Meaningful employment!

Woo!

It took a bit of time, but I got there in the end! I’m back as one of the employed masses! I started at the University Campus Suffolk on the 7th of September as the Technician for the Computer Games Design course – which means I’m doing what I was doing at Lincoln but full time and with control of the labs and machines.

As such, life is currently pretty hectic – we’ve got building work going on where our labs should actaully be, so I’ve had to setup a temporary lab in another block so the students have somewhere to be taught, though it doesn’t have net access and it’s all very, very rough -we have 2 switches, well, 1 switch and a hub that are sat at opposite ends of the room with cables sprouting from them to provide us with a network while our projector sits on storage crates and projects onto a wall that contains a clock, coat hooks and the tops of a pair of taps.

Thankfully though, the end of the temporary setup is in sight (fingers and toes crossed) with our new labs hopefully being ready for us to get our gear into towards the end of next week, with students getting into them around the 12th.

Life is certainly interesting!

Unemployment

I’ve been without meaningful (well, any) employment since January of this year – becoming unemployed wasn’t entirely my own choice, but nor was I fired or made redundant. Instead I wasn’t earning enough to pay rent on a place for myself and my house mates were moving on, rather than become homeless I had to leave both my jobs and return to living with my mum temporarily.

Since then, I’ve applied for dozens of jobs with varying degrees of feedback – from none at all, to “thanks but you’re not right” through to “this other guy came along with experience in just the right areas, but you were great!”. I can’t say that I’m not bitter about the job hunt experience so far, I’m hopeful that my next interview will be the one that does it, it’s at the University Campus Suffolk for the position of Lecturer in Computer Games Design. So it’s building on the experience I’ve gained from my time at the University of Lincoln and is in an area that really quite interests me, bonus!

I’ve not been entirely lax with my downtime mind you, I’ve written a fair dose of code, though I will be the first to admit that not of all it is useful it’s all been pretty interesting and educational (no point writing boring code when it’s just for me is there?!).

The downtime has also allowed me to sit down and sort out the hidden codebase considerably, it’s in a much neater state now than it was a while ago and I’m still hopeful for an eventual release!

Internet Crazies

This is perhaps the first time where I’ve had someone send me messages over Xbox Live that are aimed solely at complaining. I apparently killed this guy while playing the Battlefield: Bad Company beta and he seems to have taken offense at how he died.

Now, I can’t remember the action in question – I don’t even remember him as an opponent, but he took the time out to send me a voice message telling me that he disliked dying to me.

His first message is here.

I replied with "I agree with your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter".

He sent me this.

I’ve replied with "I find that I can no longer support your position, as such I shall be going elsewhere for my hanging requirements."

No reply yet, we shall see if he continues his bizarre tirade.

Thoughts on education

So, I spent 45 minutes on Friday waiting for a meeting that never got started – during this period of lost time I decided to have a think about what I believe would help the Games course develop and produce (hopefully) better graduates… Not that the guys (and gals) that have gone through are poor, but they could be given a better chance straight out the gate, as it were.

Anyhow, enough blithering, time to translate my scribbled notes into something vaguely coherent!

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I must say Ms Piper, that is an outrageous corset!

So, just caught some “Secret diary of a call girl” on ITV3 while at my dads – I wholeheartedly approve, Billie Piper is one of my preferred bits of “eye candy” (purely because she likes red heads and guys with beer bellies, not that I have a beer belly or anything…) so a show where she spends a lot of time in lingerie / revealing clothing is a winner – boobs are an added bonus!

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the vaseline on the lens softness they’ve got going on, but the writing isn’t terrible and the acting is reasonable so there’s not too much to complain about. Ok, so I’ve only watched an episode and a half, which means my judgement as to the quality is slightly skewed, but sod it!

In other news, christmas has come and gone, I ate way too much food and all the rest of it, as you do. I also found out that my dad and stepmum have purchased themselves two of my favourite board games, Carcassone and Settlers of Catan. They got introduced to Caracassone by some visitors who brought it with them and they enjoyed it so much that when they were in London and found a games shop of the right sort they asked after it.

Turns out they bought all the expansions they could and asked the shopkeeper for a recommendation as to anything similar – he gave them Settlers of Catan (amusingly, I instantly guessed it was catan when it came up in conversation and I found out the first game was Carcassone). Since Settlers is a four player game, they’ve not had a chance to play it – so with my sister and I here visiting them and me having played it for hours upon hours with my house mates, it seemed the ideal time to get on with it and get cracking.

