I’ve been trying to read a Sci-Fi(ish) short story to the kids at bedtime, in between other longer books. This is how it’s been going.

Really Successful Stories

These are the stories they love, that they ask for and that we’ve read multiple times.

The Mind Blown/Exploding Head Emoji

The stories that have really worked generally get this kind of “mind blown” reaction from the kids at the end – which is very satisfying!

These are short stories by some of the greatest Science Fiction/SF authors in history. They are all well written and well put together, to say the least. These are mostly not written for children, but I’ve trawled the history of the genre and found some that are suitable and that my kids enjoyed.

I’ve found that 40s & 50s sci-fi shorts are sometimes quite suitable for …

Continue reading “Sci-Fi Short Stories to Read Aloud with the Kids”

Music great, lighting great, encore fantastic. Loads of audience participation, singing and dancing throughout. Fun!

I don’t particularly like the Commodore Ballroom, as a venue. It’s OK, but it’s a bit of an echoey box. The sound for Loviet, the warm-up band, was a bit echoey and too loud, lyrics indistinct.

They pulled it together though and the sound for Morcheeba was great. I was about four people from the front, great view & atmosphere - although I seemed to be in the unofficial tall guys section for some of the gig.

The band seemed to be having a good time - just like the audience. They were all excellent, from Skye Edwards huge stage presence and amazing voice, to Ross Godfrey’s great guitar work. It was lots of fun, music was great, lighting was great, encore was fantastic …

Continue reading “Review: Morcheeba Blackest Blue Tour, Vancouver 2022”

Just experienced the incredible, joyous, wonderful Florence + the Machine in Vancouver. Amazing. I’m officially part of Miss Haversham’s cult now!

I’ve been a fan for ages; their music just really lifts me up. This is the first time I’ve seen them live, and they really blew me away - what a great show!

This was their first tour post-covid, so included some emotional tales about how the pandemic affected people who’s vocation - and living - comes from performing live music.


Things I learned from this gig:

  • Rogers Arena is a pretty good venue, especially if you’re on the floor, near the front.
  • Make a playlist after each gig with the setlist, so that you can relive the gig. I’ve been making these on YouTube Music, usually with the setlist from https://www.setlist.fm …
Continue reading “Review: Florence + the Machine Gig, Vancouver 2022”

Good, but I didn’t feel very engaged with the music.

I was in the Lower Orchestra section, in the 16th row - and pretty tired, that Monday evening. I like their music, but I found myself drifting off, thinking about other things.

Thinking much at all is a bad sign for me when I’m watching live music. I usually find it very engrossing & uplifting - ideally, I get carried away by the music and exist fully in the moment for the duration. That didn’t happen for me at this gig. I felt rather disconnected from the performance - perhaps because it felt like it was happening far away?

Photo from my seat, .
Figure 1. The view from my seat


Things I learned from this gig:

  • Only go and see people if you would listen to their stuff for an hour or two without …
Continue reading “Review: Sigur Rós World Tour, Vancouver 2022”

A spellbinding & breathtaking evening, with a couple of surprising jewels, in a night full of riches.

Just got back from seeing Nick Cave and Warren Ellis in Vancouver. What a joy and a privilege! I’ve missed live music so much - what an incredible night!

This is a video from that night in Vancouver, of their cover of Cosmic Dancer, which was a fantastic surprise for me. That video was taken by someone standing just in front of me!

We got two encores. The first one was Hollywood, Henry Lee & Girl in Amber - all great. Then they cleared the stage and lots of people left. Then we got a second encore!

This is Into My Arms, which he did with just the amazing backing singers, as a second encore, after half the audience had left thinking it was done - one …

Continue reading “Review: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis Gig, Vancouver 2022”

Hand-drawn map of the Kingdom of Hyrule.
Figure 1. Our hand-drawn map of the Kingdom of Hyrule. I drew a 2x1 grid in Inkscape and printed it out, then we filled it in as we went along.

It’s been about six months since the last update. We’ve mostly been camping, playing outside and generally enjoying the summer - although we have also squeezed in some gaming, here and there.

