Thursday, 20 December 2007

Bah Fucking Humbug.

Here is a list of things that it is a bad idea to try and do in December.

1. Move house while simultaneously studying for a degree full time, working in a Big Gay Department Store part time (but doing extra hours because it’s Christmas), applying for all manner of industrial placements, completing work on assignments, revising for imminent maths exams, visiting family, and doing a spot of Christmas shopping here and there too.

Okay, so I realise that this “list” only consists of one thing; but it is a big thing, and I can put a big tick next to it. It is partly for this reason that it’s been all quiet on the blog front for slightly longer than usual.
The main reason of course is that I am quite lazy; even with all the above shenanigans going on, I still seem to be able to find the time to get splendidly drunk and see bands.

Like on Friday, when I rushed back from work to go and see Pelican and High on Fire co-headlining at The Cooler. Despite driving like my hair was on fire, I entirely missed the opening support act (whoever they were), and a fair chunk of Pelican’s set; though I did still get to hear them play the epic March To The Sea in its entirety (minus the none-fucking-heavier flute solo that appears on the EP version). They were truly excellent.
As were High on Fire. They were like men a thousand feet tall made of magma, crushing cities underfoot as they blasted out face-melting stoner doom. Sadly, no-one else seemed to care particularly; possibly due to the fact that High on Fire had played the very same venue just three months previously, and subsequently most of the people that turned up had done so to see Pelican. They still played hard, and the people at the front were still into it... but in the rest of The Cooler the apathy had reached fever pitch.

About a week before this I went to a house party with Sam and The Boy, thrown by some chick Sam knows from his English Civil War re-enactment group. It was mostly full of arseholes that had quite loud opinions about why Bristol Uni students were just far better people than UWE students, and that had a good handle on what clothing was fashionable but had no idea how to wear it. The three of us sat in the corner drinking rough cider out of the carton and not talking to anyone; Sam and I criticized the girls' dress sense (like we now a goddamn thing about style and fashion) whilst The Boy re-arranged the letters on the fridge to form a great tirade of profanity. The words "cockpipe" and "arse candle" featured quite heavily. We all got very drunk, and hardly got into any fights at all - so I think we had a good time...

And on Tuesday I enjoyed a splendid evening of getting drunk with the RoboJew, who was himself in good spirits having finally completed work on a prototype of his final year project; a robot that will balance on two wheels. It's still in its early stages, and of course there is still work to be done; the robot does not yet have any kind of primary armament such as a flamethrower, spinning axe-blades or an acid-spraying gun of some kind. Also, it does not exactly balance on two wheels... mostly it just does a lot of falling over as the program grossly over-corrects any slight imbalance, and sends the robot smashing to the ground. My patented Mech Eng solution of making the wheels square was not met with any great enthusiasm.

And so there you have it. Work + School + Moving House + Drinking + Christmas = Rubbish (apart from the drinking).

Sunday, 9 December 2007

I was actually intending to follow up the last post with a proper account of what’s been going on in my big gay life; but it turns out that I just couldn’t be bothered.

This is in part due to a sudden bout of illness that all but sapped me of what little energy and enthusiasm I usually possess. I find the worst aspect of being ill is the affect it has on my sleep; I am quite prone to having deranged “maths dreams”, which are now becoming the stuff of legends. I had one of these on Tuesday.

In this particular maths dream, I managed to combine every equation in the world of mechanical engineering (from steady-flow energy equations, to heat transfer rate through composite materials, to equations of motion... and so on) and refined them all into one uber-equation. For some peculiar reason, this took the form of a large, round and slightly spongy blue mass of mathematical symbols and Greek letters, that hovered gently just above ground level. People kept coming up to me to ask how it all worked... it was all very repetitive and confusing, and not even slightly restful.

It was all a quite rubbish way to finish off a weekend of splendid birthday shenanigans. Saturday night I rushed home from work to get changed and head off out again to see Queens of the Stone Age with Charlie Cat, The Boy, Metal Terry and his fiancée Em.

