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Today was bright and sunny and warm, not what I was promised at all. I'm really pleased. Another flat turned out to be a fixer-upper, which is not what is wanted. Tomorrow, there will be two more houses and a skip. I do not have to put anything into the skip. I also have to put a picnic together for me and ruthi to eat while we're out.

Ccooke and ruthi continue to be lovely hosts. I don't know when I've ever been so pampered or so well fed. Tonight it was sausages, really good sausages, cooked perfectly, with fried mushrooms and onions and asparagus, and sourdough bread with butter. Followed by coffee. Breakfast is brownies and cream.

I've been working on my castle in Minecraft. It has lots and lots of nooks and crannies, all (hopefully) defended from hostile mobs. Today I put in the monster-infested catacombs under the orchard. The next part is turning the outer earth walls into cobble, and replacing the anti-climb fence with stone stair parapet. It's all built out of stone, cobble, earth and oak wood.
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Spring is still not really here in any meaningful sense. I'm over the stomach bug I caught from my mum, more or less. I'm wiped out by it, still, and my too-tight trousers are now loose. The reports from Empire are very short and scattered, so I don't know much about what I missed, except it was awesome. And cold.

I did manage to get a little bit of weeding done, but mostly I've been sitting around playing Minecraft, building a giant castle on Funcraft server. (My Minecraft username is SMTRodent.) I could do with seeing actual people again, soon, but I think I'm about ready to go back to the voluntary work tomorrow, and hopefully that'll kick my brain back into gear.

The Daily Creative Challenge page on Facebook is awesome.
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I've got a dress muslin (rough version in scrap fabric to check the fit) which I have been spectacularly failing to post this week. Tomorrow looks good for it.

I could, if I'd brought it, have posted it on my way to meet cwol. We went to Brown Betty's - it's a place which began, twenty-eight years ago, selling bagels with many fillings. The fillings have changed and the bagels are now chiabatta, but the place is otherwise exactly the same.

Cwol and I chatted about the horse meat scandal. A person on the same bench was eavesdropping subtly enough until some chance remark made them snort egg through their nose. They then showed us two adverts in the Sun today: one double-page spread from Tescos saying 'we're really sorry, we'll change', more or less. And straight over the next page, one from Asda saying 'We've always only sold British beef.' It didn't quite say 'so there'. I had smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, cwol had bologneighs.


I want to keep doing this meeting up. It's really nice and usually very funny. Funnier still if we can make other people choke on their breakfast.

I found something Pol might like: it's a quarter-pounder making kit with recipes. I have no idea what's even in the box.

Skyrim is ace. Except the bit where I had to kill the bandits in Varnheim Keep, and then got another quest from the Companions to kill the bandit chief in Varnheim Keep, only I'd already killed him. So, I got stuck with that quest permanently on and couldn't select other quests, or ever finish this one. At least I know to look out for that one now.

There's no moral dimension to the game - no Karma effect. So far. That I know of. So Character Two steals anything and everything that isn't nailed down. Hot diggity, people keep lockpicks in their pockets!

Also, when the starting NPC says 'we should split up', ignore them and follow them as long as you can. Otherwise you miss out on some nifty things.

I'M GOING TO ORKNEY!!!
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I'm back home. The wedding was excellent - having it beneath the spread arms of a T-Rex skeleton was genius. Mary and Tim both brushed up very well, as did many other people. After the ceremony, but before the dinner, we all had free rein of the museum which was also pretty cool - so, if you're getting married, it turns out Manchester Museum isn't actually a bad place to do it.

I went straight home from the wedding so I could rest all of Sunday. I'm glad I did, as I was utterly wrecked all of Sunday but better yesterday.

The shop had a burglary - there was a gang who came in and wrecked the place looking for the safe, which was glued to the floor, then used all the tools they could find and a few they brought themselves to break it from the floor. They ignored pretty much everything else. This is very probably the exact same gang that got the safe the last time. There's no CCTV and apparently there isn't ever going to be any CCTV. So it's just a matter of time until the next burglary. You can imagine the effect on staff morale.

Skyrim is excellent. The graphics really need a better computer than I'm using (but I love this laptop and have no desire to swap to a dedicated gaming rig), but the story-telling is fun. I haven't yet encountered the slut-shaming quest where you have to tell a woman to stop sleeping around. I have encountered a request for ten bear pelts, which is going to be fulfilled only by sheer coincidence.

There are not enough lockpicks. There are never enough lockpicks. Also, I miss having a radio station while exploring digital scenery, though I'd be confused if it was there. Still, I suspect this is going to get as much play time as Fallout: New Vegas did, and for the same reasons.
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Actually to be honest I only started playing because I was already having a crap day and wasn't going to get anything done. I like it, but find the controls rather stiff and unreactive. And then, as the chill set in, so were my hands.

Right now I am sitting waiting for the Chinese food that Random is about to order and pay for, so we can have a meal. I can answer the door while she has a bath. Synergy! Ccooke has outlined to me an entire new world, and I've told him about the Reddit worldbuilding forum. There are sciency news stories, but my fingers are too stiff to cut and paste easily. Nipping downstairs to sit in the sauna I accidentally created by putting the gas fire on and forgetting has helped.

