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Dom Mooney's Website

June 2007

Rain Stops Play.

I was going to play my first roleplaying game since Nathan was born tonight, but you may have noticed that it's somewhat wet. Initially, I'd thought that it wouldn't be a problem, even though it took me twice as long as usual to get home from work because the A58 was closed because of flooding.

However, the game was to be a virtual one, using Skype's conference call system. That's were it all went pear shaped! Along with the rain and flooding, power has gone out in a number of areas around Sheffield, including the house where two of my fellow players, Tom and Matt, live. This completely scuppered using the internet. Anyway, I guess we'll reschedule.

This was to be a big experiment for me in more than one way; I was planning to run the Savage Worlds game system for the first time tonight, with a one-shot scenario based on 1950's B Movies. I'd wanted to do this because I've committed to run a Savage 2300AD game conversion at Furnace in October. I wanted to get some familiarity with the system as well as have some fun!

The 2300AD game has had me getting ready early, and I've been preparing some miniatures for use in the game. It's the first time that I remember painting 'little soldiers' rather than spaceships etc. and I'm pretty pleased with the results so far:

2300 Marines

The shot is a macro one with the FZ-50, and shows the miniatures in progress.

Currently feeling: Slightly Disappointed.
Currently listening to: Maximo Park
Currently reading: 'Reign', an RPG by Greg Stolze

Legacies

Cover from Legacies
Legacies is a SF novel by Alison Sinclair. I'd been introduced to her as an author through her later novel 'Blueheart', which was a great inspiration for me with two RPGs, Traveller and Blue Planet. Recently I picked up both of her other novels, Legacies and Cavalcade. I found Legacies to be an exercise in frustration. Sinclair can write well, and the story has shades of CJ Cherryh (the isolation of the main character), Arthur C Clarke (Rendezvous with Rama) and a number of the other classics. However, it took nearly three hundred pages of a four hundred and nineteen page novel for the plot to finally kick into gear, and the whole story was made disjointed by the style deployed, ruining any flow.

The tale is a simple one – the colonists, our protagonists, have been settled for five generations on a world which is not especially hospitable. They arrived at the colony having fled Burdania, their homeworld, using an experimental stardrive because the politicians had wanted to shut down space exploration. The stardrive may – or may not – have caused devastation and widespread ecological disaster on Burdania as it did not function as planned. The colony is also home to another post-technological race with which little contact is held. The tale starts with the arrival of a mission back to Burdania to find out the fate of the homeworld. It then intermeshes chapter by chapter with the story of how the colonists finally came to decide to return to their origins. All this is seen through the eyes of Lain, an outsider in the colony who has suffered severe brain trauma in an accident in his youth which limits his ability to communicate normally.

I can't help but wonder is Burdania is a play on the word 'Burden', related to the colonists concerns about the unknown situation on their homeworld.

I did enjoy the book, but the failure to sustain any pace, and the hard work to get anywhere with it means that I would only give it a 3 out of 5 rating. I'll pass it on to my dad to try and thence to the charity shop or Bookcrossing.com as it's not a keeper.

Splashathon Success

Nathan successfully completed his Splashathon today, with a new underwater swim at his Waterbabies class. He's raised nearly £300 for charity (see link here) and was a happy little boy. If you want to donate some more you can follow this link.

Underwater at the Splashathon
This picture was taken during his swim! There are more on my Flickr page, or you can follow the photo album link as usual!

Currently feeling: Like a Proud Dad
Currently listening to: The Who
Currently reading: 'Reign', an RPG by Greg Stolze

DIY Retrospective

It's Saturday morning, and it feels appropriate to have a retrospective of where we got to with the DIY projects. We didn't get everything done we wanted to, but most of the key things happened, thanks to my father's help.

The completed list is as follows:
1. Security Light at back of house working.
2. Bannister repaired and reattached.
3. Nathan's video monitor camera wall mounted.
4. Nathan's picture put up.
5. Spare room measured to allow carpet to be moved.
6. Broadband and telephone extension relocated upstairs out of crawling child range.
7. Dining Room light changed for new fitting.
8. Garage light switch relocated by new pedestrian door.
9. Nathan's door hooks put up.

