The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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9:01am on Friday, 2nd December, 2022:
I gave Midjourney the prompt "Christmas card", and these are what it gave me:
Those are actually pretty good.
2:04pm on Thursday, 1st December, 2022:
I hate it when I hit the delete key and the thing I thought I was deleting is still there. What have I deleted instead?
11:13am on Thursday, 1st December, 2022:
I don't know why this angel was sitting on a balcony above a bar in Tenerife, but he's probably something to do with Christmas.
I just wish it didn't look as if he was using the toilet.
8:41am on Wednesday, 30th November, 2022:
Normally at an airport, you go through the security section then hang around until your gate is announced, then you go to your gate. The gates for international flights are beyond some form of passport control, but you don't go through passport control in case there's more than one passport control section or your flight is moved to another airport. Sometimes, your passport is checked at the gate itself and it isn't even the other side of a formal line of passport-checking officers.
At Tenerife South airport yesterday, everyone followed the usual procedures. We went through security, waited for our gate to be announced, then went to the gate (which in this case was the other side of passport control). I don't like to be late, so went to the gate the moment that it was announced.
Between me and the gate was passport control.
The airport It has three queues for passports. These are: EU, UK, rest of the world. There were maybe a dozen people in the EU queue, none in the rest of the world queue, and hundreds of people in the UK queue. By the time we reached the front of it, our flight was making its last call announcement, flashing in red on the monitors.
I managed to get onto it in time, but when we were due to take off there were still 13 people who hadn't made it. The pilot held the flight back so they could fight their way through the queue. The last two to board sat next to me. They were incensed, because they had Irish passports and could have queue-jumped by using the EU line.
I don't know why there's a queue specifically for UK visitors to languish in when people of any non-EU nationality can breeze through. If the Tenerife government want to put people from the UK from visiting the island, this is a good way to go about it.
Despite the delayed take-off, we landed 20 minutes early. This was because someone was ill and we didn't have to hang around in a stack waiting for a landing slot. We did have to wait 15 minutes on the plane while paramedics came aboard to take the poor chap off on a stretcher.
Oh, and Gatwick rail station staff: if someone asks what the difference is between a ticket to London Victoria and a ticket to all London terminals, yes, do tell us that the first one (which is £2 more expensive) is for the Gatwick Express, but also tell us that the Gatwick Express isn't running.
9:18am on Tuesday, 29th November, 2022:
I'm heading off back home today from an amazing conference. As is often the case with conferences, it's the out-of-timetabled interactions with people that are of more use than the formal events.
It was basically Davos for the European game industry — the kind of event where most people feel as if they're imposters because of who else is there, who are themselves feeling the same way. It's always hard to get high-powered people to go to events, rather than send juniors, because they don't know if other high-powered people are going to be there too. However, if they're all prepared to jump in together, the precedent is set. The regular Gamelab conferences have been going for long enough that people were willing to take that risk. Next time, it won't be a risk.
Yes, I could drop names, but I'm not going to do so (not because I'm not a name-dropper, but because there are too many names to drop). I will say that it's amazing when someone who has just spent four hours signing autographs for members of the public is up for a chat with someone they've never met before (that is, me).
I'd certainly come back next year, if invited. I rather fear I'm not high-powered enough, though.
9:01am on Monday, 28th November, 2022:
It's 22 degrees here and the sun is shining; not bad for late November in the northern hemisphere.
Here's a photograph of the sky as evidence:
I think I'll get it made into a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle for my wife. She likes doing the sky in jigsaw puzzles.
9:29am on Sunday, 27th November, 2022:
We went up Mount Teide yesterday. Well, we went up the caldera outside of it, rather than the mountain itself (which is the second-highest volcano in the world and erupts on average once every hundred years, with the last eruption being in 1909). It's surrounded by an amazing desolate wasteland, so looks like much of Iceland but is considerably warmer. The area was used for filming some of the inhospitable terrain locations in the Foundation TV series.
The reason we went up Mt Teide was to visit the astronomy institute. The conditions are ideal for earth-bound star-gazing, because there's the height (above clouds and pollution), the proximity to the equator, the surrounding ocean that keeps the atmospheric conditions stable and the generally favourable climate. Only Hawaii and Chile have similar situations, which is why they have telescopes, too.
I was surprised to learn that the telescopes are quite cheap. You can buy a standard 1-metre one for $100,000. OK, so setting it up and building the housing to put it in is more expensive, but still, if you're a rich person who wants one on your yacht, you can have one.
