Str8Up, Fluxx, Liz’s Birthday, Etc.

Went to Str8Up at the Students Union on Monday night with Bryn, Claire and Paul. Paul complained a little about people (in general) who go to traffic-light parties (where you wear red, yellow or green to reflect your ‘availability’ and ‘desperation’ – Claire and I wore red, Paul wore yellow, Bryn wore blue), wearing green, and just sit in the corner and don’t actually talk to anybody, then complain that they’re still single. He’s right – relationships can’t be relied upon to “just happen”, particularly in such a setting. I retorted, though, pointing out that while he was perpetually complaining that he was still single, he was just sat here with his friends – a couple, and a heterosexual man – his chances weren’t that good.

Paul explained as he slowly got more and more drunk that he was particularly shy in situations like this – which I can entirely appreciate – so I decided to help. I started by bluejacking a few messages around to the nearby bluetooth-enabled mobile phones (they’re getting surprisingly common these days). I won’t embarrass anybody by sharing the messages that went back and forth on here, but suffice to say I bounced several messages to somebody, and back, before they “disappeared” themselves. They left with a photo of Paul, but missed their chance to leave with him.

Fluxx arrived, and we’ve spent several days playing games of it. It’s a funky, fancy, just-plain-weird card game in which the rules and goals are defined entirely by the cards in play, which in turn dictates what cards can be played and when. It’s also a lot friendlier than our games of Munchkin, with less backstabbing and shouting at each other… not that that’s not fun, too…

Last night we went out to celebrate Liz’s 22nd birthday. This was a lot of fun (although, even by the time we’d gotten to The Bay, I’d come to realise that it was only Liz, Claire and I who knew everybody there… and who they knew and how. We drank, we talked, we danced… then we all sat down exhausted and watched Liz and Kathleen carry on wiggling in that lovely way on the dancefloor for a little while longer. And even Bryn got dancing (I have a video I’ll have to upload at some point…), perhaps only the second time I’ve seen that (after Kit and Fiona’s wedding). Speaking of which, I’ve now finally got around to putting a photo of the bride and groom online.

In other news, I asked AQA: How cool is RockMonkey?. AQA responded: AQA: is very very cool indeed as the Wiki-powered site is run by Aberystwyth’s number one dude & mountain-lover Andy Keohane. Predictable, but sweet nonetheless.


Yesterday lunchtime I finished writing a program that suddenly makes our working day that little bit more exciting – SmartRacer.

SmartRacer running in the System Tray

SmartRacer runs quietly in the system tray of as many users want to run it – currently Matt, Haagen, Gareth and me… but I’m trying to get Alex involved, too.

When you click on the system tray icon, the race begins! A couple of quick UDP broadcast packets are passed around the network, and everybody on the subnet who’s running the program is presented with racing-style “start lights”… 3… 2… 1… GO!

SmartRacer popup showing countdown lights. Let's race!

At this point, all participants will race – on their wheely-chairs – around the central ‘island’ of tables, in a clockwise direction, and attempt to be first to return to their own place and click the “Finish” button. Overtaking is rare – but permitted – and usually quite aggressive. As each player returns to their desk a “score” table is presented to everybody, with all participants times appearing in ‘minutes’ (heh), ‘seconds’, and ‘hundredths’.

Map of the office showing the approved race circuit.

Of course, players can choose not to participate in any particular race by clicking the “I’m Not Playing” button. The wimps.

You can download SmartRacer here, to play at your own workplace – SmartRacer.exe (64kb). It runs on Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/2003, and requires the Microsoft .NET Framework.

SmartRacer running in the System Tray× SmartRacer popup showing countdown lights. Let's race!× Map of the office showing the approved race circuit.×