EasterCon

Apr. 9th, 2012 07:03 pm
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So I'm back from EasterCon (the main UK sci-fi/fantasy convention) and boy am I knackered.

I went to a variety of talks and panels ranging from the "Ethics of AI" to "You got Robot Elf Sex in my SF". I could possibly list them all, but I think that sounds like too much like hard work. I also did a chocolate tasting workshop and one which I feel was more aimed at kids (but not advertised at all as such) where we got to make a robot to take part in a sort of robot Olympics. Unfortunately my attempts were thwarted by someone dismantling my robot and re-using the bits. Which is mostly my fault because due to scheduling conflicts, I couldn't attend the workshop and the events on the same day (they had 3 days of workshops and events) and I'd left the robot with the hope of entering it in the following day. I should have just taken it with me or something.

I did my first Kaffeeklatch with Tricia Sullivan. A kaffeeklatch is coffee and biscuits with someone famous and you just sit around, chat and ask questions etc. To be honest I found it kinda overwhelming as the topic of conversation went quite intellectual, but I did manage to get one comment in towards the end. Not sure how much of it was a constructive one or flamebait though. We were discussing how it was bad for authors to go back and tinker with their works once they were published and I gave George Lucas as a prime example of that.

I did a lot of dancing too. There were two discos, one themed on Superheros and a second themed on Robots. I had initially thought about going ot the first as the mild mannered alterego of a superhero and the second wrapped in tin foil as "generic robot". But I was suddenly inspired by the occasional nickname I've been given - The Dancinator - and realised I could (not that anyone bothered asking) go as a T800 in full infiltration mode to the first. Terminators aren't superheroes, but they are superhumanly strong and practically indestructible and certainly in the 2nd and 3rd films, are very heroic even if it's cos that's how they've been programmed. For the second disco, I decided upon going as a battle damaged Terminator, initially by the liberal application of face/body paint but in the end I fashioned some tin foil so that it'd poke out of my sleeve whilst I had my arm hidden behind my back.

The food was a bit naff or hugely expensive so I ended up eating McDonalds far more than I should have. Which was a good thing cos it meant I had more money for buying shines. Something I did possibly go a little overboard with. I do have a lot more books now - some of which aren't even in print.

I think the best out of everything, was getting to talk to a lot of my favourite authors. I had a good long chat at the end of the first disco with Jaine Fenn without reverting to shy nervous fanboy mode for example. But I still have a long way to go to overcome that issue - possibly it's when there is signing stuff involved that it happens the worst? Although I did manage to keep my cool somewhat when Cory Doctorow came up to me to sign the auction item I'd won that he'd donated.

Didn't take much in the way of photos; there's just 2 really. One of me sitting in the throne from Game of Thrones and one of me with my severed arm
themadone: (Default)

I read on the interwebs today about a guy who was inspired by this XKCD comic about a guy who sets up a script that buys a $1 item off ebay every day for a year. He's gone and written something that effectively does this, except it has an allowance and gets given a $1 a day which it can save up or spend it's budget on stuff.

This got me thinking about making something similar that scours Amazon for cheap Blu-ray movies (sci-fi by preference) that are eligible for free shipping. Except I realised pretty earlier on in my thinkings that I could never automate this as it would no doubt buy multiple copies of the same thing as the various special editions came out and also there are some (sub)genres I don't much care for - like horror - that I wouldn't want it buying either.

Grabbing some test data and doing a few sums proves that it should work and end up ordering a new movie every week. Of course the big question, is should I actually go through with this crazy plan? :)

Dreams

Apr. 9th, 2010 10:33 am
themadone: (Default)

So the other night I had a dream that I managed to remember on waking. It was a mostly cool one in which I was a character in some kind of point'n'click murder mystery game which as far as I could tell was multi-player somehow.Or at least the other characters I was with I believed were being played/controlled by real people. Also I wasn't seeing it as a point'n'click, but more as a 1st person game. For the vast majority of the dream, we all rampaged about the place trying to solve the mystery and at one point I found a recently dead body of some random NPC. Which had us panicing cos that meant the killer was still around and killing people.

