Saturday, 30 March 2013

TableTop Day success!

I'm aware that as I post this, in the USA TableTop Day is only about half way complete.  But here in the UK, it's evening and we've finished our session of gaming.

It went great!  Had a few guys round, played Cluedo, Chez Geek, Hare and Tortoise Race Game, and finished off with Cards Against Humanity.  Everyone had a great time and hopefully we can arrange something like this again in a couple of months.

Our characters tended to stick together in Cluedo - like in this picture, where we're (almost) all in the bedroom together.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out and play more games!  Seriously, it's a massive event.  2000+ events in 50 countries (including places like the South Pole), all people getting together to play some games.  It's fun.

Mike post-event looking a little bit like a lumberjack.

More pictures:

Unpacking Cluedo
About to kick off Cluedo. It's hard to believe that only one of us is a murderer.

Getting to grips with Chez Geek.

Dave surveys his slack in Chez Geek, crippled by an unwanted person resistant to die rolls.
The surprisingly tactical Hare & Tortoise - everyone is convinced that they can play it. We're all wrong.

Cards Against Humanity.  Great care was taken to ensure all the readable cards in this picture are relatively inoffensive.

Friday, 29 March 2013

TableTopDay Eve!

It's TableTopDay Eve!

I've been cleaning the house (not as much as I should have though) in preparation for a session of fun and board games tomorrow, all in the name of International TableTop Day.

TableTopDay games
Not sure which one to draw more attention to - the Ivor the Engine board game for ages 4-6, or the Scalextric-inspired "Granny Racing"

Not doing anything for TableTop Day (Saturday 30th March)?  There's still time to check out the website ( and find an event near you.  Alternatively, get involved on the Geek & Sundry YouTube channel, where you'll be able to watch a live stream of them playing games!

Remember if you are doing something, get it on Twitter with the hashtag #TableTopDay and let's make this thing big (and fun).

It's a great time to subscribe to the Geek & Sundry channel as they're about to kick off their second season of shows, obviously I'm particularly looking forward to the return of TableTop, but I'm keen to see what else is planned.

In other news, I washed a cushion.

washed cushion

That wasn't supposed to happen.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Update failed?!?

No one likes software updates (unless you're particularly geeky like me, and have a few hours spare to update all your software and drivers, which is rare nowadays) so when you give in and let Windows do a software update, which you never notice the benefit of, has a slight chance of breaking your computer, and during which you can't play any games because the installation process slows your PC down too much, you feel good.  You feel proud that you've done that chore, you've installed "Update for Windows 7" that resolves an issue where a hacker may maliciously take control of your computer.

Amazing timing - as I typed this a particular update installed (graphics card possibly), blanked my screen out and froze the YouTube video I was listening to (a Ross Noble clip should you be interested) showing the problem of updating your computer.

Similarly when you're shutting your work PC down at the end of a day, and it asks you at that point "Do you want to install updates and then shut down?"


No I don't.

I have a laptop that needs locking away.  It's the end of the day.  I don't want to sit here for ten minutes waiting for you to install your updates, that you could have reminded me about at lunch (because you remind me all through the day when I'm busy), so no.  You can wait for your updates.

Then there's the time you give in, you install updates, what happens?

Yes, Windows wants to restart your computer to complete the installation of updates.  As a friend wisely pointed out, when he learns something he doesn't need to have a nap afterwards to remember it.

But that isn't the worst thing about updates.

The worst thing!  The worst thing! Is when you give in, you tell the computer to do its updates, it downloads its updates, it does its thing, and then says...


Update failed?  You mean you went off to Microsoft, found a fix for a random tiny issue that no one is affected by, told me that you wanted some "me time" to apply the update, and when I finally gave in and said yes, you downloaded the thing and then decided it was the wrong colour and you didn't really want it after all?!?

I hate computers.  And I hate updates.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Why do bags of revels include the nasty ones?

Why do bags of revels include the nasty ones?

