Mar 20

Happy Spring Equinox

Happy Shunbun no Hi/Higan no Chu-Nichi/Ostara/Norouz/Spring Equinox/or Whatever you Call it…

But wait! There’s more.

This Spring Equinox, aka 1st Day of Spring also coincides with a Super Moon!

A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth.

Yes, Happy Supermoon Spring Equinox Day!!

But Wait there is even more.

Not only is the Spring Equinox coinciding with a Supermoon but there is a full solar eclipse.

Yes, Happy Supermoon powered Solar Eclipse Spring Equinox Day!!!!

Enjoy it people these do not come around very often!

2015-03-20 09.25.29

Watching the Eclipse, Unfortunately Smart Phones really do not work at taking photos of solar eclipses.

P.S.

A little old lady popped into the office just as the eclipse was ending, and while she was dealing with a support guy she mentioned “All those people waiting for the eclipse, and it never came!” so we handed her a set of glasses and pointed her at the sun. She was amazed!

 

Mar 17

Bucket List

Day 34 - Bucket Listbucket list
a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.

I was watching an episode of Rizzoli & Isles the other day and they were discussing “Bucket Lists” and by the end of the episode both the named characters had created a list of fun things they wanted to do.

This got me thinking, We all consider “Bucket Lists” as something dying people think about (for example the film Bucket List) but why wait until you are ill, feeble or dying to start? Why not have a list early on, and give yourself years to work your way crossing off items.

So I have decided to create a Bucket List for myself, and to start crossing off those things so that I can die happy, Or happy-ish as I know I will never complete my Bucket List as item 1 is “Live Forever”

This is where you come in Constant Reader, I am taking suggestions for my List. So feel free to comment any suggestions, or hit me on Twitter/Facebook/etc with your suggestions. I want a nice long list! And preferably more sensible suggestions than my current list.

  1. Live forever
  2. Take over the World
  3. Be Awesome
  4. Make Bucket List
Mar 09

Challenge – A Paper

One part of my 2015 New Years Resolutions/Challenges was to write a Paper. The actual overall theme of this years challenges is “Creativity” and one of the sections was to write a none-fiction, sensible paper.

That was the basic original idea, but in the manner of “no plan survives contact with the enemy“, this basic idea soon changed. There were two of us planning on writing Papers, but as we could not think of a genre or topic, Pete (The other one) decided to ask Twitter, and someone in particular. Now that person suggested that since he was writing a paper/essay for a newsletter, we could all write one on the same subject, and then compare papers and discuss. Which was a great idea.

The only downside was this suggestion came from a Person who writes several papers a year, gives lectures all the time, and even publishes academic books. So this kind of put the pressure on a bit, and as the only one who had never written a paper since I was Electrical/Electronic Engineering in Uni and we never did papers, I really felt the pressure.

The completion deadline was the beginning of March, and as that date got closer the worry increased, “Would it make sense“, “Would it be any good“, “Would it just be gibberish“, “Had I just written ‘I am a Fish’ 100 times“?

Well, The deadline came, My Paper was emailed out, and no one laughed, no one pointed out any mistakes, no one suggested psychiatric help. And I am happy with the way it turned out. I would like to add a bit more to it, since there was some areas I forgot to cover that I wanted to. But for my first ever attempt I am happy with it.

And better still, One part of the 2015 challenges is now complete!

Mar 05

World Book Day 2015

Today is “World Book Day” What is “World Book Day?” I hear you ask.

World Book Day is a celebration! It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

And to help Celebrate and Promote this Idea to get more people into that greatest of hobbies “Reading” I have decided to make some of my work FREE.  That’s right, 100% FREE for the next few days. So shoot over to Smashwords, Use the code RW100 at checkout to get the following books for free (Offer good through March 07, 2015)

Just click on picture to go to the offer.

Book-Night-WatchBook-Burglar-The-BeastBook-Pendragons-Poetry-Prose

Feb 28

RIP Leonard Nimoy

Growing up watching Star Trek, my two favorite characters were Spock & Scotty. The Scientist and the Engineer. It’s sad that we have now lost Spock, who showed a generation that Brains and Intelligence were powerful and worthy traits.

It show’s how loved a character and actor he was, that when they decided to reboot Star Trek, and have a whole new cast of actors playing the characters in a different way. Leonard Nimoy’s Spock still made an appearance, because even though the universe of Original Trek no longer existed, Nimoy was so loved his character survived it.

So where ever you are now Mr Nimoy, know you still exist in the minds & hearts of your fans,

I may never have been lucky enough to meet him in real life, but to quote the man himself.

“I have been . . . and always shall be . . .your friend.”

Live Long and Prosper

Final Tweet

We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most….human.

