The Lonely Death of Lizal Anders.

The Moment Itself

I’m a big fan of storytelling in video games. The scripted stories in big RPGs can vary dramatically between the purely functional setups of things like Diablo to the heartbreaking sagas of Final Fantasy VII or X. The silly procedural stories that drop out of the bottom of Dwarf Fortress are, for me, one of the main draws of the game.

Rimworld is like nothing I’ve ever played before. Procedural storytelling is at the very core of the game – in fact, you can choose and customise the kinds of storyteller that will drive the game logic, determining how often your little colony will be attacked, how stable and healthy your colonists are, and so on. I’d heard good things about it. Well. I had a short-lived colony on Friday night and the story that came out of it, that I’m about to relay to you, has haunted me ever since.

We started out with an optimistic little group of 3; Lizal – slightly insecure, gentle, a good worker; Dorothy – confident, capable with weaponry; Parks – young, slightly lazy, a little bit nervous. All was going well – we’d put together a decent little starter base with a rec-room / dining room, a large refrigerated room, a good sized farm plot with a crop of rice underway, and a nice little suite of bedrooms. As the worked together on the farm, Lizal and Dorothy grew very close. Parks began to excel at hunting – often bringing back way more animals than were needed or could be used. That should have been a warning sign right there.

At the beginning of summer, there was a heatwave. As the colony was entirely supported by wind-power, everything stopped working and the stored food – no longer refrigerated – began to spoil. We needed to build a solar array as soon as possible, and in order to manufacture this we needed more steel. As the most able miner, Dorothy set off to a nearby rock outcrop and began mining. Like the Dwarves of Moria, alas, Dorothy delved too deeply and awakened something nasty. By the time Lizal and Parks arrived to rescue her, she was at death’s door.

With no one else able to mine the ores required to make steel, we had no choice but to nurse Dorothy back to health as quickly as possible, while living on iron rations and suffering the sweltering inescapable heat. But then the food ran out. Starvation set in with Lizal and Parks but it claimed Dorothy first.

Lizal buried Dorothy in a small grove of trees beside the farm and spent all her time sitting by it grieving. [meta info – I looked at Lizal’s needs to see how I could help / rescue the situation; -6 I’m hungry, -3 my room is horrible, -37 my best friend died – what the hell can I do to fix that?]

Then the unbearable heat and hunger did something to Parks and it manifested as a tendency towards pyromania. He began lighting small fires around the base. The drained batteries exploded and the base began to burn. Parks watched this for a moment and then went to his bed.

Returning from Dorothy’s grave, Lizal found the entire camp in flames and immediately started rushing around trying to put the flames out. She ran, badly burned, to wake up Parks but he ignored her. She rushed back outside just in time to see the thing that had been awakened in the mine take Dorothy’s body from the grave and head off with it. This proved too much for poor Lizal and she slowly walked into a corner of her field. [I looked at her needs panel – -100 I just want it all to be over] and sat down and waited for the flames.

And that’s how it all ended. And I don’t know if I can start a new game.

Share Button

A change of platform

Raspberry Pi 3B+

It’s been a while since The Temple had some maintenance. It’s been hosted on a variety of machines over the years; an SGI Indy, a Sun ELC, various FreeBSD, Linux, NetBSD and Solaris PCs, and a couple of Virtual Machines running Ubuntu.

With home broadband running at perfectly acceptable speeds and the increasing availability of extremely low cost and reasonably powered devices like the above, it was only a matter of time before I moved the site out of the datacenter and into my living room. 

We’re now running on a Raspberry Pi 3B+ and performance, while a little slower than before, seems to be absolutely fine. The Pi is running Raspian Etch (to keep it inline with the version of Ubuntu the previous VM was running – mostly to make it easy to port over the code for Karl’s website –

All things considered, this is an excellent solution to the long-term hosting of the site. Only thing left to do is streamline the O/S a little (Raspian installs a lot of unnecessary guff) and set up backups. 

Share Button

Autumn has arrived

And by God, has it arrived with style. After a very active outdoor Spring and Summer, I’m enjoying the delights of keeping warm on cold days. Lots of gigs in pubs, lots of reading on the sofa, even a whistle-stop dash to Wales and back, just for the lols. 

