Monthly Archives: November 2012

November 2012 Round-up

What? Another month over? Must be time for this, then


Away from my scale at both ends of the month, so the best we have is:

November 6: 218.8 pounds (15 stone 8.8 pounds, 99.2 kg)
November 25: 220.8 pounds (15 stone 10.8 pounds, 100.2 kg)

That’s a rise of 2 pounds (0.9kg), which I’ll blame on random wossanmenesss.


All this hotel living must be taking a toll on me…


No walking to work this month, but I have done a few reasonable lunchtime walks.


A fairly quiet  month, with this report bringing the total to a moderately low 46.


I have been having fun with my Fuji X100 – an interim report on it will follow at some point.

Anno Dracula: Dracula Cha Cha Cha – Kim Newman

This is the third in Kim Newman’s vampire series, following on from Anno Dracula and The Bloody Red Baron. Moving past an alternative second world war in which the allies did a deal with Dracula to ensure the defeat of Hitler, we arrive in 1956. Dracula is living in exile in Italy, and is about to marry another vampire elder from an ancient, if impoverished dynasty.

Everyone who’s anyone, living or undead is in Rome for the festivities, or for their own reasons. And someone is killing vampires with extreme force. There’s lots of adventure, lots of action and the usual welter of allusions. There’s the usual selection of real and fictional characters, including a British spy called Hamish Bond, not to mention a dodgy American who would appear to be Tom Ripley…

It’s just as much fun as the previous books, and you definitely want to read it. As with those books, this new edition comes with some extra features, most notably a new novelette which brings us up to 1968, and involves murder, Enoch Powell and yet more allusions, including more TV coppers than you might believe. George Dixon seems to have moved from Dock Green, but is as nice as ever. And bringing the allusions up to date, there’s even a vampire policeman called Herrick, which I’m pretty sure is a nod towards the excellent Being Human.

I’m declining to give away plot details, as that might spoil your fun. Watch out for the next book, which is a shiny new one called Johnny Alucard.

Cardiff Bay

This is a view of the bay which I rather like…

Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay

Camera: FinePix X100
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/750s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 30 November, 2012

Stuff Report – 30 November 2012

While my brother went to work, I had a nice day out in Cardiff. Got some pictures in the city centre, then took the train to Cardiff Bay, where I took some more pictures, despite the best efforts of the X100’s battery to die[1].

I had a coffee and a toasted teacake in the cafe in the Millennium Centre, then had a look inside the Pierhead Building, where there are some exhibitions, short films to watch and some quite lovely architecture of the “bonkers Victorian” variety. After that, I went into Senedd, home of the Welsh Assembly. You have to go through airport-style security to get in, but once you’re in you can wander around the public parts of the building, including a gallery where you can look down on the Assembly Chamber.

I got a guided tour (just me and Gareth, the enthusiastic and well-informed guide), which as the Assembly doesn’t sit on Fridays, included a visit to the quite splendid Chamber, with its amazing light-funnelling roof.

More pictures to follow, but for now here’s disturbing evidence of the CIA’s presence in Wales[2]:

The CIA, Wales

The CIA, Wales

Camera: FinePix X100
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/170s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 30 November, 2012

[1] Note to self: remember to recharge more often
[2] Or possibly not

Stuff Report – 29 November 2012

Yay, moving day!

After the usual hotel breakfast, we shut down all the Bristol kit and loaded into a car for the short trip to the new office, where we got on with the fun job of making it all work again. Oddly enough, this all went quite smoothly, with only moderate tweaking needed to make the toys behave.

I left at about 3:15 or thereabouts to collect my suitcase from the hotel and go to the station for my slightly long weekend in Wales, leaving Aaron to finish off, tidy up and deal with any lingering issues tomorrow morning. I’ll be back there on Monday for a few hours before going home again.

I’ve got a slight lack of pictures at the moment, so err, here isn’t today’s picture. Maybe more tomorrow….

Stuff Report – 28 November 2012

After the fun of getting phones installed yesterday, I had a quiet day to catch up with email and other bits and bobs today.

