How do you Answer Why?

It seems that ever since my decision to truly walk this path, I keep running up against people who are really lost. It’s like they are drawn to me like a moth to the flame.

I discovered last week that an old acquaintance of mine, in America has Leukemia. Last night I discovered it was Terminal.

We met over the internet, mostly playing an online RPG.

I asked her, as one does, how she was coping. She told me she wasn’t, and I asked her what precisely was getting to her.

She said: “Because I don’t know Why. Am I really such a bad person? I got out of an abusive relationship less than a year ago, and I’ve started putting my life back together, and now this. What did I do that was so wrong? Why does He hate me so much?”.

I have to confess I wasn’t ready for this. I knew that at some piont I’d have this conversation with her, but I figured I’d have at least had time to gather my thoughts, perhaps have a word with my Vicar, get some advice. But there it was. I felt she needed a bit of help, a bit of support. I’m too far away, so there’s really onely one tool I have.

I told her that I had recently decided to join the Church, and so she really was talking to the right person. The only thing I could do was sympathise, and tell her that occasionally God takes those more deseriving. Then an odd idea struck me. There are many stories out there about terminal patients who light up the lives of those around them, and leave their stories as a comfort to thousands. I thought I’d start there.

I told her about a documentary I once saw, I belive it was entitled “the boy who’s skin fell off”. It was a documentary written and narreted by the boy himself. I think he was 10, but he was very eloquent, so perhaps he was a little older. he told of the joy that life had brought him, and how he’d endevoured to just enjoy the days as much as he could, because he didn’t have many of them, and he didn’t want to spend the time arguing with those that were dear to him, and nither, he presumes, did they. I pointed to this boy’s strength as an example of the miracles that my friend would see. Friends helping, people just being people around her. God doing his amazing thing and genrally surprising you. I told her she was most likely to see more of these miracles, as preparation for entering the Kingdom of Heaven.

I was begning to feel like a fundamentalist. Ringing the Bible Bashing Bell. I have to admit I was sinking fast, and most definately without any sort of boyancy aid. I needed help. The most difficult thing to do is to know when you are over your head. I asked Meg what she thought. As usual, she had the answer “there’s not enough of you in it”. Then it came to me. Jenni. My friend from university who had died. She had a heart condition and a lung condition which (as far as I remember) required a transplant, or she was not going to make it. I recall at the time that we bearly knew she was ill.

I told my friend all about Jenni. More particularly about her funeral. How we, as her friends, had managed to make her last moments on earth (from what we could see, in her own words, letters and what she had told friends and family), an amazing time. All we did was a few simple things. A simple birthday party, simple concern.

I told her that the Mysterious Ways that people had been quoting at her, as people often do when they have nothign to say to a terminal patient were simply these things. Here I was, the right person, at the right time, talking ot her, helping her, having had the strenth to thelp from a friend of mine that I had lost. I told her if she enjoyed the life that was still with her, then she would see God’s hand helping her, the way it had helped Jenni. I told her that God would be with her.

She had logged off before I finished. I don’t know if she got it all, or why she logged off. Perhaps I went too far.

I hope it helped.

For the record, Jenni didn’t belive in anything. She was buried with a humanist ceremony.

She, infact, was the first person I ever truly prayed for. I prayed that God would watch her soul.


How the Interview Went

I really am bad at keepign these things in order. Thursday I was invited to go and speak to the Vicar about my joining the church. It seemed to go well, and, as he put it, “The hand of God was upon me”. Quite odd I thought, but I’m not going to argue with the man.

I’ve been put forward to talk to the “Vocational Guidance Councilor”, and no, I don’t want to be a lion-tamer. I am fully aware that they are huge beasts with large fluffy manes.

I will have to take another degree in Theology (presumably, but the vicar didn’t say). I was also invited along to a discussion about the Bible on Tuesday, at 7:30. I figure that I should go along, it’ll help me get to know people and find my way around.

Sunday service was good. I may have to steal a few ideas. I’m tempted actually to start keeping a few notes here about some of the things I liked. Actually, I really should get ahold of a notebook and do it that way. Though I have been saying that for days.



you were warned.

What a Week (and it’s only Tuesday)

Well, what a week.

DS has managed to get himself an interview at the Uni for an operator job, and I managed to finally make that call to the vicar. We meet on Thursday, at 4:30. Also, at some point on Monday, I got press-ganged into joining the Computer Section football team.