By the time we got there, the support act (The Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster) had already started playing. I saw them a few years ago with Zak at The Louisiana, a pokey little venue that’s about the same size as my kitchen. In those tight confines, their psychobilly death-punk stylings were positively apocalyptic; but in the cavernous Academy they seemed a bit flat, stifled by poor sound and a static (but supportive) audience. They still played their arses off though – good for them.

The mighty Queens of the Stone Age had no such problems. Playing beneath some really quite odd-looking chandeliers, they kicked out tunes new and old with flair and passion, occasionally flying off on great improvised tangents that included a spoken-word rendition of the Rick Astley classic “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Needless to say, they were spectacularly good, and I stumbled out of the venue with my T-shirt quite literally soaked in GigSweatTM (a heady and intoxicating mix of my sweat, the sweat of a million billion other people, spilt beer, dissolved hair product, and a minimum of 23% rock ‘n’ roll). After the gig, Charlie (whose birthday just happens to be the same day as mine), The Boy and I bimbled through a few more pubs, eat a few dirty burgers, and somehow ended up back home (eventually).

The next day I turned 30 (and Charlie turned 21); and in celebration of this fact I was visited by my parents, my sister, and my oldest and dearest friend Tim (a smutmonger whom I have known for, well, forever – though he hasn’t always been a smutmonger). Along with Sam and The Boy we all went off in search of somewhere nice to have lunch, eventually settling down in The Bristol Flyer, a pleasant little pub which is covered in giant and very colourful butterflies for some reason.

We got quite delightfully drunk whilst we waited for what seemed like an eternity for our food to arrive. When it finally did appear before us, we devoured it ravenously and headed back home for cake ‘n’ presents ‘n’ that. Highlights included:

  1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy complete radio series, which I’m ashamed to say that I have never actually owned until this point.
  2. Some really quite excellent CDs, that between them cover a lot of genres; from morose and slightly pretentious indie (Interpol), to experimental alt. hip-hop (Dalek), to ambient post-rock electronica (Atlantis), to brutal death metal with a bit of drum ‘n’ bass thrown in for good measure (Ted Maul).
  3. Some “Ben’s 30” insect repellant that my sister found on her travels some three or four years ago, and has been holding onto ever since.
  4. Some rather natty Jesus plasters.
  5. A copy of a monthly adult publication entitled “Fighting Gals”. It promises to be (and indeed is) “a galaxy of female combat”. Here is a rather pleasing photo of Sam and Tim discussing the merits of various chokeholds, whilst enjoying a good pipe.

No sooner had they all left than The Boy and I were off out again to meet up with RoboJew and his better half Ruth at The Thekla, for yet another gig. This time it was Sia , an Aussie chick better known for her role as vocalist with Zero7. Support came from an acoustic guitar toting one-man-band, playing under the moniker of Half Cousin. Inoffensive and utterly forgettable.

Sia and her four-piece band took to the stage dressed as fluorescent stick men. It’s rather hard to explain, and can’t find any pictures on the intraweb… suffice to say that if it sounds a bit weird, it’s because it was. The costumes were shed after the first song, and they carried on to play a really quite excellent set. The songs are a bit poppy, but without being too sweet or cheesy, and they still retain some of the laid-back lounge-core stylings of Zero7. Sia’s got a stunning voice, is quite mad and/or drunk, and spent a lot of time making pleasant chit-chat with various members of the audience. Plus, I wasn’t soaked in GigSweatTM when I left. Good stuff.

Little else of interest has happened this week; and besides, this post is quite long enough already.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Lazy Blog, Lazy Blog, Does Whatever A Lazy Blog...

A little over a week ago, the infamous Jeff “Stupid Sexy Ghetto Blasta” McDeath emailed me wanting to know how my Warhammer GT weekend went. So I told him.
And now, despite the fact that I said I wouldn’t, I am reproducing this email detailing my less-than heroic escapades of two weekends ago below. If this makes me an Arnold J Rimmer wannabe, then slap and H to my face and call me a smeghead. It’s my blog and I’ll post what I’ll like. (plus, I’m too lazy/busy to write anything original at the moment...)


What I Did At The Weekend

Or, How I Got Mashed Up In Four Games Of Warhammer.

