierly surprised, I did cheat and eat a takeaway this week and nibbled before bedtime, more than once...but its ok, I am getting used to being hungry and can resist 1 in 10 times ;)

nah its ok I've done a lot more excercise and have cut out a lot of fat and carbs. I've actually even broken my bike, need to take it to the repair shop, spokes broke, think its fixable without a new wheel but it needs new brakes as well so time for a service.. All this extra effort is way more than I am used to so the weight will drop down over the weeks. Just have to keep up the long dog walks and keep eating the rabbit food at lunch  time.,

only thing I really find frustrating is the feeling of hunger after I eat...small portions suck


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Week 1...92kg

Not a bad start, though mostly its due to flushing out pizza and kebabs but its still a net loss so I am pleased

Been restrictring myself to 3 small meals,  usually a small bowl of musli, or a boiled egg to start. I usually don't eat breakfast, so am surprised that doing this makes me very hungry about 30mins earlier than usual, so I've been grabbing lunch in the canteen a bit earlier.

However instead of my usual full baguette, I have been having the half baguette or the lowest calorie options,  and recently some dipping veg, carrots/celery etc with humas dups....horrible rabbit food, but its doing the job

Evening meals have been udon and seared tuna broths, , quality burgers in pita, with lettuce, and small steaks in pitta. Usually 2 times on the bounce, part of my efforts to not eat for 2 but instead to have 1 portion 1 day and the other the next. So I can't avoid buying for 2, but don't have to eat for 2.

I've succumbed to evening hunger a few times, but have had a bit of cheese and pickle or boiled egg or a small bowl of musli to avoid goiing to bed hungry. I will get some carrot sticks and dips and try to fill up on celery and carrots

Also of course been upping my excercise with brisk walks with Harvey and cardio visits to the gym,

Harvey's pleased at least


Thursday, 29 September 2016

Arm and a bit of a leg

I just bought tickets to see Joe Bonamassa in April next year in Antwerpen.


bloody expensive...but 2nd row...I should get some sweat dripping on me, which if I can catch it I might be able to make into a potion that gives me some of his skills???? no?

oh well I'll still have a great experience, though I honestly feel the cost of the tickets, over 224euros for a pain, is absurd... He's a great star no doubt, but a few years ago his prices were under 50 its silly money... But ...gotta go see the new crown prince of the blues.

Next step, finding a nice woman to go with me,....maybe if I advertise the tickets I'll get them running?


Saturday, 24 September 2016

Solar payback

In case you had forgotten, last year I fitted some solar panels up on my roof, a pair of sizable 250w ones. And have been eagerly waiting to see what the results would be.

Its hard to actually measure, as I also made some other small changes in the way I use electricity in the house. I swapped out a lot of my bulbs for LED's and put a 15min on-15 off timer on the air circulation system, as well as a few other things.

I was a bit annoyed that after fitting my panels last year, my leccy bill was actually set higher than the previous year, so I am almost certain I've been overpaying @144 a month it was around 126pm before that.
Well the years invoice came in today, and 3 things caught my eye.

1st a massive rebate of 373 euros :D
2nd a reduction of my bill to 111 pm....
3rd a very small payment for my contribution to the grid, only 1.26 euros, but considering I have something in the house drawing power most of the time, any contribution is brilliant.

I looked up the graph on the company site  to compare past years usage and I seem to be using about 10-20euros less electricity pm...which is the real benefit of the panels. The overcharge amounts for the bulk of the rebate I am sure, but the very fact I get some payment for my electricity means my panels are contributing something to my power usage. I'm estimating about 1/3rd to 1/2 is due to the panels.

Quite pleased by that, in 3-4 years the panels will pay for themselves and still give 6 more years at least of generation, and that's a better investment of the cash spent than a bank account interest would give.

Green is good.


Friday, 23 September 2016

Vari focals, a new way to simulate being drunk!

Ok,. so I have my new vari focals...and they take a bit of getting used to, when you quickly change view, you have to move your head to bring what you are looking at into focus.

This is really not at all unlike the sensation of being drunk and trying to focus on the policeman to explain to him you are more than capable of driving!

It also is making me a little light headed. Apparently that wears off after a few days.

Its odd, though, and they do work I am able to read and look across the room all in clear focus, but it is odd...very odd... can't describe it any other way.


95kg start

Well am home, a bit jetlagged, going to bed at 8 and waking up at 3 or 4, though today I managed 6.

I had my last pizza when I got home, simply due to there being no food in the house, and a need for stodge..

But thats it, I've annouced to the world, I am on a diet.I weighed myself and I'm 95kg... shiiiiit I've never been 95kg thats immense.

So the Diet starts.....

Yesterday I had.

Small bowl of museli, with semi skimmed milk

Small/medium sushi from AH

And a medium, portion of Bami Nasi at Ed's when  I picked up Harvey I would have had less, but Ed made an effort to make dinner so I had to eat.

No snacks, no sugar in my coffee at work...

I am working up to going to the gym, maybe tongiht, I plan a cardio regime for a few weeks, then I''ll try to up the pace a bit.

Not sure I'm going to give an update every day, but we'll see how it goes.

target is excuses, 70kg...even that is a little above my ideal weight for a short slim build bloke, which is what I am under this sumo outfit,  but its 25kg...25fucking kilos to lose!!!!

Bring it on.


Monday, 19 September 2016

Who's that fat dude!

Oh, its me.

So upsetting to see so many pics of me, while at TGS and shit I am a sumo wrestler.. Its kinda pathetic. I have been piling on the kilo's the last few months, and this is the result. I really really have to focus and fix myself on losing 25kg, no excuses now, I have had to deal with being totally out of breath going up subway stairs, struggling to suck in the humid air, sweating like an afore mentioned sumo, and the sight of me on the toilet, in my crampped hotel room, staring at the wardrobe mirror as the door was was beyond bad.

I seem to have gotton over the folds concern, but now I'm becoming a bhudda, and not a very wise one.

The food here is amazing, and healthy and filling, Though even there I am noticing I can eat 3 portions....clearly thats nonsense.

When I get back, its going to be a proper healthy food kick, and....gym...yes I know I hate it, but there's no way this beer barrel of a belly is going to go down to even close to a 2 pack until I get some muscle tone back.

I was around 94kg when I left, my heaviest going to aim for 70...and this time I will get it done by christmas!


Sunday, 18 September 2016

we survived

Well thats the Tokyo Game Show over and done with, it was quite a blast, and an eye opener for sure.

Things we realise now...bring games...the TGS attendee's want to play game's not listen to a nice graduation reel.

English, is really not commonly spoken at all, they all study it, but have no practical ability to use it, this creates issues for any students who want to study in Europe and equally for any europeans who want to go  there.  This is the biggest hurdle.

The market is, utterly utterly different, the style of games, the type of games, the target platform of games, all are different. This makes no great difference to coders like myself, but a Europen artist or designer would need to learn a totally differnt set of criteria to survive here.

Demand for education is sky high, they had a whole section of a hall dedicated to universities and games acadamies in Japan, and the work was pretty impressive. I can't honestly say it was better than our work, but the art and design styles were clearly for the japanese market

If we are going to make inroads into Japan, we need to partner up with one of these schools, and see where it goes. Its' going to be a long process though.