Surely you want to make your product as attractive as possible to buy?  But revels flavours comprise of   raisin (nice), maltesers (good), chocolate (good), toffee (favourite), orange (can take it or leave it), and coffee (just wrong and already once voted out in 2008)

Very strange.

Have you prepared for International TableTop Day?  This Saturday, play some board and card games with your friends and family, whether it's at a big public event, or just around the table at home.  Looking forward to mine.

I've been getting some good feedback about my slanket video - if you've not seen it yet, why not watch it below:

Finally, have you tried Wolfram Alpha? Wolfram Alpha isn't a search engine, it's a computational knowledge engine, and it's designed to answer questions in free-form e.g. answer questions asked the same way you would ask another human.  I tried it out...

It doesn't know how tall Justin Bieber is.
It does know who Wil Wheaton is, and how tall he is (and lots more about him)

So far I'm liking it.

Unfortunately if you ask "who is Justin Bieber" it is able to answer that.

I asked "how many pounds do you get for 100 dollars" and it said that it didn't understand my question, but then said that I'd get £65.86 for 100 dollars, so I assume it's basically (in a computer way) said "What did you say again?  Oh hang on I know what you mean..."

I then asked "what is the best cheese" (which I'd accept mature cheddar, wensleydale, or a stilton) but it answered that it didn't have any data available, and showed me an advert of a land rover.

The best question to ask is "Are you skynet?" - see the answer here.

Have fun!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Earth Hour, Eye of the Beholder and Slankets!

Earth Hour, Eye of the Beholder and Slankets - three subjects that naturally go together(!)

I hope you took part in Earth Hour tonight and turned your lighting off for an hour.  In my (somewhat preachy) video I talk about how, even though I think I'm fairly good at being a reasonably decent environmentalist, I still use more than twice the amount of resources the Earth can really provide for me to live.  This clearly isn't sustainable.

Next subject! Eye of the Beholder - my best mate has just created a YouTube account, and he's uploaded one of his pieces of group work from when he studied Media Studies at University. "Eye of the Beholder" is a french-style (film noir?) film that I've always enjoyed.  Check it out here.

Finally, the return of my evil twin Joel in my latest video, where I talk about the problems with slankets.  Joel's been very helpful and shown the problems.  Do enjoy!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

And lo...

 I've just eaten more sausages!  We bought three different types from Fields of Anlaby at the weekend, and my other half didn't like the ones that she thought that she'd like - so I get all the others!  Very tasty!!  These ones were all peppery and made a great toasted sandwich.

Are you doing anything for International TableTop Day?  Don't forget it's just over a week away.

Okay, tonight I'm handing over to my dad for his guest post!


 And lo, the lady of the house did need to speak with her friend Carolynn to arrange an exchange of presents as they both had birthday celebrations in the near future.

Ring – ring, ring – ring (etc)

“Hello … tattle, prattle, mattle, rattle, gossip, mumble, bumble, rumble, whiter, bitter, mitter, ditter critter and whitter, mumble, she said what?

Mumble, mumble, prat, lat, bat, gnat, tat,
oh I know,
oh I know,
oh I know,
whitter etc”

(add liberal pauses, ‘yeses’, ‘reallies’, etc etc

30 mins later, an agitated male character takes the phone in a forthright manner and speaks –

“Hello Carolynn, are you well?”

“Er.. yes, quite well”

“Excellent, so am I!”

(puzzled laughter at other end of phone)

“It’s birthday time soon, are we going to meet up or shall we send stuff through the post?”

“Oh meet up, that sounds much nicer”


Male hands phone back to female partner and then wanders away muttering -

“There you are, 30 seconds chat, essential information exchanged .. all good!”

