It's funny how sometimes life just changes overnight...

...because I now have a son!

Jack Besley Stanford-Lyne, born 18:37, Saturday March 28th, 2009.

The reason I've not managed to post this before now is mainly that I've spent pretty much all my waking hours with him & H at the hospital, but given that they've now come home, I have time at home myself, and can make this post. There may be another (locked) post later with details, if I feel the need, but for now I'll say this. Holly went into labour early on friday morning, and friday night rates as one of the longest of my life. Things didn't exactly go according to plan, but both mother and baby are safe & healthy, which is the most important thing.

Oh, and he weight 8lb 7oz, for those who're interested in such details. :-p
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Dare to believe you can survive...

So, despite any rumours to the contrary, we've made it to Yorkshire successfully, and are not dead.

Nearly 2 weeks in, and the house is taking some semblance of shape, although this may slow down based on the ovbious fact that we now have internet at home. House-warming party will happen at some stage, I expect. Work has just started picking up for me, having spent pretty much all of last week and most of this week so far reading technical details about how tv pictures go from being picked up by cameras, to becoming pictures on the screen.

Because that's what I do now. Specifically, I work on the software inside set-top boxes. More than that I can't say, due to NDAs & more general confidentiality agreements, which will also mean any work-related rants will have to be suitably vague. Apologies in advance for that.

In baby news, shortly before we moved we had the 20-week scan (although it was actually at 21 weeks, go figure), and all was well. Baby waved for the camera too, and no, we didn't find out what we're getting (aside from a baby, obviously). I'll get both sets of photos uploaded at some point, I promise. In even bigger news, I finally felt the baby kick last night for the first time. The last month-ish has been quite frustrating for both us, with H able to feel it move quite clearly, and desperately wanting me to share in the feeling, but until last night, nada. On the other hand, it does seem like we'll have an active baby, based on the amount of movement she's feeling. :-p

Socially, we left a good group of friends behind in Bristol, some of which (the gaming group) helped me discover some extra confidence in actually running a game, thanks to their desires to keep going with the Star Wars game I was running before we left. Steps are already in motion to find new gamings here though. Slightly less geekily, I fail at getting to Wendy House this month, due to being back in Bristol getting the house sorted for letting it out. Hopefully next month.

When all hell's breaking loose you'll be riding the eye of the storm...

So, as I've commented before, we're trying to move north so that H is near her family when our family starts to grow.

In the spring, potentially the most problematic part got sorted. We had a house to move into as soon as some (admittedly major) work was carried out. Great, no house-hunting. H was temping at the time, and admin work being what it is, we were confident that she'd pick up a job reasonably quickly once we moved. Plus she could temp in the meantime. All that was left, really, was me getting a job.

That was 6+ months ago. In the current economic climate, finding a job has not been easy, given that Manchester and Sheffield are both just that little bit too far for anyone (myself included, in all honesty) to believe I'd be willing to commute from north of Bradford every day for any significant length of time.

Agencies were proving less than helpful. Occasional jobs coming up, which they'd sometimes put me forward for, and often with little or no feedback as to why they didn't want to see me. Aside from one telephone interview a few months ago, no interviews were forthcoming.

As it turns out, the use of agencies wasn't necessary.

In the midst of all this, however, was H getting increasingly stressed out with my lack of ability to get a job, which wasn't really my fault, and then of course, she became pregnant as well, which made her tired, and even more insistant that we move as soon as possible. My mum complaining that I wasn't planning on moving closer to Essex didn't help matters either.

On the 18th, I received a phone call from a number that made no sense to me.

Him: Hi, I'm from $Company, we've seen your CV and would like to find out a little more about you before deciding whether we want to invite you for an interview.
Me: Er, sure. Out of interest, which agency gave you my CV?
Him: None, we found it online and thought we'd give you a call.

At this point, things start to go a little wierd in my head. What this guy was suggesting, was that it was entirely feasible that a job may essentially be handed to me, without much effort on my part, after all this time chasing agencies and checking job listings. We went through a few basic questions, and he said he'd speak to the development guys and let me know. Later that afternoon, I got a call back, "Could you come in for an interview next friday?" Er, yes please.

So, interview a week ago today. 2 Development managers and the head of HR. Plus me, for 2.5 hours, all in the one room. Slightly intimidating, and quite draining. "We'll try to let you know by the end of next week."

Try? End of next Week? Argh!

Monday I was as agitated as I can remember ever being. Getting this job meant a lot to me. Close to (what will be) home, easy journey in on the train, interesting work, sociable people, it's all good. But I didn't hear anything.

Tuesday lunchtime I get a call back. I miss the call. No mesasge left. Argh! Ring back! Ring back!

Me: ohai. You rang?
HR: Yus. U can haz job. U wantz?
Me: Can haz job?
HR: Yus. Can haz.
Me: Epic winz! Can Haz Cheezeburger!

So, yes, the offered me the job. I accepted on the spot. They've even said they'll give me the paternity leave that they don't legally have to give me when the baby comes in March.

It's daunting, because it's an industry sector I've not worked in before, the kind where they normally require you to have experience in that sector already, but overall, tuesday was a good day. It also helped that the car flew through the MOT on the same day.

So, full steam ahead on the move, by the start of november, I'll be living in Yorkshire.

Sometimes, my faith in the universe justifies itself in truly majestic ways. :-)

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The candle on the cake is yours so take it, Make another wish it's sure to come true....

Dear Universe

In various forms, me and my extended family have had more than our share of crap dumped on us for the year. 3 family funerals so far, for instance.

It's monday morning, and I'm actually in a decent mood for once.

Can we try to keep it that way for at least the rest of the year please?