James T Kirk eulogizing Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

one by one

Feb 20

CARmic Justice

Yes I know it’s spelled Karmic, but why miss out on the opportunity of a pun ;-)

 

Last night on my commute home, I came upon a long straight stretch of road that for once was clear of all traffic in either directions (myself excluded) So I got to travel along at the speed limit <cough>slightly over</cough>. There I am, happily travelling along when WHOOSH!!!

cartoon-cars-clipart-2

A black sports car goes flying past me at least 20 mph over the legal limit, and heading for an unbelievably twisty, winding mountain pass at a seriously unsafe speed. I barely have time to shake my head at the stupidity when a red sporty BMW comes whooshing up as well, but due to oncoming traffic coming out the mountain pass, he has to pull in behind me.

NOTE: I think they were racing, which is stupid and dangerous on normal roads, but on Welsh country roads? which are very twisty and you can not see far ahead, and any bend could be hiding tractors, horse riders, sheep or cows, its fraking stupid!

After the oncoming cars pass, the driver of the BMW decides to overtake, but since we are now entering the pass he can’t, so instead he pulls back in behind me and tries to communicate with me. He flashes his headlights loads, then speeds up so his bumper is almost touching mine, and starts revving his engine with the clutch in to make it roar.

Alas, since I do not speak TrippleD (Dangerous Driving Dick)  I try my best to translate.

  • Flashing Headlight: If I recall the highway code, this means Danger? A Warning.
  • Bumper to Bumper: No idea, maybe he’s trying to hug me.
  • Revving Engine Like mad: Ah, my engine is going to fast?

OK, he is obviously telling me I am driving too fast and I need to slow down. So I do, right down to 30 mph. I believe I guessed the translation correctly as he stops flashing his lights and pulls back a bit. But he keeps doing the revving loudly thing, the poor thing much be worried I will loose control on a bend. SO even thought I am going really slow, I break for every bend, and go round them almost at a crawl.

What seems like hours later (Gods, it seemed to take forever to navigate the pass at a crawl) we reach the end, and my friend hugs me again by going bumper to bumper, then pulls out into the path of oncoming traffic forcing them to practically do an emergency stop, before he shot off up the road and out of sight.

“Gosh darn, that’s a bit dangerous” I announced

I did not expect to see him again, well maybe sticking out of a hedge, or upside down in a ditch. So imagine my surprise when a short while later I turned a bend and came right up behind the TripleD in the red BMW. Now double that surprise when I realise in front of him is the TripleD in the black sports car that blurred past me before the pass. They are both travelling along at a stupid slow speed, because in front of them…

Land-rover-mk1-

..Was a Farmer, driving a battered old Land Rover. And he was driving practically in the middle of the road blocking both lanes. Whenever a car approached from the other direction, he would pull back into our lane to let them pass before pulling back out to prevent the TripleD’s from overtaking.

I will not lie Dear Constant Reader. I may have given that old farmer a high5, and cheer, there may even have been a tear shed, over the utter brilliance. I felt a kindred spirit with that farmer. Alas I do not believe the TripleD’s understood the great carmic force, they just seemed to be very angry, or giving each other and the farmer hugs. As I said, I do not speak their language.

Drive Safe.

 

Feb 05

The Original Suicide Squad

I have recently been watching the odd episode of Star Trek (TOS) and it has occurred to me that, we may all joke about “Red Shirts” and how as soon as you see an unnamed character that they are going to die, but think about it for a minute.

These “Red Shirts” are the Security Members, the military part of the crew. They had training in combat, weapons, survival, etc.. Had to pass fitness tests that would probably be equivalent to the military ones today. And yet these trained soldiers, whose only role is security & combat get beaten up or killed by the simplest of things. In a landing party consisting of

  • The Captain (Ok, he is a hands on, fight them all kind of officer),
  • The Scientist (OK, he is an alien whose race is stronger and tougher than humans),
  • The Doctor (Who is older than the rest, spent years learning medical stuff so not much survival/combat),
  • The Engineer (OK he is a Scottish brawler type)

Now those four occupations Officer, Scientist, Doctor & Engineer normally need a high level of specialised knowledge. And to be the Head of that area means even more skill, knowledge & experience. SO not really much time for super fitness, weapon & combat training, or survival. Especially when compared to Soldiers whose only role is soldiering.

But there is more, They often take a female officer with them, Such as a Nurse, Captains Secretary, Lab Assistant,  And yet, when the bad stuff happens, these desk jockeys survive and the trained combat guys die.

Lets take 2 examples to look at this phenomenon.

Example 1: An armed security officer is escorting an old admiral (You know, takes a long time to get to that rank, and lots of sitting at desks) who has gone days without sleep, is hungry, tired, stressed to the medical station. The Admiral has other plans to decides to escape, and beats up the security guy who tries to stop him.

Example 2: (My Favourite so far) An away team beam down to a planet they describe as “Paradise” the team consists of, Captain, Scientist, Doctor, Secretary, Navigator (guy who plots course) and 3 Security guards. Now all three guards die, 1 gets shot by a flowers poison darts, 1 is struck by lightning, and the 3rd steps on an explosive rock and blows up. Bad luck right? but wait, the Scientist gets shot with more flower darts than security guy, gets hit by an identical lightning blast, and picks up a highly explosive rock, snaps it in two and throws it on ground, yet he lives.