The guide kept telling us how great the sunset was. We were expecting to wait to see it, but our bus driver had other ideas as we had to be back for dinner in the evening. Still, on the way down we did stop at a particular spot that had a glorious view of three of the other Canary Islands with the sun setting over them.
As with most sunsets, it looked even better than the camera shows. The trip (90 minutes each way to the observatory) was worth it for this view alone.
The conference proper starts today. I've no idea what's happening, but that's fine because no-one else has, either.
9:10am on Saturday, 26th November, 2022:
I'm now established in my hotel, and it's a big one. There are 60 delegates for the conference (which is invitation-only) and it looks as if it's going to be a blast! I probably know about 10 of them and have met maybe another 15 before, so it'll be interesting hearing what the people new to me have to say (in fact it's already been interesting, as we had a good conversation over dinner last night).
One minor issue concerned my room. This is what it looked like when I went in:
Someone, somewhere, typed the wrong number into a computer. I'm now in a different room, which is properly made up. I share it with a cockroach the size of half a teabag, but we don't bother each other. There must be close to 20 wall switches here and I don't know what most of them do, other than make a distant noise. The one light I really do want to switch on, which is above the table, responds to none of the switches.
The table is close to a wall socket, which is good for when I want to use my laptop. It's glass, though which looks classy but is not what you want when you're using an optical mouse.
Here's what the hotel atrium looked like last night:
Yes, those are dancing girls. I don't think I've stayed in a hotel with dancing girls before, even in Las Vegas.
This morning, I'm going too explore the local town, whatever it's called. Most people are going on a catamaran ride to see sharks and dolphins and the contents of their own stomachs, but I didn't take out any travel insurance (my attempts were denied because I'm still waiting for the results of last week's blood test and that makes me uninsurable) so I thought I'd better give it a miss. Lots of people are taking it, though, even ones older than me. Besides, if that catamaran sinks, it'll take out half of the cream of Europe's game developers, and someone has to be left to hold the fort.
This afternoon, I'm off on the trip to look around the astrophysics institute on Mount Teide. It'll just be my luck for the dormant volcano to wake up so fate can get its revenge for my avoidance of the catamaran.
11:11am on Friday, 25th November, 2022:
I'm currently at terminal 5, Heathrow, waiting for my flight to be called. I could complain about the pepper in the eggs benedict I had for brunch. I could complain about the fact that the free power supplies have no power coming through them. I am, however, going to complain about this:
There should be laws against doing that with floor tile patterns.
2:47pm on Thursday, 24th November, 2022:
I'm off to Tenerife tomorrow for the Gamelab Summit. My impression is that it'll be a bit like the old Project Horseshoe event that ran pre-Covid in the USA, except with the zaniness and informality dialled down by about 90%.
Normally I fly from Stanstead, but that's becoming less attractive now that Easyjet has left and Ryanair dominates. It's getting to the point where I can fit more in my pockets than I can fit in hand luggage of the allowed dimensions.
This time, I'm flying British Airways, though, which means my flight leaves from Heathrow. It also means my return flight lands at Gatwick, so I'll have to travel to and from the airports by train rather than by car. I'm lucky, in that it appears there won't be a strike among rail workers on the days in question, but you never know with these things. I expect they hadn't looked at when the England matches were when they chose the dates, otherwise they'd have had those days off. Given that we're playing on Friday and Tuesday, I'm rather glad they didn't (but also somewhat frustrated because I'll miss seeing the matches live myself).
Now to decide whether the premium I'll have to pay for checking the "I'm waiting for a test result" box on the travel insurance web site is worth it.
2:47pm on Wednesday, 23rd November, 2022:
I went to the train station this morning to pick up some tickets I'd ordered online. Here's the screen that met me:
Those top two lines read:
Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
Copyright (c) 2010 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
So, Windows 7, then, support for which ceased in 2020. I'm pleasantly surprised it's not Windows 98.
I don't know who that fat bloke is reflected in the glass.
12:16pm on Tuesday, 22nd November, 2022:
2:17pm on Monday, 21st November, 2022:
Normally, England fans boo the opposing team's national anthem, but today they didn't have to: the Iranians booed it themselves.
A tyranny can only go so far before unrest kicks in. Unforunately, few tyrranies recognise they are tyrranies, let alone that they've gone too far.
9:46am on Sunday, 20th November, 2022:
12:15pm on Saturday, 19th November, 2022:
This is what happens when you let town planners play The Sims.
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Copyright © 2022 Richard Bartle (firstname.lastname@example.org).