Pol's off to his friend's wedding, as planned. I'm hoping he has a good weekend.

That's it, really. Slow day.
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I'm in the Radisson Non-Euclidean Hotel near Heathrow, for Eastercon. It's a hotel with a refreshing lack of regard for conventional physics in the architecture - bits of the building go through other dimensions and/or one another, and the corridors are based around a Moebius design.

The highlight of the convention for me so far has been the Creativity Workshop, wherein we listened to a beautifully short, coherent and worthwhile talk on creativity, then did some exercises which were actually fun, then put together a television series with a budget of £370,000 for 16-34 year olds on BBC3, in an hour. I learned quite a lot and I had tons of fun.

There have been a few, a very few familiar faces around, including Tlanti who made a really clever chain of Daleks which I have given to small room mate. Room mate was delighted at them and has them on prominent display - I wish Tlanti could have seen her face on them being unfolded.

I got Pol a present then totally forgot to actually give it to him, but he's at the Dr Horrible Singalong and it would have got in his way. I've got to go there shortly anyway to give Penwing his money back that he very generously handed over so I could have dinner. Wendy told me about Warrington's police tweet, which sounds very worth following, but I can't remember the name of that tweet account. Warrington police are apparently doing a remake of Heartbeat on Twitter.

I have quite the bad migraine this morning and may have to write off all the panels. In theory I go and visit someone new at 4pm, so I hope I can go to that. However, it's a nice room in a nice hotel and I am pretty happy. I will probably spend the time getting my teen sim hooked up with a nice girl so he can marry her when he ages up and have the next generation of my sim breeding programme.
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So, clearing out the loft today, I sorted through my DVDs and chucked out the old games I have on Steam or won't ever play, and old DVDs that turned out to be a bit crap. There are also a few I've forgotten about and am looking forward to watching. Anyway, just as we've finished and I am putting things back, I find a DVD on the floor. Still wrapped. I thought we'd cleared the floor, but oh well. I pick it up. It's a creepy looking game, called something like Dexter's Spooky Adventures (nothing to do with the American television series), and has lots of cartoons and details on the back of spooky fun with tentacles and the like. I absolutely do not remember buying this game. It doesn't even look like a game I would try.

So here's a spooky looking game I've never heard of, and don't remember buying, turning up in my loft on Hallowe'en, just after sunset.

I put it straight in the skip. Unopened.
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Spice is very, very playful and I can't always keep up, so I thought having a kitten might keep her occupied. Of course, when they first met, neither was at all impressed by the other. Spice was downright scared, but kept creeping up to examine new kitten with a look of fascinated horror on her face. I played relentlessly with Hatter (the kitten) so he wouldn't stare at her and frighten her off. So she got unscared, and then Pounced him, at which point *he* got scared - but, being a kitten, only until something moved nearby and he forgot all about it. Spice did, clearly, recognise that this was a Small Cat once she got close enough - reassuring, because for a while she was treating him as potential prey. But then she spent yesterday Putting Him In His Place - coming up to him and whacking him hard once or twice on the head. He got very fluffed, then less fluffed, then apparently just accepted that life apparently hands you larger cats who come up to you and randomly bop you on the head. Then Spice changed tactics, and kept bouncing up to him at a rush, stopping just before contact - again, Hatter fluffed up, then got used to it. Today, she bops him and runs off, then he chases her in turn.

This has led me to discover that it is very hard to play Fallout: New Vegas when your keyboard keeps being bounced, first by a kitten being chased by an adult cat, then by an adult cat being chased by a kitten. On the one hand, I am very glad that the introduction of kitten to cat is going so well. On the other hand, my fingers are scratched and bleeding.
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Last night I read about plate tectonics. Today I made a map, starting with the plates so I could get the landmasses in the right place. Then I got distracted and got it wrong anyway, but it's a decent enough map. Although I splotched a lot inking it in. Nothing which can't be fixed with Tippex and a razor blade. I'm trying to tell my perfectionist self *not* to start all over again a third time, and to just go ahead and add in mountains and volcanoes.

I am seriously thinking about buying an Ursula Vernon original piece. She very rarely does something which I don't like.

I stayed up very late tonight watching My Little Ponies - Friendship is Magical. I looked it up on Know Your Meme because MLP gifs were turning up on various comms, decided to have a look at episode one on YouTube and became interested in it as something lighthearted and fun to watch. I have *no idea* why it's become so popular with 18-34 yo males but now I'm enjoying it too. There's plot and humour and decent 80s-style artwork and even a Benny Hill chase in Episode 3. I also now have a strong urge to hunt out Powerpuff Girls DVDs.

