Day 8 – Games, Games, Games

Technically it hasn’t happened yet.

Technically I shouldn’t be blogging about this till around midnight.

But I’m going to anyway, because I can tell the future.


There is a long-standing ritual for Wednesdays (I wish I could capitalise the “W” even further, to pronounce it with a certain level of emphasis and gravitas that is hard to convey in writing).

Friends come over; who exactly depends. Over time some leave, others join.

We coördinate beforehand.

We have our own lingo.

Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride

Someone hosts the Wednesday; they cater for dinner, sometimes drinks as well.

The other guests between them cater for “befores” and “afters”, which broadly constitutes snacks (typically cheese, fruit, chocolate) for the former, and dessert (typically ice cream, cake, chocolate) for the latter.

Sometimes we have way too much food.

Then we eat it anyway.

Then we feel joy and regret.

Cargo Noir
Cargo Noir

But somewhere among all the food, we also play board games.

If the first thought that conjures to you is Monopoly and Risk, then you really haven’t lived yet. There are so many more options available across the gamut of strategy, collaboration and back-stabbing.

Especially the back-stabbing.

We all play to win, but we try not to play too aggressively or be sore losers. We usually succeed. And it is a lot of fun.

Kingdom Builder
Kingdom Builder

And every year our collection of board games grows a little larger.

Every year in Germany, a jury of board game critics convenes and awards the Spiel des Jahres prize for the best new board game of the year. The competition is fierce, because where an average new game might sell maybe a 1000 copies. Nomination alone will raise that tenfold. And winning boosts sales over another order of magnitude.

And rightfully so.

Our all-time favourite recurring play is “Ticket to Ride”, which is incredibly easy to learn and so well-balanced that rounds go really quickly. This means that unlike Monopoly, you never get stuck in a turn where you have to wait 5-10 minutes for someone to make up their mind on exactly what their move is going to be, or how many properties they need to sell to stay afloat, or who they are trying to… ZZZZZzzzzzz.


If you have an interest in trying some board games, feel free to ask. I’m more than happy to make recommendations.

But a good place to start is the past winners of Spiel des Jahres on Wikipedia. Be careful not to end up with one of the “Kennerspiel” though, because these are more complicated games for frequent players that like a bigger challenge.

Day 7 – Home-bound Ritual

With a coffee into the sunset.

On the days I don’t find myself in the gym between work and home, a trip past Michel’s Patisserie is part of my ritual to separate my time from my employers’ time. Also, coffee!

Today I am adding an extra dose of relax with an episode of Dexter. I really should have changed into a t-shirt though, because my button-up shirt is making this feel like a strange mix that still has a certain amount of work.

I guess that can be next, so that dinner is when I switch into home-mode.

And then after dinner I’ll read some more about floating point error… I guess I’m really making a hash of this home-work balance thing today, aren’t I?

Day 6 – Floating

I find technical topics relaxing, and it’s been too long since I have looked into the gaping maw of a handful of venomous formulas. Add to that the fact that this is a topic that I’ve been thinking about turning into a “one page cheat sheet”* with the most important facts summarised, and tonight I tackle…

IEEE 754

Or as their parents call them when they are at home: floating point numbers.

Both the best and the worst thing ever invented to deal with fractional numbers in computing. Providers of so much convenience. Providers of so many lost hairs.

I haven’t done enough research yet to write my one-pager*, but this will be the most interesting part of my day today.

The results of my research can be found at: Floating Point One-Pager (2013-07-28).


* I am availing myself of the web definition of “one page”, meaning that it could literally be any length by the time I am done.


Links to some pages I’m reading through to get some perspective on the subject:


Day 5 – He Sits in Judgement

We all know the Internet likes cat pictures, so here’s me making the most of my day filled with cleaning…

This is my cat Obie, short for Oberon (no, neither are my password, I’m not that security illiterate, thanks). He judges me. A lot.

Today he was sitting back watching me clean and in no uncertain terms telling me that I don’t know what I’m doing, and to stop embarrassing myself already. But he washes with his tongue, so what does he know!?

And because one cat picture is never enough…

2013-07-21 - Obie Morning 1
Good Morning… Mind if I Rattle these Blinds?