In addition to the joys of reading, I’ve been spoiled for game releases over the last few months; Red Dead Redemption on the PS4, Monster Hunter and Diablo III on the switch. In the near future the Switch is also getting Civilisation VI and Elite Dangerous is getting a major update. Looking forward to spending some downtime with them.

It’s not all indoor joy, though – boaty things need doing – I have the hull to pressure wash ready for wintering. Other winter maintenance (which probably won’t start till February or March, depending on the weather) include reapplying a gelcoat to the deck and putting anti-slip on the walkways. I’m also planning to run a new boom uplift up the mast and fit lazyjacks to allow me to store the mainsail on the boom instead of taking it off after every sail.

My wee bike will be getting packed away for the winter in a week or two as well. Not quite ready for it yet, but we’re beginning to see sub-zero temperatures overnight so it’ll probably get done next weekend. 

I really wish I could hibernate 🙂

Share Button

Fife Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, 2018

On the 30th of September, 2018, a bunch of hairy and disreputable Fife biker types donned their least scruffy clothes and thundered up the coastal road from Kirkcaldy to St Andrews as part of a fundraiser for men’s mental health and prostate cancer. 

Waves were given, dogs were frightened, and a stupendous amount of money was raised. Many thanks to all involved.

It’s probably a little early to say it’s the last event of the year (and what a year it’s been!), but things are certainly beginning to wind down a little. The little boat comes out of the water on the 5th so there’ll be the usual winter maintenance to look forward to. As the colder weather creeps in, I should really see if the car still works. I’ll ride in anything except ice – been there, done that, bounced off the tarmac 🙂

So, I expect I’ll be hanging up the outdoor gear and replacing it with good beer, good food, good books, open fires, and good company for a few months.


Share Button

Caledonia Dreaming

Oh man, what a summer it’s been. As well as doing a bit of sailing, it’s seen my long overdue return to motorcycling – my first love. Having covered some two thousand miles in a little over six weeks it’s safe to say that there’s some life in the old dog yet. I’ve actually been making good use of holiday time (for a change) too, seeing some nice trips to Skye in Scotland and La Manga in Spain. Surprisingly, Skye was only a little cooler than Spain was! 

The real revelation, for me, has been getting out of the central belt. The roads north of the Forth are magnificent and quiet, compared to the semi-mobile car parks of the Lothians. It’s like another country over there – long, sweeping curves through glens and over mountains; little windy roads going through coastal fishing towns; all within a half-hour’s ride of where I live. Even over on the west coast (once you get past Glasgow) is quieter. 

Look at that! Actual blue sky! In Scotland! We’ve had a solid run of about 6 weeks of lovely weather, including about three weeks where it was actually hot! What’s not to like? Course, full leathers can get a bit sticky in the sunshine, but I’ve discovered kevlar lined jeans – all the abrasion resistance of leather but breathable. It puts a whole new spin on the thing. 

Then again, a change is as good as a rest – particularly when the change in question involves spending a week reading in the sun, pottering in the sea, and blethering with good company. This is easily the best summer I’ve had for years. Here’s to many more of them.

Share Button

Further plotting and scheming

Well, the weather forecast seems to have settled out and it’s looking good. For one thing, we have solid Northeasterly winds for the entire four day period, so I can pretty much do a straight close-hauled run for the first leg, given the Forth runs East-West. The Northerly route to Dysart can be done close-reached, and then the long leg back to Limekilns will be a straight training-run back up the Forth in glorious sunshine. On top of that, the wind has risen to force 3-4 gusting 5-6, so it really is perfect sailing weather.

Share Button

Plotting and Scheming

Currently doing preparation work for a little 4 day jolly over the forthcoming bank holiday weekend. No major distances involved, but some nice stops – particularly as the weather forecast is looking really nice.

