Archive for September, 2008

Somebody Phone the Polis Here!

I don’t know if you saw it on the news but today saw the greatest disaster in the history of the world. A cataclysm of truly hyperbolic proportions the like of which has only once before occurred on our green and verdant world.

It was an event that will surely echo down through the ages from now until the end of the world. In centuries to come the people of Earth will look back upon this day and remember it as the point where everything went wrong. The time and place where progress stopped and entropy took hold and they will call it Judgement Day.

The day my kettle died.

The day I couldn’t make a cup of tea.

All is lost.


Tonight was the night of the famous McDowall Wadding Reception down in deepest darkest Paisley toon and somehow EL KAT managed to sedate me long enough to get me in a shirt and tie.

I’d like to say that the entertainment (Rossy ah’m including you here) was excellent though there is some debate as to the relationship between the two members of the band. I said father and son but some other folk were of the opinion that they may be involved in some secret romantic relationship 😮 Still no matter their background they did a good job of keeping everyone smiling.

The buffet was top class, the cake excellent and a good time was had by all.

And last, but by no means least congratulations once again to the Bride and Groom!

Let there be SPORE

After weeks of waiting my pre-order copy of spore finally and I’ve been playing it ever since.

I’ll give a quick summary of the game for the benefit of those who have been living under a rock for the last three or four years. It’s a unique mix of god sim, role-playing game, MMORPG, real time strategy and even arcade game. It’s also a fairly simple but enjoyable galaxy simulator in the vein of elite.

Naturally a game with so many angles is a bit shallow at times and a lot of vitriol has been aimed at Will Wright and Maxis over this. I however have found it to be a fun game to play for an hour or so. The creators themselves are immense fun even without the game to act as a backdrop for them. I expect big things are to come with expansion packs and patches.

Anyway here’s the result of my first foray into the Spore universe: The Vipel:

Ugly brutes aren’t they?

The great thing about Spore is you direct your creature from its very earliest root as a single celled organism right up to a potentially limitless galactic empire. Take the Vipel for instance. They started out as a tiny carnivorous green cell with that looked like a fat killer sperm and then wandered out onto the land looking like this:

Then they became this fish headed monstrosity:

Grew more upright:

And then they wandered into the tribal stage:

Right now they’ve got thirty-seven colonies across thirty star systems and have annihilated four empires that they didn’t see eye to eye with.

You can take a look at some of my other creations in this widget below:

International YER MAW Day

Since I was stuck in training during International Talk Like a Pirate Day and couldn’t join in the festivities for fear of being locked up I decided on a whim today that the world needs more unusual public holidays. It’s difficult to top something like Talk Like a Pirate Day so I went for the only known thing that can one up pirates.

Without further ado I declare today, Tuesday 23rd of September 2008: International YER MAW Day!

Festivities shall include:

  • Answering any question with the phrase YER MAW! No matter how nonsensical that may be.
  • Begin sentences with YER MAW SAYS
  • Displaying banners declaring YER MAW WIZ HERE
  • Taking part in ritual YER MAW arguments

Happy holidays everyone with peace on earth and goodwill to YER MAW!

The Sunday Odyssey

I found myself at a loose end this morning and decided to take my lazy ass out for a long bike ride to blow out some of the cobwebs forming in my brain. I also took the oppertunity to photograph some stuff I’ve been meaning to get pictures of for some time.

First up is this shop on Balmore Road:

I don’t know about you but I don’t think Possil will rank very high on the list of shopping locations for the WAGS of the world no matter how much class (or lack there of) they may have.

Second up is a picture I’ve been itching to take ever since the man they call McDowall and the woman they now call Mrs McDowall moved to Ralston. Yes it’s a picture of the legendary sign for Darvel Crescent!

Just incase you’re wondering about the “Dentist Open As Usual” sign beside it: the entire street is currently closed at the Glasgow Road end. Since the people of Ralston are surgically attached to their cars they need reassurance that local amenities don’t shut down when they can’t reach them without walking more than 50 yards.

Saddam's Bunker @ Cadder

Ever since it appeared Google Maps has been in my top ten of most useful maps. Recently however Microsoft’s rival Live Maps has started to creep in there as well. They’re relatively similar in all respects: they both provide basic street mapping and also the option to overlay it with fairly high resolution satellite images of many areas of the world. Both of them also offer very good direction advice and route searches that blow the venerable old multimap out of the water. They do differ however in a couple of their respective features.

Google Maps offers the ability to see the location of things in the world with Wikipedia entries and link directly to them. It also provides access to millions of user photographs relevant to the area being viewed or searched for. In keeping with their philosophy the Google Maps API is widely available and seems to be popping up on every site that could conceivably have a use for a map.

The Live Maps lack these features but they do have one facet that I find immensely enjoyable to play with. They can display a seamless aerial photograph of the area you are viewing in remarkably high detail as well.

Some time ago I was tracing the course of the Forth and Clyde canal on Google Maps trying to figure out why it seemed to stop in the middle of Port Dundas. I was fairly ignorant of much of the geography of the northern side of Glasgow at the time so I was surprised to learn that it was a dead end branch that went to Port Dundas and not the canal proper. Following the canal north from the Maryhill Locks I spotted something strange around the back of Cadder in the north of the city.

I’ve ringed it on this picture from Google Maps:

It’s not particularly clear but it looks like the mouth of a tunnel hidden away on a big lump of waste ground. If you look closely just north of it there’s what appears to be an old footbridge over the Anniesland railway line as well.

You can get a better idea of where this tunnel is from a wider map view:

I’ve long had this one filed under curiosities that I’d like to investigate but my natural caution far outweighs my curiosity. Cadder isn’t exactly renowned as a tourist friendly area of the city and the tunnel/bridge itself look to be the kind of thing that’s acted as a den for the local neds since the canal was built. My curiosity has recently been reignited by the discovery that Live Map’s aerial photography now covers almost all of Glasgow including the strange tunnel:

If you look closely you can just about see a stonework archway hidden amongst the undergrowth in this picture. It seems quite far away from the canal but the presence of the footbridge and worn paths suggest that it might still be accessible to a degree but the picture doesn’t really give a hint of it’s function. I know that the large Scottish Water offices nearby are built on what was once a substantial railway goods yard. I wonder if this is an abandoned railway tunnel or maybe a forgotten footway from Cadder to Maryhill.

Ahoy me hearties!

Ahoy me hearties! Today be international talk like a pirate day!

Yaaaarrr! Get ye out on the seven seas and be plundering some dubloons!