Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Bioshock video. Anticipation Rises.

It's now only a month till Bioshock hits UK shelves (note to self: sort out that Amazon pre order).
This new video has just been released discussing more on the use of plasmids both active and passive. Passive plasmids look like a version of the RPG standard skill levelling system while active ones are just freaky weapons. Oh and it has Melissa to prove to Kirk that yes indeed she is a fox (well as far as women in computer game design circles go anyway).

Its Smokey, Playing to about 20 people.

Returned home from the DIY shop ready to fit some new blinds to go with the new windows to find Smoky playing "Living next door to Alice" outside the window. Its getting a bit like a shit episode of "The Young Ones" round here.

The best bit about this latest moment of surreality is that its pissing it down and nobody cares about Smokey enough to stand in the rain. Except for six people two of which appear to be nuns. Didn't Smokey used to be quite a popular "rock combo"? I'll bet they are loving their job now.

Hah the irony! As I finish up they are playing "Have you ever seen the rain?" and it's raining! geddit? No, nobody else watching did either.

The Ballad of the Broken Laptop

I'm in pain, suffering, a frustaion that claws at the heart of me. My laptop is broken. Not so broken as to be totally unusable, no that would make the way ahead clear. Instead its broken enough that it causes me grief but leads me to hope that it may be fixed simply.

After a week or so of fiddling and rebooting and cursing and screaming I have narrowed it down to some kind of loose/broken/dirty connection betwixt motherboard and hard disk. Basically it occasionally blue screens and subsequently the hard disk is not found by the BIOS. Until that is I give it a little thump and then all is well again. When you resort to thumping your laptop in order to make it work you are in trouble.

I toook it apart and cleaned and prodded and it seems to be a little more stable than it was but its still not right. I have to be very gentle with it and carting it about to take advantage of free WIFI and sunshine would seem to be a flight of fancy.

Still on the bright side I got a nice light and super cheap tripod so I can take non blurry long exposure shots now (like the one here, a full 60 seconds!) so I will hopefully be able to get a bit further in my HDR experiments. I just hope my laptop works enough for me to process them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Death Toll Did Not Disappoint

Well its finished and I was glad to see that after a slowish middle section the killing and maiming picked up again towards the end. The end was... well it didn't make sense actually but hey ho.

I can get back on with my life now.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Can't rain all the time.

Raining Again, originally uploaded by RickHawkins.

Or can it? Thunderstorm, an excuse to try some more HDR to try and get the colours and contrast out of the scene.

I need a lot more practice at this. The tone mapping is all off and the contrasts and colours are not as they appeared in the viewer when I was setting the tone map.

More experiments here

Busker Watch: Day 2

After the frenetic accordion of yesterdays trio I awoke to the much more relaxing strains of a classical guitar. That's 2 days and nary a disaffected crusty to be seen. It may be too soon to divine a pattern but I live in hope.

On the potter front I got to chapter 16 with no further deaths. It's just as readable as the others and has managed to keep a reasonable pace so far. Still hoping for a massacre though, there shouldn't really be a sunset ending. Mind you with things as they stand in the book a sunset ending is not that likely.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Let the character cull begin.

69 pages in and we have lost 2 major characters already. I've got a feeling JK isn't going to hold back on this one.

Woot! Free WIFI

Free Wiffy, originally uploaded by RickHawkins.

Got me some free wiffy (as Niki would say, mind you she didn't actually know what WIFI meant. just that it was free and had something to do with coffee shops and laptops.) So now I am out of the dust and noise and into the warm and sunshine. Sitting in the beer garden of the Angel watching the world go by and about to get stuck in to the new Harry Potter along with the rest of the fantasy geeks the world over. Result!

Home Improvements

"Chilling" in Torun. In this case chilling = having all the windows ripped out at 8am, except that its really 7am because its our first morning here and there is a time difference and that. If these windows are as noise reducing as they promise then I will be happy as summer here means every bar (and there are a lot of them) gets itself an outside drinking spot. This makes the street outside noisy until everyone gives up and goes home, which is around 4am at the weekends.

So for now we have the buskers in all their glory providing the soundtrack to the day. At least its not the usual miserable voiced folk singer doing bad REM covers or (worse) his own political dirges. Nope instead today we have a three piece combo of clarinet, accordian and (what is that?) cello, I think, although he isnt playing it like any cello player I have ever seen.

So while I am in the middle of writing this post the police turn up. Seems there is a problem with permits for renovation or something. Of course my Polish isn't quite up to its full power as I have been in the country for 16 hours and it takes me at least a couple of days to acclimatise (honest). Naturally Jola is elsewhere as there is always something else that needs doing somewhere so I try and struggle through on my own.

It starts getting heated with the window fitters arguing and gesticulating and the police woman writing things down. I did consider to try for a photo but thought it might not be appropriate. Luckily Jola turns up in the nick of time to try and sort things out.

Turns out the shop downstairs has complained that we didn't sort out with them times for putting the windows in as the fitters had to put up a little warning cordon thing in case people got stuff dropped on their heads, which makes sense. So they want us to stop working and we of course aren't really down with that seeing as we have no windows in at all. All the time the band outside is playing the "Russian Theme" from Tetris complete with punctuating cries of "hoy!".

Now fines are being mentioned and its looking like 500 zloty (£100). That's quite steep so more haggling later and we have the fine down to 50 zloty (£10). Sometimes this country scares the shit out of me. How the hell do you argue a fine down 10 times with the officer on the scene? Think it through, if you can argue it down then its a matter of discretion for the officer at the scene. Put the flip side in place and your negotiations don't go so well and the police don't like the cut of your jib and who knows where it can go?

Anyway it looks like a deal has been struck and we are going to clean up some mess downstairs and postpone further demolition activities until after 6pm when the shop closes. Of course this is going to put the schedule back a bit.

Having just talked to the shopkeeper downstairs we find that the shop had nothing to do with getting the police involved, it was all their own idea. Looking at the details of the fine the fine was for "illegally blocking the pavement" which is quite frankly total bollocks as the pavement wasn't blocked. All we had done was put some tape on the ground to warn people of the potential overhead danger. As said before, the police here worry me.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A dose of WTF!?


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tough Board, Hell of a call

Tough Board, originally uploaded by RickHawkins.

Playing a pretty drunken game with two total noobs at Debbie's wedding.

Jola raised pot pre flop from the SB and got called by just about everyone. On a flop of AcAs9c Jola checks, Wal checks, Phil (noob number one) moves all in, Gary (noob number two) moves all in and its down to Jola to think it over.

In the end she made an outrageous genius/moron call. She was up against pocket twos, and K7(!!). Queens held. Ship it!