What I did on my holidays: Devon

Aug. 21st, 2017 02:03 pm
lnr: (Default)
[personal profile] lnr
So, we had a fab holiday in Devon with family, slightly hampered by trying to organise lots of small bunches of people into doing things socially together when they all have different routines and mealtimes.

Wortham 2017

Friday: train down to Exeter to meet up with Steph and Dad, where we organise ourselves into two cars, and Steph and Dad drove us over to Wortham Manor, where Em and Mum were already settling in. Also joined by Gail and David, and Bob and Doreen for the first few days who mostly did their own thing in the daytime but were lovely company in the evenings and cooked some great meals!

Saturday: Day out to Bude, lots of fun building sandcastles and chasing waves, but cut short by the realisation we'd not bought enough car parking and weren't allowed to extend it.

Sunday: dad accidentally went off with our car seat in his car, so Em and Steph went off to see Launceton Castle while Mike, Matthew and I had a nice walk in the lanes near the house, and found an incredible blackberry patch. Grandad joined us in the evening, and sadly James had to leave us.

Monday: a rainy day, so we headed to the Fairground Heritage Centre near Lifton. I'd have liked a better look at some of the exhibits, but had lots of fun accompanying Izzy and Matthew on the dodgems, Izzy on the ghost train and Izzy and Ollie on the Chariot Racer - which was *very* fast. Chris and Kathryn managed to join us in the later afternoon which was lovely, and very brave of them to stay for tea with the whole clan :)

Tuesday: Mum's birthday. A lovely lunch out (where I learned the skill of *not* calling one of the chairs round the table "special" in front of three children), excellent food, shame about the service. A very late afternoon tea, with cake and scones and sandwiches and fizz, and Mike and I took an evening walk, and found deer and rabbits, but no badgers this year. We got back just before the rain :)

Wednesday: Off to Hidden Valley with Em and Steph and the kids. The Maze was a big hit with all of them, and they enjoyed the Indiana Jones trail and hunting for clues. I think the grown-ups might have quite liked to do some of the harder puzzles too. We also did an immense quantity of blackberry picking which the kids loved, and left more than enough for apple and blackberry crumble. (I fear eventually the rest went in the compost).

Thursday: last full day spent mostly at the beach at Bude again, wave hopping and paddling before a fish and chips lunch, then sandcastles, dam-building and a dip in the sea pool - Oliver very disappointed that it wasn't a *heated* pool. I braved a whole actual length across and back as well as some pottering about, but it really was rather bracing. A quiet evening as Em headed off early, and mum and dad out to Dinner, so Steph and Mike and I fed the kids and then had a somewhat bonkers last meal of fish fingers, burgers, chips, salsa and sour cream and chive dip :)

Sad not to manage to meet up with Kate and Nigel - but an excuse to go visit their cottage next year!

Photos on Flickr: Wortham Manor 2017

I think with the demise of Livejournal I'm going to be aiming to use Flickr as the best option for both hosting and sharing photos, as it's more visible to folk outside Facebook. If you dislike any of the photos just ask and I can make private or take down.

A ship's tale

Aug. 21st, 2017 02:40 pm
peterbirks: (Default)
[personal profile] peterbirks
Now, here's an interesting thing. While the world and his wife/husband/non-specified sexual or non-sexual partner are looking at the "accidents" that the US navy seems to be having, mainly because it appears that its seaman, far from being lions led by donkey, don't really understand that sailing a destroyer is not just a matter of pointing it forward and hoping everyone else gets out of the way, there is a far more interesting, and potentially worrying, ongoing incident in the Atlantic near Las Palmas.

1) A ship catches fire:

Back on August 13th the bulk carrier Cheshire went adrift after a fire broke out in one of its five cargo holds, The vessel as a whole is thought to be carrying some 40,000 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Keep that amount in mind. The IRA pioneered the use of fertilizer bombs but, as CBS News observed, the most spectacular bombings worldwide use this stuff. To turn it into an effective bomb for terrorist purposes you have to "grind it down" – a slow process. But a "big" fertilizer bomb would come in at about 3,000lb. That's about 1.5 tons, give or take a bootload. The Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 used a truck loaded with 4,800lb, a couple of tons, of ammonium nitrate.

