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Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Time:4:42 pm.
Mood: chipper.
Catchy as hell.

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Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Subject:All Roads Lead to...
Time:12:48 pm.
Okay, since I've recently returned from the most-awesome trip of this decade so far to glorious Roma, I thought I'd quickly share some thoughts here. So, what did we do?

Arrive in night-time Roma Ciampino airport to be greeted with friendly Italian taxi man holding a sign with the ESA logo and my name on it. HELLOO

Breakfast at Hotel Cacciani with cappuccino, pastries and chocolate cake. Train to Rome, then meandering towards ancient Rome via Santa Maria Maggiore and Parco di Triano. Colosseum, and getting hassled by EVERYONE to pay a fortune to go on a guided tour or to buy tourist tat off the street. Headed over to Palatine Hill to buy tickets for Palatine, the Roman fora and Colosseo, and a trundle around the Palatine complex and the Roman ruins atop. Then, jumping into the Colosseum for a waltz around the hulking stadium - Such an impressive sight, and what a feat of engineering: One can hardly take in what it must have been like in its heyday. Then, trekking towards the centre of the city past the Monumento a Vittorio Emmanuele II and stopping briefly at the Palazzo del Quirinale before plodding down narrow streets toward the Fontana di Trevi and delicious hazelnut-chocolate gelato. And finally, as the sun set, a stroll back up Via Nazionale to Piazza Repubblica and Roma Termini station to catch a locomotive back to Frascati. Upon arrival at around 2030, pizza in a traditional tavern and sleep to await the 7am start at ESRIN the next day.

Skipped breakfast in order to catch the bus from Frascati to ESRIN from the Piazza Marconi at 7:40, and arrived at ESRIN to start the course registration, begin the lecture talks at 8:30am and get handed ESA goodie bags with the course materials, huge lecture notes book, free pens and paper, etc. to use throughout the week. A morning of lectures, an afternoon of software training on PolSARPro and a cocktail evening in the ESRIN canteen meant that the whole day was > 12 hours door-to-door, and me and Bryface headed back out into downtown Frascati to hunt pizza again in the same tavern as the previous day; all of which was fantastically delicious, too.

Second day's start was a more respectable bus pick-up at 8:05, and more lectures and software training pursued throughout the day. Found my attention distracted continually by the model International Space Station hanging from the conference room, and plotting potential methods by which I could cut the thing down, stow it aboard my Ryanair hand luggage and get it home without anyone noticing. I was again astounded by the value of the ESRIN canteen, in which you could grab a primo, a secondi and a dolci for little over 2EUR (all delicious); a stark comparison to the £6 or £7 you'd expect to pay for something like that in the UK. So, thanks to my money-saving over lunch, in the evening we wandered to the restaurant below the hotel (in which one of the hotel's residents we'd gotten to know, an guy called Paul from Colorado who was learning to be a chef at various places around Italy) in very-posh surrounding to sample the finer delights Italy has to offer. Expensive (ish), but oddly not as much as the equivalent in the UK would cost, and fantastically cooked and presented cuisine. Awesome!

Slowly getting used to early starts, and continuation of the workshop's training on SAR polarimetry. Bit of a midweek lull, as the tiredness of the first half of the week finally caught up but the second wind not quite arriving. Elected to stay in hotel and make lazy food from Italian bed, Philadelphia and various snacks. Also: Turns out that Italian coffee is like THE BEST THING EVER, something I totally miss when I'm back home and forced to sup on measly instant Nescafe or something =\

Penultimate day of work, and the end in sight. Wrapped up the final day of lectures and software practicals with pizza at another tavern, in which we were hassled no less than SIX TIMES (perhaps more, my mind isn't what it used to be) by six different flower vendors attempting to sell roses to couples in the restaurants around Frascati. Still, miserly ways prevailed at awesome pizza was rounded off with creme caramel dolci and spending hours flicking through hotel room TV in the vain, unsuccessful hope that eventually we'd find something in English. Alas, no.