Currently, the plan is to do the first leg – Limekilns to Musselburgh – on the Friday. Musselburgh is very tidal, and there isn’t much wind forecast, so if I don’t do the distance within a single tide then instead of overnighting at Musselburgh harbour, I’ll aim for Inchkeith island and spend the night there with the ghosties and seabirds. There are some advantages to overnighting in Musselburgh; for one thing, I’ll be able to spend a sunny afternoon lounging on the foredeck with beer and a book in full view of my workplace. For another, there’s a damn good Indian restaurant and some nice pubs within staggering distance of the harbour.

Next stop is Dysart in Fife, where I plan to spend what remains of Saturday until Monday morning enjoying the local food and good company. It’s a fairly short trip and as it’s across the mouth of the estuary isn’t likely to be as short of wind as further upstream will be. If I’m at Musselburgh overnight, I’ll be leaving on the morning tide and heading straight over, but if I end up overnighting on Inchkeith, I’ll most likely leave a bit early and take a more roundabout route along the Vows and Long Craig.

Monday morning is likely to be interesting – it’s the longest leg, Dysart back to Limekilns, and Dysart doesn’t have a huge tidal window. Which gives me a choice of leaving at 5am on the ebb and having a ridiculous amount of time available in case I have to tack all the way back up the Forth, or waiting until after lunch and keeping my fingers crossed against having a long wait until after midnight to get back in to Limekilns. The forecast, as it stands, is predicting fairly steady Northeasterlys for the whole 4 days, so I don’t imagine getting back will be too much of a problem – it’ll be a straight run downwind.

So, I have courses (and alternatives) plotted and ready to go. Cleared all the winter gear out of the back of the car, and have most of the summer stuff already stowed on the boat, so I’m pretty much good to go.

Share Button


Following his jailbreak attempt at the end of April…

This cheeky little bugger is consigned to quarters until I can decide what corrective action is appropriate.

Share Button


What a busy weekend! Was out on the Forth both days – first day, a quick blast around the Limekilns area getting used to Aqua Vitae’s handling under sail. She really does go like shit off the proverbial shovel. Handling at low speed, approaching a mooring, for example, is very good. Which is just as well, really, as Brucehaven harbour at Capernaum Point is very crowded. On the Sunday, we decided a more gentle sail up through the bridges was a good plan. It was a lovely clear day with next to no wind, but we were still clipping along at 5 knots or thereabouts.

The nice thing about sailing through the bridges is the weird range of conditions you get. There are all kinds of odd currents and wind patterns roaming about in there and there’s usually a fair bit of traffic so you have to keep on your toes. Yesterday, though, was very calm and fairly quiet. We did pass by the Maid of the Forth and got some waves from touristy types.

Conditions were lovely for the whole five hours we were out. It was a gentle force 3 Easterly wind with next to no gusting. Doing downriver meant a lot of tacking, but with the whole width of the Forth to play with, that generally means more sitting back and relaxing then frantically switching sails around. Had my crew downstairs making coffee at one point – Aqua Vitae is no problem whatsoever to sail solo.

After scooting around the bridges, coming back up-river was beautiful. The tide had changed by this point, so even with the wind at our backs on a training run, the tidal effect limited us to around 3 knots for most of the way. But running with the wind gives you a beautiful calm run, with no wind on you, lovely sunshine, and the gentle lapping of the water. It looks, from the boat, like you’re stationary, but making steady progress. Once back at Capernaum Point, we were spotted on approach and, as the newbies, immediately attracted an audience, hoping to see some comedy mooring. Sadly (for them) the observation of the owners of all the really expensive boats packed into the harbour does a wonderful job of focusing the attention and we managed to pull of the most textbook and elegant mooring manoeuvre to date. Happy club-mates, happy sailors, and happy insurance companies. It was a good day.

Share Button

In the water

Aqua Vitae is in the water at last, as of Saturday. It was an extremely busy day, with around 70 or so yachts being moved from the top of the pier into the two harbours at Capernaum Point and Brucehaven. Fortunately, there was a great turnout of club members mucking in and the whole process went off without a hitch. I’ll add a bunch of photos as soon as we’ve finished mucking around with them and removing the rude ones 🙂

It’s good that the season has started, though it’s particularly rough that today is a great day for sailing and I’m stuck at work. But such is life 🙂

Share Button