A few meetings to do today and a trip to Kyoto tomorro to see a company, then heading back on Wednesday morning....

Will we be back next year? maybe, but not with  the same tiny section and lack of content, lessons have been learned.


Friday, 16 September 2016


The damage I did a few days ago walking to the Dutch Embassy with unbroken in shiny funeral shows, has taken its toll. further walking around at the TGS has resulted in my blisters getting blisters, and on bboth feet at the same time whch I have to say is a bit of a killer when you consdier how much we have to walk around at the show, and getting to and from stations.
Even with my trainers on, I ended up hobbling around as we tried to find somewhere to eat on our return from the 1st day....both feet look like this

Not my idea of fun.

But the show is going well, we have collected a couple of interesting contacts with universities and with companies, which I hope we can convert into new business dealings between them and NHTV. Its very hard to do sometimes, there is a massive language barrier to over come.

Many Japanese do actually study english and have a basic understanding of it, but almost no practical use, so they can handle a few words, but not a whole sentence or even any confidence to respond in english. Its actually worse than my Dutch, I do understand quite a bit, and can make a good attempt at saying things but no, the Japanese struggle. Thats going to be the single biggest hurdle we have to overcome if we want to attract students to us.

Today I've been given a free day for my feet to recover, our stand is very small and after the 1st day its clear we don't need all of us there even if we were doing rotation shifts. So each has taken 1 of teh days to chill and regroup.

Here's a video I did of a quick tour of the halls on day 1, which is a business day and not as crowded as it will be at the weekend.


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Found a bar!

We went to a "networking" event last night, which was basically a very large, very loud party...not my idea of fun at all, but there was free booze, which somehow seemed to improve my feelings about the place. ;)

However the sound of screetching drunken japanese girls gets to be a little annoying after while, and Martin and I left to go hunt for a sensible bar..

Which we finally managed to find, with Cider or Cyder, on tap, and even more wonderful, they took my credit card.

pity they closed at 1am but was good night.


Monday, 12 September 2016

Tokyo Tum is a real thing

Just as I thought I'd got used to the jetlag, I discovered another danger, I seem to be allergic to something in Japanese food..No idea what, but at a reception in the Dutch embassy we were all treated to a really lovely bento box for lunch, containing all kinds of nice tasty and...some not so tasty but interesting things.

This is a factor in Japanese cuisine, taste isn't the most important thing, texture is also part of the experience.

Anyway, being the omnivore I am, I heartily embraced the 4 compartment box, and ate the lot....only to discover 20 mins later I had someting I like to refer to as Mumtaz tum.

Basically a very strong, non nogotiable, urgent, as in now, don't bother to take of your pants, you probably won't make it, need to get to the loo. Something I used to get quite regularly when I ate at the Mumtaz restraunts in Bradford. Don't get me wrong the food itself is wonderful, Mumtaz and the Dutch  embassy, but clearly there is something in there I  simply don't get along with.

Fortunatly I did manage to get to the loo,  twice at the embassy. And then was lucky enough to get a taxi back to my hotel just in time for the next 4 or 5 hours of cleansing which took place...leaving me a bit ...wrecked...add to that the tiny touch  of jet lag still in my system and I was sparked out at 7pm  till after 3am when I started to stir, not quite sure if I  could snooze my way throough 4 hours till breakfast.

I am now empty, though still rumbling a bit, which might make travelling around today a bit risky, so have given up my  slot at a company visit to one of our other representatives so I can slowly pick things up again.  Pretty sure I'm ok now, but wish I knew what it is that triggers the Mumtaz and Tokyo tum.
Oh also I should have brought a pair of 6innch high heels, since they would have been far more comfortable than the pair of formal black brogues I brough with me, I was nearly crippled wearing them.. I won't be wearing them again, fortunaly I brought a few pairs of more confortable shoes which should allow me to stand around for 8  hours at a time at the show........hmmmmmm heels?


Saturday, 10 September 2016

just want to sleep..

Tokyo  is  7 hours ahead, and as you might expect, that meant when we arrived at 8 it was 1 in the morning for us, and we hadn't slept on the plane at all. Despite me buying a 35euro neck collar, I  just could not get comfortable enough on the plane for anything more than a 2 min nap that meant I missed the end of family guy :( I wish my kickstarter plan pillow had arrived, chances are it will be there when I get back.oh time eh!

3 movies were watched on the plane. X-men Apocalypse...oh boy, that was pretty crap but mostly because I was annoyed how they messed up  the characters and even their own continuity so was enjoyably bad, but bad.

Also Lucy...Luc Besson,..all kinds of utter nonsense in this one, absurd premise, bad bad bad writng and even really bad direction every single scene was too long, every single one.. and the ending.....jezus wept...I  mean its too bad to even describe.

Finally Nina, a biopic on the later life of the divine Ms Simone, who wasn't as divine in real life! A most troubled and lonely lady. It did remind me a lot of some people who've been in my life struggling with mental fact it hit a lot of chords for me.. But it seemed to focus on too short a time span of her remarkable life, there were bad times for sure, but there were amazing inspirational times too, that should have been given much more cover. Music was awesome of course, even if it wasn't her that was singing the impression was close.

We made a pact to stay away as long as possible and do some sight seeing the in humid heat of tokyo which meant walking around a lot, getting mroe and mroe tired. Our resolve to stay up till 8 quickly faided around 2-30 and we went back to the hotel, to freshen up and check in as we'd arrrived too early to do that.
That freshen up turned into a, lets take an hours nap, then 1.5 hours.. but by 6 we went on the hunt for some food and booze. finding a nice little place where the food, rare morrocan lamb, was amazing..even if a small portion. Before heading back to sleep proper.
Up at 5am....but went to bed around had a good long sleep and should be able to get onto the Japanese time zones today.
After yesterdays humid heat, its now a cooler rainy day.  So hope we can get around with less afatigue.
We had major problems getting hold of cash though, which we need since there isn't really a card culture here, turns out my credit card is dead, since the mag strip on it has worn away, and they don't use chip systems here....which would not be a problem if I'd not lost my new bank card the day before shipping out which caused me to port money over to my credit card...oops.
I've got the company card for legit expenses though and Chris and Martin have worked out how to get cash from the local ATM's so we should be good to go, as long as we're not buying gold pressed latium asprin any more..12 euros for a packet of aspirin.. !@!@#!@# 12 euros...jeezes wept.. even more annoying there was paracetamol in my bag at the hotel, but I really needed something for a headache when we were out.
Food here is cheap, but it seems everything else is very expensive.
Going to do a bit of cleaning up to arrange my small but fuctional hotel room, and then a bit of work till brekky, and be ready for the day.


Friday, 9 September 2016

Watch out Tokyo

Here I come

2 weeks of meetings, and game show, but am sure there will be some chances to do some fun things too.

should have wifi when I get there, but if not, will catch up in 2 weeks.

