Mar 22, 2021: Give Me A Clue-Niversity

Carole’s had a tough day today.

Work was mental, and then she had an OU study night tonight which nearly tipped her over the edge.

It was like the poetry module all over again.

She called me for help via about three different mediums – loud sighing, which I would have heard if I’d been in the kitchen, a text message which I didn’t see because I was nowhere near my phone, and finally the Drop In feature of the home robot lady, which I regret ever enabling.

It is my job in times of crisis, to talk her down off a ledge. To talk her down from what ever academic precipice she’s on. To reassure her that no matter how bad things look, there are still people out there who were asking if they had to answer both questions on the latest assignment when the wording clearly said “CHOOSE ONE”. This is my role in it all.

So I waxed lyrical about how, when I was at Uni, I spent ages looking through statistics books for the right source to use in the discussion of the results of my tests on Simultaneous Contrast on VDU Screens. I took her on a word journey, telling her everything that I went through. It was a rollercoaster.

I didn’t. I just said it took me ages to find the right information. Which it did. I was in a library with those shelves with the turning wheels on, like you’re locking a submarine door. There was no-one else on that floor, such was the archaic nature of the bit I was in.

That is, though, literally my only experience with any of the essay writing or source material stuff. I did a practical course, I dissolved lab books. That was my wheelhouse. I didn’t do research and write wordy pieces about revolutions or whatever else Carole is doing.

I made colours in a test tube. Dyed some materials. Stuff like that. I made a light sensitive dye and used it to transfer an imagine from a negative of Jungle Book to a piece of paper which was, I hasten to add, outside of the remit of the experiment I was doing but I wanted to see how well the dye would work with small details – we had, up until that point, just been using larger items to mask off the dye.

I’ve run out of anecdotes.

And there’s still five more years of this malarky to go.

I’m going to have to start watching films with university stuff in them, to draw on those as examples. Like that time I studied really hard for some law exams so I could win back a boy. Remember that? Those were wild times.

At least this time she didn’t throw a text book at the wall.

So I think we’re winning.

Mar 21, 2021: Wire, Wire

Carole went out to meet a friend today for a walk and to sign some paperwork for something or other.

So I am was free spirit. Free.

I could do anything I wanted to do. Anything. Anything at all. I could have run around the house naked. I could have slept all day. The world was my oyster. Within current government guidelines, of course.

Which is how I found myself spending hours and hours cleaning various bits of the house. For fun, seemingly.

It was one of those days where I made a list. A list of things I could do. But they weren’t fun things. They were mundane things but it would be nice to do them. One of those days.

Okay, I lied. One of them was a fun thing.

Carole had asked me to sort out the wires under her desk because it was an absolute shitshow down there and she kept getting tangled up in them like a dolphin in a trawler net. Some days she’d wanted to leave the office but couldn’t until she’d looked up various techniques for undoing knots, such was her wire trauma.

I’m not saying that I enjoyed doing that, but there are few things more satisfying that some tidy wires. Even if it’s just for the few moments they remain tidy before they inexplicably tangle round one another again when you’re not looking, and when you return to them to remove or replace a wire it’s a birds nest of horror.

Honestly. It was one of my happiest times from the whole of lockdown.

Wiring solutions is my jam, it turns out.

So now there’s an extension lead cable tied to the underside of the table, with the wire to the socket tied to one of the back legs. There are wire grips at the edge of the table, holding the wires in place so they don’t trap delicate legs with their evil machinations. There’s even a grip holding all the oddly specific charging wires that, no word of a lie, Carole has lost multiple times during lockdown and ordered more of each time. We are, although we do not know where they are right now, awash with charging wires which will only ever fit one particular sports watch. Such is our life now.

When I’d done it all and stepped back to admire my handiwork, my first thought was to take a picture.

Except, I don’t think the picture – if I’d taken one – was to send to Carole to show her how nice her desk was. I think the picture was for me. Just for me. I could save it in a special folder.

And in times of chaos, take five minutes to look at it and remember how calm and controlled things could be.

Mar 20, 2021: Freedom!

We’re beginning to slip free of the bounds of oppression. Or something like that, anyway.

There’s nothing like a letter – a letter, in 2021… what is this, the dark ages? – to tell you that your Sky Subscription is increasing to make you re-evaulate your televisual habits. Especially when faced with the past year at home, whether working or not. Have we, as a pair of humans with eyes, watched enough TV to justify the price?

No.

Basically.

It’s really weird. We haven’t just watched TV. We haven’t just put the TV on to see what’s on. I mean, sure, sometimes we’ll flick about and settle on a Big Bang Theory, say. But that’s on Netflix. We could watch it on there. Other than that, there’s no real flicking. I might, occassionally, enjoy a Finding Bigfoot but I can get that shit all over the internet. I need not the trappings of Sky’s weird TV packages for that.

So we think we’re going to ditch it.

It’s a scary step. We have not known a world without Sky.

I mean, we’re not losing them completely, because we’re going to scooch over to Now TV which is only Sky Does Netflix, but it’s cheaper and, in a way, more focused. And it has all the things we watch in. The only downside is that we can’t leave things festering for a year or more before we watch them. But I don’t see that being a deal-breaker.

