Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 09:01 pm
Does anyone know how to recover your password on the explainxkcd thingy if you can't remember your user name?

Later - never mind, it looks like I didn't actually have an account - the changes I made a few months ago show my IP address, not a user name. For some reason they seem to have stopped allowing that.
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 11:00 am
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 10:32 am
Definitely not standing: Jo Swinson, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Wera Hobhouse, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael, Norman Lamb, Ed Davey
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Christine Jardine
Probably standing:
Definitely standing: Vince Cable

... Oh arse.

Look, coronations are bad. The "candidate" does not get examined, does not get their feet held to whatever fire the membership is stoking, does not have to state any positions before the crown is lowered. Recent political leaders who have had a coronation rather than an election include TMay, Arlene Foster, and Gordon Brown. We do not want to be in that company.

But even if coronations were ok, the coronation of someone who's published views are 1, so often at odds with the membership and 2, so changeable depending on who he is talking to... Lads, this is really, really, REALLY not good. And given the article I linked to in the very first piece I wrote on potential leadership elections after the GE, this whole situation smells really fucking funny and I do not like it one bit.

I'm in conversation with a bunch of other senior Lib Dems members of the awkward squad to try to do something about this. I mean, if there was a proper election and the members decided that Vince was the best person, that's one thing, but this is just a subversion of party democracy, and I hate it. Eurgh.

But if we can't do something about it... I don't know. The scissors are feeling very close to my membership card right now.

ETA: OfC given the legendary efficiency of the LDHQ membership department, if I were to cut up my membership card and send it back we'd probably have had another 2 general elections before they got round to processing my resignation...
Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 09:53 pm
I am now great-uncle to a seven-a-side football team, with yet another grand-nephew, born a few days earlier than expected. So far that's only one girl out of seven children in that generation, which isn't what I would have expected, but since I'm crap at buying girl's presents it's probably just as well.

Tomorrow I'll go buy some bootees etc.
Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 06:03 pm
https://bundleofholding.com/presents/MutantChronicles

"The Solar System is a roaring mayhem of death and war. The Earth has been swept clean by the violent onslaught of the Dark Legion's monstrous hordes and Undead Legionaries. In the enormous cities of Venus, Mars, and the Outer Planets, heretics devoted to destruction stalk gloomy alleys, spreading their teachings of greed, jealously, and war. With technology failing due to the insidious effects of the Dark Symmetry, humanity must fight the Dark Legion while dealing with infighting and conspiracy from within.

Mutant Chronicles is a full-throttle dieselpunk techno-fantasy RPG, a thrill ride across a Solar System beset by megacorporate intrigue and the invasion of a terrible alien force. Originally published in 1993 by the Swedish company Target Games (now Paradox Entertainment), Mutant Chronicles grew into a franchise, with a Doom Trooper trading card game, three boardgames, a video game, the massive Warzone miniatures game, and two editions of an RPG. More recently there was a 2008 film, a pre-painted miniatures game from Fantasy Flight Games and, last year, a reboot of Warzone by Prodos Games.

In a successful January 2014 Kickstarter campaign, Modiphius Entertainment funded a licensed Third Edition of the Mutant Chronicles RPG and a full support line. The new version uses a fast-playing, cinematic "2d20" system designed by Jay Little (Star Wars: Edge of the Empire). The same system powers the new Modiphius Conan RPG and its forthcoming Star Trek game.

This all-new offer presents the complete 496-page Mutant Chronicles Third Edition corebook along with many faction guides and the Dark Symmetry Campaign. We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to the charity chosen by Chris Birch of Modiphius Entertainment, Vision Rescue. "Modiphius has chosen to support Vision Rescue through a number of different projects," says Chris. "Our goal is to raise US$20,000 for a Vision Rescue Bus."

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$119. Customers who pay just US$12.95 get all four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $52) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete 496-page Mutant Chronicles Third Edition rulebook (retail price $20), the Mutant Chronicles Player's Guide extracted from it (retail $10), and two faction books about the megacorporate nation-states of the Solar System: Capitol Source Book (retail $9.50) and Imperial Source Book (retail $12.50).