In true roleplaying style, I suggested that we set up watches for that night so that we'd not get murdered in my sleep. Except of course I clearly fail at planning stuff in my dreams, cos I suggested we take watches in pairs. Which if one of us was the murderer, it'd not help as they could kill their shift-partner and then the rest of us in our sleep. I'm not sure how things ended up, as the next thing I knew it was the next day and everyone else had vanished. Wandering about the mansion (these things are always in mansions, obviously), I found a guy just standing at the top of the stairs who I recognised as being a character we'd met at the start of the game, but who hadn't been seen since then. Something record company related I think.

Thinking he might be the killer, I hid until I realised that he was clearly an NPC who was programmed to wait at the top of the stairs and be "clicked on" to spout some plot stuff or something. So I went up the stairs and "clicked on" him and suddenly it was all "Game Over" as apparently the mystery had been solved. Which made me very annoyed as it was clear that my fellow players had solved it whilst I was asleep and I'd missed out. I think at this point it turned out the game must have been some kind of RPG instead as I was complaining to [livejournal.com profile] charliemouse as the GM.

Anyway, the dream got my thinking about writing a multi-player point'n'click adventure sort of game and how to deal with the problems of having players not solving things at the same speed or at all. In some ways it'd almost be like having a characters location containing a time element and having puzzle solving increase the time at which you are in the game. Which reminds me of an old Infocom adventure called Moonmist that coincedentally was a murder mystery too.

I don't however think I have the artistic skills to pull off a point'n'click, so instead I think I might make something a little more textual. Possibly browser based since it'll in some ways be a little like a choose your own adventure and it'd be easier on the players if their options were links they could click on. Certainly something I shall be pondering/working on for the future until I get bored or something anyway :)

themadone: (Default)

So for the past 4 or so days, I've been attending Odyssey 2010 (aka Easter Con) and it was pretty awesome. So how was it? )

Now of course I'm totally knackered from lack of sleep and eating crap food. Time to kick back and relax in front of the telly with er...more crap food. Will order takeaway shortly :)

themadone: (Default)

So besides watching the first episode of Ultraviolet, I've been doing a little bit of coding. Nothing extensive, just taking the data of who has borrowed what book from the IFIS library or reviewed a book (to save people having to take books out that they've already read). Mixing it up with the tagging system and then spitting out a list of recommendations.

Seems to work adequately. Just needs more data to be of any use to most folk I guess.

themadone: (Default)

So I'm eventually back at a computer after spending the weekend at the regional. Getting to the venue went without hitch mostly, although I did have The Fear when I saw that a car had hit a bridge and there were delays to the train. And one of my 6-pack of "redbulls" exploded in my suitcase...but I think based on the amount of liquid involved, it must have happened just as I arrived.

The venue was pretty cool and whilst not a hotel, it was not much like a youth hostel either - it had private rooms with ensuite bathrooms for a start. Except of course my room wasn't entirely private as I was sharing it with [livejournal.com profile] cream_horn and [livejournal.com profile] midnightschilde

The Friday Requiem game was pretty good and I had fun tarting it about and involving myself in all the many entertainments that were there to be had. I don't think too much emphasis was made ICly by the hosts on the actual location though - it could have really been anywhere. And I'm not refering to set dressing or whatever, I just mean they didn't really seem to be talking it up much.

After having a couple of "redbulls", I was then ready for the Mortal game. It started off pretty awesomely. There was a dream sequence that had my character bricking himself and making the ultimate sacrifice - giving away his cake. Which left him in a pretty frazzled and unsettled state for the second part. Which I felt was kinda flat. It was a bit like a ring donut. There's clearly something missing in the middle, but it's still quite tasty. What exactly should have gone in the "middle", I have no idea, but by the end we were definitely thinking we should be doing something and not entirely sure what.

