Skyberries and Voidmelons or Voidberries and Skymelons


3D printing and Twitter bot

A few weeks ago I had 3D printer training at the London Hackspace, which was exciting and filled my mind with all kinds of possibilities. I started browsing Thingiverse for things to make, but I still have yet to make anything as the Hackspace is far away and 3D printing takes time.

I also finally got around to updating my Twitter bot that posts lines from old diaries of mine to Twitter. Twitter had changed their authentication, so I needed to update the Python script. Dreamwidth entry about the bot from a few years ago: Twitter bot.


The Research Thing

In November, I went to The Research Thing at Moo's office in London. The Research Thing is a meet up with talks about user-centred research and the one I attended had the theme of e-commerce. There were talks by Michelle Bejian Lotia on 10 Tips for Starting Up UX Research, and by Dara Sherwani on Helping Users in Assessing the Trustworthiness of User-Generated Reviews.

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Tangly red, the blackest black and monochrome

On Friday night, I listened to Daniel Kitson telling a story about Christmas, a sad story, that was funny at times.

Snow fell in the Olympic Park that Saturday, and tackline and I stood at the top of the UK's tallest sculpture, the tangly red ArcelorMittal Orbit, staring out at the view. We walked down eventually, down the spiral staircase, listening to the found sounds of construction work, bells ringing and horses clip-clopping.

That afternoon, in the Carroll/Fletcher Gallery, I peered into a tank of water at a laptop, listened to the whirring of hard drives, and stared at the blackest black.

I then glanced at the moon in the Art First gallery.

That evening, I reminisced, remembered, chatted and laughed at the Monochrome BBS meet at the Coronet.

ArcelorMittal Orbit



A few years ago, strawberryfrog challenged me to open a pickle factory. I have still not managed to do that, but it did inspire me to make pickles!

I enjoy eating Japanese pickles, so decided those were the kind I wanted to make. I read recipes about using beds of rice bran, but in the end found some really easy to use pickle powder. You simply chop up some vegetables, put them in a plastic bag, and sprinkle the powder over them. Then you leave it in the fridge for a few hours, and then the pickles are ready! I tried it with aubergine, carrots, and cabbage, but am keen to try with other vegetables.

Wikipedia has this to say about tsukemono though: "According to EU and USA trade code definitions, tsukemono are classified as 'preserved vegetables' rather than 'pickles' because they are not primarily preserved in acetic acid or distilled vinegar. They have a different tax rate than western pickles."


What I did in November 2014

Saw a house that was melting. (Alex Chinneck's A pound of flesh for 50p).

Walked up the narrowest street in London - Brydges Place.

Went to UX Bookclub at Pivotal's office and discussed A Moment of Clarity, by Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen.

Ate the largest cake sculpture in the world. (Well, a slice.)

Looked at print outs of an artist's sleep cycles and other exhibits at the Unoriginal Genius exhibition at the Carroll/Fletcher project space.

Ate papaya ice-cream.

Wandered around Jubilee Park near Petts Wood with my mum, looking for goldfinches and oak trees.

Ate a persimmon that was actually ripe and delicious.

Saw Disobedient Objects at the V&A Museum with braisedbywolves.

Went to the Red Bar and ate sweet potato doughnuts and drank a Pandan Mule (Pandan leaf infused Wyborowa vodka, lime juice, lemongrass & ginger syrup, kumquat, ginger beer.)

Went to the Mini Maker Faire at Elephant & Castle with deathboy.

Went to the NaNoWriMo mid-month meet up at the Melton Mowbray pub and had some fun conversations.

Bought a Pebble smart watch and made it display "Hello, World!"

Went to the Garlik Christmas party at the Elusive Camel, and then Kazan for Turkish food, and then the Cask pub.

Had a potato installed in my kitchen.

Played Quixx, Apples to Apples and Carcassonne at the office board games night.

Walked by the river in Richmond and looked at lichen. A heron stood on an obelisk on the Meridian Line.

Made Japanese style pickles.

Walked from Mill Hill East to Finchley Central on a tube walk.

Went to The Research Thing at Moo's office, which was a meet up about UX research and had the theme of e-commerce. Saw coffee art.

Ate packing chips.

Talked to deathboy's bear who spoke back to me, and watched a YouTube video on his smart watch.

Wrote a novel of more than 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo.



On Sunday, I ate the world's largest cake sculpture. (Well, only a slice.)