So you have to ask yourselves, just why are the Security/Soldiers in the future so weak and pathetic?

Do they abhor violence so much, that to prevent any more wars they only let the weakest, most puny people join the military? and then give them no training at all?

Do they have strict moral rules on Suicide, so anyone who wishes to kill themselves is put in a red shirt? so those with incurable diseases sign up to be paper-clip fodder, and at least die in a none suicidal manner?

Did none of the writers ever ask these questions?

And why did Star Fleet not just fill its ships with old doctors & secretaries? That way they would not loose security personnel and basically be guaranteed to win every conflict they entered.

*Answers on a postcard please* or you could just leave your answer in a comment!

Jan 28

MEME – 7 interesting/uninteresting facts you may or may not know about me

I got hit with one of those FaceBook meme’s (Thanks @MaguirePete) and as I was posting the status update, it occurred to me that it would be a great excuse for a blog post.

But wait! Not only am I copying what I posted on Facebook here, for a limited time only I am also giving small explanations to my answers, Yes Dear Constant Reader, its the New and Improved set of answers I gave on Facebook, for no extra cost*1.

7 interesting/uninteresting facts you may or may not know about me.

1) I am Mentioned or Acknowledged in several Education books around the world.

For example: I have been acknowledged for my assistance in a book on Information Technology in the e-learning environment of Library services, I am mentioned along with my “Insanity Test” in a few Psychology Textbooks, and books on using comedy in dealing with mental illness. And My RLF stuff has been in several children’s books on Christmas, and in a couple of Brazilian schoolbooks on learning English (cos I iz do writ gud!) Not to mention the Papers and Dissertations I get credited in, Not bad for a waster really.

2) I was asked to join Mensa when I was 15

Not much to say about this. I sat one of their tests out of curiosity. Then spent a year getting multiple letters from them asking me to join. I never did join because they seemed too needy.

3) As a teenager I took part in an European wide NATO WarGames

I spent several years in the Army Cadet Force (They let me play with guns) and one year our weekend camp coincided with a large NATO exercise covering most of Europe. And as a treat, some of us were allowed to join in, albeit in a small way. I therefore got to spend an evening manning the Guard Post at the main entrance to a Military Camp, a job I would like to say I fulfilled to the best of my ability. I would like to say that, but at one point 4 soldiers approached the gate slightly drunk. I requested their ID because “War Games = High Security” and the back 2 pointed at the others and said “Its OK they are with us”, so I asked for their IDs only to have the 1st 2 say “Its OK they are with us”. I should have refused them entry, called for an real soldier and followed orders. But come on, I was a young teenager, they were BIG drunk soldiers. I did the only thing a kid in my position could do, I allowed them to bribe me and my fellow cadet guard with beer in exchange for looking the other way. So I took part in NATO WarGames, but I was bribed into neglecting my duty and breaching security.  GO ME!!!

4) I once failed a Computerised Personality Test at a Job Interview, it came back with “ERROR:”

I went for a job interview many years ago, and after the normal Greetings, Interview Questions, Q&A that you normally get at Job Interviews, I was asked did I mind sitting a Personality Test. I believe they were checking candidates had the right personality for the role. So I sat in a room, in front of a computer that asked me questions. I should point out there were no right or wrong answers, it was a how do you feel about X test. SO I sat it, said my goodbyes and left.  I got a call from them later that day asking could I come back in later in the week (Which I figured was good, a second Interview). When I returned I was informed that they wanted me to resit the personality test because of reasons they would not tell me until after. I figured it must have said I was not fully suitable for role, but because I interviewed good they were giving me second go. SO I resat test. And as I was leaving I asked “so why the retest?” which is when I was informed that my first test failed and basically responded “Error:” Yup, in a test with no wrong answers my result was ERROR.

5) I am not 100% sure of which day I was born on.

I have explained this in the past in the post One More than the Queen of England. but because TLDR;

It turns out that it was a very long and painful labor, and I was a home birth (a uncommon occurrence at the time). Also the Midwife was not that good, and forgot to fill in the forms at the time. She also banged my head repeatedly against the bed, but thats a different story. So basically everyone was tired, exhausted, and under belief that the midwife did her job. It was only later when it came time to register my birth they realised they were unsure of the date. My father, Mother & Nian (Grandmother) all believed different days.

6) I have won shooting competitions.

Does this need any further explanation? During my time in the Cadets I took part in, and won several shooting competitions. 

7) I have been invited onto TV Shows & Documentaries as an “Expert Guest” (But I decline because I’m shy)

I get a fair bit of emails from TV or Film Companies saying they are filming a Show/Documentary  on X and would I like to be on the panel of experts. I occasionally get similar ones from Radio or Magazine people as well. I can only assume my details are on some globally shared list? I mostly get them for things Geek, Goth or Vampire related. I keep all the requests in a folder, which I look at every now and then and think “oh the infamy I could have if I was not such a shy, retiring sort”

  1. Hidden costs may be added at time of shipping.