Good news from the publisher, I got an externsion to finish up the projects :D and they are liking the look of it so far, as I finally managed to get a manuscript to them to check out

Nice to  know that 9-10 months of work has been well recieved

I'll try to do some work over there, but my schedule is pretty packed, so probably just going to do some reading and transcribe work logs to the book on the plane...its one way to pass 11 hours at least :D

seeya later


Tuesday, 6 September 2016

pop, ow, oh yes I heard that

3 days my ear has been blocked, up...and today it was decidedly painful but finally around 3pm, my ear was becoming more and more uncomfortable and I was being driven near mad by whooshing and squishing sounds, when it finally popped, and I could hear again.

At least for a few seconds, then the sticky goo, which I assume to be seeping from my infected ear started to close it up again.

Its been like that all day, open up and closing, but fact is its getting better. I am cleaning out my ear, (no ear buds) and that stops the sticking which causes the closing.. as soon as my old body has the infection under control the seeping should stop and back to normal.

I can now get on a plane with some degree of certainty that I won't be screaming at 10,000ft in a pressurised cabin unable to equalise my ears.. I might have managed that on a short cross channel hop, but I have to be 11hours on a flight to Tokyo at the end of the week...don't think I have enough oxycontin and booze to get me through that.


Sunday, 4 September 2016


I've gone deaf in 1 ear...while q-tipping my ears after a shower, my ear seemed to close up.. and I am now deaf in my right ear with a horrible water in my ear sensation, and a constant whislte, as well as hearing my damn blood pulsing through...nothing is getting rid of it..

I went to the drug store and bought ear drops, but sadly I now realise I got the wrong kind, I got the pain drops rather than then wax softners.

I'll go back tomorrow to get the right stuff  In the mean time I have a new found sympathy for my bandmate Jelmer 1 who is deaf in one ear. Its a horrible sensation.

I do hope it clears up soon, the deafness and water sensation is bad enough, but the idea that I might be on a pressurised aircraft for 11 hours next week, with a blocked ear is a bit daunting.

Doctors on Monday if it does not shift

In other news, I discovered the manuscript I sent to my publishers in July bounced..but the bounce notice ended up in my spam folder. Since I wasn't using mail as much over the holidays I didn't pay any notice to the spam folder....doh!

So its a bit of a pisser, I didn't chase for feedback becuase I was so busy writing and it never really worried me.
Anyway, they've sent me a link to an filetransfer system, I will use it tomorrow, I just hope they don't have any problems with it.

Though if they do or don't, I've asked for more time, since the project arrangment is taking me so much longer than I anticipated.

Oh well, all I can do is keep working away, its still fun, though there are days when it just does not seem to work. No one said it was going to be easy :(


Saturday, 27 August 2016

Da puddin's are in da house

My new/old band have had our 1st gig only a month or so after finalising the lineup. A birthday party for about 40 people, not a massive crowd but we still got the whole live gig expereince, and we fecking Rocked...

Was so nice, I had to do quite a bit of singing as Rosemarie has not learned all the songs yet but I actually got complimented on my singing....I was mega chuffed to hear that.
Rosemarie's vocals are amazing, and when her co lead singer Helen joins us after the vacation we'll have 2 awesome leads, I mean awesom, so I can back off and pick a few choice songs that I can do well. I don't mind singing as much as I used to, I think I''ve improved a huge amount, but its clear when we have singers like Rosemarie and Helen up front, there's no sense in me doing mroe than a couple of blues numbers.

What a fun fun gig, so easy and calm, even with a few errors, and false starts...So very please

now, that's cheered me up after a slow week with rows and hassle... Once I get the car unloaded I can chill, and ger ready for the week to come.

Can't wait for Mondays rehearsal with the full crew



Wednesday, 24 August 2016

working woes

Back to work, and on only my 2nd day I'm involved in a massive argument with a collegue who seems to feel  my only role in our team, is to rubber stamp his sorry. Can't do that..

Teaching beginners is what I do, I know what I'm doing, there's ways to engage them, encoruage the bright ones but keep them on a long rein, and give the slower once the chance to catch up. He advocates letting the smarter ones run ahead of the pack and go beyond the outline lesson plans....that way leads to madness and serious issue of despair for the weaker ones. A group that can excel together is more impressive than a few sprinters showing off while the others feel left behind.

But rather than see that point I was called obstructive....I had little or no input in the plan, and I agreed with all the main points put down but urged caution on some issues, only to  have this collegue attempt to browbeat me into backing down...

Its very annoying, but also what is even more annoying is that when you have a bad day at work, you come home to an emptry house, there's no one there to cheer you up, push you through the anger and let you move forward...this is definitely  one of those times when being single sucks.

Can't sleep either, probably related, no doubt I'll have to have a less heated discussion with people tomorrow, but really I'm close to throwing in the towel here.. I hate conflict, but I'm not being used to my best abilities anymore, and if all I am is a rubber stamp, my skills with 1st years and engaging students is just wasted and I have to try to  compete with more skilled coders inisting on mastery of tech skills rather than focusing on the understanding of the methods, pleasure and joy of coding......

yup...very fucked off/


Friday, 12 August 2016

Aaaand Breathe


After an absolutly cracking week of steam rolling productivity, I find myself dead in the water, no insperation to work, no insperation to write, other than put to todo's on the whiteboard.

I think I need to reset my body block, and get back to sleeping at nights and try to work again in the morning.

On the good news side, my cheque cleared, bank took 52 euros for the privilidge, but oh well, its nice. It can go straight to the credit card to knock that back again after a teeny bit of abuse in London.

Better to knock it down and pay bit less interest than spend it on wind women and pork pies..

hmmm pork pies!

Danni, sent me an amazing video of Harvey2 now getting onto his feet with the aid of a tv unit. Such a lovley thing to see, he's progressing really fast 9months and standing :D

oh well. I'll go watch one of my movies upstairs to chillax and drink a lot to aid sleep

what can go wrong?


Monday, 8 August 2016

Ultimate laziness

I have not hoovered my house in over a year, well the stairs a couple of times but thats it. Why? Becuase I have a Roomba, I love my Roomba, it went a bit funny on me last week, due to getting clogged up, but a strip down and clean and its back to work.

I have it set up to run twice a week, and on my hardwood and tile floors in the kitchen thats all it needs The house is dust free and clean without any effort from me.
I love that!

But even though taking it up stairs is not a massive hassle,  I tend not to. I like the automation of the system.  Its set up and forget, aside from the once a month empty and clean process. I'd conisderd buying another one for upstairs, but at 600-700euros  for a new Roomba it seemed to be madness, even for me.

So I  have bought a cheap chinese clone, which incidendly also does mopping :D Anyway, its really cheap so I'm going to set it up to do the upstairs once a week, which will keep the buildup of dust and dog hair that tends to accumulate upstaris. I doubt it will be as reliable as my roomba, but its not being asked to do as much so it should be good to go. it will also encourage me to pick up my dirty socks


Saturday, 6 August 2016

A picture paints a thousand words :D

After a bit of a search I finally found a way to grab screenshots on the Raspberry Pi. This finally means a lot of my entries in the book can now be completed. That really does make a big difference now, I can show steps in images on screen. and of course that pushes the page count up quite a bit now, so I'm really pleased that things are starting to move foward on that front, I was pissed at not being able to show screen shots of the Pi side...but that's done

The games are still taking too long to get in a clean and easy format to start, add to, and then finish. So that time sink still exists. But I am pleased now that the content can finally move on with the images to explain the text.

I've got about 6 games all done and playing, with various levels of completeness.

