if you think I winked I did

So, at the recommendation of Tom with his stories of mad, wonderful conversations into the night, and recently of /lit/’s belief that a good way to have a good pickup chat was to talk about books… I tried out Omegle today.

…yeah.

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the magical place that can’t even figure out how fish can breathe underwater

This was A Good Week.

WAFS lecture by the redoubtable Jerzy Lukowski on war economics was a great return to form after reading week. Practising History lectures have happily stopped existing; I instead have Jacobite Rebellion seminars (lamentably, on Friday at unreasonable o’clock) with the lovely Vicky Henshaw. Starting to prepare for my next WAFS essay, as I still have a whole month… but on the other hand, I only have a month.

Plot not really thickening in our campaign at neckbeardsoc; we (in real life) trudged down to the Gun Barrels because other people had stolen all the rooms in the Guild, (in the lands of imagination) saved a bunch of pseudogypsies from the armies of the oppressor, and I traded some of my teammates’ horses for a PANGOLIN (a baby version of the giant pangoloths the gypsies use as draught animals, so at the moment a full-size pangolin and only going to get bigger). Also, after a run of truly tragic failures last session, I was back on form making heads explode with enchanted crossbow bolts and mocking the highwayman for being ineffective.

I made Instant Mug Brownies according to a recipe I found on 4chan (yes, yes, “recipe for disaster”), but lacking cocoa substituted strawberry nesquik powder. The result was… “mmm goddamn” doesn’t really go far enough. Sticky and delicious. All measures in tablespoons: two vegetable oil, two water, two sugar, two cocoa, four flour, mix up in a mug and put in the microwave for a minute, enjoy sugar rush and heart attack.

I signed for my House; deposit of £250, admin fee £50, and have posted parents a thing to sign in case I bug out on the rent. Dammit, life is expensive.

Scheduled my DSA needs assessment in town at ten in the morning on Friday. Set my alarm for eight to be on the safe side.
Was woken by my phone ringing. Clock said 10:18. ARGH. I need a new clock.
“I can make it down in half an hour? Or should I reschedule?”
“We can probably do it in an hour if you can make it here by eleven. See you soon!”
The next half hour felt like a rushed montage. Dress. Cycle. Train. Sprint. Made it. And since I’d already completed the paperwork (which only needed to be emailed to their HQ; the future is bright) and the person after me was ten minutes late, an extremely nice person called Julia walked me through general needs and failures right on time.

With the result that the government is going to give me:
A laptop (what I had hoped for), with three years’ warranty to last out my course;
A printer (which I hadn’t, but will be really useful);
Proprietary software – antivirus (probably Norton, ugh), a rather cool program which looks like it could be actually useful for thought marshalling; they could also have given me a shiny new MS Office, but I already have a copy and honestly the less money going to Microsoft the better, so said I didn’t need it;
A digital voice recorder (which was cause of some discussion and soul-searching; “if it turns out I don’t need it, can I give it back?” “…not really.” “oh.”) But as agreed with Vikki when doing the university assessment thing, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it;
Subsidised print cartridges and internet;
I could also have got quite a few shiny new peripherals, but I didn’t really need them and at that point conscience really kicked in. Though I’d feel a lot worse about this if I knew less about military procurement screwups. After the H&K refit, this is less than half a rifle.
Generally happy and excited feelings as I toddled back home, rewarding myself with a sandvich from Munchies of the Bullring on the way. I hadn’t really understood how worried I was about this not working out… until it did.

Then I went to see the Gilbert & Sullivan society (now under Siz and Megan) production of The Mikado, and still have little lists stuck in my head.

Yes, this was a good week.

Costs:
House: £301.50
Shopping: £15.95
Train tickets: £3.40
Noms: £4
Mikado: £3

sabre rattlin’

Wild Bill Hovercraft says:
it’s not like it’s gonna affect argentina beyond “bawww no oil for them”
falklands are 300 miles away from their coast
empty space and you says:
but still closer to them than anywhere else, so they think they have a right
Wild Bill Hovercraft says:
it doesn’t work like that
or else we could claim iceland 
could build a pipeline funneling their lava across the sea to britain
have the whole country running on geothermal \o/
empty space and you says:
why am I always drinking tea when you say things like that

a) nuke it b) twice

A week with Tom.

