Desert Of Zin

The occasional blog of Alistair Bain – Writer, Husband, Father and Chief Techno-Arcanologist at the Institute of Giant Robots, Spaceships and Wizards. None of these positions pay well.

Happy New Year (only a day late…)

I could have posted yesterday. Yeah? Nah. The 1st was spent playing games with the family and sitting around reading. Party times indeed.

2017 has been a pretty poor year. Let’s not dwell on it.

2018 has everything going for it so far.

There’s a holiday planned, I have a few writing ideas and the Space Madness is a bit more manageable.

Oh, and I’m going to see King Crimson later in the year. That’s something. 🙂

Anyway, Happy New Year. I hope it’s a good one for all of you.

January 2, 2018 at 5:40 pm | General | Tags: , , | No comment

Humble Book Bundle Haikasoru

Here I am, after my customary long disappearance/hibernation/voyage to the end of time (delete as appropriate), hawking yet another Humble Bundle.

I check the site weekly because there’s often something interesting. Not always interesting enough to buy but sometimes I find a bundle that peaks my interest.

Like now.

The Humble Book Bundle Haikasoru has 16 books for just under 15 quid. I can’t vouch for the quality of the fiction, but it’s something different perhaps from what I usually read.

I think I’m going to give it a go.


September 28, 2017 at 11:16 am | Reading | Tags: | No comment

Helsreach and other shiny things of a similar nature

Good afternoon, website of mine that is rarely seen and updated.

(To be fair, I only ever really remember that I have a website after I have to renew the domain and hosting for the bloody thing.)

I have an occasional love of the tabletop nuttiness that is Warhammer 40K. I’ll make no apologies for that. 🙂

There’s a book called Helsreach by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. I haven’t read it myself; I’m sure it’s very good. But that’s not today’s message.

This is:

This is just the prologue but it’s an exceptional piece of work. This guy has set animation to the audio book and it’s quite something. He’s putting it chapter by chapter, and it’s not finished yet, but it really is something to keep an eye on.

Also, while it’s in mind, there is such a thing as The Grand Inquisitor. Like the animated Helsreach it’s a fan project. The YouTube channel has loads of concept stuff and work in progress updates. I particularly like these:

May 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Gaming, Watching | Tags: , , | No comment

Monday mornings are better with Brazil

For the last 2 hours I’ve had the earworm that is the theme from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.

I’ve been tootling along, having a wee dance, much to the amusement of my colleagues. 

And now I inflict it on you. 

October 17, 2016 at 10:21 am | Listening, Watching | Tags: , | No comment

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Pencil, Ham

Does the pencil trump paper, is broken by rock and sharpened by scissors?

And does the ham… mutters under breath… the paper, is… mumbles incoherently… and… ham. Ham.


The spawn and I were playing vanilla Rock, Paper, Scissors yesterday and she introduced a few new factors. 



Pencil I can rationalise. But ham?

When the alarm woke me up at 6, the first thing in the early morning maelstrom of consciousness was where ham fits the the puzzle, knocking the usual bladder capacity warnings into second place.

I’m at lunch at work right now and no matter what I’ve done today, my concentration tends to swing back to ham and how it works in the new game. 

Paper wraps ham? Ham makes rock taste of ham? Scissors get clogged with ham? Pencil draws ham, revealing ham’s true intentions and vulnerabilities?

Does ham ham ham?

September 27, 2016 at 12:23 pm | General | Tags: , , | No comment

Star Wars – The Infographic

This is an example of why I love the Internet.

Make yourself a cup of tea and settle down for a unique retelling of the first Star Wars film.

June 1, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Reading | Tags: , | No comment

Could this be our last Eurovision?

You know that referendum we’re having? The one to stay or leave the EU? (Clarification: I live in Glasgow, Scotland and there soon will be a referendum to see if the United Kingdom will withdraw from the EU. Clear? Good.) Will that mean that if there’s an overwhelming leave vote that Eurovision won’t want us in their wee gang?

Or if we vote to stay they might not want us in Eurovision to teach us a lesson?

Or, what if we win tonight? AND there’s a leave vote?

Or we might get no points to teach us a lesson in for daring to think of leaving the mighty New European Empire?

Maybe none of these things.

And, when it all comes down to it, does it even matter?

I’m glad I could share these thoughts with you.

And in closing: Go Armenia! Whoo!

May 14, 2016 at 7:27 pm | General, Watching | Tags: , , | No comment

So. Nits.

Today has been a nit hunting day. Aurora is rife with them. This is the problem with school. If it’s possible to catch something, they all catch some thing. One day it’s a cold, the next it’s a sickness bug, now it’s nits.

And the thing with wee hair based critters is that it is maddening to get rid of them.

And it’s not like I have anything to fear…


… nowhere for the little blighters to hide.

In an attempt to cheer her up, she’s allowed to stay up and watch Eurovision tonight with us. I know, I know, it’s hardly a treat. But I’m all about teaching her the reality of life. This is tough parenting at its best.

Some days are all about My Little Pony and running round the garden with her friends. Others are nits and Eurovision.

May 14, 2016 at 6:54 pm | General, Watching | Tags: , , , | No comment

Sci-fi Classics Humble Book Bundle!

Hey Campers,

There a new Humble Bundle on the go with the following books for 15 of your Earth Dollars.

  • Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov
  • Robot Visions by Isaac Asimov
  • The Computer Connection by Alfred Bester
  • The Deceivers by Alfred Bester
  • The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
  • The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
  • Roger Zelazny’s The Dawn of Amber by John Gregory Betancourt
  • Roger Zelazny’s Chaos and Amber by John Gregory Betancourt
  • Roger Zelazny’s To Rule in Amber by John Gregory Betancourt
  • Roger Zelazny’s Shadows of Amber by John Gregory Betancourt
  • Wild Cards: Deuces Down editied by George R.R. Martin
  • George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards: Death Draws Five by John J. Miller
  • Dragonworld by Byron Preiss
  • Arthur C. Clarke’s Venus Prime 1 by Paul Preuss
  • Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny
  • Eye of Cat by Roger Zelazny
  • The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth by Roger Zelazny
  • The Last Defender of Camelot by Roger Zelazny

Not a bad selection. A few in there that I’m not massively interested in but for the price having a few more books on the (electronic) shelf to work through isn’t a bad thing.

And it being a Humble Bundle, there’ll be more added soon no doubt.

Oh, and just over 12 days to go to get them. Here they are.

February 19, 2016 at 10:44 am | Reading | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No comment

The Eternal Champion : Lemmy

I was going to harp on about getting a new hi-fi. Ruth picked it up yesterday after a weekend of careful deliberation. It’s a Sandstrom something or other. I checked it when I got in and both Yes and Frost* have never sounded so good.

This is my first proper hi-fi since I was a teenager. Back then I had this big cheap – looking plastic brick. Can’t remember the make. But it was wonderful for a boy exploring music for the first time. From rock to metal on vinyl, cd and tape my music collection grew quickly week by week.

And one of the bands I grew to love was Motörhead.

Overkill, Bomber, Orgasmatron, 1916, March ör Die, Bastards, Sacrifice, Overnight Sensation, Nö Sleep At All and the ’92 Tour EP. All enjoyed. Very much indeed.

Lemmy was one of those guys who I used to think was going to live forever. I don’t know why. He just had an eternal vibe about him. I always thought at the end of time it would just be him and God having a last drink.

So tonight, I’m going to have a beer and listen to Motörhead the only way that works. Loud.

December 29, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Listening | Tags: , | No comment