Three-car pileup whilst waiting in traffic…

SANY0056I was involved in my first car accident as a driver last week. It was a bit of a shock, and I’m glad to say that no-one was hurt and the car wasn’t too badly damaged. I was in traffic, sat waiting behind a car that wanted to change into a very busy lane. The car behind me didn’t want to wait, and tried to move around on the other side… as another car came up behind it and smashed it’s front as it came out. It was pushed into my car, at the back.

Luckily, Jen and Freddy weren’t in the car (I was on my way to pick Fred up from nursery) and my passenger (Jen’s Dad) was fine, and took control for me. I was a bit too shocked at first to know what to do.

I certainly wasn’t expecting that to happen sitting still, and obviously the insurance companies have agreed that it’s not my fault. One of the other parties is offering to have us repaired free of charge (with a free courtesy car) at one of their approved repairers, without touching our no-claims bonus or paying the excess or any of that. The car’s booked in to be seen this week, and probably repaired the week after. Having seen the damage in the light now, it’s not too bad and should fix up nicely (fingers crossed!)

I wasn’t actually looking behind me just before the crash to see if one car pulled out inadvisably, or the other car was driving too fast, or any of that. But it’s nothing I could have done anything about it – except possibly try to go around the car blocking my lane myself, in which case I’d have been hit, my car would have been a write-off (the front of the car was mashed completely, spread across the road), and I might not be quite so happy to get back into the driving seat!

Driving me nuts

A pirate walked into a bar. The barman said “why have you got that ship’s wheel in your trousers?” and the pirate said “Arr, it’s drivin’ me nuts!”

I’ve been pretty busy recently, working on a bunch of blog things of very specific interest, all about how I am learning / teaching myself unit testing and test-driven development. I’ll get around to tidying them and putting them online at some point, but I keep hitting snags with it. It’s one of those things that I believe I understand, but having never seen any real examples I keep getting a nagging voice at the back of my mind that says “are you sure you’re not doing it wrong?”

It’s time to update with normal-people stuff though. One of my resolutions for 2010 is to get a driving licence, and I had another crack at that last week. I can’t help but think that if it had been a different instructor, I may have gotten away with it… but I don’t know that for sure. As usual, I had two serious faults. I failed to check my mirror when changing lanes coming off of a roundabout till I was almost halfway where I was going. The other was failing to stop at a stop sign. I believe that I did stop, but maybe it wasn’t for long enough. My instructor was understanding about it and said that a lot of people do stop, then creep forward as they would at any other junction. But that’s a failure, so no licence this month. It’s doubly infuriating because there’s a stop sign on the way out of where I work, and no-one stops or even slows down for it. There’s good enough visibility to see what’s coming and there almost never is.

On the other hand, we were so confident about this test that we bought a car. We got it on eBay, never went to see it, and somehow everything turned out alright and it’s a decent car, we weren’t ripped off or robbed or attacked. So that went alright! Since the wife can drive, she’s going to be using that to get us about and all the things that I would have had to do instead. So finally, I’ll be (sort of) mobile! The only real downside is that since I have just spent out on a car and insurance, I’m a lot shakier on financial terms than I am used to being. That’s the reason I’ve not booked my next driving test yet… I just want to see how healthy the bank is this week first.

In the case of other resolutions, I have officially completely shelved Wargame Tools in favour of my new learning project for test-driven development. As I mentioned before, I’m doing that in the blog completely (eventually). I’ve managed to get almost an hour of painting done in the past few months, I’ve not even thought about trying German yet (I’m still enjoying the free time that I get after finishing some of the other bits) and we’ve not booked to see anyone about finishing off this first (easy) stage of the family tree. But with the car now sorted (mobile! whee!) we can probably get onto that one… it would be a good idea, as there’s only ten weeks left to squeeze in two more family visits!

Dammit, I Failed Again


Right, so it’s been a while since my last regular blog post. I think it’s probably the worst I’ve done so far this year… although it wasn’t one of my new year’s resolutions, I’m happy that I’ve been able to keep it going for a little way (although more pictures would probably be better) – and without the crutch of picture-a-day or the like. Although I freely admit the posts here are a little lacking in interest, maybe one of those crutches might be a good thing…

Anyway, it’s probably time to catch up with my resolutions! It’s a mixed bag at this point in the year, I’ve moved my own goalposts.