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $19.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with five more titles worth an additional $67, including the Dark Symmetry Campaign (retail $15) that covers the setting's calamitous early history, and the Bauhaus, Mishima, Cybertronic, and Brotherhood Source Books (retail $13 apiece)."

At least one more title will be added after launch. "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early."


I'll be honest, I'm pretty sure this isn't my sort of game, and I probably won't be checking it out, but as with all these bundles it looks like you get a lot for your money.

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Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 11:22 am
Hate everything.
Having cashflow problems, some of which are my fault, and some of which are other people's fault, and all of which are beyond my control and therefore incredibly frustrating.
Cashflow problems meaning I am having to cancel on commitments, which I hate doing.
Politics in general is full of arseholes who keep arsing.
Work is frustrating, because I can't do the things I need to do for various stupid reasons (also beyond my control).
Have had no sleep and lots of pointless arguments with members of household, which means I am dangerously low on spoons, grumpy and frazzled.
And to top it all, my right tit is a big scabby painful mess.

Here's hoping you lot are all a bit happier...
Monday, June 26th, 2017 08:16 pm
I forgot to mention that Stewart Wieck, another big name in gaming, died last week. He only 49 when he died - apparently he just collapsed suddenly after a fencing match. Most notable as one of the founders of White Wolf and a major writer for the World of Darkness books.

http://www.tenkarstavern.com/2017/06/stewart-wieck-has-passed-white-wolf.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stewart_Wieck

https://www.rpg.net/columns/advanced-designers-and-dragons/advanced-designers-and-dragons14.phtml

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Sunday, June 25th, 2017 05:42 pm
Last year, I planted a couple of perennial sweetpea plants in one of the flower beds. They did ok, but weren't really anything special.

Either they needed a little while to get themselves established or they much prefer the weather this year:



I had a go at putting normal sweetpeas along the drive this year, as I had spares and thought they'd look nice if they grew up the fence. They've rather been out-competed by the stuff on the other side of the fence (in the stableyard), though. I think I might get myself another pack of perennial seeds and see how they do there!

We went to see a horse on Sunday: he seemed to have a lovely personality, and looked nicely put together, but he'd never been ridden properly and didn't have a clue what he was doing in the school. Hopefully she'll find him a nice home where he can do nothing but go for long hacks....

I went to London last week, to see the dentist. Some sort of viral thing seems to have come back with me, which explains why I was so knackered all weekend, and probably also the upset stomach. I'm not exactly *ill*, but I'm also not entirely well. Possibly, in the light of this, I should have spent less time weeding today. It did need doing, though: it's been too hot recently to contemplate working in the garden.

We seem to have a lot of what look almost like yellow thistles appearing in the garden this year. Not sure what they are or where they've suddenly appeared from!
Sunday, June 25th, 2017 10:14 am
Previously unread.

Second (and last, I think) book in Hamilton's Chronicle of the Fallers sub-series of his Commonwealth books (now up to about N, maybe N log(N), sub-series).

We follow a few main viewpoint characters, some of which were present for the previous book. It's eminently readable and while there's some on-page sex, it's at least pretty much down to "sex happens" rather than stroke-by-stroke descriptions, which is better.

Would I recommend this? I am in two minds, if you've read a bunch of Commonwealth books, this is likely to evoke the same feeling. If you haven't this really is not where to start.
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Saturday, June 24th, 2017 04:08 pm
Two new stories published. “The Losers’ Crusade” will be my fifth story for Third Flatiron, in their “Cat’s Breakfast” anthology – a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut Jr. “The only real political parties in America are the Winners and the Losers.”

