Happy 2012!

Sunday, 1 January 2012 15:19
strange_complex: (Janus)
Well, here's wishing you a very happy New Year, oh denizens of livejournal! May it be one of good health, happiness, fulfilment and success for all of you.

I spent the last hours of 2011 chez moi, having a splendid time in the company of the lovely [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan, [livejournal.com profile] planet_andy, a roaring fire, some silly games and a great deal of champagne and canapés. At the start of the evening we played a QI board game which I'd got for Christmas, and all agreed that the best thing about the game by far was the red plunger-button that came with it, and which made the sound of the dumb-obvious-answer QI klaxon when you pressed it.

By the time we'd finished that, we were ready to move on to this year's death and scandal lists. We did quite poorly last year - on the scandal front, George Osborne did have to look a bit contrite about his cocaine-snorting habits, but still seems to be resolutely in-post. On the death front, Jimmy Savile (whose name I see I spelt incorrectly last year) is of course no longer with us, but that seems to be about it. So our approach this year was to take a scatter-gun approach to the death list in particular, basically just shoving anyone who is getting on a bit on there, along with a scattering of wild-card younger types. We typed it up directly this time, rather than scrawling it on bits of paper, so here it is exactly as we produced it last night, complete with our wild veerings backwards and forwards between celebrity entertainers and foreign dignitaries:

Death list )

On the scandal front we have been more restrained, and also much more specific. We reckon the rule is that we can cash in if any scandal affects the people listed, but that we get bonus points if it happens as we have envisaged:

Scandal list )

By the time we'd done all that it was pretty much midnight, so we got out the Piper-Heidsieck champagne, watched the count-down with Big Ben on the telly, and toasted in the New Year to a stereo display of London fireworks on the telly and local ones outside the window. After that, we turned our attention to sillier games - principally [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan's Spongebob Squarepants clam-catching game, which is chuffing brilliant, especially after a few glasses of bubbly, and prompted much laughing, shrieking, dastardly cheating, and exclamations along the lines of "I've put it in a different hole!" (as, of course, the Bishop said to the actress). Here are [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan and [livejournal.com profile] planet_andy locked in a deadly clam-catching duel:



Then it was on to Jenga-with-the-giggles, playing with a remote-controlled Dalek whose failing batteries made him seem comically elderly, and plotting possible epic journeys to Northumberland. All in all a great start to the year, and I hope it continues as merrily as it began. :-)

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Weekending

Sunday, 18 July 2010 22:03
strange_complex: (Cities Esteban butterfly)
I've had a very lovely weekend, centred around a visit from my old chum [livejournal.com profile] hollyione (aka Amy), her very-nearly-six-year-old daughter Holly and her partner Pete. It's always nice to have guests, as it provides a great excuse to go off and do fun local things which you don't normally bother with on your own, and it's especially nice when those guests are such congenial people to have around. Amy, Pete and I seemed to spend most of our time joking, laughing and sharing our enjoyment of the various things we went to see and do, while Holly was extremely well-behaved - and of course also full of laughter, high-spirits and funny observations in the way that six-year-old children usually are.

Our main excursion was to the National Media Museum in Bradford - the same place that I go to for the Fantastic Films Weekend, but this time in its everyday capacity as a museum. I've looked around the exhibits a bit while there previously for the festivals, but they're more extensive than I'd realised, and really well-designed for children. We played vintage video and arcade games, looked at televisions, video recorders and cameras from the earliest days of TV to the present day, played around in a mock-television studio, pretended to read the news, messed around with strange mirrors and lighting effects, and watched an episode of Mr. Benn together - a nostalgia trip for the three adults, but a new discovery for Holly. Amy was amazed that it was all available to visit for free, and she was right - we're very lucky to have it.

Being out with a child certainly makes you see things in a different way )

Afterwards we wandered through a surprisingly sunny Bradford, where the locals were out and about enjoying a street market and a vintage car rally, and where Amy bought Prosecco while Pete was given a free two-minute Indian head massage. Then we returned home for dinner and a local cinema trip to see Shrek Forever After, which I shall write up separately, and which Holly seemed to enjoy. And today we indulged ourselves in the charity shops of Headingley, had a nice lunch together and walked home past some Scottish country dancers strutting their stuff at a school fĂȘte, before my guests had to pile themselves in the car and hit the road for the journey back home to Bristol.

I should add that in the evenings while little Holly slumbered upstairs, we adults settled down with Prosecco and G&Ts to enjoy some more grown-up activities. Well... slightly more grown-up, anyway. We played a few rounds of Eat Poop You Cat, for which I owe a huge debt to [livejournal.com profile] whatifoundthere for alerting me to the game's existence. Unlike her, I can't scan our efforts, because my scanner is currently bust, but I can tell you that we collectively managed to transform the simple phrase "Highway to Hell" into the sentence, "You can listen to great music along the road to hell, but the reception on your car radio may be affected by lightning storms", and also "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" (Amy's contribution, not mine!) into "Dog punt atom mother".

We also watched a couple of episodes of Blake's 7 - though unfortunately not starting with the first one, which would have been the most logical for me, as it was missing from Amy's box-set. That meant that it took me a while to tune in to the characters, but by the end of the second episode I'd definitely warmed to Cally, Jenna, Avon and Vila (for rather different reasons in each case). I also appreciated the way that the stories didn't always end neatly or happily in the same way that they do on Doctor Who (not that I dislike that in Who - but it's nice to see a different approach). I've still got a lot of Doctor Who to watch (and write up for that matter), but I'm definitely up for some more Blake's 7 at some point.

So, yes - a great weekend. I'm a bit physically tired now, but mentally refreshed and ready to face the week. Wonder if that will last into tomorrow morning? ;-)

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strange_complex: (Me as a child)
It's funny how your behaviour changes with your environment. I have Spider Solitaire on my own computer at home, but never play it, thinking it dull and boring. When I'm at my parents' house, though (as now), I hardly seem capable of going to bed without first playing, and winning (playing alone will not do) a game of it. It is just part of my bedtime ritual in the room where I sleep when I'm here.

And it leads me off on strange trains of thought like this:

When I was young, and playing games of Sevens Patience (now more usually Americanised to 'Solitaire') on the carpet, I very quickly developed marked value judgements about the various suits in the pack. These were based mainly on the division between red and black, but even within each colour, one of the suits appeared to me to be distinctly superior to the other. One colour I related to, and thought strong, good and worthy of victory. The other, I saw as alien, weak, unreliable and generally best avoided.

The pictures on the cards did help to forge these judgements, as did a knowledge of things like Alice in Wonderland and the nursery rhyme about the Jack of Hearts. So it's likely that more than the 50% of the population whom probability alone would suggest might share them actually do. But let's see, shall we?

[Poll #885480]

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