Yes Folks, I may have to go and buy shorts, and well, Trainers. Ugh.

Can you belive it?

I keep thinking about things, about how life tends to throw you those curve balls. I have to say that this recent Road that I’m on really does seem to be the obvious answer. It kinda scares me. Nothing is normally this obvious, normally there’s a lot of umming and aahing, and generally me spending ages to take the risk. There’s somethign different about this path.

The past month has been a bit of a roller-coaster. Most times I have to stop and remind myself that it’s only been a month. I wouldn’t trade it in for the world. I’ve met new people, I’ve had some painful conversations with old friends, and I’ve finally said good-bye to some old lovers. Despite the pain, despite the doubt, there’s this odd certanty that this path is going to keep snowballing in a good way unless I decide to derail it.

There in, of course, lies the problem. For the first time, it’s all dependant on Me. I’ve spent a lot of my life shifting responsibility for things onto other people, but now, I’m taking all responsibility. I’m even learning to take responsibility for my actions. I’m changing, becoming a new person. Hopefully not loosing the spark that’s got me here, and hopefully walking out of it a better person, a stronger person.

Who would belive that it was possible?

I spent a lot of my life hopeing that someone would just come along and listen to my storm. I’ve spent so much time talking to other people, helping them through their storms, that I tendted to put myself at the back. This person actually bothered to stop and listen, and well, just having a way of releasing some of that managed to give me the strength to change.

Right… Off to buy Shorts. (sorry for runing y our summers people).


Near Miss

Talk about close.

Ever get the supsicion that despite the evidence, your worst enemy is yourself? It’s rather unfamiliar terratory to stand on, I can tell you.

Having had (As some of you know) a bit of a roller-coaster year, I was hoping that things would settle down. It appears, however, that I had other ideas. I won’t go into detail, I am not yet ready to air that kind of thing on a public forum, but rather I thought I had to put a note here for myself. For prosperity, or at least, something to look back on and think “man, that was close”.



The Web Archive

Bouncing aroudn on the web archive, I managed to find a load of old websites (and I mean OLD, circa 1997), some with pictures of me with HAIR!. I decided to see if I could find my old pal David Leverton’s page about me, just to see if ti was what I remembered. It appears, however, that the web archive is in no means compleate, especially being as the sites in question are no-longer there. To that end, I’m ripping thigns that I really should have kept, and dumping them here. For those that don’t know, here it is, in all it’s glory. My original Womble Page.

Welcome Womblers

Dave Leverton’s Wonderful Writup On Me

Rman handy Commands

Being as my day job is still system administration, we’ve recently moved onto Oracle. For this, I need to know a bit about RMAN, the Restore Manage for Oracle. I don’t yet know enough to publish a sensible article about it, but I’m working on that.

Currently these are just bits and pieces while I work through the testing phase. I found this page and found it useful for the deleteing of RMAN backups from the control file (handy if your testing DR).


And the World turns

You know, it’s very odd how life’s highway decides it wants to take you places you never thought you’d ever want to go. Those of you that know me will have no doubt heard about the random desire I have to join the Church. Yes, I know. Me, in the Church.

It appears that no matter how hard I think it might be a silly idea, more and mroe people seem to think it’s a good idea, and the quicker my footsteps are led back to the Church. Of course, I’m not joining as your old-fashioned stuck in the mud kind if guy, but more I want to spread the news, tell people about JC, and generally cause a nuicance of myself in the name of charity and good will.

The problem, of course, is the training. I’m going to be looking for a “non-stipendry” place. It suprises me how much there is to learn, and how far I have yet to go, but, as the song says, “just goes to show you never can tell”


Another Reason to Hate Microsoft.

And I thought today was going to be a good day. There I was, minding my own business, turning up for work (late, again. I really need to do something about that), and all of a sudden, I find out that there’s a “ffwdan”, or for you english out there, a “hassle” (Tech Support Call). It appears that the Windows Update 925902 has managed to break the RealTek driver’s help system, and in some cases the RealTek sound panel. Okay, so not a big problem, just an error box popping up with this really dangerous looking “Illegal DLL Moved” error.

Not a problem, says the rest of the team. There’s this hotfix, just set Windows Update to roll that out will you. Sure says I, not a problem. SURLY Microsoft would have thought to add the feature to roll out hotfixes in their Windows Server Update Service (WSUS). It’s bound to be hidden somewhere in the options…..

