Disembarkation

January 5th, 2010 | Posted by Jason Imms in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Well, I’m officially a Dad!

It has been said that I’ve technically been a Dad since the girls were first conceived, the rationale being that their care and welbeing has been a priority for me since then.
I agree, but it’s tough to feel like a Dad until you’ve got a (or two) little bundle(s) in your arms turning you into a smiling, blubbering, happy, girly mess.

The reasons for my being a mess are the two little bundles that I referred to above.
Layla Kate and Elsa Jean Imms were born on the 24th of December at 7:22pm and 7:23pm respectively.

They were born 5 weeks early, meaning that they are currently spending their time feeding and sleeping in the Special Care Nursery at Calvary Health Care Tasmania. They’ve been there since they were born, and as you may have guessed this means that we are home without them. It’s really hard to come home each night without our new little additions. It’s odd – it’s not like we’re used to there being two kids around the place, but they’re born now. We’ve been bonding. Leaving them behind at the end of the day is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and I have to do it every single day.

On the upside, Layla and Elsa are awesome. They’re cute, floppy, noisy, smelly and beautiful. We’re not sure whether or not they’re identical as the test results haven’t come back yet. All I know is that they’re my daughters and now I’m soppy.

I should also note that the staff at the Calvary have been incredible. I can’t recommend them highly enough, if you’ve got or are thinking about getting health insurance, it’s worth it. There is one particular midwife that has been absolutely awesome. If you come across Gina in your travels, tell her that the Imms’ say hello.

Redundant

December 10th, 2009 | Posted by Jason Imms in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

Well, I lost my job today.

Being made redundant is a funny beast. On one hand, you’ve lost your damn job. On the other hand, suits give you a big wad of cash. It’s hard to hold a grudge against someone that is depositing a lump sum into your bank account.

It still hasn’t really hit me, I guess. I actually feel like a bit of a weight has been taken from my shoulders.

The trick is now going to be to find a new job. I have a couple of prospects including a very timely meeting scheduled for tomorrow, but I’m in a quandary:
Do I grab the first job I find with both hands – I have a family to support now, after all.
Or, do I take this opportunity to try something new and potentially fall into my dream job?

At the moment I’m thinking that it might be best to stick with what I know. A change would be nice, but not necessarily prudent. It would be great to land a dream job working with Gizmodo, Valve or Google (go search engines, GO!), but is it likely? I need some sort of sign…

nope

Absolution

November 17th, 2009 | Posted by Jason Imms in Uncategorized - (4 Comments)

As I’ve stated before, I play Dungeons & Dragons. I’ve also noted the fact that it’s a lot of fun, very creative, yadda yadda yadda.

Now that I have proof I felt that I should post it in order to prove to you, skeptic, that there are in fact real world benefits in joining a group.

I used to love to write. These days I never seem to make time for it. I’m not particularly good at it and rarely have cause to stretch my literary muscle.
Due to the fact that our group is currently starting a new campaign, I had the opportunity to attempt to write a backstory for my character. These are helpful as they give your character context in the world, provide the DM with hooks to hang plot lines off of and give your character a voice should your group enjoy the actual role playing side of the hobby.

The new campaign is based in Eberron, a campaign setting by the producers of D&D, Wizards of the Coast.
One of the races present in this setting is the Warforged, a race of sentient automatons which were produced as combatants in a great war in Eberron’s past. After the war, they were left to find a place for themselves in a world which only really saw them as killing machines.

This idea was taken by Bice, the DM of our group and shifted slightly to suit a custom campaign setting he’s been working on called Sarraneau. This setting focuses heavily on naval combat, something which is lacking in the base 4th Edition D&D rules.