Yielded our final day at ESRIN, with a series of guest speakers from the major space agencies at institutions across the globe working on spaceborne radar, such as DLR, NASA JPL, Canadian Space Agency, and a keynote lecture from Prof. Wolfgang Boerner. The shorter day today meant we finished at around 5:00pm, at which point I hopped on a train to Rome at Tor Vergata station just outside ESRIN, to meet Bry at Roma Termini and to sample the delights of the Hard Rock Cafe Rome - Lots of nice things to see, including a James Hetfield guitar hidden away in the gift shop, the bass Flea played in the video for 'Give it Away' and a Gibson SG from Angus Young. Also served by a friendly Italian who could have been the spitting image of Nathan Fillion FTW. Last train back to Frascati and bed.

Breakfast and then morning train back to Rome, this time with the aim of heading straight to the Vatican by metro. Arrive in a rainy St. Peter's Square and immediately head into the Basilica, which is free admission to the public and requires going through airport-style security checks. Once inside though, it's a breathtaking sight - Everything is gilt, gold or relic; including Michelangelo's Pieta. Then into the Vatican Museums, through the Pinacoteca to marvel over da Vincis, Caravaggios and Raphaels; through the Tombs of the Popes (past a huge crowd paying their respects to JP II); into the Egyptian Museum and finally into the Capella Sistina - Staggeringly beautiful. Finally, heading out towards Castel Sant'Angelo in late afternoon, to the Spanish Steps at sundown, then South towards Fontana di Trevi again and finally food at a hidden-away restaurant near Via Nazionale. Last train back to Frascati, and well-earned rest.

Spent almost the entire day travelling from Frascati-Rome-London-Southampton, and at the end returned a very tired pair of feet to bed at Flat 5. All in all, a fantastic eight days that I shan't forget any time soon.

And to round it off, here's a bunch of my favourite photos from the week that people on Facebook will probably already be familiar with. Enjoy!

Frascati by night:

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore:

View of the Colosseo from Parco di Traiano:

Detail from Colosseo's upper level:

View of the Roman Forum and Colosseo from atop Palatine Hill:

Fontana di Trevi by day...

...and by night:

Inside St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican:

Michelangelo's The Pietà inside St. Peter's Basilica:

Sculpture in Museo Egiziano, Museo Vaticano:

Statue on Pont Sant'Angelo:

Michelangelo's fresco on the ceiling of the Cappella Sistina:

Anyway, apparently we have guests coming over soon, so I'd best scoot. Catch y'all soon.

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Friday, January 7th, 2011

Subject:A Lament to Productivity
Time:4:40 pm.
Mood: annoyed.
Gah. I hate four-day weeks: The first couple of days is spent trying to remember what the hell you were doing before the break (made even worse in this case by the extended Christmas break meaning I had a forced ten days out of the office), then the second half is the realisation that you can't finish a normal week's work before the weekend, and inevitably trying to cram it all in before 5pm on the Friday.

It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't seem like just one more day working on this would polish it all off, and the inevitable annoyance that I could have had a blissful weekend off had I had that extra day of productivity that was robbed from me by the New Year bank holiday. As it is, I either 1) Work tomorrow or over the weekend (thus cutting into my own time and meaning that a four-day week suddenly becomes an eleven-day week), or 2) Batten down the hatches, say "sod it" and take the weekend off anyway.

Ordinarily, I'd say "2" all the way, but alas, in the manner in which these things usually circulate, that just leads to me coming in again on Monday, sitting down at my desk and thinking: "Right. What the fuck was I doing?", and that's another two days gone. Pah.

Oh well, that grindstone isn't going to press itself to my nose, so I'd better get on and do it myself. Out.