Still 6 more to go, and only a few weeks left.....will have to keep my nose on the grindstone.


Thursday, 4 August 2016

Mornings still suck

Had to get up early this morning after offering to give a friend and his family a lift in their car to Eindhoven airport.

Still I got some onions and other perishable foods back :D, better giving them to me than going to waste while they are away.
I was planning to make some mince and tatties tonight anyway.

The book is bulking out now, as I add code, but the projects are taking far far too long to complete so that I can move forward, I may not get it done in time, I really badly underestimated the time it would take, even though the games are highly simplified, (open to expansion) it does take time to get them written, and most importantly store the works in progress in a decent format that allows the readers to type content, rather than cut and paste.

Anyway, will spend the next week or 2 getting as much done as I can and see where it stands, I still have all the 3D stuff to write too, though like the 2D the framework is very simple its just time....time.


Sunday, 31 July 2016

Hangovers, but now the walk-throughs and a possible break through on the colecovision

Had some things to do last week that stopped me doing lots of other things I had to do, but now I have to do them, so they are getting done.

At home, finished a clearup and now have to just dust, wetwipe and vacuum the place, ready for painting. If I am feeling brave I might even put some woodchip on the attic walls which are exposed plasterboard still.

On the book, Finishing up the 2D projects and the walk throughs, which is cool but slow, however it does give me about 20 pages of content per project to push the book forward to its target. I should get 100 pages this week..

Also I make have a tip on the long standing bug on the Colecovision sprite system that caused sprites to randomly go crazy on hardware but not emulators, am going to check that out tonight and see.. I hope that fixes it, the game is done, barring some testing and tweeks, and this sprite system issue has been preventing me from clearing it off.

Also have to admit to being a bit delecate this morning after a fun night out with my Puddin, bandmates, many things we discussed, most of it drunken rubbish, but it was still a fun night out where we ate half a cow between us at Goucho's Ed, had lamb...hes far too culturedn then got massible drunk....nice, not done that in ages.

Need to get a lot more coffee inside me, but time to head up stairs and continue, 20 pages today, then the CV test...


Thursday, 28 July 2016

8 years

Yup 8 years ago this week, I started out on this phase of my life...Moving to Breda.

It was an exciting and challenging time, and its never really stopped being exciting and challenging, a lot of bumps in the road for sure, illness, relationships, some work stresss.

But its had so many more upsides...This is still the place I want to see myself in when I retire...though when I do actually retire, I hope to have enough cash to buy a small tropical island somewhere to actually end my days.. Tahiti maybe?

Brexit, has cast a shadow over things a bit, but I am going to move forward with my plans to take Dutch citizenship and leave the small minded idiots who voted out,  to their own devices I've always consdiered myself European, British, Scottish, in that order, so adding a Dutch label in there isn't going to give me any sense of loss....apart from Pies!

Onward....need to get back to the book writng, Tahiti will need a lot of books sold!


Tuesday, 26 July 2016

fucking migraines

I hate these silent migraines, I know I am lucky in not getting crippling pain, but the disuption to my vision and the wiped out feeling afterwards is very unsettling.

Was on a nice flow this morning working out some ideas on the book, when the scotoma started, small at 1st down in the corner of by vision, then increasing.....until I could not read the screen,

My vision is now starting to return, I can almost read this as I type it...but the wiped out feeling wil come next....bugger...its worse than watching 2 hours of daytime TV.


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Home sweat home

Wow, its even hotter here in Breda than it was in London, lucky though I have air con in the attic if it gets to be too much.

Loved my trip to the UK this time, mainly due to being able to just be a tourist for a change. Every other time I've been in the last 8 years has been business, so little or no time at all to actually just be a tourist.

My highlight has to be the trip to the RAF Museam at Hendon, oh I love that place, and going there myself meant I could really geek it up and take pics of all the silly stuff like undercarriage cables and cockpit details, even the nail patterns on a simply  stunning Supermarine Southampton, such a lovely resporation of both a boatbuilder and aircraft designers craft. I could geek rant for days about  the Boulton Paul Definent which sadly was shown in a dismantled state, but still one of my favourite quirky planes.

I even took time to get rid of my remaining cash notes to have a trip around london on an open topped bus with a tour guide...pure cheese but very informative. Though the blazing sun has give me a bit of a reddish hue on my arms and face...its all worth it.

Back home now, sleeves up, writing the book, finishing the CV game, after getting some on-line advise which might solve the long standing bug...and decorating, Time to get some paper on the bare walls in the attic and some paint on the walls.

5 weeks of rest, relaxation but lots of work.


Monday, 18 July 2016

Book progress

Well, aside from walk throughs on getting the projects up and running,(and actually writing a few more) I seem to have done all the major content....pre-edit phase of course, I need to print it out, have a good read through, since I know I waffled on a few points and sometimes repeated myself.
I also have to include  the code sections but I think I've got all the main topics covered now...

I scanned through it all last night and yeah, its what I wanted it to be. :D A beginners guide to programming on any machine.

Current page count (with almost no code) is 340 pages...another 50 or so for walk through, and maybe another 10 pages for illustrations,  leaves 300 pages for code, That should be it!.

wooo hoooo

As I say though this is all pre-edit, I will probably cull quite a lot of it and re-write major sections but I feel I've covered all the relevent points I wanted to include and that anyone with some aptitude for coding should get themselves up and running in 30 days....

still 2 months till I hand over but happy so far


Saturday, 16 July 2016

London is busy

I mean Daaaamn its busy, so much hussle and bustle.
I  am having what should be a nice quiet weekend, of tourism in the daytime and writing/coding in the evenings but I find the simple process of walking around london to be quite exhausting, mostly avoding bumping into people

I went to see a west end show last night too, something I seldom have time for when I am here.. It was ok, a Michael Craford piece called the Go-Between, it was his name that convinced me to give it a go, but I wish I hadn't. Not hat it wasn't well acted, or staged it was, but it was a total musical with the flimsiest of plots, which sounded very old fashioned and outdated to me.. Even worse there was not one stand out musical number from any of the cast individually or collectivly. 2 hours, and it was pretty dull. The guy next to me didn't return after the intermission and the half full, quite small theatre would suggest its not going down all that well. In spite of a rather enthusiastic Bravo call from the guy in front of me, who I think was actually an actor taking over one of the roles as he continually read from a script, silently mouthing his words when before the play and in intermission.

Other things..well I went for a foot massage, in china town, as I was really feeling the burn on my old plates, and I have to say was rather surprised half way through to be offered an extra special massage...ermm.. I came in for my feet love..if I wanted extra's I'd be naked and oiled up by this point. She seemed quite surprised that I didn't take her up on it.. I guess I mistook the type of place it was...seemed legit to me though.
Did do a good job on my feet though :D

Book is coming along well too, I feel I'm in a nice flow, and will continue when I get back, though my hotel room in London is far smaller than in Brighton, and I don't have the space to set up the raspberry Pi and small screen, so just focusing for now on concepts rather than code..Thats next weeks job :D

Brighton was fun too, somehow I got my dates mixed up for checkout, and returned after a final session at the Develop Conference to find them packing up my stuff...I had to hurridly collect my used undies and so on and pack up  then head over to London.. but I did enjoy my time in Brighton, very proud to be with Yan when he recieved his Search for a Star award
I have a pic somewhere but the new iphones upload system seems to have stored it somewhere I can't find at the moment


Sunday, 10 July 2016

Summers here...

