The World's Only Cybermorphic™ Weblog

Dinner with the UK Conservatives

It's not like me to take a shot at conservative parties, as I am properly fond of our muddling-through overlords. But a friend sent me a link to a list of attendees at a 2013 fundraiser for the UK Conservative Party, courtesy the Grauniad.

I started to read the who's-who bios of those dinner guests. First, I'm (naively?) shocked that foreigners are casually invited to participate in a party fundraiser. Second, I like how the David Burnside table includes "Putin's judo partner," and the Boris Johnson table includes Andrei Borodin, who has been granted UK asylum from politically-motivated prosecution in Russia.

AWKWARD.

Ryan buys a patch kit in Greece

I can speak enough Greek to be understood in a bike shop. What follows is a transcript of our Greek conversation.

ME: Do you have "patch kit"?*
CLERK: [Greek I don't understand, but she doesn't understand "patch kit."]
ME: I look. [Literally, βλέπο ("vlepo") which is the verb form "I look", but which I hope implies "I am looking", as it does in the phrase "μόνο βλέπο" ("mono vlepo"), which is "I am just looking," a phrase you can use to drive Greek shopkeepers crazy, since they mainly hear it from English tourists. Greek scholars, probably including my lovely bride, may now giggle.]
[looks around, finds a patch kit]
ME: How much is this?
CLERK: €2
Me: OK! [pays]
SECOND CLERK: [question I don't really understand, but is probably "do you want a bag?"]
Me: No. It is ok. [puts kit in jersey pocket to demonstrate that yes, it's ok]
Me: Thanks, good day!

As you can see, my Greek is amazing, running to a vocabulary of at least two dozen words.

Folegandros

Here's a list of memorable things we saw or did in Folegandros.

-The hike to the church above the Hora

-2-up dirt-road scootering on Oliver, the little 125 cc scoot that could. Very practical rental, handled hills without complaint, maybe the most wooden and non-powerful front brake I've ever felt. Rebecca was remarkably game as I rode the scooter on a fairly hairy dirt and rock road. The road was supposed to go to a beach, but we took a wrong turn, and yadda yadda, we ended up in a swamp and then on a very rocky not-a-beach. Swimming ensued regardless.

-curried goat tagliatelle at Pitsara (?) in the Hora, eaten in a pretty square in the centre of town. It was one of the best things I've had. Rebecca enjoyed her stuffed zucchini as well. I ordered a Kaiser, slightly bemused at the price, but less so when it ended up being a 500 mL bottle.

Athens to Syros: A 3-hour Tour

The ferry trip from Piraeus, the port of Athens, to Syros is scheduled as about a 3-hour trip. We sailed at 5:30, estimated arrival before 9. We were on the Blue Star Paros, a solid car-carrier ferry, and one we had been aboard before. It's typical of the bigger ferries on the Greek island routes: single stern ramp, conventional bow, capable of carrying semi-trailers on the car deck and a few hundred people on the passenger decks above.

We took up seats outside, on the aft deck, right by the rail.

After about an hour, the sea started kicking up, and the spray was sufficient that we decided to move to different seats on the aft deck, further inboard and protected.

A Night about Video Games with Cognitive Science Nerds

My friend Keith Lim pointed out this excellent "Defining Gameplay" event hosted by the SFU Cognitive Science department. Then, more importantly, after I expressed a bit of interest in going but didn't do anything, he followed up by nudging me into contact with the organizer. Yada yada yada, I attended along with my similarly old-game-obsessed friend Josh, and we brought a lot of old games with us for people to play.

The feature attraction was Alexandre Mandryka, who had an hour to define "gameplay." He started by pointing out that as a native French speaker, "gameplay" was confusing because in French, "game" and "play" are practically the same word ("jeu" and "jouer"), as in most Romance languages.

Almost Famous - a fan letter

Dear Almost Famous, you rock!

After a considerable hiatus, I decided to sit down last night and watch a movie that both TLO and I are very fond of, Cameron Crowe's pseudo-memoir of his rock journalist days. It was a not-serious viewing: I fiddled around on magical revolutionary devices, made snacks, and let the film wash over me.

After 13 years, it holds up. It has a charming and melancholy atmosphere that is what attracts me to the movie first. It is also highly quotable.

The film was made in 2000 but set in 1973, and a great sport with such a film is to watch it from our present beyond-a-decade critical distance and decide if it feels true to the 1970s or true to the early 21st century.

New Year's Resolutions

Enjoy Things More. Personally Develop. Find And Make Marginal Improvements.

Staycation

For a variety of reasons, I have been on a solo vacation at home while TLO escorted her parents around Europe (don't worry; TLO will return on November 1).

It's been interesting, a sort of view into what kind of bachelor I might be.

First insight: really, really messy.

As for what I've done on my vacation, lots. It was a good time to work on side projects, mostly cycling related, including working on our club's rather elaborate cyclocross race. The real organization was all "Tobin" (not his real name), but when he asked me to build a foam machine, I...got my dad to help. And we built it! I'd like to do build plans soon, but it needs refinement.

Foamthrower

Review: Snugg iPhone 5 Pouch Case

So in case you were all wondering, Wired Cola can be bought (and we're cheap!)

Thus, when the very nice people at Snugg offered to send me a phone case, I thought that was really nice of them. I picked out their pouch case (in distressed leather) for the iPhone 5 because it looked cool.
IMG_0250

It's pretty cool. I can demonstrate its party trick in one brief video:

A brief history of video games

Here's my slide deck on the History of Video Games (that's a Slideshark link, or if you have time, you can download the 60 MB deck directly, which includes my speaking notes. I have (crummy) audio for about the first half of the talk, here you go, or perhaps you would like to play it right here:

Syndicate content