It all Hinges on This (Concealed Hinge Puns Within)

Back to Plymouth, and you know what that means? Back to projects!

As much as I enjoyed the single life in Sheffield, after a couple of weeks I was really starting to miss my family and home in general. Living out of a hotel starts to lose its novelty after a while and I was missing my own cooking.

The Doors

A band from the 60s and 70s, or a project I’m slowly getting on with? Of course, the doors I’m referring to are on the bookcase I’m converting into a drinks cabinet. It has taken a while, with a fair number of hiccups along the way, but I’m nearing completion.

All was not perfect once the doors were assembled. They were out by a little bit in several areas and required some aggressive sanding to get them back into shape. There is really very little margin for error when you’re doing something like this, and I’ve learned a number of lessons along the way including the importance of cutting wood to size yourself in a reproducible way. The joinery method I used (pocket hole) is also something of a compromise, and routing a groove for the panel to sit in would have been better from a practical and aesthetic point of view. In my defence, I’m not a joiner, and I’ll be happy if they look nice enough and do the job.

After assembly and the aforementioned sanding frenzy, I brought out the hinge jig to drill the hole for the concealed hinge. The jig holds a Forstner bit (designed to drill flat bottomed holes, and named for Benjamin Forstner, the inventor) and allows you to easily and reproducibly drill holes in the right place to fit concealed hinges. Or so it should. It wasn’t a perfect solution in this case as the pilot hole guides for the screws didn’t align with the hinge I bought, but luckily I checked before drilling and marked them using the actual hinges.

Now to attach them to the bookcase! The design of the bookcase is such that the hinges cannot be attached as it currently stands. I had to design blocks that would bring the hinge up flush with the front of the frame. I didn’t have any perfectly sized wood so settled for a combination of a wood block and vinyl tile samples (I knew they’d come in handy one day, another point scored for hoarding!).

All that’s left is to make three more of the blocks using the first as a guide, attach them to the bookcase, then screw the hinge plates into place. There is a reasonable amount of adjustment possible with concealed hinges which should hopefully address any errors I’ve made along the way.

Soon the cabinet will be complete!

Forgive us our Trespasser

Have you been playing any new games? Yes, and no. Or no, and yes? New to me, and updated for modern hardware, but I’d hardly call a game from 1998 new. This was a game that passed by me completely at the time, and despite an ongoing cult status, still eluded me until the last couple of weeks. I encountered it in the National Videogame Museum in Sheffield as a demonstration of a physics game and thought it was one of the weirdest and most unplayable games I’ve ever tried. I was hooked. As soon as I got back to Plymouth I tracked down a copy of Jurassic Park: Trespasser so I could play it myself.

Jurassic Park: Trespasser follows on from 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and follows Anne who gets stranded on Isla Sorna after her plane crashes on the way to Costa Rica. She is the sole survivor and the game feels suitably lonely and isolating. You’re thrown into an unfamiliar environment looking for a way to get off the island only to run into some sharp-toothed friends.

Desert Eagle, meet T-rex (Jurassic Park: Trespasser)

This wasn’t a normal game from 1998 though. It’s a first person shooter survival game with ragdoll physics. The player controls Anne’s right arm using the mouse, and you can grab and throw objects, fire guns, and interact with the world by this mechanism. There is no HUD so ammo counts are provided vocally by Anne (voiced by Minnie Driver, and done pretty well for the time). Your current health is displayed by means of a heart tattoo on Anne’s left breast (very mature, guys) which you have to stare at perioidically when injured. And just when injured. The tattoo begins as an outline and fills with red ink as you become more injured. Health does regenerate slowly over time so running to safety is usually the best bet.

It’s an old game but one with a fascinating fanbase over at TresCom who are still releasing patches and updates 25 years later, which is quite phenomenal when some modern games lose support within a year or two of launch. I’m playing it with a high resolution patch which makes a massive difference to the experience. Textures are still weird from time to time but it’s still a very playable game.

The bizarre physics and janky arm motions helped inspire both Octodad and Surgeon Simulator and I can see why. You haven’t felt true terror until you’ve been desperately swiping at a Desert Eagle with an arm made of jelly while a velociraptor sprints towards you.

Surgeon Simulator (2013)

A combination of demanding hardware requirements, buggy implementation, and bizarre mechanics meant that Trespasser was largely panned at the time of release and many people will not have had the chance to experience this game as a result. If you can get past the initial weirdness, it really is a lot of fun.

Strike Two

This week is the second round of Junior doctor strikes and coming on the back of a four day bank holiday weekend. This has caused significant disruption to service, but with a government who are unwilling to negotiate at present, what else is there to do? Significant numbers of doctors are not entering training, leaving to work in other countries, or changing career completely. If I hadn’t settled in histopathology, I wouldn’t still be in medicine today. The level of risk and poor working conditions are not conducive to a living a happy life, and the least that can be done is to offer compensation commensurate to the importance of the profession.

The term “junior doctor” needs scrapped entirely as it covers anyone who has just left university right through to someone who may have been working ten plus years as a doctor (and that’s following five to six years of university). The BMA’s line is pay restoration, not pay rise, and that seems like a fair stance. After thirteen years of Conservative government, it’s clear that constantly cutting public services isn’t working, and pushing down wages leads to lower quality and poor morale. Support your public sector workers who are on strike, and don’t believe the media spin.

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