Ralph Liberty Meadows

That was the week that was.

January 2nd, 1817 - Playing London, the boardgame.
January 3rd, 1817 - Shopping at Thriftys.
January 4th, 1817 - Playing on the PC
January 5th, 1817 - Still at work
January 6th, 1817 - Money for the old car.

January 7th, 1817 - At home, watching TV
January 8th, 1817 - Standing at the bus stop
9th January, 1817 - Playing Navegadar.
10th January, 1817 - Cooking hot wings.

If anyone knows a simple way to create a contact/thumbnail sheet from Flickr, that doesn't use a script on the viewing side, let me know... this isn't quite what I wanted to present.
EDIT : Well that's a little prettier, but far too much like hard work to do every week/9 days. Plus the captions are lost (though you can mouse over and click through if you desire). Maybe it's time to break out the custom LJ CSS and my new found Groovy skills. Groovy skills are not some sort of 80's disco dance, but a scripting language.

The wings, though looking rather unappetizing in the photo, were excellent. Oven baking with hot sauce is the key.
Ralph Liberty Meadows

Test image

Test image, originally uploaded by Odinsday.

Okay, it's January 5th, 2011, and this image is from before the New Year. I'm just trying out the flickr integration with LiveJournal for giggles, and to see if it's the way I want to share a project I'm trying out.

Each day, at as close to 1817 PST as I can safely make it, I'm taking a picture of where I am right then and there. Most of these will be pretty mundane, which is partly the point, just tracking my existence.

I've got a flickr set for it, but trying to decide if I should also post to facebook/LJ /Twitter (one not all). Probably won't, seems a bit in your face, but might blog a few pictures here to keep LJ rolling along.

Ralph Liberty Meadows

I simulate robots

Well, I am now three weeks into a new job. Instead of running around organising people to do testing for applications that they don't really want to test, or convincing hardware specialists they do need to write down the process they used to put a firewall into use, I am sitting still and actually getting down to real manual testing.

No high faluting automation, or long discussions about strategy, this is get the manual, get the use cases and get stuck in quality assurance. Yes, currently I am a happy bunny. I did manage to luck into a critical fault within 24 hours of starting, but that was a lucky shot, and this week I have been simulating a robot.

Not a robot that is destined to go crazy, and take over the world with it's twin auto cannon arms. Nope, it's a highly expensive piece of laboratory equipment that combines dyes, agents and tissue samples, performs magic on them to get DNA out, and then analyzes that DNA using Next Generation Sequencing techniques. This equipment then sends results to the software my new company makes for storage and analysis. However, robots, even unsexy non-killer robots, are pricey, so I am playing the role of the robot and simulating the steps the robot does to check that a results file is correctly created and then handled by the software.

So far, boringly so good. Everything bar a small piece of UI is behaving. I write this as a script is now collating the results. Hopefully that will break. I like things to break. Even if it causes stress to developers and project managers (and possibly because of).

What's more interesting is to work in an Agile environment, with short time lines, rapid development and a group of people who have the smarts and the enthusiasm. I have to pedal hard to keep up. Which makes a change from coasting in the slow lanes.
Ralph Liberty Meadows


Well, one place Livejournal outstrips Smugbook and Twatter is getting meaningful advice from people. It also may result in unmeaningful advice too, but then I'll take that as well.

My pocket point and shoot camera is old and eats batteries. I'd like to buy a new one with out spending so much I could have just brought professional prints wherever I go. Anyone got any advice on good, bad or indifferent makes and models of small compact cameras. I tend to take short distance shots and know whatever I get won't cut it for big sky scenery. Which is a shame as there's some gorgeous views around, but I'm not going to carry a big SLR style with me everyday.


Not on advice at all, I am now safely into my own apartment, mostly unpacked and life there is wonderful and relaxed. The change seems to have done me some good.
Ralph Liberty Meadows


This past month has been interesting. I discovered that the banks would lend me money at an exceedingly good rate, and have then found a very nice two-bedroom apartment to move into. This all happens in 7 days and I'll then spend until I am very old indeed paying down the mortgage. Still, it will be all mine eventually and is nice to have somewhere I can erect a dripping blood pentagram and not have the landlord complain about ruining their carpet.

This is of course in theory. I don't really want to hang a pentagram, dripping blood or otherwise.

The process has been relatively smooth. Nobody refused to believe my identity or address. There was a moment or two when it was rumoured someone was about to break a contract, but that never happened, and my current place is already half packed up.

Still, something can go wrong, so lets not count our house keys before they are put in my sweaty palm.

The Olympic effect?

It's said that England has a boost in the economic fortunes when they do well in the World Cup. Canada just won the ice hockey Gold medal in the olympics, which is pretty much the equivalent in terms of highest national game played. Victoria went crazy, with more horns, cowbells and flag waving than you can shake a (hockey) stick at. Downtown Victoria was mobbed, and the main streets covered in merry fans waving, shouting and trying to avoid getting run over by the traffic that was just as merry and flag waving.

I wonder if they'll be the sort of national up swell that England has when it goes deep into the World Cup. Or at least the bars will be happy in their takings.

I did see the game on TV, but I only have public access TV here, and watched the commentary in Cree Indian... as I knew half the players, this was good enough. Was a very good game, with all the expected story lines coming through, with the wonder-kid Sidney Crosby winning the game in overtime with an excellent goal that he not only scored, but did all the hard work in creating. Prior to that, the US team had equalized with just 30 seconds left, to send the game into sudden death.
Ralph Liberty Meadows

Exchange Rates

Dear British residents,

Please do what is necessary to stop the pound sliding against the Canadian Dollar. I need to transfer a lot of money and this back sliding over the last four weeks has cost me $1,000.




