Wednesday, 31 August 2016

August 2016

We had a conversation at work yesterday about whether it's been a 'good summer', by which we were specifically talking about the weather. We all agreed that yes, it probably has been a good summer — my specific criteria for this is that when I think about all the particularly memorable things I've done this summer, they've all been done in sweltering sunshine, and August's fun things have been no exception. Global warming nightmares (briefly) aside, this is GREAT.

Anyway. Quick off the mark with the blog this month. I hope Justin is happy.

I had a fun work task which involved walking around Brighton photographing architectural features. Nice to really have a proper look at Brighton's weird and wonderful buildings.

You guys. I'm starting to feel old. My back has gone wrong, I made sad noises when I sit down/stand up sometimes, and I don't enjoy Snapchat.

I have, however, been quite enjoying blatant Snapchat rip-off, Instagram stories. On the evening of August 5th, I attempted to explain Instagram stories to Justin, who went from confused, to dismissive, to briefly enraged, to wholehearted endorsement within about 5 minutes, and is now one of the most enthusiastic Instagram storiers in my timeline. 

I had been similarly dismissive of VR/AR, despite having never tried it. Showing my age, I boldly claimed that I simply couldn't see a place for it in my life, and had no interest in finding out any more and would do just fine in the real world, thankyouverymuch. As thanks/payback for the Instagram Stories lesson, Justin hooked me up to Google Cardboard and

wwwwwwooooooooooaaaaaaarggghhhhh VIRTUAL REALITY WOAAAAAH

And now I'm a lot more open minded to VR. The end.

I feel bad for how much I avoid Pride in Brighton. Pride is a wonderful celebration and I wholeheartedly endorse the original sentiment behind it... but it's also, increasingly, a scary, intimidating, rowdy, messy, litter-strewn horror. Every Pride when I go out on the streets I feel threatened or scared at least once. My partner, who is genderqueer, experiences more gender-based abuse during pride than any other time of the year in Brighton, which is utterly grim.

Anyway, I mostly hid this year. But during my hiding (at George and Wes's house) I had AN IDEA. An idea for a business, sorry STARTUP. I don't get those kind of ideas very often (ever) and I'm irrationally excited about it. I'm holding onto it like a precious flower and trying to gently cultivate its growth while not crushing it. Watch this space. (Or maybe don't, in case I fail/give up)

Bought myself some unusually masculine trousers. Is this helpful? POWER SLACKS (nope)

And then suddenly I got REALLY BUSY for a while back there.

This year, me and Alex went to Nine Worlds Geekfest, described on their website as "Three days and nights of books and comics, gaming, film and TV, fandom, crafts, cosplay and creativity, geek culture and academe, and above all meeting awesome people and having a really big party."

Technically more Alex's scene than mine, but there's a lot to interest me there too, and as Alex was part running the boardgames track we got a free hotel room, which sealed the deal. I travelled up to London on a sweltering hot Thursday, the night before the con started, with a giant suitcase full of boardgames.

On the first day of the con, I went to three talks — 'How to fly a rocket to the moon', a sciency talk about the physics of rockets and how they are represented in sci-fi... 'Hiding in plain sight', a fascinating talk (with visuals) about some of history's more creative and inspiring film opening credit sequences... and Lydia Nicholas and Laurie Pennie, 'Telling Stories About Technology', who, frankly, I could have listened to talk for HOURS.

I also did some enthusiastic teaching in the boardgames lounge (Patchwork and Galaxy Trucker), and generally mingled around having a nice time.

One of the highlights of Nine Worlds for me, was staying in a way nicer hotel than we'd normally be able to afford. The Novotel Hammersmith is a big chain hotel, but at the upper end of niceness, which meant the room had all kinds of ridiculous swanky features, and the bed linen and mattress were just reeeeeallly nice. One of the main highlights though, for me, was GIANT BREAKFAST. After the first day when we established that the kitchen are GOOD PEOPLE who basically made everything that could be vegan vegan (cooking in olive oil rather than butter, vegan brand of veggie sausages, vegan brand of hash browns, etc) I went nuts every morning with the fullest breakfast I could muster. Amazing.

Went to a fascinating talk about Apocalypse scenarios and why we love thinking about them so much.

My good friend Lyall came to visit, to demo the wonderful game his company has created — Beasts of Balance. Played a lot of games of it, got very excited.

Also went to a talk about Imposter Syndrome, which ironically convinced me that I don't actually suffer from Imposter Syndrome, I'm just genuinely not very good at things. Hm.

We had Wagamama for dinner, and yo, Wagamama, you fucked up my order AGAIN. They were v apologetic for feeding me egg (been an upset vegan this month, more on that later), and as apology, gave me a replacement meal and free dumplings, which I ate all of, very fast, oh dear.

On the last day, I only went to one talk, but it was about EUROVISION, so clearly the most exciting of them all. Me and Alex also had a very lovely meander over beautiful Hammersmith bridge in the glorious sunset, which was actually one of my highlights of the whole trip.

We procrastinated leaving the hotel for AGES the next morning by watching lots of olympics. Actually spent a remarkable amount of time chilling out in the hotel room watching olympics during the whole weekend, which was utterly lovely.

We eventually made it back to Brighton where I further cemented my burgeoning friendship with Little Black Cat by spending like a whole 20 minutes sitting in the garden snuggling together, with no claws or running away scared on either of our parts.

Sorry Justin.
(Alex and Justin love 'Genius Rules of the Game', a ridiculous Korean reality show)

Had to go a funeral. Did a little family tree on the train home.

Had a really nice day. My friend Ben came to stay from Cambridge and we had burritos, bubble tea, and a lovely catch up. And I finally got a ring in my nose rather than a stud and it is soooooo much better.

Lots of lovely feels. Me and Little Black Cat fully mates now, proper BFFs, loads of lovely cat strokes. Also melting chocolate with minty tea, and listening to lovely radio. Treats.

Busiest time of year at work, making brochures. But we're nearly there!

I made good bulgar wheat for the first time ever, and now I highly endorse bulgar wheat.

Me and Alex went for a day trip to Hastings and it was GREAT!
I might have mentioned in the past that I have a long-running mission to visit every surviving UK pier. As we're moving away from this area in January, I figured I really should get over to Hastings before we go, as it's only an hour or so by train from Brighton.
And the pier is a great one. Restored by the community, and co-operatively owned, the pier itself is a wonderful structure, and very well run, it was an absolute delight to visit, might even be one of my favourites so far.
We also had some great vegan lunch at the unpromisingly named 'Beer hall and hotdog emporium', and I got a ride on a brilliant funicular railway. A+++ day out.

(And later, friends Stina and Renee came to stay, and Hannah joined us, and we got to play the very good new Dead of Winter expansion)

Recommend me gentle exercises and stretches for hurty lower back. I've got a hurty lower back :(
(Top quality hat game for Matthew's birthday though)

Went on one of my favourite walks, along the undercliff from Saltdean back to Brighton. Such gorgeous colours, chalk cliffs and brutal concrete path.

You guys I ordered pizza and they put anchovies on it, but I just picked them off and ate it but it still tasted of anchovies but anchovies are soooooo gooooooood so I kind of didn't mind but also feel very conflicted about enjoying it so much. SIGH.


Now. Let's September. More warm weather plz. I'm not complaining.

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