Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Oh, and have a look at The Bible in Five Words! (via Baraita)
Well I'm off to Cape Town tomorrow. I'll be back on 15th November, until then go to Terminal City Gamers for nimrod-related blogging. It's what this blog wanted to be but never quite achieved it.

Monday, October 28, 2002

I was in London over the weekend for Workshop. Visited Gavin on Saturday evening - he intercepted me on Tooley Road before I got to his flat. Weird feeling, meeting your own flesh and blood in the middle of this dark, howling, urban wilderness. We wandered over to this pub in Bermondsey, sat in an otherwise empty upstairs room with Gavin's studenty friends John and James, with this fantastic view over the river, listening to increasingly improbable drinking stories. Then back to the flat with a Chinese takeaway. Nice flat on Jacob Street, in a sort of 80's conservation area, all yuppy warehouse conversion effect. Nice flat only saved from descending into squalid undergraduate hell by presence of Ruth, Steve's nice girlfriend. At this point the 20-odd years Gavin has got on me started to tell. The boys all went off to the pub again while I deflected a guilt-trip from Gavin's flat-mate Steve about not entertaining me (not your problem Steve, this is between me and my so-called son) before going to bed. In Gavin's bed - allegedly clean sheets but not convinced. Eventually nearby generator stopped, enabling sleep until woken in small hours by sound of retching from bathroom. Ah, they're back, I thought......
Michael Barrish has resolved to join the rest of us bloggers, and write only garbage.

Friday, October 25, 2002

I knew I should have done something about that wasp nest under the kitchen roof.

Now they have found their way indoors, and my life is sliding towards some sort of Hitchcockian nightmare. Every morning when I come downstairs there are one or more groggy wasps staggering around or angrily dying somewhere. And every morning there are more of them....

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

It's always exciting to discover a completely new kind of nimrod. So I'm proud to present - previously unknown to science - the pylon nimrods! Have a look at their Pylon of the Month website, with such glorious photo captions as this:

Midland Electricity Plc's PKW 77 provides an oasis of beauty in an otherwise rather charmless Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire industrial estate.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Sixty years ago this evening, the massive artillery bombardment that heralded the battle of El Alamein began. There's a good account by Richard Holmes at BBCi.

El Alamein was the culmination of two years of desperate and not very successful fighting, when Britain and the Commonwealth, alone in Europe, and for a time alone in the World, with sheer bloody-minded obstinacy stood against the evil of fascism. I'm proud of our record in the early years of World War 2, even though I wasn't born at the time. And I'm proud too that Britain is standing alongside America in the current crisis, when again there is an evil death-cult, armed and determined to snuff out our civilization, to resist.
Weird and slightly demoralizing day at work yesterday. About a year after the division that I work for was created, we were finally moved to our new location where we could all sit together and start functioning as a team. The same day - the very same day! - we were summoned to a special meeting to be told that our division is be split up and downsized in a big company-wide reorganisation.

I've spent more than 20 years working for big organizations - why am I still surprised when this sort of thing happens?

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Considering James claims to be so keen on ASL, he is very excited by this opportunity to escape to something more playable:

Born of thirty years of gaming experience and an equal amount of frustration with dry-as-dust rules, Lock ‘n Load is all about fun, all about the experience.

Tired of games with books of rules? Sure you are; you have a life and so do we. Most of us aren’t college kids anymore. We’ve grown up and we have grownup responsibilities: a family, a career, a life. There just isn’t the time to wade through a bible of instructions before we play. Neither is it fun to spend huge hunks of your time researching an obscure rule.
Where do I sign? Eric Raymond's Draft for an Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto:

IN GRAVE KNOWLEDGE that the state of war brings out the worst in both individual human beings and societies, we reject the alternative of ceding to the world's barbarians the exclusive privilege of force.

(via Steven den Beste)

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

In a couple of weeks or so I will be here, or possibly here. Fantastic. It will be great to leave the British autumn (and the Internet) behind for a while.....
Several negative comments about the new layout, so back to the old look (for now). William missed the little dice, and James got confused about which day was which. I should have remembered that nimrods are a naturally conservative bunch. Here is what the new look looked like if you are curious.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Time to try a new look. It's one of Blogger's built-in templates, so it feels like a capitulation somehow - the old layout may have been lack-lustre, but at least it was mine. I'll see how this feels for a few days, then maybe tinker with it some more. Feedback requested.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Having coffee on Saturday morning with Nick and Ann his girlfriend. Nick and I are explaining to Ann what a weblog is - it's like an online journal where you talk about things that interest you or what's going on in your life.