Got a bit of sleep, so had to neck a "redbull" to get me started the next day. Didn't bother gaming for the early part of it and failed utterly to locate the nearby geocache. Had a very enjoyable lunch with a bunch of cammies I'd not really had a chance to interact with OOCly before. Then after a bit more conversation, I headed back to the room and the 3 of us ended up having a nap together.

Saturday Requiem was pretty disappointing. Our host being a elder of the Crone and widely regarded as being well into gore fests and bathing in blood, I kinda expected a big showy ritual of a similar nature. Instead we had a meeting. The kind where people just sit around and talk. No actual ceremony at all. And then at the end there was talk of going off and doing something "fun" and it just fizzled out.

On the plus side, the HUGE scene after time-out where we finally put to rest the daft national plot that most games seem to ignore, was run smoothly and quickly by the STs involved. It's a perfect example of how large scenes should be run - especially when there's combat involved.

Got plenty of sleep that night and only drank the "redbull" because is was the last one. Journey back went OK, except for the mystery bus tour around London that [livejournal.com profile] lucifermourning gave me. But we made it with a few minutes to spare before our connecting train so it wasn't so bad. And then was the normal scheduled Runnymede Mortal game, which was more creepy and ewww than scary. And mostly it was only creepy and ewww for the female characters so it was fun for us guys to watch their reactions - especially to some of the choice comments being made.

But now the weekend is over and I think I shall have an early night to play catch up on sleep. Not that I need it as I have the whole of next week off! w00t! :)

themadone: (Default)

That was a pretty mighty weekend. It started with [livejournal.com profile] nuuki dragging me off for more geocaching )

.

Then in the evening was a fun Requiem game although much of the conversation was frankly quite disturbing...I think I only need to mention the film "Teeth" to give you some ideas on how disturbing it was.

On Sunday I had an surprise visit from [livejournal.com profile] eggwhite who came around and we finally sorted out getting the TV attached to the wall. They'd supplied another 6 bolts it turns out and we ended up having to use them with the rule(sp?) plugs plus some of the old ones as we had a couple more shearing incidents. Clearly the superman exists and he is [livejournal.com profile] eggwhite.

And I played some more GTA 4 and I believe I'm about to complete the last mission. I did have a few stabs at it, but the first time I got confused as to what to do next and ended up losing the target and then whilst attempting to repeat it, ended up dying a lot cos I wasn't tooled up to the eyeballs any more. Bah. Will have another go at some point during the week so that I can finally get it done though.

themadone: (Default)

So last night an intrepid band of folk from IFIS and some random extra bods went and saw the new rebooted Star Trek. It was pretty good. They had plenty of nods and in-jokes from the previous continuity. The cast did a grand job of being the characters we all know (and love?).

It was quite markedly different from previous films though, with the level of action and thrills ramped up several notches. Unlike other rebooted franchises, they actually had the reboot become part of the plot which was very cool. So definitely a thumbs up from me and I'm looking forward to where they go with future films ... or maybe even a series?

Afterwards we went to the pub where things went a bit wrong as the pub got arsey with some of the students not having ID on them. And is often the way with such things, they waited to kick them out until after other people had already got some drinks in, which led us to be split in two which sucked lots. But I guess for the new committee's first Away Mission, it could be considered a success. Hopefully it'll be the first of many.

Finally!

Mar. 11th, 2009 10:56 am
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After several years of trying to convince people that The Lost Room is a worthy item of viewing pleasure at IFIS, the committee have finally shown it! Admittedly as an alternative to something they didn't get in time, but can't be too fussy about such things I guess?

The night was spoilt only by the stoopid SU double booking the room with womens rugby's AGM, so we had dozens of scary violent looking women pacing about outside as we quickly finished off one last episode. But I think getting through 3 episodes was more than enough to get people hooked. So much so, that there are already plans being made about organising a showing of the last 3 episodes on some random weekend. With pizza and booze and stuff.

So I guess my next one to aim for is Elektra or Catwoman? ;)

Picocon 26

Mar. 1st, 2009 01:42 am
themadone: (Default)

So today was spent in London enjoying the sci-fi geekery that is Picocon. IFIS made a proper trip of it, so we had a bunch of students going too, who by all accounts, enjoyed themselves lots.

