Monthly Archives: August 2012

August 2012 Round-up

Here we go again with the ever-popular, eagerly-awaited monthly thingy.


August 1: 227.2 pounds (16 stone 3.2 pounds, 103.1 kg)
August 31: 226.4 pounds (16 stone 2.4 pounds, 102.7 kg)

That’s a small drop of 0.8 pounds (0.4kg), which isn’t a lot, but it is a step in the right direction for once.


I’ve been behaving moderately well. Need to keep that up.


After a long hiatus, I managed to start walking to work this week. Must keep that up, too.


It’s been a bit of a low posting month for no readily apparent reason. This report brings the August total to 50, which isn’t bad…


Errr, not a lot to say this month. Not so many pictures taken, not a lot else to report.

Weight and Stuff Report – 31 August 2012

Up a wee bit today, but still an overall improvement. I walked to work for the third day in a row, which is the best I’ve done there in a very long time. Here’s the entertaining[1] evidence:

Walked to work

Walked to work

As August creaks to a close, it looks like the summer, such as it was[2] is over – it was distinctly chilly this morning, so much so that my heating kicked in. Mutter.

Today’s picture is of a canal boat at Pontymoile Basin:

Red Tailed Finch

Red Tailed Finch

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/100s
Focal length: 45mm
ISO: 100
Taken: 26 August, 2012
Location: 51° 41.7501′ 0″ N 3° 1.525′ 0″ W

Weight and Stuff Report – 30 August 2012

Hmm, down just a teeny bit today, but as it’s the lowest my weight’s been for a while, that’s pretty good. When I got up this morning, it was raining heavily enough for me to be quite sure I wouldn’t be walking to work, but by the time I was ready to leave, it had dried up nicely, so I walked in for the second day in a row. And unlike yesterday, I remembered to stop the Garmin app when I got there, so I can present the actual evidence:

Walked to work

Walked to work

Today’s picture is another one from the transport rally. I’m showing my age here, but I remember seeing police cars just like this when I was growing up in Cardiff.

Panda Car

Panda Car

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/9
Shutter speed: 1/200s
Focal length: 65mm
ISO: 100
Taken: 26 August, 2012
Location: 51° 46.708′ 0″ N 3° 6.6489′ 0″ W

Science, Drugs, Spirits, and Irony – L Dean Webb

Disclaimer: I’ve known Dean Webb for mumble years, in an on the internet way of knowing. We’ve done email, though not so much in recent years.

Anyway, mumble years ago, quite early this century, I read some of Dean’s fiction online. Most of what I recall reading at the time showed the clear influence of HP Lovecraft, which is the sort of thing that appeals to me[1], which is probably why I recall reading them. Well, that and a character by the name of Cthulhu Jones who popped up here and there…

So, when Dean announced he’d published a book of his short fiction on Amazon, I was more than happy to buy it, and indeed read it. There’s a nice range of stuff here – some inspired by HP Lovecraft, but with a nice twist, some inspired by nothing more than Dean’s own way of looking at things, which makes for interesting reading, and more than a few laughs.

I won’t talk about every story in the book – but here are a few that particularly appealed to me:

On the Unanticipated Consequences of My Friendship with Nate – Time travel can get very awkward, especially if multiple timelines come into it. It can also be very funny, though not necessarily for the people involved. Nicely done.

The Frog’s Promise – You know all those fairy stories which involve princesses kissing frogs? Dean takes that idea, runs with it, jumps up and down on it, twists it, and generally has a whole lot of fun with it. I don’t want to tell you more, because that would spoil the fun, wouldn’t it?

Smackdown – OK, this one works for me on several levels. It involves a sort of detective who just happens to be called Dean Webb, who has to deal with troublesome fictional characters[2]. It also sees the return of one of Dean’s phrases that I’ll never forget[3]. And Cthulhu, so there’s something for everyone. Great fun, and more of the same would be a Good Thing, so it’s a good job that Ship of Fools is a sequel. Huge fun, and even more would be welcome.

Then there’s the series of stories about the inventions of Dr Negron-Omikon, which tend to have unforeseen consequences, in the finest tradition of the kind of pulp sf I grew up on, and which hardly anyone writes these days. Good stuff.

And finally, I’ll mention Laser Gun Training, Day One,  a fine tale of paranoia and lunacy in a society that Big Brother could only have dreamed of creating.

There’s more, of course – eighteen stories in all, mostly short and to the point, and pretty damn good. One or two didn’t push my particular buttons, but they may well push those of people whose taste doesn’t run to fictional characters causing trouble, not to mention Great Old Ones.

It’s well worth a read, and it’s available from Amazon in the US, the UK, and quite likely other places too. US purchasers have the option of a dead tree version as well as the Kindle one. And if you don’t have a Kindle, there are free apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, and the Kindle Cloud reader works in Chrome.