The things that didn't happen were;
1. Water butt connected (bought, installed, but needs the hose connecting to the downpipe).
2. Security Light #2 repaired (a full day of frustration with this one).
3. Bathroom extraction fixed (needs me to go in the loft).
4. Upper Storey Windows painted (probably happen later on this year).
5. Grout repaired on bathroom floor (couldn't get the right colour grout).
6. Repoint flags (thrown in as a last minute addition just in case we got there)

So all in all it was pretty successful, and a good use of four days. Nathan also enjoyed the attention from his grandfather!

All in all, I'm happy! Happy

Camino Updated to v1.5


I've just updated Camino, my browser of choice on the Mac, to version 1.5. It's Mozilla Firefox done with an Apple style GUI. Fast, stable and simple, it's long since displaced Safari as my favourite browser on the Mac. However, if you're on a Windows or Linux machine you'll need to stick with Firefox (same rendering engine, more clunk on the interface, but still excellent).

It certainly feels a lot faster, and adds the ability to add RSS feeds directly to my preferred RSS Reader, Newsfire, which is very useful.

More Pictures up

I've uploaded another selection of pictures to Flickr. You can get there by clicking directly on the picture, or by going via the photo-album.

Boo!
Nathan in his new high chair with Mr Butterfly!

There are also such joys as Nathan trying out solids...
Finishing off!

...and some more pictures of Wetherby.
Wetherby Bridge

All taken with the Panasonic FZ50, which is great fun to use!

DIY fun and games

I've been off the last three days on holiday. Or rather, I've been off these days learning the fun that it is to be a dad. Several of the other blokes I knew who had children used to joke about 'The List' which their better half maintained. Well, I'm just discovering about this phenomenon.

Over the last few months, a lot of things have built up around the house that need to be repaired, changed or generally attacked with hammer and screwdriver, not to mention power tool! Fortunately, my dad has taken a few days to come and help me go through the list. The first day was pretty successful, with a number of jobs, electrical or otherwise being completed. Happy

Day 2 was a bit of a disaster though; when we bought the house it had two security lights at the back which stopped working quite quickly. One of these we successfully fixed, twice, as the first unit we installed didn't work properly. The second unit, which used to have a switch board in the kitchen until it burnt out, was much more frustrating. We spent most of the day trying to track the cables for this, in the end concluding that either the continuity was shot, or there was a hidden sneaky feed that we couldn't find. It was very, very frustrating! Sad

We're hoping that Day 3 (repair the bannister and relocate the broadband to a custom built cubby hole) will prove a lot smoother!

Nathan's Splashathon



Nathan is going to carry out a 'Splashathon' to raise money for Tommy's on the 12th June 2007, when he will perform a new underwater swim. He's been practicing every week with his mum at Water Babies. If you'd like to help him raise his target of £200, then please make a donation here.

Currently feeling: Content
Currently listening to: BBC Radio 4
Currently reading: 'Legacies' by Alison Sinclair (just finished 'Prador Moon' by Neal Asher)

Thud! A Diskworld novel.


I've just finished a Terry Pratchett Diskworld book – Thud! – which I've had in the 'to-read' pile for far too long. Like many of his later books it relies on satire rather than one-liners and mirrors events in the real world as a starting point. This novel tells a tale of conflict between the Trolls and the Dwarfs of the Diskworld and how Commander Vimes of the City Watch is determined not to let it spill over into the city of Ankh-Morpork. Wrapped up in all this is the story of the Battle of Koom Valley, an event that the Dwarfs and Trolls both claim they won.

There is a hint at the sectarian violence in the Middle-East (and I guess Ireland too), with extreme deep-dwarfs who hide from the light under deep robes trying to incite the Ankh-Morpork dwarfs to rise up against the Trolls. And then there is Mr Shine ('Him Diamond!'), a mysterious Troll hero... Meanwhile the Watch tries to stand between it all and keep the peace.

This wasn't the best Pratchett I've read recently – Going Postal fills that niche – but I enjoyed it and wouldn't mind reading it again. The satire wasn't as sharp as usual but it was a fun tale. In summary, it was a humourous fantasy thriller that whiled some hours away...