  1. Filing
    I’ve actually finished the bulk of the filing, and the ‘backlog’ from the beginning of the year! There’s still a small pile which I’ve not decided how to proceed with (it’s not urgent, I’ll keep it around for a bit anyway), and there’s a pile of documents to be shredded. But otherwise, this one is crossed off!
  2. Dark Elves
    Nothing has been done with these in a long time. I’ll definitely not hit my targets if I don’t do any work with them. I’m considering beginning to paint a small amount (ten minutes or so) every evening after dinner, as long as my son doesn’t fling his noodles in the paint pot. I already changed the criteria on this resolution once, I don’t think it counts if I do so again.
  3. Driving Licence
    I took a test on Monday, and failed. I had two serious faults in the last two minutes of the test. One was a complete flubbing of bay parking, and the other was not seeing a lorry that I almost hit. That’s not exactly comforting, but the doubt in my mind is that if I don’t remember it, and didn’t hit it, was I consciously moving around it and not worrying about it? Or was I just too close for the examiner’s comfort? Regardless, I’m convinced that third time is a charm and I’ve already booked my next test – although I’ll try to get a cancellation before that.
  4. German
    Still had no time for this one.
  5. Star Trek Cards
    Another one I can cross off! There’s a bit of tidying up to do – some of the cards didn’t sell – but otherwise, I’ve got rid of the lot. And funded a new television with the proceeds! Hoorah!
  6. Family Tree
    My weekends are mostly booked up till the end of August, but we’re going to arrange to get Jen’s Oma to discuss her side of the family at some point in September. I’ll have to practice the German characters on my keyboard!
  7. Wargame Tools
    Slightly bad news on this one – I’ve totally lost motivation. Because of the lack of time to work on the project (half an hour a day a few times a week on my lunch breaks) and because I am stuck in a less interesting part of the project for the foreseeable future, I’m just not motivated to work on this one. I’m considering scrapping the project completely, since I just don’t have the time for it. It would be too tempting to immediately start a new project, and I’ve already got a few ideas, but it’s something that I should think about further.

So, 2 things crossed off – more than 25% of the way there! One item I may fail despite trying (the driving test), two I may not finish (German and Dark Elves) and one I am thinking of giving up on (wargame tools) but the rest are alright. Not too bad!

Man of Resolve

I know these are probably supposed to be announced at the New Year, but I’ve been a busy bunny. I also couldn’t think of any good ones till after the deadline (when I realised that these goals I set myself were proper resolutions, with full action plan and everything!)

What I like about these resolutions is that most of them are ones that are totally finished – they can’t (easily) be undone, and have a definite, visible result. Plus, unlike the nebulous ‘lose weight’ or ‘get fit’ that are probably in the top 10 resolutions, the only way to fail at most of these is to not try. Much easier to motivate yourself when that’s your only barrier.

First of all, I plan to do something about my filing cabinet. It currently has every phone bill, bank statement, hospital letter, and so on and so forth that I’ve received over the years. I plan to scan all these into the computer (I’m a hoarder at heart) and then shred anything more than two years. That’ll clear a lot of space, and make the important bits (for example, recent stuff) easier to find. The plan for this one (after a feverish weekend of shredding) is to try and scan at least 50 documents a week. That ought to be something I can easily do on a weekend without cutting into other stuff too much.

I’m also going to paint all my Dark Elf models. Some of these are unpainted, some are unassembled, some even need some remodelling to make them usable! I don’t have a definite timeframe, but I plan to focus on assembling and getting models ready to paint first. This way, as soon as Spring comes around, I can spray the models and have them ready to paint at the earliest possible opportunity. Some of these models have been unpainted for 10 years! This might be one of the hardest to keep, because there are so many other things that are important to do when I’ve got a spare five minutes, it’ll keep getting pushed aside.

I don’t have a driving licence at the moment. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I’ve not had a lesson for over a month, and that was after a dry spell following my practical test and a house move. I’m going to try with a new instructor, although I am restricted (pretty much) to weekends or late evenings. I figure a lesson every two weeks to get me feeling happy about driving again, then a lesson every week between booking the test and taking it. I should be taking the test before June. And if I fail, to rebook immediately. I must be a driver by December. This one will be the hardest to keep, because I hate driving.

I want to learn a language, and I’ve picked German. My wife is half-German, which makes my son a quarter-German, and she doesn’t speak a word of it. Neither does Freddy, but he doesn’t speak a word at all at the moment. It would be nice to learn a language, and I have one of those CD course things to tap at when I get the time. Unfortunately, I feel this is something that needs a bit of regular time and dedication, so it will have to wait till at least one of the other resolutions is done and dusted before I can squeeze it in, or I’ll see how the time-management goes and whether there is a place for it. I will have to see how things transpire.

Sell all my Star Trek cards. This is a fairly simple one, don’t think it needs that much explaining.

My Dad and I have been working on a family tree for a few years now. My involvement has been… less than involved, to be honest. But I’ve always taken an interest. I decided just before Christmas that it’d be nice to get Dad’s information (which mostly covers my Grandmother’s family) and put it into a new family tree, for Freddy. It’ll be nice for him to have a lot of the hard work done if he, or his children, ever decide to do some research into it. And as amazing as our earliest date of 1812 is, think how incredible that would be in 30-50 years time! To that end, I’m arranging to meet up with my mother’s parents, and my in-law’s parents, and glean as much information as possible. This should be easily completed by June. Apparently, my wife’s aunt has already done some research into her family, so that might be the best place to start – to save duplicating effort.

Finally, I want to get the first version of my Wargame Tools on this website to test. Given the amount of progress I’ve made since September, I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to believe that it could be being tested around places by this September. I’m only aiming at a rough, unpolished version, however. The final one, with lights, colours, bells, whistles and knobs on could take a while longer. But we’ll see how it goes. I already know there’s a couple of limitations with the data structure I’ve designed as it relates to a perfect representation of the Warhammer system, specifically the Bretonnian army, but I’d want to wait and see what changes come with the 7th edition version of that army book before I start making massive modifications.

In summary, then:

  • Organise the filing cabinet
  • Paint all my Dark Elves
  • Get a driving licence
  • Learn German
  • Sell all my Star Trek cards
  • Work on the family tree
  • Get Wargame Tools released as an alpha test