[1] See my recent and not so recent Charlie Stross reviews.
[2] In a way that’s quite different from Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series which I mentioned recently
[3] All over it like a donkey on a waffle[4]
[4] Which makes as much sense as most of my interactions with Dean, come to think of it

Weight and Stuff Report – 29 August 2012

Oooh, down again today, good stuff. As it says above[1], I walked to work this morning. Hold on, I’ll say that again: I walked to work this morning, for the first time in months. I was finally persuaded that I really needed to get some exercise not so much by my weight, but the fact that on Friday, when I walked the short distance from the Bristol office to the station, my heart started pounding rather heavily, which isn’t quite right for a short walk. I’ll try to keep this up…

Today’s picture is of a couple of engines at the Blaenavon transport rally. The diesel helps a steam engine that’s at the other end of the train by giving it a bit of a push on a steep gradient. Well, I think that’s what’s happening, anyway.

A slight contrast

A slight contrast

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/100s
Focal length: 28mm
ISO: 100
Taken: 26 August, 2012
Location: 51° 46.698′ 0″ N 3° 6.6521′ 0″ W

And in a belated update, here’s the walk:

Walk to work

Walk to work

[1] Assuming the thingy that inserts that information is still running when you read this at some arbitrary point in the future

Weight and Stuff Report – 28 August 2012

Well, after nearly a week away, my weight is down a bit. Can this last? Stay tuned for the next exciting episode to find out! Or something like that, anyway.

I eventually got home not long after 8pm, after that somewhat delayed train journey. Back to normal work tomorrow, or as normal as it gets, anyway.

Here’s a picture of one of the steam engines at the Blaenavon transport rally.

No 18

No 18

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/40s
Focal length: 35mm
ISO: 100
Taken: 26 August, 2012
Location: 51° 46.4504′ 0″ N 3° 6.2966′ 0″ W

Ever so slightly delayed, mutter

Following last week’s Bristol visit, and that nicely relaxed weekend in Wales, I’d decided to head for home relatively early, getting the 11:30 train from Bristol, which would have got me to Newcastle for abut 4:30. I’d originally thought I might have a couple of hours for touristy things in Bristol, but decided to leave that for a future visit. But quite early this morning, I got an email on my work BlackBerry telling me about problems in Bristol. It appeared that the Bristol office couldn’t see the rest of the network, which is a Bad Thing because their email lives in Newcastle. Worse still, they had no working internet access.

So, after exchanging a few emails, I knew I had to pay them a visit. I was changing trains in Bristol anyway, so it wasn’t a huge problem, other than the little matter of me having booked a day’s holiday, but never mind.

Got to the office, and checked it out. I’ll spare you the technical details, but basically, the two thingies didn’t want to talk to each other, despite a colleague in another office kicking the main one and me kicking the Bristol one. Several times.

I managed to persuade the box to let them have internet access, which also gave them email through Outlook Web Access, but the proper link will have to be fixed by our supplier.

All this meant I ended up catching the later train that I’d originally planned to get, so at least I had no trouble getting my reserved seat. But the train is running late, mutter, so I’ll be getting home much later than I planned. Mutter, mutter, mutter,

(Had to wait before saving while the train went through a tunnel)

Doctor Who – Pond Life, Part 2

Ooooh, nice – today’s mini-episode is available for your viewing pleasure:

Or pop over to the official BBC page.

Oh, and this post comes to you from a train. Just thought I’d mention that. Have I mentioned that tethering my iPhone provides a rather good internet connection for my MacBook Air? No? Well, it does. Just thought you should know that.

Stuff Report – 27 August 2012

Today’s weightless[1] report comes to you on a typical bank holiday Monday. Yes, it’s been raining all day, making it a good day to not go anywhere, so that’s what we[2] did.

Today’s picture is of a bus turning up a wee bit late. About thirty years late, by the look of it…

There'll be another one along in a minute

There’ll be another one along in a minute

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/160s
Focal length: 105mm
ISO: 100
Taken: 26 August, 2012
Location: 51° 46.7121′ 0″ N 3° 6.6346′ 0″ W

[1] OK, OK, I’ll stop that soon
[2] My brother[3] and I that is
[3] Hi Geoff :wave:

Doctor Who – Pond Life, Part 1

Woo Who!! While we still have to wait until Saturday for The Asylum of the Daleks, there is some new Who available on the BBC website right now. The first mini episode of Pond Life shows the Doctor letting the Ponds know what he’s been up to since he last saw them. Nothing too dramatic, obviously…

Doctor Who – Pond Life

Or if that doesn’t work where you are, watch it here: