Busy weeks, so no post for quite a while. Will rectify over the next couple of weeks of holiday I’m sure. What I have achieved in the last few weeks:

Turned an elderly fellow’s racist rant about immigrants stealing our money/jobs/pies into a rant directed entirely at the French and disabled people. (He also claimed that they were getting rid of the Routemaster buses, not because they were inefficient, small and polluting but for the equally valid reason that they had no disabled access and couldn’t be modified. My response was that we should modify the disabled people, which he agreed enthusiastically with.)

Persuaded my friends to change their names temporarily to various Russian hero names. (There was a fascinating trend in the Post-revolutionary USSR to name your children after acronyms of patriotic events, such as Vilen (V. I. Lenin). I am now Lorijerik (????????)which means ” Lenin, October Revolution, industrialisation, electrification, radiofication and communism” Who says communism is dead?

Saw basketball for the first time in Guildford. Weird game, everyone looks normal-sized until you chat to them and get a crick in your neck. Also, as always, it went to a ridiculous tie-breaker and one team lost by a hair’s breadth. Crazy game, odd entertainment in the innumerable intervals, but not actually that interesting. Ho-hum.

I’ve taken up Squash! By which I mean, I’ve bought a racket and played twice and now hurt all over. Hurrah!

Played various games. Shadow of the Colossus is one where you (a small horse-riding boy) have to fight tower-block sized giants (like basketballers) by climbing up them and stabbing them in the vitals. It’s like a puzzle where the level is a moving landscape and you have to reach a certain point. Absolutely awe-inspiring, but eventually repetitive. I’ve also been playing Star Wars: Empire at War, a good solid RTS from Activision involving space and land combat. It feels like Medieval Total War (the dual level, resource-gathering element) and Command & Conquer (2D RTS planet-battles on fixed-path maps), but with Star Wars hero characters. I’ve played the overly-cutesy village-sim Animal Crossing (pictured) excessively with friends, but got fairly bored fairly quickly; limiting your level of social interaction but adding little rarely makes for a good game. I tried playing the vehicular MMO Auto Assault, but couldn’t get even on the server.

The best of the lot though, I only got to play for a day. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a small world where you can wander the wilds, make your own adventures and so on. There’s more to do in it than I can possibly convey in a couple of sentences, so I’ll simply quote from my article from the mag (yes, I’m quoting myself, fol-de-rol) “The true beginning of Oblivion is when you step away from those tight training levels and out of the claustrophobic sewers at the base of Cyrodil. Your heart skips a beat. “Look”, your brain gesticulates, “that’s a big lake and on the far shore, there’s some haunting ruins, and behind them some hills and trees”, and then it gets tired, and melts a bit, and you just have to sit down and just look for fifty minutes as the day-night cycle runs and the stars go away and your face is dappled by sunlight and then a light drizzle starts and you still can’t quite cope with the openness and variety of the world, nor with the oil painting styling of it, until a wolf starts gnawing on your leg and you have to run away.”

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