So, currently there's a fire on board a ship, possibly now in more than one hold, with 20,000 as much ammonium nitrate fertilizer as was used in the Oklahoma bombing of 1995. Let's suppose it's only 1% as effective because it hasn't been "prepared" (I reckon this is a highly optimistic assumption, by the way) it's still 200 times as big as the Oklahoma City bomb


2) The Spaniards fight back

Now, the Spanish authorities have put out a few releases stating that things are "under control", but that's about the most optimistic scenario. They can't put out the fire (it might even be getting hotter). Clearly, given the potential lethality of any exposure ("the largest non-nuclear explosion ever" was how one insider called it) to a blast, you either need to be very brave or very stupid to go anywhere near it. So, basically, we have no idea how much water is being poured on this vessel, and where from. Spain said that tugs were "cooling the vessel from a safe distance", but recent photographs are remarkably thin on the sea.

The AIS (which is how people like us can confirm where it is) has been off since August 15th. So, we *think* it is drifting away from land, but we don't really know for sure. What we do know is that this is a problem with no easy solution. As soon as the fire broke out Las Palmas port responded to a request for the vessel to be brought to land so that the fire could be put out with a curt "fuck off". Basically you can't let this ticking time bomb anywhere near land. And if it isn't near land, it's not easy to fight a fire on a large ship that's drifting and un approachable because of the heat and the danger.

3) What might happen

There is, believe it or not, a historical precedent for this – after a fashion.

The Texas City disaster was an industrial accident that occurred April 16, 1947, in the Port of Texas City. It was the deadliest industrial accident in U.S. history, and one of the largest non-nuclear explosions. Originating with a mid-morning fire on board the French-registered vessel SS Grandcamp (docked in the port), her cargo of approximately 2,100 metric tons of ammonium nitrate detonated, with the initial blast and subsequent chain-reaction of further fires and explosions in other ships and nearby oil-storage facilities. It killed at least 581 people, including all but one member of the Texas City fire department.

The fire attracted spectators along the shoreline, who believed they were at a safe distance. Eventually, the steam pressure inside the ship blew the hatches open, and yellow-orange smoke billowed out. This color is typical for nitrogen dioxide fumes. The unusual colour of the smoke attracted more spectators. Spectators also noted that the water around the docked ship was boiling from the heat, and the splashing water touching the hull was being vaporized into steam. The cargo hold and deck began to bulge as the pressure of the steam increased inside.

At 09:12 the ammonium nitrate reached an explosive threshold from the combination of heat and pressure. The vessel then detonated, causing great destruction and damage throughout the port. The explosion sent a 15-foot wave that was detectable nearly 100 miles off the Texas shoreline. The blast flattened nearly 1,000 buildings on land. The Grandcamp explosion destroyed the Monsanto Chemical Company plant and resulted in ignition of refineries and chemical tanks on the waterfront. Falling bales of burning twine from the ship's cargo added to the damage while the Grandcamp's anchor was hurled across the city. Two sightseeing airplanes flying nearby had their wings shorn off. 10 miles away, people in Galveston were forced to their knees. People felt the shock 250 miles away in Louisiana. The explosion blew almost 6,350 US tons (5,760mt) of the ship's steel into the air, some at supersonic speed. Witnesses compared the scene to the fairly recent images of the 1943 Air Raid on Bari and the much larger devastation at Nagasaki.

Legal actions continued for a decade.


Should the Cheshire blow up at a distance of 150nm from land, we can hope that it will be a spectacular mushroom cloud and nothing more, but there's still 20 times as much on board as caused the Texas City disaster. It could cause a tsunami. So we just have to hope that it doesn't start drifting back towards shore and that it does't explode. 'Cos if it does I reckon it might be a big story indeed.

[syndicated profile] exitgames_feed

Posted by Ken


Welcome to your weekly escape room rumour round-up packed full of new games, venues and media mentions.

This site is always on the look out for new games or venues that are opening, references in the media or anything else that might be of interest to the readers, so please do send an email if you spot anything of interest. That applies to owners too – feel free to send me your news for inclusion here. Don’t be shy!