We wandered down the towpath in the horrible bastard frozen weather and found the floating cafe, and enjoyed it; mooted going to the chocolate factory, but besides snow piling up outside the window it was £12 a head which would have really been better spent on chocolate.

He brought his hard drive and a big list of desired films, me having carefully whetted his jealousy of the internet here to absurd levels, and we pulled down… probably something like 100gb over the week. It would have been more, but a lot of them were really obscure so the torrents weren’t very healthy. I love living in the future.

I made my delicious leek and potato soup, which was delicious and did us four meals. He made his vegetarian lasagne, which was amazing (as it should be considering the outlay in time and treasure it took to make it) and also did us for quite a while. Om nom nom nom nom nom.

At one point he slammed my grill a little hard, and something in it broke, meaning the spring-loaded latch that should hold the upper grill plate securely didn’t. He dismantled it with my red revolving screwdriver, found the spring that had come loose, worried it into place again and secured it with tape. I could have done that myself, and would have had he not been here, but it’s a pleasure to see skilled hands at work. Since just about everything Tom does is working with his hands, he really is quite good at it, unlike me. My fine motor control begins and ends with touch-typing.

Jon came round and we all watched a few episodes of Generation Kill together. Because my shiny newish speakers wouldn’t work with my desktop for some reason (I always, always have problems with sound systems) I ended up setting them up in the kitchen with my busted old laptop, which worked but had the sometimes irritating, sometimes ridiculously funny effect of the sound occasionally skipping and making a horrible angry DRRDRRDRR noise, leading to regular instances of “I want you to DRRDRRDRRDRR these hajjis and that’s an orDRRRRRRRRRRR.” Which made the grim moments on occasion hilarious and the funny moments side-splitting. And hey, it gives us an excuse to watch it all over again properly when I get sound working.

So a lot of the week was spent gaming, reading (in my case), having lie ins (in his) and sketching/bouncing ideas off each other; we’re designing some Mortal Engines costumes, with helpful advice from Philip Reeve via email (which still makes me a little starstruck, heh). At present it looks like we’re to be a Green Storm city-hunting team; myself as a Stalker (armoured battle cyborg built around a corpse, as any fule kno) with dented armour stencilled all over with unit insignia and anti-city slogans in Chinese, toting a great big rocket launcher, and Tom as my spotter with a white and green Storm uniform with a spotting-scope, a sword and some sort of steampunkish rifle just functional enough to appease my gun-nerd sensibilities. We’re probably going to make it in the same way as the Blastwave costume, me going down to Worthing for a week at a time during the easter/summer holidays so we can use his university machinery and resources. Rather than being aimed at a specific convention (with their seriously restrictive rules on weapons and materials), we’re making this pretty much for ourselves (read: to show off and do photoshoots for the internet) which means wood and metal are BACK ON THE MENU, BOYS. More details to follow…

On Saturday we took the coach together to Bristol, he changing to another headed London-bound, me going home to give Oliver a surprise visit for his 18th. I did; then at quarter past seven Nick and I exchanged meaningful looks and loudly invited him up to the fish bar for a birthday dinner. Across the road from Pizza Express was his first hint that something was awry – and his last.

“So, Nick, how do we want to do this? I’ll take the right arm, you take the left?”
“Okay.”

We grabbed him and dragged him over Regent Street and through the revolving doors. Zoe was there, just as planned, and she kissed him and pulled him up the stairs and twenty of his friends were sitting round a table grinning and shouting surprise.
Ben and Abhi were there, and later Hovercraft joined us; I gave him the long-lusted-after entrenching tool and he gave me my Valve Store merch, with a chocolate helicopter t-shirt, Heavy poster set and Saxton Hale/TF2 cards. We played with Charlemagne, listened to Oliver’s friends as they talked loudly about philosophy and reach-arounds, and good times were generally had.

Outgoings
£16 shopping
£27 Valve merch
£14 new books
£10 train tickets and miscellaneous noms