This evening, Aaron arrived in Bristol after an, err, interesting journey from Newcastle, which involved several more trains than normal, not to mention rather more time than it should. A large dinner at Las Iguanas seemed like a good idea, so that’s what we did.

Here’s a cabinet thingy before most of the toys get installed:




Camera: FinePix X100
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/30s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 3200
Taken: 27 November, 2012

Stuff Report – 27 November 2012

Had the usual hotel breakfast, then set off for the office. Loads of kit was shifted to the new office, and I got to work, putting things in a thing and plugging other things into other other things.[1]

Our supplier’s person arrived to do his things, which mostly worked apart from the bit BT got wrong, so we enjoyed a good curse BT session, as is traditional. We also discovered that we are both photographers[2], which was cool. We showed each other some of our work, which was even cooler.

With all that done, I went back to the current office and caught up with the email I hadn’t had time to look at earlier. Then I came back to the hotel, where this seemed like a good idea:

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

Camera: FinePix X100
Aperture: ƒ/2.8
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 27 November, 2012

I’m due for a relatively quiet day tomorrow, then Thursday is moving day. Fun. Or something.

[1] Look, nobody wants the technical details, do they?
[2] Errr, well, I knew I was one, and I’m pretty sure Steve knew about himself already, so I should probably rephrase that sentence, but that would require too much concentration at this point.

Stuff Report – 26 November 2012

Yes, it’s back to the weightless reports again. It doesn’t seem that long since I got back from London, but here I am, back in Bristol already. Well, I say “already”, but it was a bit of a long journey. There’s been a wee bit of rain around the country, which led to flooding in parts of Yorkshire, which led to my train not only having to go veerrryyy slooooowwwwllly at times, but also having to wait for other slow trains in front to get through. This reflection-affected picture shows the view from the window in a rather bad way:

It's wet

It’s wet

Camera: iPhone 4S
Aperture: ƒ/2.4
Shutter speed: 1/20s
Focal length: 4.28mm
ISO: 160
Taken: 26 November, 2012
Location: 54° 37.26′ 0″ N 1° 34.74′ 0″ W

Either that, or it’s a previously unknown impressionist painting.

That would have been bad enough, but more fun was to follow. The train was supposed to get a new crew at Birmingham New Street for the rest of the journey to Bristol[1], but what with the weather and the delays, the crew was in the wrong part of the country, so the train had to give up at Birmingham. So I then had to wait for the next train to Bristol, which oddly enough was only a little bit late. So I got to the hotel at around 8:30, which was about 90 minutes later than planned.


Oh, and I forgot to clip my Fitbit on before leaving home, so activity tracking will not be happening…

[1] It normally goes to Penzance or some such place, but that part of the country has apparently floated away and is expected to arrive in Florida at some point

Weight and Stuff Report – 25 November 2012

Oooops, up again today. And it was a singularly inactive day as the step count demonstrates.

Here’s a bridge:

Tyne Bridge

Tyne Bridge

Camera: FinePix X100
Aperture: ƒ/4
Shutter speed: 1/1200s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 10 November, 2012
Location: 54° 58.011′ 0″ N 1° 36.407′ 0″ W

Terry Pratchett – A Blink of the Screen: Collected Short Fiction

Terry Pratchett is of course best known for the extensive Discworld series, and other novels. But somehow, between all the books, he has managed to write some shorter pieces. Some of these were written for anthologies, some for various publications, making many of them hard or impossible to track down.

Well, here they are. The first half of the book consists of non-Discworld stories, including some from very early in Terry’s career (the first having been published when he was 13). These are a bit of a mixed bag – some clearly better than others, and a couple which were later recycled into more developed works (there’s a Gnome story that’s an early version of the Bromeliad trilogy, and what amounts to a first draft of the Long Earth). There’s lots of Terry’s trademark humour to enjoy, and a deal with the Devil that works out quite nicely…

But it’s the second half that most readers will be interested in. This contains a nice selection of Discworld Stories, including some of the popular characters – Granny Weatherwax makes a very welcome appearance, Cohen the Barbarian meets some Trolls, and there is much more besides.

Each piece has a short introduction from Terry, and well, you’re going to read it anyway, aren’t you?

If you haven’t read it already, get on with it!