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Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Subject:Caught Somewhere in Time
Time:9:53 am.
Mood: cold.
Kay, since Top Gear Live and MPH Performance Car Show happened a while ago but I never dumped pictures on here, here are a few snaps from my Flickr photostream. Enjoy!

MPH/Top Gear LiveCollapse )

Also offering RockSoc merchandise right now, so if you'd like something then let your mouse linger over here. Low-budget MS Paint renditions of the actual clothing look something like this:

And finally, shameless plug for my Metal Band Logos Sporcle quiz which will be familiar to anyone who came to the RockSoc pub quiz a few weeks back but of interest to those who didn't =D

Right, I've got a bunch of work that I'd like to get done before the Christmas holidays start proper, so I'm going to go make myself look busy. Catch y'all again soon, eep!

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Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Subject:Gimme Some Sugar, Baby!
Time:4:54 pm.
Mood: touched.

Happy Hallowe'en!

{photo courtesy of Ian; editing by Bryface}

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Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Subject:Subliminal Setlist 25/10/2010
Time:5:40 pm.
Mood: calm.
Since it's now usual for me to do these things, I thought I'd post my DJ setlist from Monday night's Subliminal at Bridge Bar. Boom!

1. Bleed From Within - Bed Intruder (Antoine Dodson cover)
2. God Forbid - To the Fallen Hero
3. In Flames - Take This Life
4. Lacuna Coil - To the Edge
5. Machine Head - Aesthetics of Hate
6. Sylosis - Teras
7. Children of Bodom - If You Want Peace... Prepare for War
8. Ensiferum - From Afar
9. Edguy - Fucking with Fire (Hair Force One)
10. 3 Inches of Blood - Deadly Sinners
11. Power Quest - Cemetary Gates
12. Hammerfall - Fury of the Wild
13. Luca Turilli - Ancient Forest of Elves
14. Andrew WK - Ready to Die

And on that bombshell, I'm off to the library to scan some books. Yowzah.

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Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Subject:Super Wants #3: Movie Edition
Time:11:47 am.
Mood: calm.




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Subject:15 Magical Binary Moments
Time:10:29 am.
Mood: calm.
The rules: Don't take too long to think about it. List fifteen video games that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes, then put them in order of importance. Tag fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what games my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people in the note.)

1. Rez (PS2)
2. Final Fantasy VII (PS1)
3. Halo (PC)
4. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (Amiga500+/PC)
5. Okami (Wii)
6. We <3 Katamari (PS2)
7. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC)
8. Half-Life (PC)
9. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (NDS)
10. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (NDS)
11. Fable: The Lost Chapters (PC)
12. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
13. Assassin's Creed (X360/PC)
14. Psychonauts (PC)
15. Tomb Raider II (PS1)


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Monday, October 11th, 2010

Subject:RockSoc Artwork Round-Up
Time:6:18 pm.
Since I've been doing a bunch of design work for RockSoc logos/flyers over the last few months and they're already uploaded to the interwebs somewhere else, I thought I'd post a big round-up of all that work into a convenient LJ blog post; if anything, just to remind me in years gone by of everything that happened in my year-long tenure as VP/Sec of the RockSoc committee.

So without further ado, RockSoc logo(s) for 2010/11:

RockSoc StuffsCollapse )

Anyway, back to work. Catch y'all soon.

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Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Subject:Silverstone, Baby Yeah!
Time:5:51 pm.
Mood: chipper.
A few of my shots from the 1000km of Silverstone Le Mans Series from last weekend. Yatta!

LMS Silverstone 12/09/2010Collapse )

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Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Subject:Super Wants #2
Time:10:39 pm.
More musical shenanigans on the way that I want want want:



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Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Subject:Super Wants #1
Time:6:28 pm.
Mood: sleepy.
A note to self about the awesome shit that's getting released in the next few months as a reminder to get my hands on them when I actually have some money for a change. Bam!



