Creator of Flatlandic.net - a vent of despair arising from living in Cambridgeshire for far far far too long (it's not even interestingly flat like the fens are).
'Who am I' you may ask (you may not; but you are reading this page), well, my email signature used to read...
Kevin Rolph, Cambridge, UK ============================================================================== Engineer, Manager, Woodworker, Boardgame enthusiast, Advanced Driver, Modeller Quaker, Folk Dancer, Bodhran player, Gardener, and fan of Nonsense and SF.
..so this seems like a good enough order to cover things in. However, there's been some interesting additions since that time.
A recycled physicist. (Manchester BSc. 1981 then research into liquid crystal polymers until 1983). After that I spent 4 years as a digital hardware engineer at Marconi Radar in Chelmsford, ten years software engineering specialist graphics and radar tracking systems for Primagraphics, five years in Speech Recognition with Vocalis, and five years working on embedded handset software at TTPCom, now assimilated by Motorola, Most recently I've joined Analog Devices, again to work on mobile handset software but more in a project/group management role.
Many years a Project and Group Manager; projects for everything from fabric design systems to implementing the coastguard's radar surveillance and tracking systems at Dover.
Likes making things (mostly noise and mess). The occasional item of furniture emerges from the dust.
I've had a love of board games since I was old enough to count the dots on the dice. Over exposed to Monopoly at an early age, resulting in enjoying week long games (It's OK, I've recovered now).
Apart from a brief burst at University the game playing went a bit quiet until our first son was born. Stuck for something to do socially we invited a few friends over to play board games and have a take-away. This group, or rather it's great grandson, is still going strong...
It was almost entirely by accident that I discovered that there was an entire alternative culture to the 'High Street' boardgames that I'd found lacking (even depressing). How much more would I have enjoyed games if I'd known there was more than roll the dice - move the dobber?
It was almost like seeing only in monochrome, to then seeing in colour. If you've never been, go find a games convention - just don't expect to either recognise any of the games there, or sleep much. When you've found people who'll pay good money for bits in a plastic bag simply because the game is that rewarding to play, then you've found it.
I enjoy the social interaction involved in a game, and perhaps this is why I like the shorter games, where the interaction doesn't have time to get staid and people bored with their position. Still, there's something about viewing an open board and planning your strategy for your global transport infrastructure - even if it is going to take most of the day.
Once I doodled with a game design. Never, ever, take the person who says "that looks commercially viable" seriously. However, Kevingston Games was a great learning experience even if mainly a source of expensive loft insulation.
I am a voluntary observer for the local group of the Institute of Advanced Motorists - one of the two UK advanced driving organisations that require a test of driving ability for membership (the other is RoSPA).
Eight people died today in the UK because of incompetant drivers.
For many years I've dabbled in "4mm" railway modelling although the railway aspect is almost secondary to the modelling per se in that I particularly enjoy creating the overall industrial scene.
More recently we've embarked on a Garden Railway. The focus is the same - to create something that we can have fun with, but that also hangs together as a reasonably realistic-looking model.
Quakerism, or The Society of Friends originated as a non conformist Christian group in Lancashire, England, in the 17th Century. Quakers believe that that communication with God doesn't require any intermediary, ritual, or any particular place, or time.
A key aspect of our faith is that there is part of God in everyone. This respect for "that of God" leads many Quakers to work in the areas of mediation, and with those who are disadvantaged in some way.
A largely dormant activity these days except for the occasional ceilidh or Playford Ball. Mostly interested in English country dancing. Dabbled briefly in Morris but didn't have the beard or beer capacity for it at the time
The Bodhran (pronounced more ways than it is misspelt. Try Boww-Ron, or Boor-runn) is the Irish version of the generic frame drum. A skin (typically goat) mounted on a circular frame. Played with a beater in the right hand while holding the drum vertically with the left arm. Tone and reverb. controlled by the left hand.
Garden engineer would probably be a better term, especially with the advent of the garden railway. I buy and arrange plants more by what they are simulating (i.e. trees, bushes) than by what they are.
You never quite know what paths your children will lead you down. Some years ago Martin started at a Wado Freestyle karate group. Mainly to halve the cost of petrol and to get a little exercise I thought I'd have a go. I recommend it but do not waiting until you're over forty, bodies are really not designed for that sort of stupidity. Especially mine. Also, I recommend being blissfully unaware of what three hours of back belt grading entails until it's too late.
Other influences include reading science fiction, particularly Larry Niven. Fan of Lewis Carroll and other nonsensical writings, especially poetry. Exposed to too many Les Barker poems....
Pearl was an incurable romantis,
And her heart was destined to break
When she saw him, so big and so brutal;
But Pearl made a fatal mistake.
He stood there, so strong and so silent,
But their love was never to be;
For Pearl was a praying mantis
And he was a JCB.
from 'Pearl' published in 'Alsations to Crewe'