I need to get back to learning languages before I lose all the ground I gained this month. I haven't lost interest; I just forget and then it gets to be too late in the day to learn (the longer I am awake, usually the more headache I have and the less I can concentrate). Irish Gaelic's a total sod to get the hang of, because the literal meaning of the words is so unlike how they translate to English phrases, so you can't take bits of basic sentences and bang them together in new ways to make a new basic sentence like you can with Spanish or French or German or Italian. And that's before you get down to the tenses apparently changing depending not only on how many people there are, but also what they're doing, where they're doing it and whether they're likely to do it again. With French and Spanish, I advance slowly but do seem to actually be learning. Irish, I have to start all over again from scratch if I so much as go and make a cup of tea. I keep going back though, because I love trying to guess what to say and then clicking the little button to see if I got it right. It's very much Language Learning for Gamers.

There's an allotment tea party on Sunday and a game next Saturday so I could be unusually social this month. I was really touched to find out L has missed me being there. I've missed going too. I explained about being housebound most of the time, so if I can't go, she'll drop off the stuff I left behind last year.
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Today was moderately productive. I didn't actually get dressed, but I did have a shower and change into clean pyjamas. I've been very drowsy with pre-migraine all day and crawling into bed to have a short nap at odd moments.

I spent tonight as well playing guitar hero with Random. I had to give up because tinnitus was stopping me hearing when I missed, and then castellation covered the bottom of the television screen so I couldn't see when I missed either. The pain is just hitting now. But until then I was having lots and lots of fun.

A sweet-looking cat needing a home has just popped up in our monkeysphere, and with a certain inevitability, we're going along tomorrow evening to have a look at her. Just a look. If it turns out that we can't be around her without making her all soggy with tears, then we'll have to withdraw. We're just looking. We haven't accepted or anything.
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Today wasn't bad. I had planned to just immerse myself in computer games, but my wrists are sore, so I've ended up going back to my favourite brain candy, Georgette Heyer. I've spent the day downstairs for once, instead of being in my room. Being downstairs gets a lot done. I did Pol's laundry, then finally got to put the hall rugs into wash, then washed them again in the vain hope that more muck will come out this time. They're now drying. JG came and cleaned and we talked a lot about C, her dog who passed six months or so ago, S, her new dog, and, naturally, Moth. I got a lot out of the visit. I also emptied the dishwasher and cooked myself something to eat.

I had a bath, straightened my room out, had a nap and I've just come upstairs after playing Guitar Hero with Random. I left her merrily playing away, having been be-migrained out of continuing, but I really enjoyed it and I am hoping we can do it again tomorrow.

Pol's away doing work-related stuff and I am missing him rather more than I usually would.
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'Then hang him upside-down until he's dead -  )
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Their eyes should glance at no one else but me.' )
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It's now the time when I have to establish my daily routine, and very soon I will have to start getting up at quarter-to-dawn again. I need an easy-to-read chart of sunrise times for Manchester.

Pol was out - Random went for a walk and then couldn't get up the energy to walk her back, so she called him and he went straight out to get her. Her neck is still hurting, so he took her to the walk in centre and then to Boots for painkillers and out somewhere for a really big breakfast. I was really worried about her, but she looked fine when I saw her last. Pol was going to do his laundry today so, just this once, I put it on for him so he at least didn't have that to worry about - at this point, I didn't know Random was okay, so I thought they might be down at A&E or something.

I'm playing Echo Bazaar and Kingdom of Loathing and lots of other games, and reading fanfiction. This occupies my time. I'm also writing as much as I can, just in a 'blah words per day of rubbish' sort of way, because it's soothing. I've stopped trying to plan things to do, because it gets frustrating when the plans never come to fruition.

I found out that the organiser of the current youth athletic club is most likely Darren from three doors down. I am very pleased that he's doing this (or at least that someone is) because joblessness and the resulting disaffectedness is making the local teens more unpleasant and slightly more inclined to crime. Kicking balls about on the field is definitely an improvement.
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Because I like writing morbid doggerel. )

After this, a crib tonight, then final solution (which takes a lot of typing up) after that.
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So, yes, most people will know by now, but for those who don't, we got burgled last night. They took a variety of electronic goods, a laundry bag and a handbag full of knitting. I was alone in the house at the time and, while I probably did hear the burglars, I would have assumed that it was Pol or Random coming in to get something, perhaps to mend the car. The doors and television are loud, but anything else is muffled by walls and distance. Random and Pol lost things and are, obviously, very much upset and angry. I've been living in my room for months, and lost nothing.

I've found there's a surprising amount of Sherlock fanfiction, and the amount seems to be growing exponentially. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatkiss can count that one a success, I think. One or two of the stories are even plausible. Speaking of Sherlock, I was surprised to find out that Benedict Cumberbatch is actually the actor's real name. I am full of glee.

The amount of loud demands from Moth have dropped right off now that there's no chicken in the fridge. It seems clear that she does in fact know whether there's chicken to be had, or not. When I do have chicken, she just refuses to shut up until she has some. She's sitting next to me right now, in the cottage loaf formation, with a silly smile on her face every time I rub her eyebrows.

A couple of people have asked for more time to break the cipher I posted, while others want the solution asap. I am in two minds as to what to do. A compromise is to not post the solution until tomorrow. I think I'll do that.

Second clue

Aug. 7th, 2010 01:50 pm
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Behind a cut, as per request )
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Okay still nobody's got it, so I'll give out a clue before I go to bed.


Clues )

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