In Sarraneau, Eberron’s Warforged are called Skyborn. Here is a quote from the campaign setting notes:

The Skyborn
Probably the strangest legacy of the Lekassis is the city of Kascunakas on the southern island of Kascun. Built of the glyph carved red clay typical of Lekassis enchantments, Kascunakas is a walled city capable of holding a population of almost forty thousand. For centuries only the bravest explorers would explore the empty streets of Kascunakas despite its open gates and the temptation of ancient treasures. Blacksmith forges with anvils and swords of clay sat alongside trade houses filled with terracotta scales and ledgers. It was not this that kept away so many, nor even the occasional mysterious disappearance. It was the armatures, humanoid figures that populated the town. Made from various metals, stone and organic materials, the armatures were statues in a myriad of different daily poses. Some would appear to be holding a discussion in the street, or frozen in the act of pulling bread from an oven, or guarding a public building. Although wild tales of the city coming to life abounded, the same armatures were always found in the same places and nothing about the city ever changed.

Then, just over a century ago, came the star storms. On clear nights, the night air would become dead still and thousands of lights would fall, pure white and seemingly the size of a man’s fist, some delicately like snow, some slamming into the earth like stones, but in either case blinking out without effect as soon as they touched the ground. After each star storm the heavens would be darker and by the end of the first year of the storms fewer than one in twenty of the once innumerable stars remained. The stars fell only on nine of the islands, those in the south, and among them was Kascun. Famed explorer Hispen the Frail was in Kascunakas on the night of the first star storm and wrote the following of the experience:
“We stood transfixed as the lights began to fall, unsure whether to embrace them in wonder or recoil in fear, deciding in the end to take shelter in a nearby house. Only then did we notice what was happening in the streets. When the lights reached the rooftops of the city they began to jitter and dance, always towards one of the frozen armatures. A light would move towards the closest armature in fits and starts and hover briefly about it before being drawn into the mouth as if inhaled. The reaction was always the same: the armature would suddenly move as though unfrozen, performing whatever task its pose suggested, for a few moments before crashing to the ground and clutching at its stomach. When the storm passed, those armatures so touched stood an began to walk around in apparent confusion. It was then that we left Kascunakas in all haste, lest these sky born monsters bears us ill will.”
There is nothing in the descriptions and reactions of people and animals touched by the falling stars to suggest any consciousness was contained within, which has led many scholars to suggest that the Lekassis knew of the star storms and built Kascunakas to trap the power of the falling lights, although none pretend to know the reason.
Since that first year, the star storms have returned twice, separated by thirty seven years of nothing each time.

From these notes, I started writing my character’s background. It was one of those times when you wake up in the middle of the night struck with inspiration to write. For those of you that know me well, this is a rare occurrence. If I’m not sleeping I’m probably at work, spending time with Amy or gaming. Writing doesn’t usually feature heavily in my calendar.

The following is the background that I wrote in the form of journal entries by Dyad, a Skyborn Ranger. If it weren’t for D&D, I don’t know whether I would have ever bothered to write again. I’m actually considering continuing these Journal entries as a campaign history of sorts, from Dyad’s perspective.
I hope you enjoy, and if you do perhaps more will follow.

[Early journal entry]

Waking was, enlightening.

“To awaken from slumber without prior memory would be frightening.” That’s what they said.
“How did you know who you were? What to do next?”
“It’s as though you fell asleep at your post.”

To consider the state that Bleeders call “slumber”, or “sleep” is the very definition of pointlessness. It is not a state that we have had any experience with. Yes, we were inanimate for a long time before the light once again shone in our eyes, but I would not call it “slumber”. Slumber requires the subject to have, at some stage been awake in order to “fall asleep”.

No, as far as we know we were made this way. Who made us, or why, is unknown. And irrelevant.
What matters now is our purpose. We must find our purpose.
What else is there? Simple existence? Banal occupation? Assumed subservience?

No.

We must find our purpose.

Some of us agree, some do not. It seems, from my perspective, that there are two ‘types’ of Skyborn. Those of us who wish to find our purpose in order to fulfil it, and those who believe that we were constructed by Bleeders and should therefore exhaust lifespans in their service. Lifespans, in our case, tend to be an interesting unit of measurement.

We go through many a master. They come and go as often as the seasons, it seems.
Not a one of us has died. Well, naturally at least. We just… continue. We endure. We remain.

