Tags: meme


What's something great that you can cook? Give the recipe.

I've given the recipe for hotpot before, but that remains my favourite, easy, go-to dish of deliciousness and we've revised the recipe a bit.
  • 500g diced Beef
  • Thin-sliced taters.
  • Three half-decent sausages, cut into chunks.
  • Onion
  • An apple cut into little chunks.
  • Cider or stout (optional)
  • Thyme.
  • Salt.
  • Two carrots, sliced.
  • Gravy (Bisto, tspn coleman's mustard, Knorr beef stock gel, tspn of Marmite)
  1. Get a big dish, with a lid.
  2. Slice the onion in half and chop each half into little bits.
  3. Scatter half the onion and half the carrot on the bottom of the dish to make a layer.
  4. Take half the diced beef and sausage and scatter it on top of the veg layer.
  5. Toss half the chopped apple on top of that.
  6. Take sliced tater and make a flat layer on top of the meat.
  7. Repeat all this to make another layer.
  8. Scatter thyme and salt on top of the final layer.
  9. Pour the gravy over so it covers the top layer and roughly fills the dish halfway.
  10. If you're putting booze in, but a little bit in now over the top, but don't overfill the dish, it shouldn't be too wet when done.
  11. Heat the oven to 200 degrees and stick it in for an hour and a half. For the last half-hour to quarter hour, take the lid off so the top layer of taters can brown and go crispy.
  12. Nom.

Recurring Dreams

I have had many different recurring dreams in the past. Running from shadowy suited figures (shadows in suits) down a BBC SF style corridor and not being able to get away, stuck as though running through molasses. Falling from a cliff and hitting the ground - and not dying - but laying there, broken until I woke up. One about a video rental shop with a skeleton behind the counter and hardly any videos... reliving embarrassing moments from my past.
Lately though, my recurring dream is one in which I am the owner of a vast seraglio, replete with beautiful women of all races, shapes and sizes and lush with potted plants, greenhouses, fountains and pools. The appeal is obvious, but why I should have this dream and why it seems to be from some indeterminate time and place, a mix of fantasy, reality, history and other oddness I do not know, but I dream it more often than anything else lately.

The Unforgivable Sin

 I don't believe in 'sin', so for me question becomes one of 'the thing that goes against my personal code of ethics or wellbeing that I cannot forgive'  and... well, maybe I'm too easygoing but I think just about anything CAN be forgiven. People do hurt me and have upset me, sometimes very badly. I have been treated very shabbily by certain people in the past, betrayed, lied to, cheated on, spectacularly dumped. None of this is unforgivable in and of itself.

To me this sort of thing only becomes 'unforgivable sin' when it becomes a pattern of behaviour. When you forgive... and are taken for a ride again, and again, and a third time. I seem to operate an informal 'three strikes and you're out' rule. I'm pleased to discover that this sort of behaviour (being reasonably but not too forgiving) appears to be optimal, according to experiments with game theory.

Ever wish you were/weren't religious? Why/Why not?

Sometimes it's tempting to wish that I was. That level of absolute certainty about things is seductive, as is the idea of having all the answers without having to work for them. If I lived in the US I imagine there'd be a lot more social pressure brought to bear as well which might make it a lot easier with family and friends if one were religious. I don't though and there's no such pressure this side of the pond.

Alluring as all that is no... I definitely prefer the universe as it is, rather than as we might wish it would be. I place truth higher than comfort or safety and I think religion is a defiance or perversion of man's natural curiosity. It makes us settle, stop questioning and because it is founded on nothing but blind belief and the authority of its interpreters there can be no negotiated middle ground between opposing faiths.

The sheer amount of harm religion causes isn't worth the tiny amount of good it does - which can be accomplished by other means.

So no, other than in very rare moments of weakness I don't wish I were religious and even in those moments, I'm not really tempted at all.

What sort of world do you think our children will grow up into?

It's very hard to tell at this stage. Things appear to be reaching - slowly - the necessary crisis point for governments and businesses around the world to actually respond to them though experience tells us that they won't until things get really, really bad. This time that may be too late, but I'm optimistic that macro-engineering, sheer desperation and vast amounts of hurled money will solve the various problems that come up. It'll just be a rough ride.