An hour later, and I’m comming to the conclusion that it’s not there. Indeed, a quick google reveals that it’s actually on the WSUS wish list. Sigh. Apparently, however, there are rumours that it will be in WSUS 3.0, but wait, the Release Candidate for it is out… let me see what I can find out…..

I dont’ know if any of you have every actually tried using TechNet for anything useful, but it appears that what Microsoft considers “Technical Information” and what I consider Technical information are worlds appart. I can’t find out if it does, indeed, deal with hotfixes from the MS site. The problem with this, is as it’s a Release CAndidate it could royally bugger up the updates for everything. This would be BAD, especially as easter is approaching, and I really don’t want to have worry about it over easter (not that there will be anyone here to worry about it.)

C’est Ma Vie.

If anyone out there happens to know an easy way of rolling out a hotfix to 200 pc’s I’d be greatful to hear it. the prospect of wandering around with a USB key does not fill me with hope. Especially being as it would be my job, and I’m not sure if an MSI will cut it. I may have to ask.

Right… back to the depths of Google.


Why Can’t I Own A Canadian?

I found this using Stumble. I found it entertaining. Especially as I’ve not stoned anyone to death in a long, long time.


The Natioanls 2007, Systemless GM’s Writeup (pt 1.)

The “Student” National Roleplaying Championship was held this year in Edinburgh, and I have to say, it was a fantastic event. Then again, it always is.

A lot of hard work was put in by Lucy and her crew to organise the event, as well as by those that GM’d. Some of us travelled 10 hours + just to gm at the event. I was one of those. Our reasons? the standard of roleplaying at the nationals makes you forget the reams of crap games, and even worse players, and reminds you why you do this, for the sheer fun of it. For the hell of it. For the yelling and the screaming, and for Elvis telling Zombies “thank you very much”, and for people yelling “It’s obviously a government alien conspiracy, they are obviously out to get me” while beating a zombie to death with the wet end of someone eles’s arm.

This is just the quick roundup of things from this year, the bits that I remember well, before they fade from my aging mind, the event itself. I’ll cover the games in detail later.

Friday, of course (that is the night, not the man), was slightly surprising. after 7 hours of driving I still really wanted to bounce around and meet people. The usuall big personalities were there, Bradly (DURPS), Friday (BWRPS), Big Bad John (VAUGE), and Duncan (nominally DURPS, but a GM this year). It was nice to actually be recognised by these people. I suppose they never really understand the kind of effect they have on us little fishes, but their presence does bring a certain shine to the procedings. There were of course a few people who really do deserve a mention, Charlotte (who only roleplays at the nationals), Roisin (BWRPS) who managed to save my life with Flapjacks, and Maz and her scary younger brothers who have no right being that big.

Saturday started with a breakfast that I have to say really impressed me. Many of the other halls that we have stayed at for the university tended to be a bit of a poor show, but this really did blow me, and a fair few others away. Of course, had I not had to be at a GM’s meeting I probably would have had chacne to savour it – Not that I made the GM’s meeting.
Arriving there, it was quite interesting to notice that Duncan (DURPS, nominally), was busy writing something. I wandered over just to be sure, and yes, he was still putting together bits of his plot. There was me feeling slightly good about myself until my game started.. I realised I’d left my plot somewhere else. It turned out, that somewhere else was “on my sofa, in Aberystwyth, wales”.

Saturday night was odd. Normally after the quizz people hang about, but this time the place was empty. I still managed to have a good night. Though I Would like to reiterate here… Chilly Vodka is a bad idea Bradly will pay. Oh man will he pay.

I think really, that the pictures speak for themselfs. I danced, and danced.
A good time was had by all. Infact, these pictures are from Friday, but still… when the saturday ones go up I’ll put them there.

The game on Sunday involved so much shouting that I ended up horse, and then there was the long drive home. IT wasn’t that bad, I had huw describing to me what I was going to be playing in his game. We don’t really need to cover Richards driving, needless to say that it took a lot to stay on my seat, and I was meant to be sleeping.

Anyway, I guess it’s just the game themselfs to put on next. First, I Think food, and then I’m going to sleep.

A Quick Test

A Quick Test (remember to turn on buffers).


Hello world!

Hello World (Well, it was a bit obligatory, wasn’t it? Best I remember to get this Database backed up someplace sensible… like my home directory… or even (gasp) turn the backups back on on Odin!).