Bleeders have the luxury of limited time. It gives a sense of urgency to their quest for meaning and purpose. They have a deadline to meet, one that will come without extension. Whether or not you find and fulfil your purpose in that time is up to you. Most do, although I expect that is a result of low expectations, as opposed to any real achievement.

Because we simply continue, our quest for purpose lacks urgency.

I choose to serve, as it benefits me and my ultimate goal. I took up my swords because they were all I had when I awoke. I found that I was quite adept at using them to end the aforementioned Bleeders’ lifespans where necessary. There are many who will pay for such a service, my first master, for one. It seemed that prior to my awakening, I was to stand guard at the dock of Kascunakas. My then lightless eyes designed to cast their gaze across the waves for eternity. When I awoke my first thought was one of curiosity. I felt the need to absorb as much as I could of my surroundings. I wandered the mostly lifeless city attempting to learn anything and everything I could about my surroundings. But, I always returned my post. It felt, right. I began there, perhaps the spot in which we awaken holds some importance?

Eventually they came, the Bleeders. They came with their curiosity and their greed. I took service with the captain of one of the trading ships that would come to Kascunakas in order to ply their mostly useless wares. He soon put me to work once the obvious fear I instilled in him subsided.
Little did I know that using the blades on my back to end the lives of his competitors was a crime. It is difficult to know the difference between right and wrong when you awaken with a functioning mind, but without a moral compass.

Upon my bloodstained return, my master looked pleased and somewhat shocked. He handed me a bag of coins and suggested that I continue in his service. After all, he could now afford to pay handsomely for my apparant skills. I stood guard by his berth until the day he died. On his deathbed, my master told me to find another, someone who would appreciate my skills the same way that he did.

I felt that this kind of emotional display was unnecessary, but it seemed to be important to him. His parting gift was my name.
I was to be Dyad, for my twin swords – an affectation that I have decided to maintain as having a name confers a societal uniqueness that is difficult to come by for my kind.

I have worked for a number of masters since then in order to aquire gold. A bankroll is what I need if I am to take the next step toward finding purpose.
I need to purchase a ship, a necessity brought on by the simple fact of our island home. Finding passage on a ship owned by a Bleeder has proven impossible – Skyborn are still widely feared.
If I am to expand my horizons, I need to explore. Perhaps the answer to our purpose lies somewhere in this very chain of islands? I have exhausted my options in Kascunakas.
I have decided that it would be prudent to travel with others, as a lone Skyborn seems to attract trouble.
Finding the right companions has proven to be a time consuming endevour.

I do not really mind. Though gold is lacking, time is something I have in abundance.

-Dyad.

Dichotomy

November 10th, 2009 | Posted by Jason Imms in Uncategorized - (3 Comments)

Or, my thoughts on Fable II.
NB: This post will contain horrendous **spoilers**. Do not read if you do don’t wish to know the ins and outs of Fable II’s plot.

For those of you who played the first Fable, Fable II will feel reassuringly familiar in the opening couple of hours. You’ll be unsurprised to note that the game starts during the early years of the protagonist’s life and time-skips its way through to mid-life. The two games are very similar in their intentions, though I found the sequel to be disappointingly shorter than the original. A pill which was only made more bitter by the announcement of and trailer for Fable III, less than a year since the release of Fable II.

Despite the introduction, I don’t plan to review the game here. I will be giving my thoughts on the Good vs. Evil mechanic made popular by the original Fable.
The Fable Hype Machine is a formidable one. With Peter Molyneux in the cockpit, this mecha-monstrosity tramples its way across the various gaming news blogs, firing Promulgation Lasers and Ballyhoo Bombs at the unsuspecting public. The big hitter, the machine’s WMD if you will, is the Morality Missile.

Petey-M loves their morality system. The player is able to take actions which can have a positive or negative effect on their morality. These come in the form of player-driven actions, and quest-based choices. For example, if a good player wished to increase their moral standing with the public, they could play the lute in the town square for a crowd, have a bard sing songs disseminating tales of their good deeds, purchase a property and lower the rent or give a child an autograph.
On the other hand, if an evil character wished to further debase themselves, they could kill (any number of) villagers, draw a weapon in town, thrust their crotch at unsuspecting passers-by, increase rental prices or sacrifice anyone at a dark altar.