Taking in the Smells Outside
Taking in the Smells Outside

Checklist for Today

  1. Shower
  2. Quick groceries run
  3. Get a coffee
  4. Put on load of laundry
  5. Listen to Nerdist while vacuuming the house
  6. Clean the litter tray
  7. Mop the floors
  8. Hang out laundry
  9. Put on another load of laundry
  10. Trim hedges
  11. Have another shower
  12. Hang out laundry
  13. Maybe walk to get another coffee
  14. Do some work and email comments as promised
  15. Play some Binding of Isaac (addicted!)
  16. Iron shirts while watching an episode of Poirot
  17. Panic about writing about something interesting for day 5

Day 4 – My Name Is…

I had a very lazy very boring day today… so prepare to be under-whelmed!

Besides a coffee to start the day around noon, and a lot of time wasted browsing around the Internet, and then some TV to cap off the day, the only thing worth mentioning is that I spent some time looking at sites that do business cards.

Every once in a blue moon I consider getting business cards for my online identity.

What could be more boring than outdated, white card-stock, black lettering in unimaginative fonts, and cliché timid centre-alignment business cards?!

No, not for me either, thanks.

The desire to do something with business cards was probably sparked by a story I read years ago about Steve Wozniak’s awesome metal business cards.


It turns out that there are myriad companies on the web these days that provide interesting options, such as: paper/plastic/wood/metal as base materials, glossy highlights, embossing, metal foil, die-cutting shapes, and more.

The header image has a set of 3-ply wooden business cards by Jukebox Print.

The image just above shows a gold foil lettering detail on card stock by Umax Print.

And the ever-popular Moo Print plan cards with an NFC chip in the near future.

I keep looking at all the options, and wanting to combine all the cool options into a single design against the better judgement of my design instinct. If I ever go through with it I’m sure I’ll manage to tie that demon up and stick to something classy and understated.

In reality my cards do not need to contain a lot.

Just “JerryJvL” will do in fact.

You see, I’ve managed to grab that username on all the major web-based services; on the first 10 pages of Google search results, all but about a dozen refer to me.

What could be better than a business card with nothing more than 8 letters on it?

Day 3 – Seeing RED

Last weekend I saw World War Zee at the cinema. Now, before anyone reads me my own rules, yes, last weekend is well before the 24 hour window I have allowed myself.

Bear with me.

I often do not find the trailers before a movie very convincing one way or another. Scratch that… most often it clarifies a whole bunch of movies I should not go see.

This time I was lucky; there were two good trailers.

First one is for Now You See Me, which looks like a fun cross between Ocean’s Eleven and The Prestige. I cannot say much more about that until I have a chance to actually see it when it is out.

Second one is for RED 2, which my friend immediately recognised as such. He was trying to recommend I watch RED, which I had not seen before, but that soon became a moot point.


DAME HELEN F&*$%NG MIRREN casually dissolving a body in a bathtub while chatting to Bruce Willis. Followed a few shots later by a car chase where she wields double handguns out of opposite sides of a spinning vehicle. I HAVE TO SEE THIS.

Also, I have to see RED!

Which is exactly what I did tonight.

It’s a story of CIA operatives, cowardly Vice Presidents and obvious Villains. Nothing particularly special about the plot, except that it totally doesn’t take itself seriously.

This is an action movie filled with the most improbable moves and gun shots, taken so casually and with a big wink to the audience that there are times it is hard to contain a giggle.


I’m glad I watched this.

Very glad.

And now I’m sad I have to wait till RED 2 is out, because I have to watch that too.

Day 2 – Regali Dolci

I still have the after-effects of Rhino-whatsit-virus, which has now morphed into an annoying cold. It makes my brain feel like cotton wool. Sufficiently so that I headed home early from work to have a lie down.

I probably should not have come in, but my e-mail gets lonely without me.

That could have easily been the most riveting part of my day.

Regali Dolci - Gelato
Regali Dolci – Gelato

Luckily for the blog, there was a birthday for me to sniffle my way through. The local town centre is actually quite pleasant on a Thursday night, with a few pretty decent restaurants on the main road.

So dinner was Tapas.

And dessert was Gelato.

Meaning that the most interesting part of my day today was the consumption of one scoop of Rum & Raisin and one scoop of Hazelnut.

And now, I have a date with a tissue box!