I have started, scarily enough, looking for a permanent home. One Of my Own. This is because steer has one, and I can't be left behind. For this I need deposit. Which is in UK funds, that aren't worth what they were 4 months ago, and infact worth less than they were two freaking weeks ago.

I shall turn my self-entitled, western, middle-class moaning off now, before I start subscribing to the Daily Mail online (if I ever do, I think this is a sign of minor stroke, or other brain injury, you are entitled to call for medical help).
Ralph Liberty Meadows

Resident Here.

 Yesterday, I got on a ferry, crossed the Juan de Fuca to a little town called Port Angeles.  This is almost exactly, but not quite, the opposite of Los Angeles.  There wasn't a single shop who was part of a high street chain.  There was only antiques shops, worn down book shops and shops trying to trade off twilight.  And bar/grills.

I managed to tour the town center in less than 10 minutes.  The highlight 'Cock-a-doodle-donuts', where I regret not taking a picture to add to my collection of American towns I have visited with a shop with the word 'Cock' in the title (see Dunny's Cock Shack in Nooksack).   

I then had a quick pint (Hop Henge, Deschutes Brewery, lovely Cascade hopped IPA) and Burger (meh) and jumped back on the Black Ball ferry to Victoria.  As the ferry left the harbour, a rainbow appeared, and it's end was the Vancouver Island shores, roundabout the entrance to Victoria Harbour.  If I was fanciful, I would have said it was over the Black Ball Ferry terminal's immigration offices. 

A 90 minute sail away and we pulled into the harbour, I disembarked back onto Canadian soil and queued up to see a Border Guard.  The young lad sent me into the back office.  Here he asked for a passport, and dot matrixed print out and visa.  A few minutes later, 3 signatures and a handshake later, I get a small stamp in my passport.

I am now a permanent resident of Canada.   I walked out of a pair of fire doors, back to the harbour area and that was that.  3 years, couple thousand dollars and it's done.  A bit anticlimatic.  No banners, no flags.  But I did have a big grin for the rest of the day, and celebrated with several pints of Saltspring Island Heather Ale and coming second in the Fort Street Cafe quiz.

In other news, I am the proud owner of a small red diesel Golf.  It's like the Big Red Happy Fun Bus (TM) junior edition.
Ralph Liberty Meadows

It's the end of the year as we know it, and I feel fine.

 So, another year over, more or less.  I flutter off to the UK tomorrow, and figure this is as good a time as ever to edit my top 10's for the year.  I also not my entries into LJ have been very low as off late.  I have no idea why. I still like writing an occasional journal.  Must be the exciting busy life I lead, or the fact I spend time writing another blog and a line a personal journal that all my words are used up.

The other blog is Victoria, In Person, a food and drinking type of thing, mostly related to Victoria.  So less relevant to most (all?) of the people who read this journal.  But there we go.

So, music wise, the top 10 artists I have been listening to are, according to Last.FM :

1. Against Me!
(I seem to have an addiction to listening to the "Eternal Cowboy" and "New Wave" when working out or walking home after a beer).

2. Carter USM 
(I got hold of most of the back catalogue on MP3, so had to have a re-listen.  I still like it).

3. Rise Against
(I consider Rise Against a guilty secret.  I really like them, but think they are far to serious to really love.  Seems I listen to them lots anyways)

4. Chumbawamba
(The last album, The Boys Bands Have Won, was 20 tracks long, and fantastic.  Definitely gone to a folk sound, and the agit-pop punk has disappeared).

5. Amanda Palmer
(Who killed Amanda Palmer was my favourite album of 2009, especially by an singer I'd never really heard before.  Also, Neil Gaiman is a lucky fellow).

6. Mega City Four
(Much like listening to Carter USM, this was due to getting the back catalogue on MP3.  Still love Wiz and the boys.  Indie 1992).

7. Swervedriver
(You can listen to Swervedriver, or you can listen to the Silversun Pickups.  Or you can listen to both).

8. Minutemen
(Going back to 80's.  But 80's I like not 80's I hate.  Hard to describe, but the title music to Jackass was taken from "Corona").

9. NoFX
(Really?  They must come on random shuffle a lot.  Still "Best God in Show" is worth a listen)

10. Abra Moore.
(Ah, Abra Moore gets played a lot as she's the first track on my ipod and I occasionally just knock it on to listen to anything but the monkeys screeching in my head.  I mean the outside world).

Games, Games, Games.

This year was slightly less manic on the boardgame front.  I'm pretty sure I spent less this year, and I played 359 games in total.  However, there were several monster boardgames played, including 7 Ages, which is still set up in my spare room after about 20 hours of play (and another 10 to go, roughly).

1. Race for the Galaxy
(Card game, was my favourite last year too)

2. Tichu
(Bridge-like card games of trick taking)

3. Dominion
(Another card game where building your deck of cards IS the game)

4. Steam
(Railroad building game, a brain stretcher, but not overly long)

5. Battelore
(Miniatures boardgame, which mainly involved playing with a good friend rather than my gamer friends)

6. Pack & Stack
(Very simple, fast game which involves packing tetris pieces on a truck.  Silly).

7. Agricola
(Farm building in the 14th Century. Yes that is game theme, yes it is interesting.  No really.)

8. Le Havre
(Harbour town building, and resource collection and conversion.  Actually more interesting than Agricola as a game)

9. Roll through the Ages
(Yahtzee-style game based on building a civilisation. )

10. Chaos in the Old World
(Wonderful game based on Warhammer's Chaos Gods, with dice  rolling, cards, miniatures and bargaining.  Best new game of the year, just not played it enough times).

That's the charts.  Maybe a more considered post later.  Or maybe not.