Thursday 28 March 2013

Videos from March

I've uploaded a couple of videos this month, and forgotten to put them on here at the time, so this post is a little end-of-month roundup of videos that should have been on here earlier...

Made second but posted first: The Fifteen-Minute Fortress, in which I do some rambly bloggy stuff, intercut with footage of me trying to build a Lego castle thing (of sorts) in 15 minutes flat.  Watch below, and judge for yourself whether or not it was any kind of success - and what the answer might be to the question about a sequel which I pose at the end...

Made first (shot in October, in fact, and finished in February) but posted second: X-Battles GT5: Exploding, in which some Lego (wait, thematic connection going on here!) characters have a fight with laser weapons.  Produced in conjunction with Tim and Sarah, and all rather fun to make.

- The Colclough

Thursday 14 March 2013

Oh Help, There's a Corner

It was mooted some time last year that if I lived long enough (i.e. until my 25th birthday) and managed not to crash the Fiesta in the meantime, I might be able to get insured to drive my Dad's car, a 2009 Mondeo diesel estate.

I reached the old quarter-centenary last month.  Without crashing the Fiesta.

As of early yesterday afternoon, I'm told, I am now insured to drive the Mondeo.  So last night I went for my first spin in it.  I have to say, it was quite a surreal experience, in that all the principles are exactly the same, but pretty much every single detail was different.  Still an automatic gearbox, but a different type of automatic gearbox.  Still got the indicator stalk on the left, but it feels different somehow.  Still got brakes (as you'd hope, really), but much more bitey than in the smaller car.

But if you'll excuse the terrible pun, the big difference was how big it is.  Compared to the Fiesta, the Mondeo is a bit wider, has a higher and longer bonnet, and sticks out half a mile further at the back end, which makes cornering that bit hairier.  I spent the inaugural drive alternating between thinking "this is fine, I don't know what Mum complains about," and then having sudden moments of doubt whenever I came up to a corner, as the Mondeo's hugely increased wheelbase makes cornering a very different experience to what I'm used to.

But strangeness aside, I got it back onto the driveway in one piece, so it was all good in the end.

And then, out of sheer force of habit, I reached for the key to turn it off.

Which was silly of me, because I've known all along that you don't put the key in the steering column in the Mondeo.  It signals its presence wirelessly, and you start or stop the engine with a button on the dashboard.  But my muscular memory kicked in, and I reached for the non-present key anyway.  Duh.

- The Colclough

Rest in Fleece

I recently wrote a blog post bemoaning the apparent passing of Hannah Newcombe's blog at, and suggesting that I should mark the anniversary of the last post with a virtual funeral.  Well, it's now a few days (weeks?) on from the anniversary, and I have prodded the corpse to double-check that it really is dead, and guess what?  It hasn't twitched.  It looks pretty dead to me.

So here goes the funeral!

As a non-relative of the deceased, perhaps I should begin by outlining how I came to meet them.  Well, it's Root Hill's fault.  I met Hannah for the first time at Root Hill 2010, and found my way onto her blog via her pair of trainers with somebody else's blog address on them (as one does).  This conspired together with other elements of RH2010 to inspire the beginnings of my own blog - this one you're reading here right now.  The two blogs intermittently goaded each other on over the next year and a half, and a good time was had by all.  Or at least by me...

I had suggested that the funeral should take the form of a selection of my favourite posts from the sheepy one's blog, along with an explanation of why I liked them; however, this could present something of a difficulty as there are quite a lot of posts on there (a quick bit of math says 219!) and I've never been very good at picking favourites.  I thought about giving it a shot anyway, but soon realised that the sheer number of posts I'd have to re-read and sort through is overwhelming.  However noble my intentions, and however much I might enjoy re-reading some of the old posts (which I do sometimes), I just don't have the time to systematically go through all 219 of them.  Between the challenges, the ramblings, the huge web of Doctor Who and Hitchhiker's Guide references, the ad-hoc remarks on life as it happened, and the occasional, wonderful moments when my own creative output got put in the spotlight, there are too many posts on there for me to pick out just a few.

Other features of the funeral were going to be a selection of music, and some thoughts on food.  Music first:

In a suitably lamentative and funereal mode, and in keeping with the prevailing spirit of sci-fi nerdiness, I nominate This is Gallifrey from the Doctor Who Season 29 / New Series 3 soundtrack, by Murray Gold:

...followed by Tim's (characteristically baroque) suggestion, the aptly sheepy Sheep May Safely Graze by J. S. Bach:

Sam suggests Fade To Black by Metallica - I know virtually nothing about rock (you see, I'm assuming Metallica is rock... I could even be wrong about that, for all I know!), so I don't necessarily understand the connection apart from the fading-to-black-usually-denoting-the-end-of-something thing - but I'm sure Sam has some underlying reason for the choice, so here's the link anyway:

And to conclude the musical interlude, something I came across via Hannah's blog, which fits well with one of our shared interests, and also somewhat reflects my feelings over here at A White Horizon now that I'm one of the last two survivors from the little circle of Root Hill bloggers (hannahlikessheepbaa isn't the only one to have gone down over the last year or two; Sam's the only other one still going that I'm aware of): Type 40 by Chameleon Circuit:

And finally, the after-funeral lunch.  Sam remembered something important which had slipped my mind - Zombie Fluxx - and used that as the basis for his food suggestions: Sandwiches, Donuts, Coffee and the Zombie Brains.  That's a good game, Zombie Fluxx.

And for my nominations: as a semi-regular repository of Whovian enthusiasms, Hannah's blog absolutely must be commemorated with Fish Custard, a la The Eleventh Hour.  I also nominate pizza, in memory of various (usually Root-Hill-related) past events - but not Yorkshire Pizza of Death.  I think one of those is quite enough for one lifetime.  I'm tempted to suggest lamb/mutton, but really not sure whether that's an appropriate interpretation of "likes sheep".

Hannah, thank you for the blogging.  It has been a thoroughly enjoyable... thing.  What's the proper collective noun for a period of time during which multiple people write blogs that play off each other?  I have no idea.  But what I was trying to say is, it's been a thoroughly enjoyable one of those.

Rest in fleece, hannahlikessheepbaa.  So long, and - because we can't let you pass into the blogospherical afterlife without cracking some sort of Hitchhikers' joke: thanks for all the fish.

And custard.

- The Colclough