The consequences of these choices will have effect in the world of Albion in the form of differing quest outcomes, NPC reactions and the protagonist’s physical appearance. Good players seem to look perpetually happy, or at worst, pensive. Somewhat reminiscent of a bride or groom on their wedding day who need to smile at all times but stop to relax their mistreated facial muscles when they think no-one is looking. It is even possible for a paragon of good to end up sporting a halo above their heads.
Evil characters, conversely, look increasingly angry as the game progresses and will actually grow clich├ęd devil horns as they perform unspeakable acts.

What I want to know is, why would a character who has killed hundreds of innocent civilians, made uncountable human sacrifices and has a visage including devil horns, deep red glowing runic symbols and the faint haze of black smoke emanating from their person want to help Mrs. Spade by rescuing her two sons who seem to have the nasty habit of accidentally summoning horrible creatures which then terrorise the surrounding hamlets [Deep breath]?! Wouldn’t you be quite enamored with the idea of terrorising hamlets? Haven’t you in fact been doing just that yourself?
Also, why would you care about what Lucien was up to? He’s got a Spire? Meh. He’s going to do, something, with it? Meh. He killed your sister when you were a kid? Well, the hundreds of murders that you’ve committed since kind of put that in perspective, don’t they? You seem perfectly happy to annoy villagers and make a pain in the arse of yourself wherever possible. Revenge seems both below you (murders) and above you (being that you’re pretty much just a d-bag).

Also, since when was being a d-bag worthy of evil devil horns? Just because I raised the rent in a few places I own, stole some stuff from houses and wouldn’t give Timmy an autograph, doesn’t mean that I’m evil. It just means that I’m an arsehole.

This is my problem with morality systems in games. Rarely do they actually model ethical or moral reasoning, rather they tend to require the player to choose between entirely virtuous acts, or being a prick.
I would think that our wonderful and entirely irreproachable OFLC would have something to do with this – I was surprised that what was, in essence, human sacrifice made it into Fable II. I felt a little uncomfortable playing my evil character, but only a little. The vast majority of the things that I did to earn my evil countenance simply required me to act like a prick.
I’m pretty sure that acting like a prick doesn’t make someone evil.
It just makes them a prick.

Moratorium

September 24th, 2009 | Posted by Jason Imms in Uncategorized - (3 Comments)

So, I’m stranded in Canberra.
It occurs that the majority of the people that actually read this blog on any sort of regular basis may have already been informed of my detainment by way of Facebook, Twitter, email or phone calls.

I thought I’d put the details of what happened down here so that next time someone asks, I can just point them to the url. I know that’s super-impersonal, but it’s also super-practical. Which is super-awesome.

So, I was sent to Canberra to visit one of our client’s offices and meet the team. I spent the two days working with them to complete the testing that they need to do, improve their processes and to generally improve our relationship with them. You know, because I’m such a charismatic guy.

Having done what I had come to do, I made my way back to the airport via taxi to get myself back on a plane to Hobart. I was looking forward to my return home as I missed my wife and my own bed. I had already checked in on the internet, so I checked the departures list and made my way up to the departure lounge to wait for a chance to board the plane.

I had a beer and sat reading the latest copy of PC PowerPlay. It wasn’t until about ten minutes before my scheduled boarding time that I bothered to have another look at the departures screen. My flight was still listed as boarding at 4:30pm, but it had **CANCELLED** listed under the Remarks column.

How long had that been written there?! I didn’t hear an announcement! Maybe I got the flight number wrong? Nope. It’s right. Maybe the screen is wrong? I’ll wait for a few more minutes. Maybe the rest of the flight was going to be filled with a huge sporting team whose bus was late? Maybe I’m getting flown back on one of those awesome and tiny twin-engine jobbies? Maybe I should go ask at the check-in desk.

