Lights.

Posted by Doctor Sinister on July 5th, 2011 filed in Photography
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I figure everyone has to do this sort of shot at one point…right?

Two 30 second exposures.

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DSC01700

Dr. S.

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Flashing Blade Picnic #2.

Posted by Doctor Sinister on July 2nd, 2011 filed in Doctor Who, Life
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I attended the second Flashing Blade picnic in Hyde Park today – and had a thoroughly good time, even though I still don’t really know anyone…

Flashing_Blade_Picnic_020711_049

See my complete set of pix on Flickr.

Dr. S.

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Dalek Invasion.

Posted by Doctor Sinister on June 30th, 2011 filed in Doctor Who, Photography
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So I took my new camera out for a spin today and got some good Dalek shots…

Dalek_Invasion_006

Dalek_Invasion_005

Read the entire story here

Dr. S.

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Beaulieu National Motor Museum.

Posted by Doctor Sinister on June 30th, 2011 filed in Children, Family, Life
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Today there was a Teacher’s strike, as documented previously…so what better time to take the family to a place we’ve not been before?  Beaulieu! Not surprisingly, it was rather empty…

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Full set of pix here.

Dr. S.

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Me!

Posted by Doctor Sinister on June 29th, 2011 filed in Life, Photography, Work
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I was just interviewed for a work newsletter! Here is the photo I am sending for the piece.

AJS_290611

Dr. S.

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Leader Day 40.

Posted by Doctor Sinister on June 27th, 2011 filed in Armchair General, Events, Life, Military, Videos
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Yes, it’s my 40th, and I am officially announcing the commencement of the festivities!

The annual parade in my honour took place yesterday under the guise of the Bovington Tankfest (we all know what it’s really about). So here is a video and photos from the event.


It was another scorching day, and this year I took a friend with me, Alex Last who has been writing some game reviews for ACG.

Not only is there footage of a mock battle, but you can see that we met up with Victor Kislyi, the CEO of Wargaming.net who was kind enough to grant us a 30 minute interview, which we will be transcribing soon (it’s all on video).

I even took a photo of Victor holding my ACG:

Complete Photo set.
Very pleased with this shot:

Dr. S.

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Complaint letter to BSI…

Posted by Doctor Sinister on June 24th, 2011 filed in Anger, Correspondence, Work
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BSI are the organisation who arrange for accommodation for my place for work.  This e-mail should be self explanatory…

* * *

Dear Sir/Madam,

I write with regard to the above booking which was raised in the name of one of my colleagues, XXX, for him and three others, myself included.

The Hotel we were booked into was the Travel Lodge in Drury Lane, London.

Whilst accepting that a Travel Lodge typically provides basic amenities with no frills, I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about the nature of the accommodation with which I was provided.

Firstly, upon arrival, I was greeted with what can only be described as some kind of raucous alcohol-fueled rave taking place in the Hotel reception area.  Whilst I appreciate that this is not necessarily the fault of the Hotel staff, their inability and apparent unwillingness to temper the enthusiasm of the people engaging in this extremely loud verbal orgy would have repercussions for me later in the night…

On checking in, I was told that no double rooms were available.  Since the time was approximately 21:30, you can appreciate that this was a major problem, especially since your booking reference confirmed that:

This booking has been guaranteed for late arrival.

I was then asked if a single room would suffice – and with little choice but to say yes, I reluctantly agreed.  However this in itself would have caused further issues, on the basis that I am 6 feet seven inches tall, and I literally find it impossible to sleep in a single bed.

Fortunately (as I thought at the time), they were able to find me a double room and I duly paid the fee of £135.95.

The room number I was booked into was “UG3″, and even finding it was something of a trial, since it appeared to occupy an area deep within the bowels of the hotel basement.  The elevators were not working at the time I checked in, and I had to navigate a number of extremely gross and disgusting flights of stairs – covered in dust, with stained floors and walls, and with confusing and inconsistent signage (many doors simply said “stairs” and did not make it clear that there were additional rooms beyond).

My journey into the depths of the Hotel was somewhat reminiscent of the descent through Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell, save that Hell would undoubtedly be somewhat warmer than the frigid areas through which I was navigating.

Upon my eventual arrival at the room itself, I was overcome with a feeling of sheer bleak horror.  Overlooking a vehicle loading bay, and apparently untroubled by natural light at any point durting its sorry life, the room can only be described as depressing, and very likely the sort of place people go to when they decide it’s time to die.

The window was completely ineffective at keeping any sort of heat in the room, or indeed at keeping any noise from a nearby street out of the room, and merely served as a physical barrier, presumably to prevent escape in the highly likely situation that visitors might decide to jump outside, screaming.

Any attempts at sleep proved impossible, on the basis of the aforementioned party taking place upstairs, the noise of which was drifting in and out of uninsulated windows and doors and into my eardrums.

Furthermore, the regular banging of the electric radiator as it expanded, caused me to switch the damn thing off in short order, leaving me with no source of heat, and any existing warmth rapidly escaping from the room in terror – a situation with which I can only sympathise.

If you throw in the regular sound of Police sirens screaming up and down the road outside, you will appreciate that there was not much sleep to be had that night, and indeed I probably managed a straight hour at most.