On to the news

As we draw to the end of the summer, it’s been a relatively quiet week although the South East doesn’t seem to have got the memo 😉

  • East of Midlands
    • Lincolnshire Live made mention of the new Enigma Rooms venue in Retford.
  • East of England
  • Scotland
    • Locked In Edinburgh have a couple of their escape rooms, the Distillery and Animal Hospital, available as part of the Fringe.
      • and take note – Animal Hospital will close after the Fringe so if you haven’t already played, this is your last chance!
    • Don’t forget that you can also catch Agent November‘s half hour escape rooms up in Edinburgh until the end of this week.
  • South East England
    • Guildford Escape Rooms open this week with the launch of their first game, The Case of the Missing Gun.
    • First mention of a new escape room – Time 2 Escape in Rochester are aiming to open in early October.
    • The Magician is opening at The MacGuffin Project in Bournemouth.
    • Defective Detective is opening at The Panic Room Gravesend.
    • Ace Ventura has opened at The Lockey, also in Bournemouth. Note that this is a separate venue from their other two games.
  • London
    • The Case of the Dynamo Diamonds opened at Popup Escapes in Putney last week. As suggested by the venue name, it’s a popup game so you’ll only have three months if you want to go and experience it.
  • North West England
    • Lock Down Exit Games in Warrington are teaming up with a local scare attraction and a Quasar site to put together a Hallowe’en escape room.

That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect or if you’re aware of other news, significant discounts or competitions, then let me know via email or in the comments below and I’ll include updates in the next edition.

Thanks for reading!


Aug. 21st, 2017 09:05 am
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
Last week was a BURNING FART of a week.
This entry was a lot longer originally, but that's all that needs to be said.

The only upside is that Twitter indirectly ruined my day (and several other things) so egregiously, I went 'hell with linkrot' and deactivated my account entirely. I'M FREEEEEEEE

I have so much uni work to catch up on after being sick/utterly fucked up mentally that I'm in constant panic and it's only Week 4 (think uni students usually get to at least Week 7 before constant panic?) but at least things are moving again.

All About Comics!

Aug. 20th, 2017 08:59 am
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[personal profile] alobear
A friend and I had dinner a couple of weeks ago, and randomly came up with an idea for a comic book series. It really excited us both, and we have since met up again and started working properly on the outline. The only problem is, neither of us knows how to write a comic book, and neither of us can draw.

So, of course, I turned to Amazon, and purchased Words for Pictures, by Brian Michael Bendis. This is a large, beautiful book, which contains a lot of great comics art, and even more varied and interesting information about writing comics. It covers everything, from pitch documents to different types of scripts, to what artists and editors are looking for from writers, to the best ways to get started in the comic book industry. The whole thing is really well presented, entertainingly written, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not all of the information was directly relevant to me, and I think I was really looking for more in depth guidance on the actual writing process and how it differs to normal prose. But it was a great introduction to the concept, and pointed out to me just how much I don't know about it - but in an inspiring rather than off-putting way.

The book also talked about a fair few comic series that sounded quite interesting, so I will be sourcing some of those as well. The first was Takio, written by Brian Michael Bendis, with art by Michael Avon Oeming. It's a four-volume series about two adoptive sisters who gain super-powers in an industrial accident and try to become superheroes. It's fresh and funny, very dynamically presented, and lots of fun. There's very amusing banter between the sisters (Taki and Olivia - hence Takio), credible threat from some very sinister bad guys who want to harness the girls' power for profit, emotional impact from difficult family relationship and friendship troubles, and tons of great action. There's a section at the back that was presumably an advert for the series, where Taki and Olivia talk about how it's and all-ages series, which is hilarious, but also makes a lot of good points about the perception of comic books (and other media). The whole thing is only 90 comic-book pages, but it was highly entertaining, and I'll definitely be referring back to it to study the way the writing works, for when I get to the stage of wanting to put pen to paper on my own story.

Wow - I did research for a writing project, and really enjoyed it! That's got to be a first!

Insomnia Post

Aug. 16th, 2017 03:18 am
tablesaw: Charlie Crews, in a dark suit, rests his head on his left hand (That's Life)
[personal profile] tablesaw
I really wish i were better at typing on my phone because i can't sleep but i don't want to get a laptop while I'm in bed.


Aug. 16th, 2017 01:21 pm
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
Hoo boy

I've been writing too much angst lately and I'm trying to instate a 'no subtweeting' rule....

Suffice to say it's very 'one step forward, trip and somersault down the whole bloody flight of stairs' in my brainpan lately.

The weather is nice, today.

Question thread #55

Aug. 15th, 2017 11:58 pm
pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)
[personal profile] pauamma posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
It's time for another question thread!

The rules:

- You may ask any dev-related question you have in a comment. (It doesn't even need to be about Dreamwidth, although if it involves a language/library/framework/database Dreamwidth doesn't use, you will probably get answers pointing that out and suggesting a better place to ask.)
- You may also answer any question, using the guidelines given in To Answer, Or Not To Answer and in this comment thread.