The line was immense.
Time passed. I could hear raised voice at the front of the line.
Time passed. I could see people walking away from the desks. Some were shaking their heads, some crying, some making angrycalls, but most of them simply looked resigned to their fate.
I knew what the guy behind the counter was going to say before he got a chance.

I was herded over to a free corner of the airport along with the other lost sheep. There was a very polite and apologetic Virgin rep going around and getting details from each of the passengers that had been stranded. She assured me that she would do her best to find us accommodation and gestured to the team of staff members behind the service desk, all frantically making phone calls and taking notes.

Hours passed.

One of the service managers came over to us and told us that they’d found accommodation for the first group of people and that families, special needs and elderly passengers would get the first rooms available.
I settled in for the evening.

I decided to go off in search of a phone charger. Mine had died and I was desperate to call Amy and let her know that I wasn’t going to be coming home that night after all. One rip-off later and I was holding the most expensive phone charger known to man in my hand (to it’s credit, it did have an LED on it that would light up when under power), wandering around the airport looking for a free power point. Evidently I wasn’t the only person with a flat phone battery.

Ages passed. I think I saw a dog go through the entire fossilisation process.

Finally, the service manager came over and rounded up the last of the passengers in need of accommodation He told us that we would be jumping on the bus and making our way to our accommodation: The “Tourist Hotel”. The name did not instil confidence.

Upon arrival, I walked into the Tourist (or the Terrorist, as my fellow passengers had affectionately dubbed it) along with the six other lost souls.

The gentleman behind the bar took one look at us and said “F***! How many of you bastards are there?! I’ve only got room for four!”. I slung my hopes over my shoulder, their services no longer needed in the light of this new evidence, and told him that we were assured that there was room here for us.
A few minutes later he decided that he could indeed fit us in, albeit in less than desirable circumstances. The group consisted of three women and four men. The three women-that-didn’t-know-each-other were put into the triple room (one double bed and one single), while the four-guys-who-didn’t-know-each-other were put into the double (two sharing the double bed, one on the couch, one on the floor). I decided to forgo my valuable floor space and bid my team adieu. One long and expensive taxi trip later and I was back in Kingston, knocking on the door to the company apartment asking for some couch space.

So here I am, sitting in the Canberra Virgin Blue Lounge, once again waiting for a chance to board a plane which is allegedly running on time. The difference this time is that now I’m eating and drinking on Virgin’s tab. The staff at the desk this morning were under far less pressure compared to last night and thus, I was able to explain the previous night’s events and was profusely apologised to. The staff member decided to credit me the value of the flight. The next time I need to travel with Virgin, I need only quote them a claim number and give them my name and they will reduce the price of the flight by $450.

Not a bad outcome.

Update: I made it to Melbourne. Unfortunately, my connecting flight to Hobart has been delayed from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. Delayed I can handle. Delayed > Cancelled. Here’s hoping that Delayed doesn’t get any funny ideas and decide to come out of it’s protective cocoon, transformed into a beautiful Cancelled butterfly.

Update 2: I made it home. The flight finally left Melbourne at 5:40. Strangely, my second post about work travel ends in a familiar way. My final taxi for the trip pulled up outside my home. I paid my final bill and extracted my case from a taxi, one final time – all to the tune of Matchbox 20’s Long Day.

Deliverance

August 12th, 2009 | Posted by Jason Imms in Uncategorized - (4 Comments)

So, I went to Sydney today. A day trip isn’t that bad, I guess it ends up being a long work-day with little time to do anything constructive, but it put me in front of the client which can only help my future situation.

I was somewhat put out by the fact that my trip home ended up being via Melbourne, turning a one-and-a-half hour trip into a three hour one.

Fortunately, there was a single gleaming point of light in what threatened to be a very dark trip home: On Qantas flights, they provide afternoon tea for all passengers travelling after 4pm. A warm and actually quite pleasent spinach and fetta scroll was offered first, followed by the drinks cart.