Ann is slightly horrified. All straight-faced and innocent, she says, "Oh! I don't think I would like to expose myself on the Internet."
Aaaah! Isn't it cute!

I have been wondering if there are any good travel games I could take to play with my friend Fiona on the plane to Cape Town in a couple of weeks time. Would have to fit on those little tables in Economy Class. Thanks to rec.games.board I have been made aware of Travel Settlers. Doesn't it look great? Unfortunately Settlers is not much fun with only two players.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Waterloo by Phalanx games is due to be released some time in October. Euro-game production standards, mounted map, big colourful counters, card driven play, simple rules, short play time. Sounds ideal.... hard to believe Richard Berg is behind this.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

World War II - Prisoners of War - Stalag Luft I (via Ken Layne). This site is engrossing, lots of photos, artwork and eye-witness accounts.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Five of us met last Saturday to play The Napoleonic Wars. It was fun watching Nick (as France) storming through Austria and getting to Moscow in 1807. I got Wellington into Madrid but disappointingly the Spaniards refused to submit. Then general stinginess about cards among the rest of us left Nick getting a lucky game-end at that point for a crashing victory.

But there was an argumentative atmosphere around the table, for some reason. Perhaps it was me, but I think I'll be taking a rest from multi-player games for a while. A few quiet 2-player wargames with a civilized opponent might restore my faith in the Way of Nimrod.....
A terrific essay on Jonah, keying this Bible story firmly into our contemporary struggles (via Relapsed Catholic, who else?):

Suffering from sin forces us to harden our hearts. That really is a real tragedy of 9/11. Al-Qaeda and all its sympathizers have hardened my heart. I studied Islam for years under a beloved professor who converted to Islam from Christianity. My fellow students were mostly Muslims, and they were all, without exception, wonderful people. Now, when I think of Islam, I think of people rejoicing at the deaths of thousands of innocent people. I want to condemn Ninevah, not see it saved. I have issues. Legitimate issues.

Friday, October 04, 2002

Played Frag with John and Scott (yes Scott! remember him?) on Wednesday. Got fragged repeatedly, mostly by John. The game has slightly tacky production values, but manages to reproduce the Quake deathmatch experience uncannily accurately - running round in circles, grabbing weapons and med-kits, getting shot by people you never even saw coming.

A boardgame simulating a computer game? Weird, but there's another on the way - Sid Meier's Civilization the boardgame.
Andy Mallory has pointed me to this amazing resource for anyone interested in World War 2 military history, especially from the wargamer's perspective. It's a detailed description of Battalion Organisation for all the major armies involved. There's also some excellent material on infantry tactics, which I intend to read carefully before I ever play Up Front! or Squad Leader again. An amazing labour of love.
Create your own personalized Monopoly set! (via Jeff Jarvis)

Thursday, October 03, 2002

And now WebTrends have pulled their free stats service. They announced this with an email that told me how important their customers are to them. Yeah right. Yes I know I wasn't paying for this service, but this is my lonely grouchy week while I get used to Phil's departure - so I'm entitled to grumble. I suppose I will have to sign up for BlogSpot Plus now. At least now I can edit my template easily without worrying about screwing up the WebTrends JavaScript. Time to clear out my links list perhaps.....

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Well I didn't win or even get shortlisted. <sourgrapes>And I'm not at all convinced by the merits of the winner.</sourgrapes> But take a look for yourselves:

And the winner is... a duck. A Scary Duck to be precise: Alistair Coleman's witty, irreverent blog has beaten 300 rivals to take the title of Best British Blog 2002 and claim the prize of £1,000.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

As a final night out together, Phil and I went to see The Taming of the Shrew at Salisbury Playhouse on Saturday night. It was a wonderful production, and when Kate made her last speech, you could have heard a pin drop:

Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks, and true obedience-
Too little payment for so great a debt.

It sounded just so outrageously un-PC, and yet so heart-tuggingly beautiful. There were a few nervous giggles, as if people were expecting the thought police to burst in at any moment. "Is this legal? Surely you're not allowed to say such things these days? But it is Shakespeare, I suppose that makes it alright."
On Sunday I packed Phil's belongings into the car and drove him down to Exeter University. After the initial shock of student lodgings (I remember that feeling well) he seems to be settling in very well and throwning himself wholeheartedly into the social whirl of Freshers Week. I'm jealous.

And bereft. After 22 years of more of less continuous hands-on parenting, that part of my life is over. OK I am still Gavin's and Phil's Dad, but no longer sharing a family home with them, cursing their mess, providing a taxi service, taking messages from girlfriends, clearing up the kitchen after them.....

Hmm, now I think about it, getting rid of all that doesn't sound so bad after all!