Favourite Games So Far

We spent almost all of our game time playing Legend of Zelda. It’s a towering achievement – a truly great game. I’m amazed that this thing is from 1986 – it doesn’t feel like it.

It’s also a great example of a different kind of co-op game. One where you play together by collaborating: discussing what to do & where to go next, how to tackle things, etc…​ We also took turns …

Continue reading “Speedrunning Computer Games History with a 6yr Old - Part 4”

Gauntlet Screenshot
Figure 1. Gauntlet, by far and away the kids favourite game so far.

Time for another update on the Retro Gaming project. It’s been roughly a month since the last update and we’ve been playing a bit more often this time.

Favourite Games So Far

Roughly in order of playtime:

Gauntlet is far and away the kids favourite game so far. Almost nothing else got a look in since I put it on. Even Super Mario Bros is a pretty distant second place, and the other games have barely been played at all.

I think there are two reasons for this. Firstly, Gauntlet is a 4 player co-operative game. So far we’ve only played with two players, but even then, co-op games are just really fun. I think the other reason …

Continue reading “Speedrunning Computer Games History with a 6yr Old - Part 3”

Time for an update on the Retro Gaming project. It’s been almost four months since we started and it’s been, predictably, lots of fun. What with work and school and everything else, we have very little time for playing computer games. That, combined with a fairly dry winter & spring letting us get outside more, means that even with the Covid-19 pandemic curtailing activities, we haven’t clocked very many hours of playtime.

Favourite Games So Far

Roughly in order of playtime:

In the end, we didn’t actually play any ZX Spectrum or C64 games at all, sadly. I played a lot of these when I was a kid, so I was secretly disappointed …

Continue reading “Speedrunning Computer Games History with a 6yr Old - Part 2”

Galaxians vector
Figure 1. Galaxians.

As a family gift for Christmas 2020, I set up a Raspberry Pi 400 with Retropie. The plan is to load a selection of the “best of the best” games from computer game history, starting with games up to, roughly, 1985.

The kid doesn’t really know any better, so we can play Space Invaders unsullied by time and expectations and enjoy a speedrun through gaming history, playing just the highlights.

I’ll add more games as we go along, progressing through gaming history, one classic game at a time.

Continue reading “Speedrunning Computer Games History with a 6yr Old - Part 1”

IMG 20131119 095456 small
Figure 1. Taken from my Wife’s office window, around 10am.

The weather was great this week - crisp and autumnal, with beautiful sunshine all week. It snowed a little on the local mountains and Cypress Mountain has opened for (limited) Skiing already, using the lower temperatures to make lots of extra snow. Whistler also opened this week, along with Grouse.

IMG 20131119 161127 small
Figure 2. Taken from my Wife’s office window in the afternoon, during the Golden Hour, which is now around 4pm.

In other, even better news, I’m starting a fantastic new job with PHEMI Health Systems on Monday - allowing me to afford to actually go skiing. I’ll be working as a front-end web developer, helping to build their healthcare information system, directly helping to improve clinical productivity, patient outcomes and medical research. Very excited to be using my …

Continue reading “It was a Good Week”

A trip report from our Canada Day 2013 long weekend kayak camping trip to Thormanby Islands, Smuggler Cove & Secret Cove, on the sunshine coast.

thormanby trip map
Figure 1. We started at Welcome Beach on Saturday afternoon, kayaked over to Thormanby for lunch, then up and round to Buccaneer Bay - stunning camp on the dunes, then over to Smugglers Cove on Sunday. Camped there Sunday night, with a trip to Secret Cove in the afternoon, then back to Welcome Beach on Monday morning. (Map screenshot courtesy and copyright Google Maps. Annotations added by me.)

Welcome Beach to Thormanby

On Saturday morning, we packed up our tent & got picked up by Erika from Talaysay Tours, who drove us, with the Kayak on the roof, to Welcome Beach, about 15 mins further up Highway 101, past Sechelt.

We unloaded the Kayak, took it down to …

Continue reading “Sunshine Coast: Thormanby Islands & Smuggler Cove Kayak Trip”