Once again, a few months have passed since my last post.  The main reason for that is that my site was down due to DNS confusion at UK2, my registrar and Eve Host, my hosting server.  All sorted now, so here I am checking it’s all still here and making an update.

My last post about experiments has a coda: we were supposed to get paid our travel expenses for going to Birmingham, but I didn’t mention is, assuming it was all in hand, so I never got paid. They said I could go back to get the cash, at the cost of another train trip to Birmingham. Logic not a strong point with psychology majors, it seems.  That expense has been written off.

The Saga of Draken

Draken is the name I gave my 1999 Saab 9-3 car, because Saab also make a plane called a Draaken and it seemed cool.  The car has a little dragon decal on the side, and a “geek” sticker on the back.  I really like this car. It’s a 2 litre petrol automatic and runs really well, most of the time.  Shortly after I bought it, the water pump broke causing over-heating. Then in April this year it wouldn’t start at all so I had it towed and various ignition system parts replaced.  In September, it began having problems starting yet again, so I replaced the battery, almost 2 years to the day since the last battery. Nope, still misbehaving. I narrowed it down to an intermittent fuel pump fault. NAPS took a look and replaced the fuel pump relay. Nope, not that. They then fitted an LED that indicates power going to the pump. Aha… this seems to show a dodgy electrical connection. When the light fails, Draken won’t start.  So, next month, it’s going back to have that sorted out. Reading on the UK Saabs forums, the fuel pump seems to give out at the mileage I have now, so apparently they all do that, madam. I’ve had Draken three and a half years now, 18 months more than predicted, so it’s doing OK. It sports 118000 miles on the clock and should have plenty more to give me.  I tend to get sentimental about vehicles which is daft because they all die eventually but I can’t help it, I really like this car!



In home news, the cats are due for their booster jabs this month. Not a job I look forward to, as it’s logistically tricky and not cheap.  The alarm service went OK and on the same day I had my energy meters changed for smart meters, with a little read-out that sits in my kitchen, scaring me about my expensive habit of having the PC on all the time.  I have replaced the circular fluorescent light in the kitchen, and painted the hallway brilliant matt white. The paint looks great but it doesn’t cover the water stains from the old leaky pipe I had a couple of years ago.  Still, it looks better and it was great fun painting the ceiling with a 4-metre pole and a roller.  I’ve been scouting out a new bed for my bedroom (not for the kitchen, strangely) and found a great site for cheap beds (keyword tag, nice domain name, SEO rules!).  I’ll have to wait to get the one I want, due to finances being eaten up until New Year. My work mate ordered a bed from that site and was very happy with delivery, quality etc, so I’m sure it’ll be great.



My other workmate Ashish and his wife invited me over for dinner to teach me proper curry-making. It’s all down to a big pot and the right spices, really.  I’ve made Achar Gosht and Karahi Fry a couple of times with great success.  Inspired by a post on my games group FB page, I had a go at making sweetrolls, a foodstuff from the game Skyrim.  they’re a lot like madeleines, using lots of eggs and butter to make a dense, sweet cake. This is then topped with icing to give the sweetroll replica. Mine were OK, but the icing was a bit wrong, and came out lumpy.



I’ve taken up tai chi and qigong lessons with a small, friendly group in Wootton. Every Tuesday night, I spend 90 minutes, breathing and stretching and calming my chi. It’s really very good exercise and I enjoy it a great deal.  We did a 6 hour open day the other week, involving lots of tai chi, qigong and Southern Style boxing, as well as meditative styles.  The for we do is called Li Style, with 140 positions, of which I have learned but 20. I’m only 6 weeks in and I know it can take years to get fluent. My background of aikido and general interest in things oriental has helped a lot with understanding the basis of the moves and the footwork. I have even bought some Chinese tai chi slippers and loose pants for wearing while doing the extercises.  What I really need is a knee brace because owch!

Phil and I went to the Abbey Park Fireworks on November 5th to celebrate the destruction of democracy and Flossy’s birthday. Pure coincidence, I’m told.  Phil has lots of pretty imgaes on his blog and only managed to get a shot of my foot, thank goodness.  It was a good afternoon out and I enjoyed the company and the festivities, at the restaurant, the bonfire and the pub later.


In July, Phil and I checked another box off The List of Things. We visited the Ludorati Café in Nottingham for games day and played 3.5 edition AD&D together.  It was a quick adventure with pre-made characters and we did have a good time playing together. The DM liked to tell the story for the players, not giving us a lot of room for RP or imaginative tangents, but I guess we were on a time limit, so had to zip along a bit.  The other tables were playing Cthulhu and Zombiecide and other things, it was quite noisy. Pretty good day and a splendid location, should you suddenly need to roll dice in Nottingham.


We’re still playing Pokemon Go, because we’re stubborn bastards who refuse to give up on something we’ve invested so much time with.  I’m level 23 now and have some beefy creatures, but I only really play properly on the bus, or when I go to Leicester to see Phil.

Hallowe’en is the best time of year for D&D games, as my DMs go all out to get us involved in the spooky atmosphere. We played both the Princes of the Apocalypse game, with a Ravenloft bent, and our Campaign of Darkness, both in costumes for our characters.  My evil tiefling had a lengthy solo adventure in Hell to meet her sire, Asmodeus and some remarkable benefits were gained from that action. For once, Tori did NOT die during the game!  We may play Ishar over the Xmas holidays, which will give us a whole day to run a long game. I hope that comes about – I really enjoy a full immersion into role play.

I think that’s all my news for now.  I’ll obviously edit later if something pops into my head!