Our children will be growing up into a tumultuous world of big changes, the forced moving-on from oil and the changes that's going to bring to geopolitics, the real rise of India and China to positions of economic and, perhaps, social dominance. The fading thrashings of the US as it is finally forced to admit it's no longer the world power it once was (I don't see them doing this with the relative grace of the British Empire) greater European integration and, hopefully, a revolution of democratic politics as the corporate domination of the socio-political structure reaches a point where it becomes unacceptable and obvious even to the common man.

Technology will continue to liberate and enslave in equal measure but the real problems are going to be energy and aging populations. Our children are likely to have to work hard for little reward and we're unlikely to be left much to give them. They'll have to support us, either directly or indirectly and this may create pressure to have larger families again, something the planet can ill afford.

It's hard to predict even five years into the future these days, given the pace of change, but I have a feel the environmental and energy crises will create a hiccough in Moore's Law and arrest development for a while. That and certain physical limitations and usefulness limitations. Do we need all this massive computing power in our pockets if we're not doing specialist applications? Not really...

It'll be changeable, turbulent, but it'll be a meaningful period, perhaps more so than our lifetimes.

What did you do before the Internet?

The same things, only slower or more solitary.
  • I played computer games (Spectrum and Atari ST, early BBSing on the Atari ST).
  • I read a lot - books, comics, magazines (remember those?).
  • I wrote letters - Penpals and friends.

So really, things weren't that different, just... analog!

My other activities, tabletop gaming etc, have remained largely the same all things considered. The internet has mostly just broadened my social circle, changed how much I read and what, where I get my comics and how often I have correspondence. For me, at least, it wasn't a game-changer, it just facilitated the things I already liked to do.

Something you like, that you shouldn't.

Oh, so many things, presently or in the past...
  • Old fashioned turn-based computer RPGs.
  • Pinups & porn
  • BDSM imagery, especially in fantasy art.
  • Jon Norman's Gor novels.
  • Donna's bacon experiments.
  • The OLD World of Darkness
  • 4chan
  • Being the GM.
  • Many computer games that critics don't like.
  • Being shabby.
  • Being alone.

Of these, this last can get wearing and tends to cause eccentricity, but I do cope very well with being by myself and do like being able to have alone time much of the time. It gives one space to think - perhaps too much space - to consider and you don't have to worry about what anyone thinks of you for a time, which is nice.

What was the most disturbing thing you saw before the age of twelve?

That would probably be Jigsaw which was responsible for many nightmarish things such as Mr Noseybonk, a terror of which I share with Charlie Brooker. Quite why British children's television is so fucking disturbing and traumatising I don't know but we seem determined to raise generation after generation of damaged kids by exposing them to scary people in masks and sinister puppets. A tradition that has been extended into the current generations with In the Night Garden and the Teletubbies.


It wasn't the more typical Mr Noseybonk that disturbed me and I was too young at the time to letch after Janet Ellis, what disturbed me the most were the O-Men, played by Sylvester McCoy and David Rappaport.

I remember distinctly sitting and watching Jigsaw (clearly I was a glutton for punishment) and industriously picking my nose when the O-Men climbed up a ladder to peer out of the screen and told 'James' (me) off for picking his nose.

I hand a profound moment of existential terror and the feeling of being WATCHED constantly stayed with me for days, weeks. I imagine this is somewhat what it's like to be a Christian.


Describe an idyllic mental haven where you feel safe.

 I'm not entirely sure what's meant by that but as a writer, game designer and roleplayer I spend the majority of my life in mentally constructed 'other spaces' of one kind or another. I only feel safe or in a haven when they're under my control though - at least most of the time - they wouldn't be that much fun otherwise. So I feel secure and relaxed when I'm creating (and it's going well) whether spinning a yarn or moderating a game, somewhere where I can control the world, exercise my imagination and not be so subject to the random horrors of real life existence but can, rather, inflict them on readers and players.