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Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Subject:More from Wilton House Supercar Saturday Sunday Service
Time:3:12 pm.
Mood: calm.
More delicious metal from my Flickr account. Whee!

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Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Subject:Wilton House Supercar Saturday Sunday Service
Time:9:36 pm.
Mood: tired.
Some shots from the Wilton House Supercar Saturday and the Pistonheads meet nr. Salisbury, 14/08/2010. Enjoy!

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Friday, August 13th, 2010

Subject:Summer Kart 2010
Time:11:48 am.
Mood: cheerful.
My latest video opus. Enjoy.

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Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Subject:A Hard Days' Knight
Time:11:14 pm.
I haven't posted on here in bloody ages, so, under the cut aresome of my photos from Tewkesbury Medieval Festival. Enjoy.
TMF2010Collapse )

Over and out.

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Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Subject:Robot Rock
Time:6:40 pm.
Mood: chipper.
I adore this video. Star Wars, Daft Punk and a bunch of other cool stuff. Yes please!

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Friday, May 14th, 2010

Subject:Going Commando
Time:11:15 pm.
Mood: sleepy.
Waiting for Star Wars: Republic Commando to install. Owned it for like three years now, but only in the last six months have I had a machine that'll run it properly; excited to get playing. Still have a bunch of games on the go, but not really worrying about that now; I needs me some shootin' an' some Star Wars. And heck, at least it's not Portal, which absolutely everyone seems to be playing right now.

Uh, I don't remember if I had more to say. Probably did, but that's the way it goes.

May the Force be with you.

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Time:11:38 am.
Mood: calm.
Made of lawl:

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Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Subject:Keep on Galloping
Time:5:36 pm.
Mood: tired.
Okay, since I've had a crappy day of getting nowhere with this new piece of software I'm using, before I head home to weep into my glass of bedtime milk, I thought I'd do a brief update of all the Cool Shit™ that's been goin' down.

I turned a ripe Twenty-Five last Friday, and to mark the occasion organised a Nice Little Weekend to celebrate in reasonably relaxed style. Friday was punctuated with work during the day, but an evening at ours for a bunch of close friends and board games and chatting, etc., which was mighty satisfying. The birthday haul 2010 consisted of an awesome pirate ship kite from Bryface and a Zelda/Lolcat t-shirt, some Zelda mints and a CD holder made to look like a furry sandwich from Kim, a copy of Moon from Dan and a couple of games from Sarah; all of which is mighty excellent.

Saturday morning a bunch of shipped out to Gosport ice rink for some silly skating antics, which was actually quite refreshing since it's been a good couple of years since my previous trip. Too many children permeating the event though, but I guess since this meant that I couldn't muck around or try to go stupidly-fast and get myself injured, I should probably be thankful for small mercies. Anyways, we headed over to Portsmouth in the afternoon for a chug around Gunwharf Quays for shopping and absorption of some pretty tasty noms at Chiquitos.

It was nice to see those who'd come from far afield (Olly, Dan, Ant, Angela) since it's only every so often we get together, and we always have a great time. Hopefully there'll be more Gatherings over the summer which'll keep my relatively busy while all of the undergrads have gone away for the summer and I'm hard at work (bah).

Ploughing on with lots of Little King's Story at the moment; fun game is fun, even though it's still hard as nails on some quests. Also doing a lot of work on my Le Mans overalls (pictures to follow, natch) which are coming along nicely now I've kitted them out with stripes and a few patches. My fingers will thank me when I'm done though; I think they're a little tired of having the needle jabbed into them while I'm hand-sewing everything one ¬_¬

A few other projects in the pipeline, but feeling pretty frazzled with Work being busy and Not-Work being full of things I'm hurriedly shoe-horning into the gaps. Mega shattered at the moment and hugely looking forward to the weekend and a catch-up on Normality for the first time in about a couple of weeks. Ah well.

Alas, that's probably my cue to scoot off; catch y'all later.

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LiveJournal for zinar7.

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