Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Just another Martian

Nothing much to report - tough-ish day with undergrad students messing around the old laser. Here's a new Matian contraption.

Monday, February 27, 2006

back to scratch

Hi all and no-one,
back to publishing the blog, after seeing that an old friend and rival in the arms race is fast a-blogging! Hi Paul!
You see, we're involved in an arms race, albeit an anachronistic one - we're both building up Victorian forces, starting with Land Ironclads and Aeronefs. must take the lead at sea, now - and he doesn't know it yet, but I've got a large force of redcoats waiting for him. And this way I'll know if he's read this. Clever, eh?

By the way, the pic shows the one and only amazing Electric Blockhaus. Nice contraption, eh?

I'm wondering how incomprehensible or utterly childish all this sounds. But it's good fun, so it's ok. Try is - the world of Victorian Science Fiction is as much fun as a barrelful of steam-powered monkeys.

Anyways - got to go, so g'night for now.
nice to be back.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Metal Matrix Composites, or MMCs, re a big part of my life, as my PhD research is all about the laser deposition process for creating a MMC surface on stainless steel. At the moment I'm happy becuase I got a ouple of good results during last week, which means the ball is rolling again. I would like to get this degree done by 2007, to prove that life DOES begin at 40.
Meanwhile - my writing work for Dark Realm Miniatures is progressing - it's not every day that someone who has studied astronomy gets to create his own galaxy!

That's it for now - anyone who wants to read something miles better than this could try a search for Solzhenitsyn's Nobel Prize acceptance speech - it sure brings a ray of light to the world.

And listen to Gershwin.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Going North

It's funny, but 5 times out of the 6 I've been to Italy, I've not gone North of Taormina. Which, if you check a map, is quite Northernly - as long as you stick to Sicily!
The only place North of that was Bologna, and I only spent 2 days there, meeting a scientist at the CNR there. Go on, look it up, that's what Google's for. (sorry, I'm feeling lazy)

Someday we'll go on a holiday - to Pisa, Firenze, and Venezia. And Rome.

The pic comes from our last visit, a day trip to Mt. Etna and Modica. And that's my first ever real snowfall. Right in the Sivestri crater.

Cheers all.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Two double-oh six

Tsk - missed the end-of-year post.
People are creatures of change. The start of the New Year is a day like any other, when the Earth is located at a none-too-particular a position on it's orbit. It's not even as significant as the equinoxes or the solstices, which are distinct points on the orbit. And yet, the start of a new year, with its resolution paraphernalia and out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new is a celebration of change, of opportunity. It would be better to consider each - umm - minute as a new minute, and celebrate it - but then change would be too frequent, and would not, in fact represent change.
I think I'm being a wet blanket again.

Today I stored a Pylon and a Village, and unearthed a boxful of skeletons. Oh, and a troll.

And a Vanmullikan is something you won't find using a search engine. You would find a Mullikan, so I added the Van.

Cheers all, and all the best for 2006. The next year is Bond's....
PS - no, that's not his new car.

Friday, December 30, 2005

That's gastric for you

Uh-oh - first missed appointment with the blog (should I be reclined on a couch, by the way?). My flu turned gastric - or better still, gastr-ick. Not at all terrible, in the end, but just enough to make me forget all about blogs and the finer things in life.
I'm currently setting up tutorial and exam questions for my MSc students in Integrated Product Design - a course organised by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Malta, where I work. The topics I deliver lectures on in this course are Composites, Materials Selection, Ceramic Powder Processing and Laser Materials Processing. I've taught the former three before, albeit at undergraduate level; but I'm keen to get to grips with the latter, as it's the one that's closely related to my postgrad studies on laser material deposition. The only problem is how to comprehensively describe laser materials processing in a single 3-hour session. Oh well, if I'm confident I can cover composites in their entirity in the same length of time...

Had a bit of fun yesterday creating an army list for the Epic Armageddon game - for people in the know, it's for an Arbitrator (these would be cops) force - something not ttoo appropriate for an Epic scale force. Oh well, it's all in the name of fun. Which is what's important in wargaming.

I realise I still haven't covered 'Vanmullikanism'. I will. Eventually, or a little beyond then.
Cheers all (er - anyone?)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Captain's blog, stardate day 2

Well, I always wanted to use that phrase...
I'm finally getting to see Star Trek Voyager, and enjoying it - love the title music and scenes of the Voyager too - the cloud parting, the rings and reflection, and the eclipse. It's taken long for it to get here, but it was worth the wait.

I'm feeling a bit bashed by the flu, a bit like having an 18-tonne ship section fall on my head. At least good old Sopadeine put paid to the headache. Having tried to work on my postgrad and failed miserably, I picked up one of my multiple reread books - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, in this case - and started it all over again. Good old MacMurphy is the ambiguous anti-hero par excellence. Terrible, and yet so just in many ways. I'd gotten to the point where the inmates play Monopoly - over 3 days - and the description of the rather mad version they enjoy reminded me of my favourite way of playing it - as bank, accepting bribes and handing out gratuities to whoever is underdog. And generally making a mess of the proceedings. If a game isn't fun to play and mess about with, it's not worth that much playing. Being, as you may have gathered from yesterday's pic, a bit of a wargamer, I started speculating on a mix of wargame rules with Monopoly. Anyone interested can find what may become a discussion at Epicomms, a terrific forum for the Games Workshop Epic game and lots more. Try here:

cheers all.
PS - remind me to explain 'Vanmullikan'