It took a game to get into the swing of things and to convey the majority of the games and some of the subtleties, but everyone got the hang of it nice and quickly. Admittedly, I won the first two games, but the second was terrifyingly close. I got completely locked out in the third game, reduced to scrounging through development cards to get to five VPs (I only managed three settlements – every other route got shut down before I could get roads going). I may never forgive my sister for starting the lock out process!

I think I may try to get them to move away from the default board layout next time, it’s quite obvious that my dad is going to start being an issue with knowing the good places to be if we don’t mix it up a bit!

Just a quick one

I’ve found myself watching NFL on Five at silly o’clock in the morning quite a lot recently (well, sunday / monday nights anyhow). It’s interesting to watch purely to see how to drag out a 60 minute game into like, 4 hours of "stuff". I do sometimes watch the entire game, but I often force myself to bed before the game ends – a couple of weeks ago, a 15 minute quarter took 45 minutes to complete!

At least I understand what stops the clock (well, I think I do) most of the time and I’m getting the hang of the rules. I think I still prefer Rugby union as a sport – but I will admit that American football has a fair bit more "flash" going for it. Though Five don’t show things like the half time show, so I think I’m missing out on some of the experience…

I don’t follow any particular team – I lean towards the Colts when they play, but only because they have a player called "Session", which just sort of amuses me.

What is cool is to see the BUAFL results get mentioned by the Five presenters every so often. Though it’s a shame to see the Lincoln Colonials losing 2 out of 3 games so far this season (admittedly, it’s only their second season as part of the BUAFL – so some leeway is given). One thing I have noticed about the Lincoln teams (both the Colonials and the Bombers) is that they have rubbish, rubbish site designs – all badly sized images, oddly sized iframes and broken links – it’s nasty.

Hmm, it seems I’ve managed to stay up far later than intended, must be sleep time.

A little slice of heaven.

So, my slice finally flowed through the system – I signed up for a 256 slice, which is the low end of what Slicehost offer, but I’m only really using it for playing around with stuff that my “standard” host doesn’t support very well (ruby and other such fancy things in the main). As time goes on, I may make the transfer more complete – as it is, I’ve started a second blog that’s going to be more “technical” than this one. It just allows me to separate the “work” from the “personal” slightly – so no book lists or gamer tag widgets over there.

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Keeping it real, yo.

I appreciate that lists of books aren’t exactly the most exciting thing to read about – for the one person that reads this (well, me…). So time for an update with a bit of “heft” – got a fair amount to talk about, though not sure just how much of it is actually interesting to anyone!

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16 – 32, the short version

Just keeping track – I’ll do a longer write up in a bit (possibly)

  • Industrial Magic – Kelley Armstrong
  • Dime Store Magic – Kelley Armstrong
  • JPod – Douglas Coupland
  • The Hard Way – Lee Child
  • Killing Floor – Lee Child
  • Recoil – Andy McNab
  • Ultimate Weapon – Chris Ryan
  • Stolen – Kelley Armstrong
  • Bitten – Kelley Armstrong
  • The Hard Way – Lee Child
  • Destiny – Fiona McIntosh
  • Revenge – Fiona McIntosh
  • Betrayal – Fiona McIntosh
  • A Storm of Swords (Steel and Snow) – George R. R. Martin
  • A Storm of Swords (Blood and Gold) – George R. R. Martin
  • A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin
  • A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

#14 and 15 – slowing down!

#14 The complete chronicles of Conan : Centenary Edition - Robert E. Howard

What a bloody epic, in nearly every sense of the word too. A collection of Conan stories that cover his many and varied adventures (and roles), he’s a king, a pirate, a mercenary and more! The only real issue I had with the book was that it was a nightmare to read in bed or the loo, it’s hard bound and nearly A4 in size… Being 925 pages, it weighs a fair bit too – so it wasn’t the most relaxing, comfortable read!

925 pages
New Read

#15 Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while, so when I saw it in a 3 for 2 offer I had to pick it up – I’m mighty thankful I did too! It’s an excellent story, with some quite deep and thought provoking meaning to it. Following the story of Ender Wiggins entry into a military training academy and subsequent journey through the academy and beyond it’s a story with a myriad layers.

352 pages
New Read