At around 06:30, I decided to cut my losses and sit in the foyer, abandoning the room to its own devices, like I’m sure many others must have done before.  I decided that discretion was the better part of valour when it came to using the shower, and opted not to, since I could not guarantee that I wouldn’t have stuck to the floor and been left there to become part of the fabric of the building.

Later that morning, I discovered that another of my work colleagues, Mrs XXX, had been in another of the UG rooms, and had suffered a similar experience.  In fact, Mrs XXX demanded a refund in the morning, but alas this was not to be, and she was simply ignored by the Reception staff who hid in their little office and refused to come out.

When querying why the room was so bad, Mrs XXX was told that she “should have got (t)here earlier to get a better room”.  Frankly, this is a completely inappropriate and unprofessional comment to make.  Surely ALL rooms should be of a sufficient standard and quality to pass muster?  Why does a Hotel operate with substandard accommodation and why does it seek to penalise late arrivals by offering them rooms that are clearly so bad?

Frankly, a charge of £135.95 for one night in such accommodation beggars belief.  This facility is not an appropriate resource for business users and it is on this basis that I would like to raise some kind of formal complaint, and insist on a refund for my company as I do not feel that XXX should have to bear the cost of such poor service.

Regards,

Andrew.

* * *

Dr. S.

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Letter to the school…

Posted by Doctor Sinister on June 24th, 2011 filed in Anger, Children, Correspondence, Family
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I sent this to the head teacher of my kids’ school after they brought home a letter…

Dear Madam,

I note with some astonishment that during the forthcoming teacher’s strike on Thursday the 30th of June you propose to partially open the school to reflect the relative Union memberships of your teaching staff.

I find this an extraordinary decision to make, when most other schools are either staying wholly open or closing completely for the day.

It would be an understatement to say that I find the strike situation irritating in the extreme, since it means that I am forced, as a parent, to take a day off from work to look after my children, using up my valuable holiday time, all because of the petty disputes of a group of people who appear to have put their professionalism to one side.

Why should my children’s education suffer because of a dispute that is not of their making, and why should I have to suffer in financial terms as a result?

Furthermore, the situation as it stands is that I have one child who will be going to school because his class is open, with another staying at home because her class is not.

This is completely unacceptable.

How am I supposed to justify taking one child to school whilst the other remains at home?

Furthermore, I have to question the Health and Safety merits of having a school only partially open – if an incident such as a fire were to occur, how can I be assured that there would be sufficient staff on site to effectively look after my children?  Your letter indicates that the “majority” of your staff will not be working, suggesting insufficient coverage in the event of a major incident.

On this topic, will you and/or your Deputy be present on the day?  Your letter is silent on the issue.  If the answer is “no”, then I fail to see how you can open the school at all.

In addition, are we expected to encounter hostile picket lines on our entry into the school premises?  This is not a risk I am prepared to run.

I am therefore writing to formally advise you that neither of my children will be in attendance on Thursday unless your school is completely open.  It is totally unfair to afford what amounts to an extra day’s holiday to one sibling and not the other.  And if I am being forced to take a day’s holiday to look after one, then I shall be looking after them both.

If you wish to record Anthony’s absence as unauthorised then so be it, but I will not tolerate having my family messed around in this manner and I will be pleased to discuss the consequences of this unwanted course of action with whoever I need in order to make my point.

Frankly, if the teaching profession is unable to keep its own house in order, I fail to see why my children should suffer the consequences.

In addition, I note with some irritation that your website has not been updated, again.

What is the point of having a section advising that “Important messages will appear here.” if you are not going to update it with news about potential strike action?  Or perhaps you do not regard school opening hours as being “important”?

On the topic of the website, I am getting sick of saying this, but my wife’s details still appear on this page (link removed).

My wife left the school in February of last year as you will be well aware.  When is the site going to be updated?

Yours Faithfully,

Mr A J Summersgill.

* * *

Dr. S.

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Covert Delivery.

Posted by Doctor Sinister on June 24th, 2011 filed in Life, Videos, Work
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Just filmed this as I thought it was cool..

Dr. S.

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XAVT.

Posted by Doctor Sinister on June 20th, 2011 filed in Gadgets, Shopping
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My new Victorinox XAVT next to one of my three Victorinox Swiss Champs – for size comparison.

Utter madness.

www.swissarmy.com/MultiTools/Pages/Product.aspx?category=…

XAVT

Dr. S.

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DSLR Macro Test.

Posted by Doctor Sinister on June 19th, 2011 filed in Doctor Who, Not-LEGO, Photography, Toys
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DSLR_Macro_Test

This is a quickie test shot using a Macro lens on my new camera.

I just made the jump to my first DSLR. So much to learn…

It’s an entry-level Sony (I’m a bit of a Sony freak) – an Alpha A290.

I read that this one was a good introduction to DSLR cameras, having only owned some point and shoots and a bridge camera previously (also Sony).

Dr. S.

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Drive.

Posted by Doctor Sinister on May 31st, 2011 filed in Life, Videos, Work
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A film of my drive to work, sped up 4x.

Not sure why I did it…

Dr. S.

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