The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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5:00pm on Wednesday, 27th July, 2016:



This clash of iconographic symbolism has so much potential:


4:14pm on Tuesday, 26th July, 2016:

Eldritch Wizardry


I didn't just buy Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes the other day. I also bought this, which arrived this morning:

Eldritch Wizardry was the supplement for dungeon masters who didn't like to kill off player characters, so needed more end-game content for them as they continued their inexorable rise (hmm, sound familiar, MMO players?). We used the psionics rules from it for a campaign, but they suffered from extremes: almost no-one had anything usable, but when they did it was utterly devastating.

I'll have to keep this copy in its plastic bag, because it stinks of stale tobacco.

I wonder if more young men were turned onto D&D by the cover or more young women were turned off by it?


4:18pm on Monday, 25th July, 2016:

Coding Time


If the urge takes me to do some programming, I think in future I'll try to do it first thing, rather than after I've got all my annoying bits of admin out of the way so I can have a clear run.

That way, I may finish an interesting bit at a time that makes sense for me to break for lunch. It was 2:30pm today before I got around to it...


10:10am on Sunday, 24th July, 2016:

Willikam Danser


One of my ancestors on my dad's side is one William Danser of Winstone in Gloucestershire. Here's the earliest reference I can find for him, from the Winstone parish records of 12 Feb 1587 (Julian calendar):

I don't know what the first word is (I think it might be "Henry"), but the rest says:

"[?] Stockwell of rentcomb in seeking to rob men at the parke wale was wounded to day by William Danser and buryed in the churchyard of Wynstone the 12 of February"

No need for a court case, it seems.


11:05am on Saturday, 23rd July, 2016:



I was interviewed live at 11:30pm yesterday for W Radio Colombia. It was only 5:30pm in Colombia, hence the late hour (f0r me).

It was an odd experience, because of the translation aspect. An interviewer asked a question in Spanish; a translator translated it into English; I replied in English (trying not to use so many words that the translator lost track); he translated it into Spanish; the interviewer asked her next question.

The translator addressed me as "Mr Bartle"; I said he could just call me Richard, so he continued by addressing me as "Mr Bartle". I think politeness must be ingrained in Colombian culture (which is why I didn't say "That's Dr Bartle!").

The first question asked about why I created MUD. As always, I pointed out that it wasn't just me, it was Roy Trubshaw, too. I said we did it because we didn't like reality and wanted to create an improvement on it.

The second question seemed to me to be a rephrasing of the first. My answer was therefore pretty much a rephrasing of my earlier one, just with too much extra detail for the translator. Somehow, I neglected to say that MUD was about freedom, which might have made my answer a little clearer than it was...

The final question asked what I thought about World of Warcraft and Pokémon Go. I said I liked WoW but didn't see PoGo as sustaining its popularity for long; eventually, only hard-core players will be playing it. In her wrapping up, the interviewer (who could speak English perfectly well herself) said she hoped PoGo would eventually come to Colombia, then we went off air, said our goodbyes and that was the end of it.

I immediately went to bed and spent a night of suffering as I have a nasty cold that's making my nose come off.


11:33am on Friday, 22nd July, 2016:

Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes


Look what arrived today:

I have the original three D&D books plus Greyhawk. Back when I was in my teens, I wanted copies of the supplements but couldn't afford them all as they were quite pricey. They're still pricey, but I'm earning more money now than when I was a bingo caller so I can afford them.

What's that? Do I need a supplement I'll never use for a version of a game I'll never again play?

Yes. Yes, I do need it.


4:12pm on Thursday, 21st July, 2016:



One of our neighbours has decked out their house in small Norwegian flags.

There must be a reason for it, but rather than ask what it is I'm just going to invent one.

I'm guessing they found oil under their pond.


2:51pm on Wednesday, 20th July, 2016:



Next to the picture of the Amazon in my Dungeons & Dragons first edition Men & Magic is this one of a Beautiful Witch:

I always wondered why it had the adjective. If you're an artist, and you have to tell the viewer that the witch you've drawn a picture of is beautiful, doesn't that suggest a lack of confidence in your artistic skills?

Actually, this is probably the best-executed drawing in the whole booklet. I don't think TSR engaged the services of professionals...


2:46pm on Tuesday, 19th July, 2016:



Just in case you think Essex University has a monopoly on bad slogans, here's the coat of arms of the University of East Anglia:

Not that our motto parses any better: "Thought the harder, heart the keener".


5:26pm on Monday, 18th July, 2016:

Blue and Gold


My younger daughter Madeleine got her MPharm in Pharmacy (you don't say?) today from the University of East Anglia. Here she is all engowned:

That yellow is, apparently, officially gold.


3:31pm on Sunday, 17th July, 2016:

Sting in the Tail


I was stung by a bee yesterday. I've been stung by wasps many times, but this is the first time a bee has got me. It's nice to know I'm not allergic to bee stings, but was nicer not to have been stung. It got me on the back of the shoulder muscle that comes out of the neck after buzzing me for some time because I had the temerity to want to empty the skip on the back of the lawnmower two metres from its base.

Bees! They swarm in uninvited, set up home and before you know it they're everywhere. Yes, they do a lot of good work pollinating the flowers, and we're going to get a bumper crop of apples and pears as a result, but it's not a good idea to go near them. Now one of them has turned violent, we're wondering whether to destroy the whole nest to keep ourselves safe.

Wow, it's amazing how far you can push this bees=immigrants analogy.


12:23pm on Saturday, 16th July, 2016:

One Man Went to Mow


Damn it, I go away for two weeks and when I get back my lawn has turned into a meadow.

I'm going to have to rent a goat or something.


9:29am on Friday, 15th July, 2016:

El Hombre


If you speak Spanish, or just want to experience someone with a much better voice than I have translating a talk I gave last year into Spanish, look no further than https://t.co/2HrwOVRes6.

At least, I think he's translating what I say into Spanish. He could be saying something about planetary physics for all I know.


1:02pm on Thursday, 14th July, 2016:



We left the ship at around 7:30am this morning for a tour of Barcelona followed by a trip to the airport. I've been to Barcelona before when I was at a conference, but didn't manage to do much sight-seeing. Following today's trip, I've approximately doubled the amount of sight-seeing I've done here.

We were dropped off at the airport at 11:45. Our flight is at 17:30. My phone is almost out of juice and my laptop isn't going to last. The only power outlets are ones either underneath panels in the floor or occasionally distant walls for the use of cleaners.

It's going to be a long afternoon...


4:30pm on Wednesday, 13th July, 2016:

Sea Day


Our final day on the cruise is a sea day, so nothimg has happened. Over the past fortnight, we've seen some of our distinctive fellow passengers so often we've given them nicknames:
- The Voice. An English guywith an amazingly good voice. He sounds like Michael Gambon, but better. If he ever needs a retirement job, voice-over agencies would get into a bidding war over him.
- Visor Woman. A woman who always wears a visor. She has several, and co-ordinates them with the rest of her outfit.
- The Whitewalker. This is an ancient lady who spends her whole time wandering around the ship with the support of her automated Zimmer frame. She looks as if she's been dead for several years.
- The One-Armed Bandit. It's a cruel name for someone with only one arm, but she spends hours in the casino playing the slots so we had no alternative.
- Mark Twain. A white-haired bloke who looks like Mark Twain.
- Speedy. A guy in a disability scooter who drives like it's a formula 1 motor car.
- Those Two. A Chinese-American couple we had breakfast with once. They're quite entertaining.
- Jacket Man. The only person on the ship who always wears a jacket at meals. That would be me, then.

Here's a picture of something worth two in the bush:


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