Work related posts have been moved.

9 November, 2010

My work and computing related posts are now at

If you have come here from a work-related perspective (computing, semweb, bioinformatics, math). Perhaps you could go there right now and not read the gory personal stuff here.

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I dreamed about work last night

5 September, 2021

To set the scene, this week for the first time I have been fully exposed to the release and deployment process at work. For most of my time as a developer my job was done when I checked in my code, passed the unit tests, and requested a merge. This week, I found out what happens after that. I did 50 hours this week.

In my dream, there was a small fire developing on the wood floor, which I stamped out. There was a wire poking out. The homeowner – who was really pleasant and nice – asked me what that was, and I said “maybe a network cable”, but I knew it wasn’t a network cable. After a moment, I corrected myself and told the truth. “It’s the lights”. One of the strings of programmable LED lights that I has run through this room. The end of the strip, where I had wired the connection, had gotten hot enough to light the wood.

With slowly dawning horror, I looked around the room. It was a big, split-level affair, I think trophies on the walls. Wood panelling. Lovely wood floor. I had run LED light strips all around the room – along the cornices, around the architraves, down along the skirting boards. The place looked fricking awesome.

And at each point where there was a join in the run of lights, at the corners where I had put in a wire to connect them, there was a small fire developing. Dozens. “Oh shit.”, I thought. “I am going to have to tear the whole lot out. It’s all got to come out right now.”

And that’s what work is like.


Ages of ages, cycles of cycles

13 March, 2021

In the beginning, the gods created the stars and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness covered the face of the waters. And the gods said, “Let there be Light”, and there was light. And the gods separated the light from the shadow. And the light and the shadow were the first age.

Ages of ages. Cycles of cycles. A separation, a division of that which must rightly be divided.

The light is life, and the shadow death. How can there be death-in-life? And yet there is one who created death-in-life, and sent armies of the dead to march over the face of the earth.

How can there be life-in-death? How can there be light-in-shadow? Beyond the earth are the stars. When another one brings light-to-shadow, then the age will turn again.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”

(with thanks to Ursula Le Guin, and to William Tyndale.)


Mission

4 April, 2020

She seemed an ordinary elf woman. Beautiful? Oh yes, very much so. Possessed of an ageless grace? Yes, absolutely. Her brow speaking of wisdom, her eyes bright with intelligence? Yes, yes, yes. As I said: ordinary. An ordinary high elf of some status. There was no nimbus around her, her accoutrements did not shout with power, she was not surrounded by a grovelling court of flatterers. She gave audience alone, in a simple clearing in the forest. Perhaps the only clue might be that where she was, the moon seemed brighter and the night grew pale; where she walked, the trees whispered low. And to Lednor, another clue: his own power did not stain the grass here with wrong, so greatly overmatched and overawed – it seemed – that it dare not.

“So, Lednor, you are welcome. Your studies progress well?”

“Yes, my Queen.”

“Perhaps you might apprise me of them?”

She already knew, of course. But nevertheless: “I have studied the dark half of the cycle my queen. And the toxins with which the plants defend themselves from weeds and vermin.”

“Weeds and vermin. Apt.” Before her feet, the ground moved. Moss budded and roots grew, becoming into a map. “Here, to the south. Weeds and vermin.”

“My Queen?”

She sighed. In patience? Irritation? “Four centuries. How quickly they forget. They have crossed the river again. The usual – tree killing, earth raping, arson. Land clearing, farming, mining. Only a few handful just yet, but more will come if we do not act. They breed so quickly.”

Lednor studied the map. “Yes, my Queen. I understand. I am ready.”

“Are you? Very well. Go weed them, Lednor. Root and branch. Quietly. It might be best to join them, live with them. But do not grow comfortable. The fewer babies among them, the better. The High Druid must not know – he would disapprove of your studies. Many of our own would be uncomfortable with them. The Emperor will know, of course, but he will say nothing. North of the Silvermere is mine and shall remain so.”

Lendor bowed low, and his Queen dismissed him with a motion of her wrist. As he left her presence, his own power began to reassert itself. A subtle odour of tannin-rich water, dank moss and toadstool, rotting wood, and just on the edge of identification, the faint smell of a corpse tangled in the roots below the waterline. He began to make plans. They had not enough human prisoners to properly test the toxins, so he would need to improvise in the field.

His step quickened with anticipation.


Lednor is a “Dark Alleys and Twisted Paths” 13th age druid. He is an adept of the Circle of Decay, with talents “Blighted Stench and “Life Leech”, and a novice of the Circle of Life, with talent “Font of Life”. Unless someone else wants to healbot, in which case I might go Circle of the Land instead.

Still need to do his stats.