And “The Longing”, my fourth story for The First Line:

“If you could not live without her,” she said. “Genuinely couldn’t. If you needed her to make sure you could take your next breath. You couldn’t exhale, but you knew that she would come and push your chest in and keep you going. And she was near, so near. You’re sure if you waved your arms around you’d touch her. She’d hear if you called. You only have to take a couple of steps and you’d find her. But after a couple of steps, she’s still a couple of steps away, and you still can’t exhale. So you have to keep going. And there’s no room in your brain for anything else. This is always the number one priority. For the first few nights, you don’t even look for anywhere to sleep. You just keep going. It takes a while for the survival mechanisms to kick in. If you knew how that felt, you’d have an idea what I feel.”

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 07:40 am
Definitely not standing: Jo Swinson, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael, Norman Lamb
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Wera Hobhouse, Christine Jardine
Probably standing: Ed Davey
Definitely standing: Vince Cable

You'll note that Norman Lamb has moved from probably standing to definitely not standing. He announced this with rather petulant article in the Grauniad, in which (among other things) he proclaimed the Lib Dems' second referendum policy as toxic. Now I agree, it is toxic. "First we'll negotiate brexit, then we'll set up a referendum, then we'll campaign against the deal we ourselves negotiated!" is an utterly ridiculous policy. The problem is, it was only in the sodding manifesto due to the insistence of people on the rump brexity wing of the party, of which Norman Lamb is definitely one. This was as far as the rest of the party, who just wanted "we will stop brexit" to be the manifesto position, could be dragged. Policy making by committee often comes up with soggy centrist compromises, and often that's a good thing and satisfies most people, but sometimes it's patently rubbish. This time was the latter. What I don't get is Captain Brexit blaming the rest of the party for it. Well, I do. He'd like us to embrace brexit. And that is not going to happen.

Anyway, the rest of the article sticks the boot in to members in various other ways, and alludes to, but doesn't actually acknowledge, the problems autistic people have with the idea of Norman as a leader, and frankly, just makes me glad he's not standing. At least he has the self-knowledge to know he's not right to lead the party as it currently is, even if he declares it in a rather Skinnerian way.

Principal Skinner asks a pertinent question

So the only likely runner at this point undeclared is Ed Davey. And there will be siren idiots voices whispering in his ear, saying:
Don't stand, Ed. Leadership elections are expensive, Ed. They are divisive and set party members up against each other, ed. It'd be easier all round just to crown Vince, Ed. You don't want the hassle, Ed. The party doesn't want the hassle, Ed. Lets just have a coronation, Ed.
To which I say, pish, tosh, bunkum, bollocks, and bullshit.

Yes, leadership elections are divisive, and do set members up against each other, and sometimes even cause resentments. Do you know what's even more divisive, and causes even more resentments? Not letting Lib Dems have democracy. Not letting us scrutinise each candidate and come to a decision on merit. Not having hustings at which we can put questions to candidates and examine their views and records and promises. Imposing a leader on us without us having a say. I can guarantee you that while a leadership election might be divisive, it's nowhere near as divisive as a coronation.

Now, Ed Davey told one of the BBC politics correspondents (I think Norman Smith) the other day that he would declare whether or not he was standing "on Thursday or Friday". He didn't declare yesterday. I'm hoping he declares he's standing today.

And if you'd told me last month I'd be crossing my fingers for Ed Davey to run in a leadership election, I'd have thought you insane in the membrane, crazy insane, got no brain. Just goes to show what a funny old world it is...
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 03:46 pm
Friends from Wales visiting in London took me to the V&A to see the Pink Floyd exhibition. It was very much worth the £20something admission, especially as I didn't have to pay it!




Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 11:00 am
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 09:01 am
Possums and communism are basically my whole life.


Context is locked; QWP.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 08:09 pm
35º (according to the car), stuck in traffic for two hours, trying to get to a triple lesson that I had to cancel in the end when the car overheated and I had to pull over and just wait (at least the car held long enough to make it to the big Tesco's near Ikea before dying. There's air con in that Tesco. And cake.) . It's not the worst day I've had, by a long way, but it wasn't the best. Shower now.