Aug. 15th, 2017 09:13 pm
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
Been on a electronic music binge today as with the previous few days. Went through the uni library's catalogue looking for books, found one that was an e-book, flicked through it, then read the epilogue.

It was the kind of epilogue that goes through all the people featured in the book and details that they died, often tragically and/or in obscurity (most of them were middle-aged musicians in the 1960s but still). One of them became a bitter alcoholic and when she finally got attention in the last years of her life, wallowed about in it. The other remained popular as a cult figure but never created anything new, the last thing she was commissioned to do sounded just like the thing she became famous for.

I am aware the author would've presented the fates of these people in a way according to his agenda/intent and the truth may not have been so dire... nonetheless.

It was a sobering piece of perspective! I think it did more to make me go 'wait... what am I doing?' than any sincere/cynical advice the internet has purported at me for months.

What AM I doing? A lot of my bitterness is justified but it's probably still screwing myself over, yeah? If I somehow get my goofy ass ideas off the ground and I don't get attention, what then? If I DO get attention, will I keep doing the same thing over and over to keep the attention flowing?

Nah son.

I wish it would be as simple as: from this point on I start lifting weights and magically gain the power of talking to strangers and in 6 months (pretty much overnight) I'm a well-adjusted TED Talks speaker who only gets personally sad when something actually sad happens. I doubt that. I sense something has changed, however. Not an inspired 'I can do the thing' call to action, it's not even optimistic, it's something deeper in the bedrock. Shifting plates.


Aug. 15th, 2017 02:53 am
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
The rest of this post is whining (and some legit concern) so here's the good bit and you can skip the rest: Rotterdam Termination Source playing Poing live with a mouth harp

Read more... )
[syndicated profile] exitgames_feed

Posted by Ken


Welcome to your weekly escape room rumour round up packed full of new games, venues and media mentions. Apologies to those of you who missed last week’s edition – I was away in Warsaw for the weekend so didn’t have time to gather all the news updates together.

This site is always on the look out for new games or venues that are opening, references in the media or anything else that might be of interest to the readers, so please do send an email if you spot anything of interest. That applies to owners too – feel free to send me your news for inclusion here. Don’t be shy!

On to the news

Quietening down for the summer?

  • General
  • South East England
    • CTRL-ALT-ESC have launched in Margate with their first game entitled Frankenscape.
    • (see also the national news at the top about an article in the Bournemouth Echo)
    • More Bournemouth news: Escape Rooms Quest have opened in the town with their first game entitled The Zodiac: Chapter 1.
    • Yet more Bournemouth news – a new company U-Escape looks set to launch in the town.
  • Northern Ireland (Thanks to Jackie for the ongoing updates in NI!)
    • Lifford Old Courthouse are running a popup game next week as part of an upcoming heritage week.
    • Timescape are a new venue opening in Belfast
  • South West England
    • First hints of an escape attraction that will be opening in Cheddar Gorge. Not sure of the timeline but it looks like there will be a couple of games at the venue.
  • East Midlands
  • East of England
    • Colchester has recently approved planning permission for one game but it’s obviously a popular choice with a second planning application being submitted and noticed by the local paper.
    • Ipswich Escape Rooms was visited by their local paper.
    • History Mystery have opened their second site at Blickling Church in Norfolk, the first permanent UK game to open in an active church. The church is connected to the Boleyn family so it should come as no surprise that the game, The Queenmaker, is centred around Anne Boleyn.
  • Scotland
    • Go Escape in Dunfermline opened Mission: Implausible
    • London-based mobile operator, Agent November, is visiting the Fringe this month with a couple of their games customised for the festival
    • (see also the national news at the top about an article in the Sunday Herald)
  • North West England
  • Yorkshire and the Humber
    • Yet another outdoorsy escape room is opening, this time near Sheffield. Living Adventure Puzzle Woods has launched the Miner’s Trail, a kind of outdoors puzzle trail with escape room elements.
    • Enigma Rooms Retford opens this week with two games: Colditz and Outbreak
    • The Escapologist opened in Selby with two games: World of Wizardry and Anarchy of the Seas
    • Wakefield has been added to the Enigma Rooms’ website. No details of opening dates or games as of yet.
  • West Midlands
    • Unfortunately I was too late to spot this in time to enter but it looks like there was a running/escape room hybrid taking place in Malvern last week.
    • It’s obviously the time for hybrid events with the Quiztal Maze taking place last week in a pub in Nuneaton. According to the advert it was a pub quiz with escape room elements. For now it seems to be a one off but if that looks interesting then I’d suggest getting in touch to find out more.

