Welcome to Delta Pavonis

Dom Mooney's Website

December 2008

Merry Christmas all!

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for all your kind wishes, cards and presents!

For those that are interested in such things, I've posted a review of one of the books that I've been reading here for your entertainment.

Dom, Jill and Nathan! xxx

Excited / A Little and Often / The Assault Continues?

I'm feeling pretty excited, as Nathan is coming home today. He's been with my parents for the last week whilst Jill and I have been getting over the lurgy. I'm pretty much recovered now, and Jill is nearly there too, except for a hacking cough with nothing to cough up. I've missed him lots, and loved being able to use iChat and Skype Video to see him during the week. I'm fully expecting to be shocked on how tall he looks, and on his vocabulary having grown. My mum and dad have been absolute troopers looking after him, and Nathan seems to have had a good time to.

I'm trying to get the writing habit back together at the moment, as I've far too many unfinished projects at the moment. The key for me to do this is to start to do a little and often. I guess it's the old 'eating the elephant one bite at a time' analogy (not that I really feel like eating Nelly)! I had a bit of a panic when I started up working on my Traveller scenario for BITS, This Fear of Gods, as whole sections of the draft had disappeared from the binder in Scrivener. Fortunately, I realised that the files were there in the program's trash folder, and that the cause was an artifact of the program that I use to synchronise the folder archive between the iMac and PowerBook. I think this confirms that I'm going to be completing the first draft on my laptop.

Heard something disturbing this morning on the home of the chattering classes, Radio 4. The Today Programme had an article about proposed changes to legal aid. These include means testing access to legal aid (hmm), the option to recover legal aid if the defendant is convicted (okay, can understand this) and the removal of the right to be awarded the legal costs back if the defendant wins the case. Now, the bit here that concerns me is the last one. This gives the state the route to maliciously prosecute – and financially ruin – someone, should they wish too. Another step down the slippery slope. I'll keep an eye on the BBC News site to see if this gets fleshed out, as there was nothing there when I looked just now.

I am a Storyteller Gamer

According to Robin Law's quiz, I am a storyteller gamer...

All these things I've Done...

Over the weekend, whilst I was laid up, i worked my way through Halting State, a near future SF novel by Charles Stross. It's very much in the style of a noir-thriller with cyberspace trimmings as originally launched upon the world by William Gibson in the seminal SF cyberpunk novel Neuromancer. Anyway, some of the discussion with the author at the end of the book set me thinking. Stross made an aside about how, by setting the novel in 2012 onwards, he could easily have characters who have never known a world without You Tube and MySpace, Facebook and GPS. I latched onto this, and starting thinking. On Monday, Nathan was playing with my dad and I before going to bed, and I started to think about the gulf in assumptions between my father's birth in 1941, mine in 1971, and Nathan's in 2007.

When my dad was born, assumptions were thus;

*The high end power technology was oil fired, and fast propulsion was via propeller driven aircraft (soon to be obsolete).
*Fast mass transport was by rail or ship.
*High end communication was radio (I'm too lazy to check if FM was deployed yet), and the telegram and telephone happily co-existed. Early black & white TV existed, but had been switched off during the war.
*Early computers were being born in Bletchley park to crack the Enigma and other codes.
*Theoretical nuclear power and weapons designs were in development.
*Spaceflight had not yet been achieved.
*Slide-rules and log tables are common.
*B&W film was the norm, and mass market photography was starting to be established

When I was born, assumptions had changed further:

*High end power technology was nuclear fission, with experimental fusion and fast reactors.
*Fast propulsion is by turbofan (aircraft) and jet (military).
*Fast mass transport is by car (petrol or diesel) or aircraft (and rail if you are on mainland Europe).
*High end communication is still radio, but phones have become ubiquitous. Telegram is dying. The first versions of what will become the internet are being developed by the military.
*Colour TV is about to be rolled out.
*Computers were mainframes or min-systems, with dumb terminals.
*Nuclear power is used globally, and weapons are causing tension between East and West.
*Man had landed on the moon, and NASA was working on a re-usable launcher (The Shuttle).
*LED electronic calculators had appeared, some with the tables in log books included.
*35mm film technology was the most common form of photography.

So, what did Nathan arrive to?
*High end power technology is nuclear fission, with experimental fusion and fast reactors. The use of renewables is increasing again.
*Fast propulsion is by turbofan (aircraft) and jet (military). Hybrid power-trains are being deployed on cars.
*Fast mass transport is by car (petrol or diesel) or aircraft (and rail if you are on mainland Europe).
*High end communication is still radio, but digital mobile phones have become ubiquitous and starting to challenge the landline network. The internet is everywhere, and also threatening to merge data and voice services through VOIP such as Skype.
*Colour TV is ubiquitous, and digital transmissions are becoming commonplace. Higher definition standards are being developed and the CRT is dying.
*Computers are commonplace, and laptops are becoming the preferred format. Convergence is occurring with a number of digital devices such as cameras, phones, laptops, PDAs...
*Nuclear power is in decline.
*The Shuttle is close to the end of its life with no defined replacement identified. The International Space Station is the main focus of manned space-flight, and long range observations by Hubble and probes are the focus for unmanned flight.
*Satellite navigation is now common.
*Digital photography is now the norm.

Some changes there!


We've all got the lurgy at the moment. Nathan started us off the end of last week with a vomiting virus (lovely!) which resulted in Jill and myself running on a series sleep deficit. I then joined in on Friday night, having spent the day looking after the sick little man, with a fever and tight chest and vicious cough. I limited through the weekend and, somewhat foolishly, went into work on Monday when my mum and dad were here with Nathan. I regretted it by the time I got in, and decided that I wasn't going back into work the next day at least and would work from home if I felt okay. Anyway, got back to find that Nathan had decided to develop a cough and cold too, having been clear of bugs for perhaps 12 hours. Anyway, Tuesday saw the pair of us at the Doctors who diagnosed me as having bronchitis (and being told that I shouldn't be in work for the week) and Nathan as having 'yet another' virus!

Jill had also left us a note when she went out saying she was feeling like she had the same thing as me. She saw the Doctors late afternoon, and they confirmed she had a chest infection too. So, as I write this, Jill is sleeping it off having been sent home by her boss, and Nathan and I are sitting on the sofa, wrapped up well, and watching children's classics on the TV. Trumption, at the moment.

So it's very much the 'House of the Lurgy' with Lemsips all round for the adults, and Calpol for the small one. Normal service should be restored at some point!