(Brownie points for anyone who can spot the film soundtrack that the title lyric comes from)

Growing up and getting older

Well, some people likely to read this already know, and some may have known that it was likely to happen in the nearish future, but to many of you, I suspect this will be a complete surprise.

My wonderful, wonderful wife is 3 months pregnant!

We're a little over 12 weeks along, had the first scan, and all is well.

We're both deliriously happy, and mother and baby are both healthy.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, and my mother being a midwife, we were also listening to the little ones heartbeat this weekend. Even more so than the scan, where we could see it, this really brought home just how real it is that I'm going to be a father.

So there you are. There's my news. Everyone's happy and healthy, and my little family is growing. :-)
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Websites & stuff

So, over the years I've played around with my website & blog, and they've taken many forms.

The current form - Wordpress blog on my website, is the one I've been most happy with. Unfortunately, it carries with it a price. That price is that extensions don't always work, and that it's more hassle for all my reader here on livejournal to leave comments.

With the advent of Facebook, most things I would use a website for these days are catered for, through a combination of FB and its applications, and LJ. So I find myself wondering if it's worth trying to maintain the blog on my site, or just switch back to LJ full-time.

The only functionality I haven't found a replacement for is the Now Reading plugin, which allows me to track, pretty accurately, exactly what I'm reading, have read, and am going to read. It also allows me to add a book a second time, which is a stumbling block that most of the FB apps I've looked at don't do. Either a book has been read, or it hasn't. There's no way to indicate that I've re-read the book at any point. If anyone can point me in the direction of such an FB app, I'd be happy.

So, thoughts from whatever reader base I have? Would you comment more frequently (on the admittedly infrequent posts) if it was less hassle? Does anyone ever look at the "Library" section of my blog? Does anything I'm being a tart, and should just make a decision? Tell me what you think.
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Originally published at The Phoenix Nest. You can comment here or there.

Ok, for a slightly less melodramatic summary of the weekend that was Infest 2008, read on.

For someone who doesn’t like EBM in general too much, this weekend was never going to be all about the music. Instead, it was going to be socialising, with the occasional bit of decent music.

On the music front, Tyske Ludder were great, SkinjoB were suprisingly good, and Coreline rickrolling a room full of goths was something never to be missed. Plus the Djing in the bar area late in the evenings was monumental. Again, goths performing a conga line around the dance floor is something that has to be seen to be believed.

So then, to the real business. Being a socialite. As a rule, I’m not. I’m not sure whether it was the Infest ambience, or the amount of alcohol being consumed, or something else entirely, but I definitely came out of my shell this time. Met up with lovely people who I already knew, some of whom I didn’t spend nearly enough time with, but such is the way of things. Was introduced to some of the same people on multiple occasions, usually people who only know each other through me, but sometimes by the same person. I think one person, who shall remain nameless for the protection of her dignity, introduced me to the same person 3 times. :-)

I drank far more than is really good for me, slept far less than was clever, given the impending drive home to Bristol, but can’t recall a single waking moment of fail (aside from my port-fuelled emofail late on sunday night) and met some truly fabulous people. To all those I met for the first time: Thank you for helping to make this weekend the epic bag of win that it was. To all those I already knew: Let’s really not make it such a damned long time before doing this again, please?

More of the same soon please?

Another one leaves us.

Originally published at The Phoenix Nest. You can comment here or there.

Earlier this year, Gary Gygax passed on.

He was mourned greatly by the role-playing community, as without him, there would have been no Dungeons and Dragons, and as such, role-playing as we know it may well not exist. Certainly, it’s very small percentage of role-players who haven’t played D&D at some point, in some form.

Yesterday, we also lost Erick Wujick to cancer. While not as well known, he will be missed more by me, as he wrote the first true RPG I ever played: TMNT and Other Strangeness. He also wrote the Amber Diceless RPG, which I have spent a large amount of time playing over the years. So you see, his works had a more direct impact on my life than Gygax’s did.

RIP Erick.

Wordz, I hatez you.

Originally published at The Phoenix Nest. You can comment here or there.


It’s been pointed out to me that my last post could very easily be read as implying that Holly is pregnant. I hadn’t thought so, but since a few people have done so, I’ve changed the wording slightly.

To be perfectly clear: Holly isn’t pregnant. Nor are we trying, but we plan to be so in the not too distant future.

And now I return you to my usual ranting.

… and where am I going?

Originally published at The Phoenix Nest. You can comment here or there.

Well, the obvious answer, is Bradford.

For the first time in 6 years, I’m moving house. I’m also looking for a new job.

The big difference today, is that I’m not leaving the job because I want to, I’m leaving it because I have to. We’re planning to start a family in the next year or so, and understandably Holly wants to be near her parents during and after the pregnancy, so off to Yorkshire we go. There are other reasons as well, but this is the most significant.

For me, this is very much the end of an era. I’ve lived in Bristol in 2 stints, for a total of 10 years, and I know that when I leave this time, I won’t be coming back, except as a visitor. I consider myself lucky to have had more good times than bad while I’ve been here, and have made some really good friends, all of whom will be missed when we’ve gone, some of whom even got out of Bristol before we did.

But Yorkshire has a lot to offer us. For starters, there’s Holly’s family. Then there’s all the friends that we know in the north and rarely get to see, who we’ll now be able to meet up with far more frequently. We’ll make more friends once we’re there, I’m sure, and there’ll be more times when we’re out & about in Leeds - Wendy House, for instance.

All in all, Bristol’s been good to me, and it’s with sadness and reluctance that I leave, but if I’m honest, I don’t see any reason why Yorkshire can’t be just as good.