The guest speakers were pretty good, although Rankin did dominate things whenever there were more than one of them involved. But he was highly amusing whatever he did, so it didn't reallly seem to matter that much. The other events were as good as previous years and they also did a tour of the library too.

Then finally at the end came the quiz. Now I freely admit that whilst I know a lot about sci-fi and fantasy, it pales into insignificance compared to the average sort of person who visitis Picocon. And I'm certainly not the only one like that. So it came as a great surprise when we came second. Mostly this might have been because we had 2 randoms join our team who seemed to know stuff. Whatever the reason, we were all utterly surprised by the result and further surprised to have a box of chocolates thrown at us as a prize.

Pictures are up on an album for Picocon, but it'll probably be a while before the committee approve them. So until then, the only way you can see them is by logging in.

themadone: (Default)

The past few days have been spent enjoying myself at the Cam National. The journey up wasn't too traumatic, although it's lucky the Blackberry had google maps on it for when we randomly veered off course, but we got there in the end. The hotel was pretty standard and the rooms the games were in weren't overly large or small.

The only niggle with them was their positioning relative to each other. One set of rooms were on the far side of the hotel which according to the various directional signs, meant tromping through reception and the bar to get to them. Which people did often, whilst in their costumes. There was an alternative route that minimised the trauma to the mundanes, but I don't think anyone except me found it.

The games that I played in were fun. I quit early from Mortals having achieved what I'd wanted from the game and not really knowing what else to do. And the Requiem games were both perfect in their length as I didn't have that "Oh dear, we've got another 3 hours of sitting around being bored cos the plot finished ages ago" that we normally get at the big games. Mage was probably the most tiring, but still fun, as playing a ghost that had to wander around and talk to everyone does involve a lot of leg work. Plus for those times I wasn't physically manifested, I had to hold two fingers up in the air like I was shooting the ceiling with an imaginary gun.

So all in all, a fun weekend. Hopefully the next big game will be as good.

themadone: (Default)

The new TV arrived rather surprisingly early on Saturday morning and I soon had it out the box and on a table (with assistance from [livejournal.com profile] izzy_stradlin). It's not excessively huge, but still very heavy. And so far I don't regret it at all. The picture quality is amazing. I've spent most of the weekend playing GTA4, but I've also watched some SD TV on it too.

GTA4 has been fun. I accidently made my seriously suspect/possible police informer girl friend into a car jacker. Forgot which car I'd taken her out on a date and tried getting in to a nearby parked car. She gets to it first and smashes the window in to get inside o_O. Shame I can't use that to blackmail her with.

Playing online has been fun too, although it can be frustrating when you join a game and the organiser just sits there not starting it. It's far too easy to drop back into single player. Which involves loading stuff and then getting back into the multiplayer involves more loading too. But when it does work it's great.

Apart from that there was a requiem game which involved doomy plot. It turns out I was doing a bit of a [livejournal.com profile] sea_cucumber and getting slowly recruited by infernal demon worshipping types. Luckily the Sanctimonious turned up and burninated everything. Still, that plot might be dead, but whilst returning from our initial investigations we stumbled across yet more plot. I think the STs have realised we (myself and [livejournal.com profile] lucifermourning) like plot a lot.

themadone: (Default)

And hello GTA4. I highly doubt my free time over the next few weeks will be doing anything except playing this.

themadone: (Default)

Made it to the reading group with plenty of time to spare. Annoyingly the shop was shut before hand, so there wasn't a chance to nose around the books. There were plenty of people there, some of which I didn't already know. Time will tell how interesting/cool/whatever they are, but they all seem alright so far. Now I have to find a copy of the first book (something by Kate Wilhelm) and start reading it. Probably a good job term has finished so I've got lots more free time.

themadone: (Default)