That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect or if you’re aware of other news, discounts or competitions, then let me know via email or in the comments below and I’ll include updates in the next edition.

Thanks for reading!


Aug. 13th, 2017 10:27 pm
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
I caught up on the news and Justified Rage obliterated my intention to catch up on university tonight! At least, in terms of my continued existence, it's a step up from Every Subject I Think About (including things like 'puppies' [I wish that were an exaggeration]) Segues Into Me Being Wretchedly Miserable, which is what I was experiencing until fifteen minutes prior...

... but it kiiiinda justified my total news/social media blackout, even though that probably shouldn't be reinforced any further....

Anyway, I'll keep my earbuds out of my ears and stop procrastinating on volunteering.

For a change of pace: One legit positive thing (beyond music and burgers) happened to me, personally, tonight--my hair looks good right now?

This sounds so flippant I feel bad for typing it. Then I remember that I haven't had a proper haircut for at least two years, probably three? and that I was soooo irritated by how it looked just two months ago that I was [--] that close to shaving it all off. Thus: joy, something in my life has substantially improved at last!

I still need to book a hairdresser appointment because societal biases against grey hair are horseshit, but I combed it out and it's long enough that it falls down my back (rather than clump to my face all 'HEY LOOK EVERYONE IT'S A FAT PERSON'). My hair's natural wave, which usually just makes the hair on the right side of my head point right and the hair on the left side of my face also point right, is properly visible at last.

It's neat. It's also the exact same hairstyle as my mother's (albeit, she clips her hair up). We'll just call it continuity in character design. XD


Aug. 13th, 2017 08:34 am
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
Note to self:
Stop trying to do serious work/thinking at 11PM and achieving diddly-squat then going NO I CAN NOT ART ANY MORE MY LIFE IS OVER
o͡͡͡͡͡͡╮༼;´༎ຶ.̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̸̨̨̨̨̨̨̨.̸̸̨̨۝ ༎ຶ༽╭o͡͡͡͡͡͡'
when you should dang well remember your meds wear off around 7PM (and also that sleep is not optional)

Besides that, things are mostly okay. I"m a bit behind on uni work, mostly due to my generally yucky feelings turning out to be a Cold from Heck. I've been busy listening to these on repeat instead

(no subject)

Aug. 9th, 2017 05:57 pm
ashkitty: (winter castle)
[personal profile] ashkitty
First, thanks to everyone for the lovely comments on my last entry. I didn't have time, or reliable internet, or energy to respond to most of them but I was very happy to have them!

The conference went well, and the journey to the US was not as horrible as it could have been. London was rainy but I had a lovely tea, and met with friends. Iceland it beautiful and I want to go back.

Having a little trouble settling in properly - it all feels like it is still temporary, partly because I hope it will be, but I mean I haven't settled in anywhere properly yet. My parents and I are headed on a road trip to Montana to see relatives before my mom's chemo actually starts; I suppose everything will be a bit worse then.

My boxes of possessions did arrive safely and on time, so I have them, even if I am not yet able to unpack them.

Guess we see what happens from here. How are you?


Aug. 8th, 2017 08:14 am
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
I decided to sleep in which is fine but I am going to be late to class if I keep going the way I'm going. Still, I feel yeugh, the internet is depressing, and it's cold outside, and I got not much money, and I'm keenly aware of how dirty my eyelashes are. It is important to acknowledge that I feel sad, and to know the reasons why.

It's lonely though. It is very lonely, and not just because my housemate has gone for a while. I wouldn't mind having to deal with bad vibes and unpleasant revelations and reevaluating my world-view on a nigh-daily basis, if there were more people I could talk to--that is, without having to shout into then jam my ear up against that fucking sewer pipe Twitter.

I mean, I'm doing okay, but last night I learned Contador is retiring and I'm not even particularly attached to him, and I still went 'NOOOOO YOUR TIMING SUCKS WHY NOW DON'T LEAVE ME' so clearly my brain's in a tenuous spot lmao

I made some initial attempts to get in touch with people, and yesterday a student told me their name of their own accord so clearly the DO NOT APPROACH field I often feel I'm emanating doesn't actually exist. I'm off to scrub my eyelashes.


chris: A birthday cake in the shape of a slightly cartoon-like panda (Default)

November 2016


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