I have one more day effectively of teaching, and then have to head to the UK for a week attending conferences and other such things....a bit of a chore, but at least it does finally signasl the end of a long hard year.

I won't deny I have issues with our new teaching system, some of those issues have been listened too, and changes will be made,  though I still have other issues, but I will pick my battles. and try to make sure that whatever happens students are educated to the same high standards we've always taught them.

Ultimately how good a student is, isn't really down the teachers, its down to their own desire to improve and use what the teachers tell them, we are still doing that. I still get the chance to motivate and demystify the arcane science of programming, hopefully when my book is done (plug) I can use that as well.

But there's not going to be a lot of holiday time I have to finish my colecovision game, yes its still just never seems to want to finish....finish the book, and also planning to do a bit of decorating- 6 years I've been here and not a lick of paint has been applied, so  its time to add a little bit of colour to different rooms.
I quite fancy having a new kitchen too, but I think I'll wait and see if the book generates the money to do that.

oh well better go start packing...have to take a suit with me this time as I am attending an awards dinner for a student as well....going to be rather a long week, but I get a nice free weekend in London, as it would be more effort to fly home then fly back

No guitar for a week though...gulp...must not go to Denmark St...must not..


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

I got a cheque!

An actual paper cheque....from my publisher... My advances on royalties for signing the deal

amazing.. I didn't know anyone still used cheques these days, and I did give them my bank details so it was quite a surprise.

But sweet. I can scan it and frame a copy of my 1st ever payment for writing...hopefully it won't be the last

Mind you, I need to go to the bank and ask them how to deposit it, I wonder if there's even a counter left at my bank,its all done electronically these days.



Friday, 1 July 2016

even more bad news

As if the whole brexit nonsense wasn't bad enough.. I was sat watching TV with my 15 year old bessie mate Harvey 1....when I decided to look up how long Jack Russells live for....13-16 years.

oh great....that means that my longest relationship outside of family, is in its final phase....still at least he does not seem fed up with me, or hide thiings (apart from bones) from me, or only pretend to love me...

He has a cracking life though, still thinks hes a puppy, and I'l make sure he carries on thinking that,


Friday, 24 June 2016

UK votes to leave the EU

Mark this well...

The end of the UK........



Thursday, 23 June 2016

Officially scared

Tomorrow the UK votes on the referedum to say or leave the EU.

I have been watching this unfold with ever increasing incredulity, even more so when I analyze the actual facts of the leave campaign... There are none. Its nothing more than really idiotic appeals to emotion.

Take back control?? WTF you never lost it, the whole idea that the EU runs the UK is total nonsense perpetuated by morons who have no actual understanding of how the EU works and where we are in it.

I can list 100 different Leave campaign statements, and debunk every single one of them, every one...really,  but none of that will matter to those who are obsessed with believing the lies and taking back control.....of what?

Its an interesting social issue, the way lies that trigger with misunderstood belief can have far more traction in a group psyche than actual facts which are not just ignored but actively and aggressively dismissed as not relevant. Experts, eh, what do they know, when they don't agree with you. My 10% of world renowned economists know far more than your 90%, clearly!

Tomorrow the UK votes, and its 50-50. If they leave, my own position here in NL, and some 2million+ other brits living in the EU, becomes uncertain. The massive desire to leap into a completely unknown future is utter madness and will impact so many people is so many ways.

Remain have essentially stuck to the facts as far as our current status and situation in the EU are concerned but trying to counter the lack of acceptance of facts weakens them. Worse they engaged the Leave campaigns lies about what might happen after Brexit, with their own set of lies. Estimates about what would happen... causing a backlash and the fantastically stupid thing of the people telling one lie having it pointed out by the people telling 100's.

The honest fact is, no one has any clue regarding numbers on the impact of a Brexit. No one, so saying it will costs this, that and whatever is not even close to being realistic.

The facts are that a brexit will cause absolutely massive upheaval, for an incalculable amount of time, 2 years or 20 years, who knows? Most likely the latter, when the UK will have to try to re-establish trade deals, lines of import and export, as well as tariffs and other crap...its just all crap Crap they don't need to do now, crap that does not impact in their lives, crap that will fuck up the entire UK economy and crap that people seem quite happy to take with no idea exactly what that crap is or how bad that crap is going to be... A friend of mine is voting leave,'ll sort itself out in the end.............I have no words.

Bottom line is there is no reason to stick your finger in the fire, when everyone is telling you its a bad idea, the evidence proves its a bad thing, How bad you get burnt is an unknown factor, but hell yes you are going to get burnt.

I plan to take my Dutch citizenship asap, brexit or no, the UK as it is now, really isn't worth being part of, The scars of this vote will linger a long time and the rise of hate and blame politics is not something I want to be part of.
If it leaves I can only hope it does not bring down the EU with it, because that would be the single greatest mistake in history...I don't think it will though, I think the EU can move on without Britain and its miserable whining and obstructive obsession with being on the outside wanting to run the show.

Even so, I hope it stays, but I'm still leaving the UK


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Writing is harder....

Than I expected... I've come to a bit of a stop, mainly due to me working on the support projects that it needs, which in turn causes me to go back to the book to make changes as I simplify the code or make fixes.

I've got 300 pages now, and not much in the way of code added, so that will bump things up, but finding the energy to do it is proving hard..

End of year workload is always high, as I review graduation projects as well as deal with a mass of 1st year things.

But..I am not beaten, just need to keep going, its not quite a block yet, just a detour on the code. It will get better


I hope


Sunday, 5 June 2016

Summer's here...

Glorious weather today, makes me give a little bit of thought to clearing he back yard and giving the decking a coat of something...ronseal or whatever...Maybe not today, but certainly soon, also I think this summer the interior of the house deserves a few coats of paint.

Only 6 weeks or so till summer hols...A time to recharge and review the year, and of course finish the book, which is going really well, but still having problems formatting the code to go in, but I have some help from a couple of students to do that so I will try to focus on the the content while they format my code.

Better get back to it...pages don't write themselves even when you get to put in lovely artwork from talented students that say a 1000 words.


Saturday, 28 May 2016

sometimes you need more than sausages

Well yes they were good, but after eating sausages for 4 days straight the dog got 2 days of heaven.

Overall the experiment was a great success, I can make them, I do need to work on the seasoning and fat content though, and need to find a nice easy local supplier of skins. Once done I'll try making them with pork I can freeze and do batches. No more crap sausages for me, There's a sausage making company in NL who supply sausages by mail in cool boxes, who also sell season mixes, so I've ordered the mixes and a few samples to see which I like best then I'll try to replicate the seasoning myself.

The next experiment is something even more dear to my heart. Pork Pies :D. Need to find some gelatine but pretty sure I can get both skins and gelatine from the local Hanos, an upmarket food wholesaler here. I bought a nice wooden  pie shaper on ebay, so will make my 1st attempts on large pastry and spiced pork filling soon.