The cart arrived. I could see the people in the rows ahead of me opening bottles of water, cans of coke and just a few had the ironically named “Fun Size” miniature bottles of wine. I contemplated options and asked whether there were any beers on offer. The flight attendant seemed to take on an almost angelic visage as he opened his cool-drawer filled with all kinds of amber delights. He started taking me through the range and was stopped violently as he drew forth what appeared to be an aluminium approximation of a James Squier Golden Ale bottle. Either this man was a mind reader, or simply well versed in interpreting body language because he produced a Golden Ale without me having to ask. Or, perhaps it was the fact that I started sobbing with uncontrolable tears of joy at the prospect of cracking a cold Golden at the end of a long and stressful day.

Fittingly, as I broke the seal on the can and habitually turned the ring-pull ninety degress to the right, I wiped away a tear to the sound of Jurassic 5 doing what they do best: holding on to What’s Golden.

12-08-09_2020

Presupposition

July 20th, 2009 | Posted by Jason Imms in Uncategorized - (11 Comments)

projectViews

If I could draw, this would be funnier. Plus, the area around the Dev View would be strewn with tools and parts.

When a software house tells a client that they are 50% of the way towards the completion of a project, the client seems to assume that they will be able to then look at the product as it stands and be able to play with and test 50% of it’s functionality.

I’m sorry to break it to you, clients. That’s not the way it works.

The first half of a project consists of bedding down build infrastructure, data models, functional area designs, screen designs and testing frameworks. All of the pretty stuff happens right at the end. You need to lay the foundation of a house before you can start decorating the living area.

Images are sourced from good ol’ Google Images.

Harbinger

July 15th, 2009 | Posted by Jason Imms in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

So, evidently Google are producing an Operating System.

The end is NIGH

Just to be clear, the blog post linked above is the single only communique released by Google about the Google Chrome OS (Edit: they also produced a short FAQ). If you couldn’t be bothered reading it, here’s the short version:

Google: So, we’re totally going to make an OS. It’ll be small, lightweight and run on netbooks. It will be open-sourced. It will come out in 2010.
Internet:Big_Explosion.jpgD0C9DC22-8CA7-4363-90A9AC176C77FB73.jpgLarge

Evidently, denizens of the Intertubes have taken this as some sort of dark portent. A veritable four-horsemen-rated augury.

Here’s my take:
Calm the hell down. Google have made mention of a possible OS in a blog post. It won’t be out for at least a year. It will be aimed squarely at the netbook market. Your precious Windows licences won’t all of a sudden become worthless as Microsoft fall off of the bottom of the stock exchange. You’re going to be ok, now breathe in and out and in again. Ok, keep that going, I’m just going to get us each a cup of tea.

Sequester

July 9th, 2009 | Posted by Jason Imms in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

So, I rang the flu hotline this morning because I’ve been feeling pretty under the weather for the last couple of days and I wanted to ask them a few questions.

What I had initially planned as a quick phone call, turned into a half-hour interrogation about my current condition and recent exposure to other flu carriers. Evidently what I would normally treat with a day or two off work, rest, water and paracetemol has turned into a cloistered experience in which I can’t even be in the same room as my pregnant wife.

I can’t help but wonder whether there is still lingering paranoia about the severity of swine flu. The woman I spoke to on the phone told me that swine flu is nothing to worry about, but with the same breath told me to stay away from work, not to visit the doctor and definately don’t be too close to Amy.

Wooo.

Binate

July 2nd, 2009 | Posted by Jason Imms in Uncategorized - (10 Comments)

The initial surprise: Amy is pregnant! I’m going to be a DAD!
The first appointment which included an ultrasound was today. Unfortunately, due to business at work and general absent-mindedness on my part, I wasn’t able to attend.

I’m kicking myself for the following reason:


There were two heartbeats, two heads, four hands and feet, twenty fingers and toes.
Yep. We’re having twins.
I’m going to be a DOUBLE-DAD!

I don’t really know what to think about the whole situation. I know it’ll be hard and I know there’ll be times ahead which make us question our ability to parent.
But, I also know that we’re going to be ok. Whatever happens, we’re going to get through it and we’re going to raise our children to the best of our ability.

We’ve been blown away by people’s reactions to the news. We feel very loved, supported and blessed.

Go team Imms.