Game 1: High Elves.

He was a cool guy, with a not very bent army. When he rolled for Intrigue at Court, it turned out that his general was the poxy little hero in the poxy little unit of Silver Helms directly opposite my dragon... Solid victory to me.

Game 2: Wood Elves.

My old boss Rich Packer's Wood Elves, to be precise. Treeman Ancient with Nettlings, another Treeman, Wildriders, Wardancers, two wizards and a battle standard bearer, and some other pointless crap... my general got killing blow'd by the Wardancers in turn two or three. The rest of the battle mostly consisted of me choking on giant gnarled Wood Elf tree-cock. Massacred.

Game 3: Dwarfs.

As we all know, the thing to do against Dwarfs is to ignore the big units with the big characters to start with, pick off all the shitty little units of Thunderers and war machines and what have you, and then surround the big units and smash them to bits with your entire army.

What I did was creep forwards tentatively, as though little people inspired some kind of special terror in me, then panicked after his first round of shooting and charged his big unit of Ironbreakers with what was left of my knights. They... (sob)... they put it in me... I felt so used... and dirty... Massacred.

Game 4: High Elves.

This was a game of Dicehammer, played on a table with just one hill in each corner and two very small forests just outside of each player's deployment zone. Here's what he had:
· 3 units of 10 archers
· 4 Bolt throwers
· 5 Shadow Warriors
· 10 Swordmasters
· 2 Lvl2 wizards with some bling
· Teclis
He deployed his army 4" onto the board and won the dice roll for first turn. Game over. I did have one tiny chance to claw some points back, when my three surviving knights charged into his unit of Swordmasters (joined by Teclis) stood right on his table edge. The knights fought like kings and cut down seven of the fairies, pretty much guaranteeing me victory just as long as Teclis didn't drink his Potion of Manliness, and then hit and wound with all three of his attacks.

Guess what happened? To add insult to injury, my dragon - which by this point was riderless, my general having long since been reduced to ash by a multitude of fireballs - was perfectly set up for a charge into what was left of Teclis and the Swordmasters next turn. But instead of winning the game for me, it failed its panic test for the knights being destroyed, and fled off the table. Massacred.

Game 5: Dwarfs.

Having learnt my lesson from game 3, I charged in and fucked up all his rubbish stuff as soon as possible - though not soon enough to prevent his cannon and 2 S7 bolt throwers from killing my chariots and taking half wounds off the dragon. Then my knights spent the entire game in combat against his Anvil of Doom (which shall henceforth be known as The Anvil of Cheating), either failing to hit, failing to wound or failing to get through all the armour and ward saves, whilst simultaneously dying. Very slowly. I didn't have enough stuff left to wallop his big unit, and had already given away too many VPs. Solid defeat.

Game 6: Chaos.

One of those dream games, where everything in your opponent's army is a bit slower and a bit shitter than everything in your army, and it can't really shoot you either. He had:
· A big scary Daemon Prince
· 2 Lvl2 Bray Shamans
· 2 units of Plaguebearers, one of 10 and one of about 20
· 3 bases of Nurglings
· 2 Beastherds, decent size
· 6 Minotaurs with great weapons, standard bearer and champion
I just ran at him and killed everything. Massacre to me.

And so I finished 102nd overall, meaning that I did slightly worse than when I was using my "fluffy" army with Warriors and a Hellcannon. The tournament rules state that either a top 40 finish or a Best Army nomination is required to qualify; and as luck would have it I won Best Army outright, so I'm through anyway (along with Rich, who finished 30-something, and Beautiful Steve, who finished 20-something with his Tomb Kings as well as getting nominated). I was awarded a funny looking trophy, which we have dubbed “The Ticklefist”.

The winning army was two Steam Tanks, two Great Cannons and a Popewagon. Apparently heat two was won by 2 steam tanks and Karl Franz, on a dragon, with the Hammer of Sigmar, and I think heat one was all about the Steam Tanks too.

Oh, and someone got DQ'd on day one for using loaded dice.


There will be (slightly) less nerdalicious content soon, I promise.