When the button on my Nike Fuelband broke, I eventually decided to get a Pebble and run the Misfit app on it to track steps. I've also loaded Tetris onto it and the Swarm check-in app. I also get notifications from my phone, via bluetooth.

With a little bit of C, it also seems quite easy to create your own apps or watch faces:

"Hello, world!" on Pebble


NaNoWriMo 2014

Since 2002, every year (except 2007), I have been writing novels in the month of November for NaNoWriMo. This year was my 8th year of reaching at least 50,000 words.

I reached 50,000 words last night.



Saturday - Melting house, ice-cream, art, chocolate

I woke up excited and ready to get out of bed on Saturday morning, as I had decided to and go and see the melting house - Alex Chinneck's ‘A pound of flesh for 50p’. The bricks were made from wax and have slowly melted since the house was erected.

I visited Gelateria 3Bis after that and ate fig & mascarpone and Eton mess ice-cream. They were delicious. I wandered around Borough Market, and then walked to Carroll/Fletcher project space and saw the Unoriginal Genius exhibition. One exhibit was a print out of a person's sleep cycles using a sleep cycle app on their phone. Another exhibit was a strange machine that was made from educational images that had been found. Another exhibit was Yung Jake's

I ate even more ice-cream after that - papaya flavour from Snowflake, and then I walked to supposedly the narrowest street in London – Brydges Place. As I was about to go down it, I saw a policeman walking up it, so waited for a bit, as it is only wide enough for one person to walk down, and that added to the atmosphere.

I then remembered I had a novel to write and in Caffè Nero, I sipped a mocha and started writing again, and a man with tentacles tattooed onto his neck sat down next to me. They were just peeking out of his shirt. I wrote quite a few words.

I then visited Cybercandy and marvelled at the range of chocolate - blueberry pancake stack flavour, peach and noodles flavour, fish finger and custard flavour, and others: Cybercandy exclusives. I bought a bar of the vanilla cake (cucumber and vanilla flavoured white chocolate), which is a green colour. I have not tried any yet though.


What I did in October 2014

I photographed crumbling amusement arcades and overgrown rollercoasters that were once part of Dreamland.

I stroked a meteorite.

I saw a long ago demolished pier through a telescope in Folkestone.

I took a boat to Greenwich, wandered around Greenwich Park, ate a vegan pumpkin and chocolate chip cupcake (purchased in the market) and saw one of the great trees of London: a spanish sweet chestnut.

I stared at fans in the Fan Museum, and smiled when I saw the more modern kind of fan there also.

I looked at photos of space in the Astronomy photographer of the year exhibition at the Royal Observatory.

nou and I organised a meet up of Computer Anonymous: London group.

In Richmond Park, I hid inside trees, photographed purple fungi (jelly drops), visited the Royal Oak, wandered past rutting deer and underneath loudly chirping parakeets, walked through the bracken, and stroked the silk inside a chestnut shell.

I went to antipodienne's birthday party and played with balloons.

I cut out pictures from magazines to help create personas at a co-design workshop.

I wore five different disguises at work in one day.

I ate jackfruit, I think for the first time.

I paddled in the sea in Folkestone.

I went to birthday drinks for hoshuteki and verlaine at the White Hart pub.

I went on two funicular railways - the Folkestone Leas Lift and the Millennium Inclinator in London.

I saw a building trying to float away in Covent Garden. (Alex Chinneck's Take my lightning, but don't steal my thunder.)

I ate at two vegetarian restaurants: Food for Thought in London, and Beanos in Folkestone.

I saw the Designers in Residence: Disruption exhibition at the Design Museum, during a work trip.

I walked from Manor House to Turnpike Lane on a tube walk.

I played Goat Simulator with Corben and ended up controlling an evil angel penguin.

I saw Banksy's street art in Folkestone.

I visited the Turner Contemporary in Margate and saw Jeremy Deller's English Magic exhibition.

I walked on the beach at: Littlestone, Dymchurch, Margate, Folkestone, and Dungeness.

I attempted to read the words on Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage.

I photographed beautiful lichen and windswept huts at Dungeness and wandered over the shingle.

I saw many artworks during the Folkestone Triennial, went on a lift attached to a viaduct, walked on the platform at a disused railway station, looked at words written on a lighthouse through a telescope, climbed up into a bamboo sculpture, looked at strange beach huts and visited the luckiest place on Earth.