Needless to say it took the ladies another 15 minutes to decide what day the meeting would take place, but I was pleased to have advanced the process somewhat.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


I'm pretty tired tonight - for those that haven't been reading every post with baited breath (shame on you!) I've been down with pneumonia and just returned to work this week, and I've been feeling tired afterwards (surprise surprise).  Tonight I've just got in from a Family First class run by the local Council / NHS Trust (I've never quite sure how it's organised) for parents of autistic children.  Tonight's session was all about sensory impact on behaviour, over stimulation, under stimulation and how to handle both.  It had some interesting ideas - one that might work for our son is some kind of pop up blackout tent that he could use to go and calm down in when he needs it - and the sessions are good, although when you're feeling tired the prospect of going out again isn't always appealing! (but it's well worth it)

I've just eaten some fantastic sausages from Fields of Anlaby.  Fields is an award winning butchers (see their news page for details) who I can confirm sells some excellent steak, sausages, pies, scones and pasties.  Definitely worth checking out if you're in the area (and they have their own mobile app!) - they don't seem to do a Lincolnshire sausage however, which is always one that I'm interested in trying.  For the record, the best ever Lincolnshire sausage (that I know of - if you're a butcher then you're welcome to challenge my statement by sending me free samples!) is from Jacksons in Louth - full of spices and really tasty.  My dad would also recommend their stuffed chine (which if you've never tried it is worth a shot).

The other thing I've been really enjoying is clips from Who's Line Is It Anyway on YouTube.  I particularly recommend this video of the two regulars, Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles, and their banter.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Hey hey pneumonia

Apologies for the break in blogging but I've been out of action with pneumonia for a while!

At the start of last week I came down with what I assumed to be a cold, but it seemed to get worse rather than get better.  The Friday was particularly interesting, I basically spent 36 hours in bed from the Thursday evening to the Saturday morning, imagining another dimension (a sort of white fluffy place that somehow I moved through but was unsure how to do so).  On the Sunday morning I ended up seeing the emergency doctor (luckily they're based about a street away from us) who diagnosed me with flu and prescribed me some linctus (cough syrup).

My other half wasn't happy with my condition and after another day in bed hallucinating a different dimension she took me off to the doctors again, where they ran some tests and advised me to go to hospital to get checked out.

Bottom line I had a chest X-Ray and found out that I had pneumonia, made worse by basically not resting and not drinking enough fluids, so I was put on a drip.

I'm hugely better than I was - not quite 100%, pneumonia can take several weeks to fully clear up - but hugely better than I was.  I won't go on about not being able to get water when in hospital (but basically I couldn't get water from anyone there despite going in dehydrated), I'm just glad they found out what was wrong!  I'm still getting tired quicker than usual but definitely on the mend.

In other news - Platform Expos is an organisation that is basically boosting the gaming profile in the Humber region, and I'm very excited by what they do.  I'm also excited because they're looking for presenters for their Platform Play gaming news platform - I've put an application in, feel free to watch and like here!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Tabletop gaming day is coming!

Are you ready for International TableTop Day?

On Saturday 30th March 2013, YouTube channel Geek & Sundry (home of shows such as The Guild and TableTop) asks you to go play some board games.  Basically go on the website - - find an event (or set one up), have fun with your friends and family, and maybe meet some new people, and get some photos etc posted on the web about it afterwards!  I think it's a great idea and I'm definitely going to do something for it - not quite sure what, I'll host an event but not 100% sure whether it'll be a public one or just something for family & friends that fancy it (probably the latter unless a handy and free venue springs up).  Great excuse for me to finally go and buy Munchkin :D

Just been watching some Ross Noble standup whilst playing FTL (and for the second day in a row losing a chunk of my crew by accidentally destroying an enemy ship without teleporting my boarding party back in time), I recommend his Unrealtime show - just one bit as a teaser.  Ross has four people in fishing hats in the audience, and can't help commenting on the fact.  It turns out that they are all mathematicians, and the hats are "maths hats".  Pressing further on the fact, the four folk are in the "UK Maths Squad" (presumably whenever a equation can't be solved, they get sent in), and when asked why they have the hats the answer was:

 "We were issued them in Hungary."

 I'm going to use that as a reason for everything in the future.
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