Also I did treat myself to a VoiceLive 3 from Thomman..who normally  deliver next day but for some reason this time they waited 3 days to ship so not expecting it till add insult to injury, the price dropped 30euros the day after I made the order...even though I waited till pay day :(

oh well.. Cant wait to try it out, I just hope it fits on the board ok in place of the VoicePlay and volume pedal, which I'll try to use as an add on.

But I was sensible, that and a few small things like new cables a new more rugged mic  stand to replace a broken one, and a couple of amp mics, are the limit of my bonus wage spends, the rest has gone to reduce the credit card, on the basis that if I still need it it's there, but reducing the balance on the credit card is important as its my only real debt.


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Proper Sausages

It was a bit of a pain, and it did take me a good hour to do. There was some mistakes with the way the blade turned on the worm, but finally, I made my own bacon and leek sausages.

Also I can't freeze these as the pork from Macro, has already been frozen, so I'll be eating these the next 3 days :D But I had to try.. I don't know where I can get more pork that is freezable...probably just the supermarket.

The main thing I learned was the blade on the grinder..if its on the wrong way, and there's no way to tell it just mashes the meat and it just gets clogged up.

Also the skins, I clearly bought too much I could have done 4 times as many so there are skin left in the water that will only be usable for another couple of days, I'll try to get some lamb tomorrow to make some lamb sausages, and maybe some beef, but I don't know what kind of beef to use, otherwise I need to buy must smaller skins.

Actually twisting is also a bit of a knack I've not quite got and you can see the sizes are all over the place but  I'm happy.
The pic shows a lot of trapped air, but I've used a clean needle and pricked them to

Of course the proof will be in the eating... hope they taste good, or this is a 15quid experiment that needs refinement.

And the proof, well, great texture, flavour is close, needed more garlic I feel and strangely a bit more fat, perhaps a little olive oil when the fat content is not so high. Also the ends popped so I need to work on making the twists have more turns to lock them in place. I didn't quite get the flavour of the paprika and cayenne I was expecting, so will stick with sage and thyme next time..

But a great 1st try...will experiment with more meats and seasonings


Saturday, 21 May 2016

Curse of the summer bonus

I promised myself I'd be good this year, since I am not planning any formal summer holidays, my annual double wage in May can go knock the credit card down to size, also there's some advances on royalties I need to I'm going to be a bit flush this summer.

And then there's the voices in my head, saying buy me, buy me.

A VoiceLive3 in particular is screaming at me to buy buy buy.

I'll resist a few more days.. It will be nice to kick the credit card into touch, and if I buy toys, it'll distract me from working on the book.. I think...if I am  sensible the right thing to do is to buy the toys when the book sells.

Sadly I'm not sensible.


Saturday, 14 May 2016

Long weekend, sun, wine and not much sun really.

We had glorious weather all week while at work, and then the weekend comes and boom its a bit gloomy, but still quite a nice early summers day..

Sadly though I must continue with work, Project Foundations is now in full flow I have a few students to help me with proof reading and testing and preparing the projects for readers, the cartoons from a very talented illustrator are feeding in, and I have to now keep up with them as well as focus on my deadline.

Today though I am doing Colecovision stuff, as I must clear it out. I finished all the code last week when we had a holiday, but a few annoying bugs that only show in hardware are preventing delivery...the fact its only in hardware suggests an un-initialized value somewhere...something I also had yesterday in a book project, but this is much harder to track down on primitive hardware with no debugger...but I am determined to get it out the way and delivered to my very patient client.

I also seem to have lost my OdroidC2, it went back to Korea to get replaced or repaired due to a fault HDMI connection but it never arrived...I had to buy a new one (no freebies) maybe if/when the other gets there they will refund me...shame as its one of my faster units with no fan I really want to use it as a games console on my TV downstairs...that project will have to wait.

Book content is growing, the 2D stuff is almost all complete now, the projects are a little untidy, but thats what the students are helping me with, so I can focus on getting them working and they can clean them up and provide comments and review the difficulty.

Also I will be starting workshops at uni on programming the Raspberry Pi/Nano Pi, which will be my test bed for all the content....this should push me along and also give me a test bed for deciding if the concepts work well enough..Oh and it resolves some nagging doubts I have with 1st year coding students not understanding the basics well enough, so I'll be covering all that in the classes.

Better get on, going over to Maria and Davids for dinner later, there may be wine.....I might not get much done after ;)


Friday, 6 May 2016

freebies, if only I'd known

I am getting some free boards from a particular maker,I won't say who. They contacted me to check on delivery addresses which started a chat where I revealed why I was buying so many little boards.

They were very pleased that I was going to mention their boards in the book, and I am though only as an alternate option, and offered to cancel my payment and send me some free boards.

I have to say that is incredibly nice, I probably could have wangled a few other free boards from other makers too, but I don't want to be accused of any kind of favouritism. Most of the boards I've bought so far are perfectly suitable target system, but nearly all,  have some issue when it comes to being used a general computers. this makers units also have a few flaws but I do think they have the best value for money, its a shame they don't have the user base Raspberry has...which is mind-numbingly  massive

Anyway...quite pleased, but I think in future I won't mention my book in any correspondence with makers, I like the idea of the free boards, very much, but don't want to be compromised in my neutrality.

free boards though.....hmmm


Monday, 2 May 2016

Dating eh!

Well that was a bit pointless.....went on date at the weekend, very nice lady, ticked all the right boxes, funny, smart, independent...not to mention fit!

sadly not interested in me....starting to be a habit!

I'll climb back under my rock for another year and lick my wounds.


Sunday, 24 April 2016

ouch......but I was just sitting!! Time to ring in some changes.

Well sitting awkwardly trying to play guitar in a cool way, and I pulled a muscle in my AGE!!!

I hate these little side-effects of getting old, hurting myself sat on the couch...its not fair.

And I need to get a new bed,I cobbled together a repair on my current bed a few years ago when the centre bar broke (I wish I could boast it was due to high jinx but no), but the repair has become unstable when I moved things around to build the wardrobes. It won't last much longer.

After a lot of hunting around at quite absurd prices... I  think I have found a nice semi affordable box divan that will take a TV in the base, which will make the bedroom a lot more tidy. Will wait for the May Bonus to pay for that though, since I have no plans (or partner) to go on holiday. I might as well splash out on a few things I need at home, and also do a bit of decorating.

This year marks 6 years in this house and I've done no decorating at all since I moved in.. So I plan to paint the walls, hang a a few pics, maybe get a new couch, if I can find a decent priced L-shaped couch and of course a new bed for my bedroom. The new wardrobes have de-cluttered the room quite a bit, so might as well get rid of the big old Samsung on top of the chest of drawers and continue to de-clutter.

Also giving some serious thought to getting a new kitchen setup..the house is about 12 years old and this has been here all that time, I think its time for a change, though that will take a bit of help from the bank to achieve. Will see, lets get the bed and decorating done 1st...Maybe the Kitchen is a next year job.


Friday, 22 April 2016

'kin hell 2006, this is crazy shit

I was genuinely upset to hear of Victoria Wood's death yesterday, from Cancer...damn. I know I'm not alone in acknowledging this women as a massive genius who made the concept of women comedians as a norm rather than an exception possible...RIP

Today we heard about and Prince, music is just being gutted.

