About me

I use Arch Linux and prefer vim over emacs.

I work for AWS but all views expressed here are my own and don't necessarily reflect Amazon's :)

Here's my Amazon wishlist.

Here's where I am on the political compass.

And this is what I look like:

A picture of me


Email: steve AT offend DOT me DOT uk

GPG Key: F3C186D1

Twitter: @stilvoid

Keybase: keybase.io/stilvoid

January 2017

TODO

Here we are again. Not many successes against last year's list but I'm still alive so I guess there's time.


New Year's Resolutions

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blog
November 2016

Win or lose?

I never paid any attention in art classes. On reflection, I think we had an awful teacher who more or less ignored those of us with no latent talent or interest. I grew up mildly jealous of people I knew who could draw and always wished I was able.

Over the past few years, I've heard several people say that artistic ability is 10% talent and 90% practice and I've considered giving it a go at some point. Recently, we bought some pencils and a pad for my son and this evening, with a glass of wine at hand and some 70s rock on the stereo, I decided to take the plunge and see what horrors I could submit the unwitting page to.

Here's the first thing I've drawn since school:

It's supposed to be my wife

It was supposed to be my wife. If you know her, you'll know I failed ;)

I focussed too much on the individual features and not enough on the overall shape. The eyes and hair aren't bad (at least they look something like hers), but the mouth and nose are too large and disproportionate - though recognisable.

I decided to try drawing what was in front of me: a ghost-shaped candle holder:

A photo of the candle holder

That's a photo by the way, not my drawing ;)

Here's the drawing. I killed the perspective somewhat but at least it's recognisable!

My drawing of it

After I'd drawn the ghost, I decided to have another go at my wife while she wasn't paying attention. This one looks more like her but the eyes look as though she's been in a fight and the hair is a tad more Edward Scissorhands than I'd intended.

Overall, I got a better result than I'd expected from my first three attempts at sketching in 20 years. This might turn into a series.

More than willing to receive criticism and advice from people who know what they're doing with a pencil :)

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blog drawing noob

Rye, oh rye?

A few months ago, I signed up for Flavourly which delivers me different beers every month from small breweries. I've been tucking in to this month's batch and, as I was sitting at my laptop, the beer I'd just opened made me want to review it which is something I've never done before. Excuse my indulgence ;)

Battersea Rye from Sambrook's brewery.

The first words out of my mouth after pouring some of this into my Norwich beer festival 2015 glass and giving it a distracted sip were "ooh, this is nice" which, speaking as a Brit, is high praise. It's these moments I live for when trying new beers; when the first sip is taken while I've got my mind on other things - in this case I was reading a requirements doc - and the taste just takes over making me forget what I was doing - in a good way.

Now that I've paused for a few moments to write that first paragraph, I've just taken a second, more deliberate swig. The initial surprise is out of the way and I can see that there's depth beyond the first sip. It's malty, which I'd expected, but fruity too, which I hadn't - although looking at the label now, I notice it bears a tagline of "bold spicy fruit".

A few moments after that second sip, I can still feel the malt rolling around in my mouth. Time for a third...

Still good but now I'm noticing the strength (I just checked, it's 5.8%). I think the rest of this bottle is going to go down very nicely. I've been suckered into the recent popularity of pale ales and haven't drunk much that's brown for months so this is a very pleasant change and it's particularly nice not to be assaulted by the overly malty taste that some darker brews bring to the table.

Half the bottle down and this is definitely living up to the "bold" part of its tagline which suits me just fine; I'm a fan of stronger beers generally. Give me some Good King Henry any day of the week and I'm a happy man. The fruitiness is starting to dissipate and giving way to a foamy mouthfeel that I'm willing to look past. A large gulp brings back the fruity taste as I let the beer swill around. At the risk of sounding like a wine taster, there's cherry, dates, and perhaps fig there.

All in all, I'm thoroughly enjoying this beer. It crossed my mind briefly that perhaps it would be better if it had less fizz and was slightly less alcoholic but on reflection, as I near the bottom of the glass, I think that would take away from the balance.

I'd give this a rating but they're only of any use against other ratings and this is the first beer I've reviewed ;)

If it helps, my wife, who generally only drinks pale ales, said "hmm, very nice".

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beer blog
June 2016

Brugger Off

I'm putting this here and then I'm going to try not to say anything else on the subject for a while.

I'm disappointed and upset by result of the referendum. Not because we're (probably) leaving the EU. Us leaving may be the beginning of the fall of the EU and I can't tell one way or another how that will affect anyone in the world.

I'm hurt and ashamed because it's a measure of the sentiments of the people who live in the UK. 52% of you are leaning in a direction that I want no part of and don't want my son to be surrounded by as he grows up. I grew up in the tail of end of Thatcher's Britain and the UK today has the same oppressive feeling that you can sense when you watch the Young Ones.

I have some very good friends who voted out and they are good people so I'm certainly not tarring everyone with the racist brush but I've seen much fear and hate generally and I'm just saddened that this country is following the international trend and moving to the far right.

It's not an exaggeration to say that I'm pretty damn scared of the future with the US possibly about to vote in a right wing leadership too.

Don't tell me "it'll be alright" because it's not the fact of the decision that has me upset; it's what it tells me about the country I love. Or used to love. I don't know.

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blog
May 2016

Eurodivision

I'm going to a Eurovision party tonight because I'm not the only person of impeccable taste who was away last week :)

I really don't know what it is about Eurovision that makes for such a fun evening but I've had a fantastic Eurovision party every year since I was at uni.

For the next 5 weeks, I'm at home alone as my wife and child are staying with family in Turkey. In order to make sure I won't be bored, I appear to have overfilled my calendar and now I find myself worrying I won't have a moment to myself. Ah well, busy is better than leaving myself open to the temptation of sitting in front of the telly for evenings on end.

I've ordered a Raspberry Pi 3 with the intention of setting it up as a retro gaming machine. I want something that can live permanently attached to my telly so that I can just pick up a controller and have a 10 minute blast on Sonic or Mario at the drop of a hat. I tried doing this before with my original Pi but it was just too slow.


In other news, I posted this on Facebook a while ago and decided it might as well live here too:

I'll be voting that we stay in thanks very much. I know the EU is far from perfect but I hate the idea of slumping backward into a world of tribes. Hating the other guy because he’s on the other side of a fence or believes in a particular magical sky man is ridiculous and childish and exactly the kind of thing we in the west deride and see as the cause of conflicts in the east.

I’m proud of my country. And like any prized possession, I want to show it off to everyone. I want free movement so that I can visit (and maybe one day live and work in) some of the wonderful places that other people are proud of.

I'm married to a foreigner; I frequently meet, work with, and have many friends who are foreign; I love travelling and being the foreigner. I’d love to be in a world where this post doesn’t make any sense because “foreign” and “country” don’t mean anything any more. It’s one planet, guys.

Try this one weird trick to help you realise why I think your ideas about borders are daft: You want tighter border control in the UK... Why the UK? Why not Great Britain? Make the Irish need visas to get in. Why not individual countries? Who wouldn’t enjoy a nice driving break while you queue for passport control at the Welsh border? In fact, why stop there; we could do this regionally! The great wall of East Anglia? County? District? City? Neighbourhood? Street? Why do you draw the line where you draw it?

If you must have a border, draw it around the planet for now. I wouldn’t mind working as a passport officer aboard the ISS.

Be excellent to each other and party on dudes.

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