So after getting up stupidly early and heading in to London, I had a very enjoyable day at Picocon. The talks were OK - Paul Cornell being by far the most entertaining. The smashing merchandising tat was a lot more lack lustre than previous, but I did record the destruction of the non-existent video (Highlander 2) which, probably due to it not existing, was pretty resistant to being destroyed. Got given a tour of the society library which is very impressive - it's a damn shame IFIS is unlikely to ever get a room for their library as it'd be awesome if they did. We missed most of the fish duel. And finally we came joint-last in the quiz which we found insanely difficult - it's a miracle we got any points at all.

themadone: (Default)

Last night didn't turn out how I'd planned and instead I ended up watching a bit of TV, the end of a truely dire Seagal film and doing lots and lots of lovely coding.

Major geekyness ahead )

Pub tonight of course. I wonder who will show up this week.

themadone: (Default)

Experimented some more with getting the PS3 to talk sensible to the TV when showing Blu-ray movies and failed. So I've ordered a replacement cable that should do the job instead. In lieu of watching shiny movies, I instead decided to explore what things they had on offer for downloading.

I nabbed a few demos of things; The Darkness is some kind of gangster horror with Obten and Folklore is some kind of game involving beating up faires I think. The latter gave me my chance to try out the 6-axis controller ...by making me have to "reel in" dead enemies for their powers by pointing the controller upwards.

Then I really took the plunge and bought something - flOw was only a couple of quid. It looks so much better than the webbased version, although annoyingly they've removed the arrows that tell you where the exits are. But then I think that isn't an issue as you don't appear to move away from them that much. The really big difference is that it fully uses the 6-axis controller - to move, I have to lean the controller in the direction I want to move in. It feels really wierd, but I think it's something I could get used to.

themadone: (Default)

Well I took the plunge and got myself a PS3 today. In what could only be described as a stroke of luck, the shop I was going to get it from was shut by the time I'd finished checking what deals all the others had. How is this good luck? Well I went back to HMV whose deal included 2 movies compared to the one I'd get at my prefered store, but HMV only had 2 specific films I could get - Casino Royale (which I own on DVD) and Black Hawk Down. The prefered store had a slection which included Ghost Rider (which I don't own on DVD). See the logic there?

Anyway. HMV have clearly been selling PS3s like hotcakes or at least the two movies that come with them, cos they'd sold out of both of them. So the lovely store people said I could get any two other movies that were of a comparable price. Lo and behold, Ghost Rider came under that. So I got that and Flatliners. Win!

The games I was less lucky with, so when one of my choices was out of stock, I wasn't overly fussed and just got something else.

So far I'm pretty impressed with the picture quality even on my old crappy TV. No idea how the Blu-ray movies fare yet, cos despite all the settings I've fiddled and tweaked, it's insisting on outputting what I can only guess is NTSC or something. The picture is all grainy and black and white. Most annoying. Getting a HD TV will solve that problem though.

themadone: (Default)

Today I was be mostly watching Lord of the Rings. It's shameful, but I hadn't even opened my copy of the boxset yet. But it's open now and I'm just starting Two Towers.

I was glad yesterday, that the sun decided to make a re-appearance, although it did make it a nightmare to tromp up the hill to run an extra RuneQuest session for one of my players who is leaving these shores. I'm clearly not used to the heat. The game kinda bugged me as I didn't really know what to do as 2/5ths of the party weren't there. But meh, I think I gave those that did show up something interesting to do.

Victory!

Aug. 12th, 2007 11:45 am
themadone: (Default)

Yesterday I managed to triumph over my apathy and lazyness and ventured forth in to London with plenty of time to go around looking at TVs. After much walking, talking to sales people and confusing several of them utterly when asking if I could see their shiny TVs showing normal TV, I got the answers I think I'm looking for.

Unfortunately I was clearly overcome with the heat, as I forgot to take down model numbers of the TVs I liked. I know they're Samsung though, Full HD and 40" or higher. So that doesn't leave too many options open. I think it must have been either the M86 or M87 series.

I also got to see the Sony model I was drooling at doing standard def. and it's more than acceptable at that too.

So I guess it's just a matter of searching online for the best deals.

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