Monthly archives: October 2003


I’ve finally started putting DEx up as a regular strip (Mondays and Fridays initially). For now the strip management system is a little basic, but I’m going to improve the layout (and hopefully the code) as I go along.

In the near future (the prologue takes place in 2002, but the main storyline is from 2004) the British Police have hit upon the idea of contracting in experts for the more esoteric aspects of investigations. The ‘Deputised Experts’ get consultant rates and limited powers of arrest. When Manchester detectives investigate a multiple shooting in a penthouse they find a stash of weapons with links back to Al Qaeda. The Expert they call in to help with their investigation worked for MI6 and has links with these weapons from long before they were smuggled into the country.

DEx is going to be a ‘team’ story in the mould of NYPD Blue and Homicide: Life on the Street, with multiple plotlines concentrating on different characters. There is also going to be a support strip- Usual Time, Usual Place- which is more comedy and soap and concentrates on the lives of a group of friends who are occasionally by-standers during the momentous events of DEx. Eventually all the stories will be hyperlinked so they can be followed by chronologically or as they affect individual characters.

The Joy of Geeks

I started reading this article in the Guardian. It started off talking in loving detail about two teenagers’ first computers in 1981. The teenagers names were dropped in a way that made me think I should know who they were, David Braben and Ian Bell. This clearly being a computerish article, I consulted resident geek No 1 (Daz). He ummed, said he thought he recognised one of the names but wasn’t sure.

So I read on, hoping for enlightenment. It described how they’d both gone to Cambridge, met up and started working on a game together. The title of the game, Elite, was dropped in a similar, accidental-on-purpose fashion. Still none the wiser, I tried out this title on the other resident geek (Ian).

Ian stuck his head through the banister and burbled for five minutes including phrases like “the first truly genius game”, “It was really cool with trading and shooting people” and “It’s ELITE! How could you not have heard of this?” and then wandered off to see if he could find anything about it on the net.

So it seems I am the only one who hasn’t heard of this. Elite came out in 1984 when I had more important things on my mind (turning 4, adopting the girl next door as my big sister, trying to climb the back fence). It has a apparently fell into the black hole between the true antiques, Pacman and Space Invaders, and the games I started to play in the late 80s, along with anything on the Spectrum.

But I live with geeks and have therefore be not only educated in the wonder that is Elite but supplied with a link to a Java version. Which I present here, whether you have sat here thinking “What is she talking about?” or happily reminiscing about the hours you wasted at it the first time.

Cross-posted to my LJ along with lots of other pointless gubbins.

(I have also spent the last hour arguing with Daz about whether he is a geek.)

I'll have mine to take out

Fountain in the Trafford Centre,

from earlier today

After spending most of the meal drooling over the waitress, I guess I should finally admit that I have a definite type (and it’s not, as Damian suggested, “angry brunettes”).

For the record- about my height, slim, long dark hair and dark complexion.

Short brunettes do it for me as well. And blondes, and redheads…………

Quote of the night- “Personally, I’m all in favour of nudity.”

The Queen Mum’s Turd

Emily’s job is shit. Not bad shit, but genuine, for real shit. She works for a company that designs and builds sewage plants. Depending upon what she does next her whole career could be shit.

You’d think, in an industry that deals, indirectly, with effluent all day, that the conversation in the office could get a little scatalogical. Apparently this is not so, apart from one day, when the tale I’m going to recount was told.

Working in the office is a guy in his late forties, I’ll call him Bob, who was passing on a tale he was told when he was an apprentice. At the time he was working with an old lag, who I’ll call Alf, who had worked in a shipyard during the war. Alf is the main protagonist in the tale.

One day, early in the war, the Royal Family was visiting to do a morale boosting tour and inspect one of their new ships. They were all there, King George VI was there with the Queen Mother (still just Queen at that point) and princesses Liz and Marge. No doubt they toured the ship, shook hands with some dignitaries and let the oiks stare at them. By all accounts the princesses behaved like spoilt brats, but what do you expect.

Now royalty, no matter what one might wish to think, are only human. It is always a possibility on a royal visit that one or more of their majesties will have to answer a call of nature. However, they can’t be seen to use the same facilities as mere mortals and subjects. So, in case they could not hold it in until they got back to the royal train, a special monarchic portaloo was set up.

Alf, being a devout Royalist, kept an eye on the port-a-throne all day. After the visit had ended, but before the clear up began, he sneaked in and snagged himself a very special souvenir. He was adamant that the floater he rescued belonged to the Queen Mother, all that gin probably helped it’s bouyancy.

When the royal turd had dried out sufficiently, Alf lacquered it and mounted it on the mantelpiece. At the time that he told Bob this tale it was still there, in pride of place. Maybe one day it will turn up on Antiques Roadshow-

“Now this is an interesting piece. Can you tell me anything about its history.”

“My great grandfather gave it to me. He said it was the Queen Mother’s.”

“Reeeaaally? How fascinating. It does have a most lustrous mahogany finish. I can’t keep myself from running my fingers over it and feeling the contours. The Queen Mother you say? Do you have any idea what she might have used it for?”

“It’s a turd.”

“A third?”

“No, a turd.”

“A tu……… Oh.”

How to machine gun yourself in the foot

The general leading the hunt for Bin Laden is a serious Christian fundamentalist. This is not in itself a problem, except that he believes, and says, stuff like- “I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real god and his was an idol.” about Allah.

So the muslims are really going to help him out, aren’t they?

Oh, I Say!

Yesterday I contemplated being a Freeter, inspired by Brian’s post on the subject. Today I’m thinking of becoming a bit of a Chap. The first official ‘Chap in’ (my name for it) was held in London yesterday.

The Chaps said they frowned upon feverish wage-slavery and naked ambition, although Mr Darkwood accepted there had to be ‘some kind of lumpen officitariat driven by ambition to support us’.

Chappish Sounds- Gomez, Bring It On; Doves, Lost Souls; Kingmaker, In The Best Possible Taste


This is how Apple announced the release of iTunes for Windows. It gives the rest of the computer owning world access to the iTunes online music store and the ability to rip CD’s to AAC (MPEG4 audio). It’s free and will be on my PC before the end of the day. As I’m ranting about free software I should point out that Open Office 1.1 has been released which adds the ability to export to Acrobat and Shockwave.