What a shit year this is for celebrities dying, so many. so so many


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Mega busy

The last weeks before panels have proven to be busy, this seems to be a pattern, with students waiting till the last minute before updating their playlists which we then try to feedback on in a near impossible backlog. But we made it, just.

This week I've done two long sessions of panels, and now I have a bit of a quieter day, jsut a few meetings to do. I'll make a start on prepping for the next block on Friday when everyone is off doing their staff trip. I never go on them, I simply hate the concept of enforced and arranged fun. Besides It entailes a very late return to Breda by why time poor Harvey will have had his legs crossed for far more than the 8 hours he's used to

Been working on the book projects when I can, so the writing part has slowed a little as I need to write about the project. Writing deliberatly bad but working code has been quite challenging for me, I thought all my code was bad, but when I actually make an effort its quite terrible. But it does take some effort, so I don't think my own coding is as bad as I feel it is sometimes

Going to try to devote this weekend to finishing the coleco game, its been hard to find the time and really kill off the last few issues with it. But gotta clear it off the table soon or it will get lost in the deadline chase for the book.

Not much else going on in the, play guitar, code, write...drink....drink again....sleep

life is stable... I say that as tomorrow is the 6 year anniversary of my surgery. I have missed it the last couple of years, but somehow this year it seems to have been marked in big red ink in the calendar.

Will maybe raise a glass or 3 to my surgeon's skill. When I've finished some code!


Tuesday, 5 April 2016

on the mend

Aside from the A/B trots, (I assume they are penicillin based which gives me the runs) I'm feeling a lot better, and so much quicker than my usual issues when I get chest infections.

I went back to work yesterday but it totally knackered me, so had a pretty early night and am almost back to normal,

Managed to tidy the office up a bit too, so can sit and go through student stuff in a much more logical manner and get back on top of things.

Also in the psot got a few toys today, a replacement LCD screen for the one I broke...slipped in with no customs charges which is nice, and anotehr SBC, a Roseapple Pi...yeah I know..crazy name... But it works quite nicely and is fast.. something nice to play with giving me another PowerVR GPU to get working.

thats for later though, for now, gotta make up the slakc on student feedback from doing Battleships then getting ill.

Spent a bit of time this weekend too, getting back up to speed on the Colecovision for the final push on that got in the way so need to get back to it and really make some efforts to deliver it. My client is the most patient I've ever had but I don't want to disappoint him forever.


Friday, 1 April 2016

An boom, here it comes

Got the man flu....maybe the general crappiness running up to this week was it prepping itself for an assault on my system..

I am prepared this time, I'm very well stocked up with full strength UK cold meds....bring it on.

(but maybe I'll just a have a little lie down 1st)


Tuesday, 29 March 2016

ok well yeah, not nice.

really wasn't well today, was seeing double as I was working at my screen and have been light headed and woozy all day, and the coughing...grrrr
Even had to cancel band practice, and I never cancel band practice, but I felt I was not safe to drive.

Strange, its not a flu/cold, but similar symptoms, hopefully will feed batter tomorrow, and get back to work.


ugghhh what is this

So I have a chest infection, a fever, and am producing mucus than I can swallow in real time...but..I don't have a cold..

never had this before, don't like it, feeling shitty but then again not as shitty as I feel with the mega colds.....

But the choaking mucus is horrible, can't sleep with waking up choaking and swallowing....need to find some meds.


Sunday, 27 March 2016

But I didn't get a cold!!

Incredibly I have a chest infection, been coughing and spluttering and bit of a temp...I say incredible, because I never got a cold...usually these things plague me for months, but always just after a heavy cold!

Bahh....hopefully this is something less crippling than the post cold ones of last far just a bit wheezy and chesty cough...


Friday, 25 March 2016

The Collection is comple.......

Well almost,  picked up a Banana Pi M3 on ebay for half price, and a RoseApple Pi (very fast but tends to run hot) as a swap for a Raspberry Pi...and a few Nano Pi quad cores are on there way, and last but not least an Orange Pi PC.
 My 64bit Odroid C2 needs to go back, it has a faulty HDMI but not a big issue.

That's enough now I think, its getting a bit silly, and it'll be damn embarrassing if I can't get the projects to work on anything other than a Raspberry Pi.

But I basically have the base line and high spec models all of the major clones, so that should be enough to get everyone and anyone who reads the book to get their SBC's up and running.

Also happy to see that my lovely accountant, has managed to restore my self employed status, meaning I can claim all these costs back against tax :D they are pocket money purchases though really, its just that I've done a few this month, but $9 -$20 a time is hardly going to break the bank.

Income from the book, small though it is,  will mean I probably will have to pay something this year to the tax man. But hey how, the benefits outweigh the costs.

The projects main framework is now up and running, though I was very surprised to find I can handle around 3000 software rendered sprites on a Pi3...and the Pi2 managed the same, even a model B managed a few thousand... I was hoping (oddly) for much worst performance so that when I demonstrate the correct way to handle sprites the impact with be much more marked.

But not to worry, I'm sure I'll find a good way to screw it up :D

1st games are starting to take shape now though, so will get them all up and running and tidy ready to paste in some source to expand them. Each project will have a base line set up, with the reader expected to type in code to make it all function...I don't want them downloading working games, its important they enter code and get used to it, breaking an important psychological barrier when it comes to learning to code...actually developing the confidence to type it in is a major hurdle for beginners.


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Coding highs and lows and fuel fraud

I am struggling so much with a work school project,  I've re-written it twice now but still it does not work...I really can't see the fault, its driving me crazy, and stress is never good for coding.

It has me doubting if I can even code any more.

To calm down I did a bit of work on my book projects this lunchtime...wrote more code in 40-50 minutes than I'd been able do do in  3 working days on the work job...crazy... The project code is more complex and needs more stuff I don't quite understand than the work project...but its the simple work project that has me in knots...very odd...

Anyway, that 40 mins, the code flowed, and I cracked several small issues I was having getting my display fast enough to work, it all works fine now and I can code the rest of the projects with ease. I went back to the work project after luch.......nada....

I'll have to sleep on the work project for a bit.

And today I went to get petrol for the car, and for some reason the payment machine at the unmanned station refused to accept my card, giving me a big red X and telling me to take my card back.

I drove away very annoyed and went to a manned station..

But when I was doing a check on my card online to work out how much to pay this month, there was a 50odd euro charge at that petrol station. It did take my bloody card, but the person who came to the machine after me must have though christmas had come and filled his tank.

grrrr.. Sent a message to the card company to notify them of a possible fraud...not sure I'll get a refund but apparently it has happened in the past...fingers crossed.


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Maddog not quite so mad

As much as I really like my Maddog jumbo which I bought from Pat at Maddog guitars in December during my UK trip, its given me a lot of trouble.

Pat likes his guitars set up with the lowest possible action imaginable and yes that is indeed nice,but guitars, especially acoustics are living things and breath and swell in different air conditions, so the problem was that as it bent and flexed the low action ended up being a low buzzing or worse an outright choke. Its become almost unplayable above fret 10.

I'd already tweaked the truss to try to give it a bit of a relief, (a slight bend) but it wasn't having much effect, so time to put some nice bridge saddle spacers I had in one guitars welcome pack to good use.

