11 September 2006

Beer and Cards

I seem to end up saying this a lot, but I've been busy recently, despite having very little to show for it.

I've not achieved a great deal on the writing front -- I was rather pleased with the sentence "I am now more fully versed apropos oulipian increases", but that was in an email to a friend, so doesn't actually count. Certainly nobody's about to pay me for it.

The only thing I have been doing is going through the proofs of the rather splendid Collected Works -- more details of which should be appearing (both here and on my website) once Big Finish have announced the stories and the author lineup. It reads very nicely, though.

Otherwise, well...

The Organic Food Festival the Saturday before last was just as yummy as last year's, with the Harbourside entirely taken over by stallholders pressing their free samples of cheese, chocolate, wine, beer, bread, cake &cetera upon us in the hopes that we'd buy some of them. Which, in many cases, we did.

Last year I linked to all the products we'd bought. This year I've already forgotten some of the manufacturers, and for some reason the Soil Association aren't displaying their list of exhibitors as they did last year. But the deliciously creamy Daisy cheeses still succeeded in tempting us, along with cheeses from these and these lovely people. We also stocked up on chocolate and beer. (The Atlantic beers are nicer the darker they get -- the Blue is very tasty, but I wouldn't recommend the Gold unless you're a big fan of root ginger.)

One stallholder was selling zaatar, which we'd only seen / tasted previously on pizzas, at the splendid organic vegetarian pizza tent at Greenbelt. We bought some in order to conduct our own seasoning experiments: on the showing so far, you need to be surprisingly generous with the stuff to achieve the desired effect, but it's worth it. Mm.

We spent a very pleasant day at the festival, anyway, wandering around with our goddaughter E., her parents R. and M. and brother L., sampling food and watching a surreal bungee-dance performed by women in chicken costumes hiding in eggs suspended from a crane. (I think they were advertising eggs -- it wasn't particularly clear.) We headed back to their place (R. and M.'s, I mean, not the bungee chicken-women's) in the evening, for experimental pizza and good beer.

On Sunday B. and I experimented with the Settlers of Catan card game in an attempt to devise a way of simulating the Tournament game (which involves two players constructing their own decks out of the standard pack of cards and the five extension packs) without buying a full set of duplicates.

Obviously this involves randomising to some extent who has access to which cards, and a number of features (such as cards which can only be played by one of the two players) just don't crop up. Still, we managed a fairly satisfying game on that basis (B. won, as it happens, but we weren't playing "properly", so it doesn't count).

The technique needs fine-tuning, but it seems a reasonable substitute until such time as we feel it's worth buying a complete second set. Certainly, on the basis of what we were able to do on Sunday, the Tournament game has astonishingly wide-ranging and complex possibilities.

Other than that... it's mostly been annoying admin-type work, occasional free time to watch stuff on TV and read (see separate media update) and organising my birthday party for November. All frustratingly unproductive, although the party will be fun.

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