I only had two, and they were very thin but given how low the Maddog is, I put both in, to avoid having to take it apart again if one wasn't enough.

I must say, that 1mm or so raising of the bridge has worked a treat, still quite a low action with 10's on it, (I'm going to try heavier strings, but will use these for now) making it easy and comfortable to play. The slight rise in action is barely noticeable but now I can play notes around fret 12 and up without any more fear of chokes and buzzes.. yeahh for saddle spacers,

I'll need to see if I can find more, just in case.


Saturday, 19 March 2016

double spacing....not the saviour it seems

Hmmmm so writing has some rules, which the publisher sent me, They don't want me to format the text or add the diagrams in the text, though it does make it easier for me to read...however I don't think that's a big  issue, what I am worried about is my 140 pages in 1.5 spacing with nice 11pt fonts has to be converted to Times Roman 2.0 spacing in 12pt its 210 pages

ermmm I don't think I'm going to fit it all in, I'm only 5 chapters in and have a lot more text, code and diagrams to add...

Oh well I'll just keep going and let the editors worry about it :d


Monday, 14 March 2016

Now we're cooking with gas

Had the most odd issue, with the Pi code, try as I might I could not get the bugger to display any texture which was created my malloc, even though I assume it was all 0 and therefore transparent, when I moved data into it, it should have become visible. Finally I discovered that if I used memset to put data in there the textures became visible....then later became visible anyway :(

So I was probably doing a combination of little things wrong until I hit the right things

But no matter, I now have a screen sized texture, the size of which I can control, stretched over a full screen image.. :D

I can make a start proper now on the projects and get things moving on the 1st 3 projects which need this rather crappy code.

time for bed


Sunday, 13 March 2016

reworking the office

Since I'm probably going to be spending a fair amount of time in the office, writing my book (does not sound at all pretentious when I say that now)  I had a bit of a rearrangement of my work station. I like having 3 monitors, it might seem silly considering I have a massive 30 inch baby there in the middle, but when debugging code, having source on 1 screen, debug panels/general mail on another and running projects on the 3rd becomes a nice way to work

The need to hook up my Pi's to a screen during development meant I had to turn over the left screen to it, and switch back and forward on the source button as I needed to. I found this to be a bit of a pain...
So...behold, the old Bedroom TV which was replaced by the old living room TV when I upgraded, which is also an HDMI monitor, has been mounted on the wall exclusively for the various forms of Pi

The Pi's and clones themselves now connect up to an HDMI 5 way switch I not longer use so, I can keep 5 of them hooked up and swap them around as needed.. I'm also getting an old switch unit so I can keep them all networked up and that way all I have to do to try a new target is change a config label.

Though still need to plug in a use so they can use the keyboard/mouse/wifi...I only need to do that when I'm actually playing games on them, and there are ways to convince them to use the PC's keyboard and mouse, which I will look into.


Geekdom rules.


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

:D Well that put a smile on a bad day

Not having a happy day at work at all, no need to explain why, just some differences of opinions that create tension. I was all ready to storm off home to buy a cat to kick, when I got a mail from the publisher.

The book is go!!!!

I repeat the Book Is Go, its been officially approved, contracts can now be signed and I have to get 20 pages a week done so it can be finished in Sept.on and write 10 demo games on a Raspberry Pi :D


Its not going to make me rich or famous but I am going to enjoy this a lot.


Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Being bad is fun

Well at least it is when its to do with coding.
I have been trying to get OpenGLES2.0 to do something its not really designed to do, use RAM based double buffers as a display system. There's no real way to do it, as OGLES2  does not let you do CPU manipulation of a texture once it has been set up.

But its an important  "bad design" decision in my book, which will let them do something that works on almost any machine, yet is clearly very CPU intensive and not using the GPU at all well. (sorry mum this is tech talk)

But I managed to make it work by constantly killing and remaking textures every frame to allow a new buffer to be set up and displayed.. It is genuinely an awful system, but..and this is the point it work, perfectly well, you can display any number of graphics you want with little or no effort, since now you can copy stuff into the display buffer and it will magically appear on screen.

But the point its its wasting the power of the GPU and totally consuming the CPU, but it does make code based manipulating of objects very simple, very clear and very very easy to understand...which is the point. The reader can now easily get the idea that putting things on screen is simple, that will let them focus on doing that rather than trying to make sense of the way OGLES2 needs to be set up to do it properly.

Once I've done a few games with this system and we explain the disconnect between display systems and logic,  I will then demonstrate how truly awful it is and talk them through a way to alter the display system to something much more OGLES2 based with a massive boost in performance...Sometimes the only way to let people see that a bad decision that works, is still a bad decision is to let them do it, and expose the limitations.

It was actually very frustrating working out some way to do a double ram buffer, in the end the constant thrashing of killing and adding tetxures is even worse than I imagined it would be...every time you do that routine, a kitten dies!!! Lots of kittens are going to die now.



Thursday, 3 March 2016

I sense a return of the flatulence

I suspect I'll be farting with fear for quite a while now...The book has taken another mega step forward to being from reviewers of my proposal has been positive and the editor likes it....though the title needs a bit more work still/

I am gobsmacked that in the space of 3 months an idea I had to keep me busy has snowballed into something so big and fun.

The publishing committee are going to discuss it this month, rather than next, so I'll find out in just over a week if this is definite.

In the meantime, I'm having an absolute blast filling in my chapter headings, writing little bits of mindless ramblings to be edited into something more formal later. And even more fun, prepping my projects to lay out the foundations.

Its going to be 6 months or so of hell, writing and coding, but I can't wait!

And evern better news the Colecovision project is almost done, I got some memory together by procedurually generating some graphics and now I just need a nice cosy weekend to myself to wrap it up...

Can't really get better than that.


Saturday, 27 February 2016

2016 seems to be a really bad year RIP Fergus.

On top of all the celebs who are dying right left and center, it seems even the games industries bright lights are now starting to dim. Today we heard the sad news that Fergus McGovern, former head honcho at Probe Software died suddenly , apparently from a blood clot cause by DVT. Such a tragic waste.

I won't go as far as to say we were friends, in fact I probably pissed him off big time doing my 4th and final NHL hockey game for him as I simply had a massive breakdown and could not finish it.. He tried to talk me into continuing but to his credit, he knew I was beaten, and let it go.. No we were not friends, but he was a big influence in my career, and many others. He worked well with people and got what he needed out of them, rewarding them well if they manged to get things done a bit quicker or a bit better, and as I discovered being sympathetic when it didnt' go so well

He could have sued the arse of me if he wanted when I just broke down in tears on the phone. but it would not have achieved anything! I worked for Fergus many times over the 80's and 90's and it helped pay a lot of bills and set me up as a freelancer. Its hard to explain how something like that connects you to people.

Even after the breakdown on NHL, and inevitable fallout he absorbed, he was always nice to me when we met at shows and events, remembered my name and said Hi, asked how I was. That meant a lot. He wasn't a spiteful man, he was a ball breaker sometimes but always fair. He loved negotiating you down on price, but never went below what he knew the job was worth,

The games industry does not have too many true legends, a lot of overbearing diva's for sure, but actual honest hard working legends who achieved something special are rare. Fergus was most certainly a Legend.