Well, that and the fact that when mum comes to stay the TV will be a world of mystery and excitement the likes of which she is not familiar with, but that’s a bridge we can cross at that time.

So now we have to go through the weirdness of cancelling Sky. Ringing them up and saying, “Hey, we’d like to cancel please.” And them not taking “no” for an answer. “Can I ask why you want to cancel?” they’ll say. “Because we don’t feel we’re getting out money’s worth,” we’ll answer. Or because we’ve not watched anything of note throughout the whole of Lockdown that we couldn’t get from another source. Or because it’s really hard to keep up with watching things and knowing what channel they are on when Sky renames channels on a fricking whim.

And they’ll say, “will you stay if we give you free movies” or something like that.

And we’ll be like… no thanks. Because we can actually add movies to Now TV and it still be cheaper than a Sky package.

I mean, sure, I will treasure all the memories. I will treasure that time I rung up about the remote not working and they asked if I was holding it with the buttons on top and not pointing at myself. I will miss all the times the Sky box has crashed because it’s horseshit and I’ve had to fanny about pulling out and replacing a wire in a unit that was cunningly set up to hide the wires. I will miss all that shit.

But not that much…

Mar 19, 2021: Therefore I Am

Carole’s spent a good portion of the day studying existentialism.

Which is just a fancy name for bullshit, at the end of the day. Carole loves bullshit. She laps it up with gay abandon. Honestly, you make up a bullshit phrase and publish it in a book with a title about controlling your destiny and she’s all over that shit.

So I was genuinely surprised when she declared existentialism to be utter bunkum.

Especially when a lot of the things she was coming up with as examples of the complete horseshit nature of the whole subject were things that, in other fields, she can’t get enough of.

And yet here she is, dismissing the very nature of a knife always knowing its going to be a knife even when its just a lump of metal, where mere days ago she was riding on the wave of her digital tarot card (nope, I don’t know either) giving her the power to plough on through what was an absolute mountain of work that was crammed into her inbox.

Honestly, you think you’ve got a handle on how she operates and what thing she likes and dislikes and then, blammo, she tells you that existentialism is just a waste of time and energy and that everything is just bollocks for bollocks’ sake.

I’ve never been prouder of her.

Because there was a chance, going into this unit of her studies, that she was going to come out the other side of it wearing a beret and quoting Sartre to me as though the whole of human understanding had just opened up in front of her, and I would – for the rest of my days – be rolling my eyes with such alarming regularity that I may as well just have them pointing into the top of my head as standard, just to save my eye muscles the work.

And, let’s be very clear here, I do roll my eyes quite a lot as it is…

Mar 18, 2021: Gods Love Dinosaurs

Thursday night is games night. Unless it isn’t. Which it nearly wasn’t as Nik had decided we weren’t playing for some reason, and Daniel had pissed off to Vienna but forgotten to mention it. Possibly because with the various European lockdown rules, he might not have been supposed to go to Vienna… but who knows?

Anyway, play we did. Which was nice. A welcome change to the not playing of the past few weeks.

And our chosen game was Gods Love Dinosaurs. I chose it. I chose it based on an Instagram picture of a board gamer that I follow, and I decided I liked it purely because it had fun shaped meeples. And by fun shaped I mean there’s a mother-flipping dinosaur in the mix. As well as an eagle and a tiger. And some rabbits, frogs and rats for good measure.

Basically, you’re setting up an ecosystem built around a dinosaur who lives on a mountain. Build the ecosystem, breed the prey, attract predators, and coax the dinosaur down off of the mountain to nibble on some lovely tasty, satiated tigers and eagles. At which point, as well all know from the science, the dinosaur will immediately pop out an egg for every predator it’s eaten.

I mean, that’s the basic gist of it.

We watched a How To Play video of it yesterday which was, and I don’t wish to undersell this, an absolute pile of wank. It was terrible. It had no structure, no flow, nothing. Just a man, holding meeples and talking quickly. That was it. In fact, having watched the video I was less sure of how to play the game than I was having already played it (with myself) a few weeks ago to learn how it worked.

But we banished that from our minds, and had a cheeky practice game this afternoon. And practice games don’t count. Them’s the rules and all that. Which is great, because I came a stinking second to Carole. By one point. The gap between us would have been larger but Caz pointed out a move I could make on the last go which netted me some further points. I’m sure I helped her out earlier on, but that’s been forgotten about because history is written by the victors and all that, but whatever. I lost, she won. Either way we were primed and ready for our game with Nik.

Nik tried to watch several how to play videos but fell asleep during them all.

Basically, we had to play and teach him how to play (he had read the rules so knew the gist) and all before the need for an old man nap caught up with him.

And play we did. And hustled we were. I think it’s fair to say. Nik destroyed us both, despite not knowing what he was doing. Despite me having actual plans and strategies. Despite Carole making her moves really quickly for some reason. Despite all that, he beat us both.

But, as it was his first game it’s only a practice so it doesn’t count. Which is a shame. Better luck next time.

Crucially, though, I beat Carole. Quite decisively. And that does count, because we’d played before. If we took Nik out of the equation because of it only being a practice, I smashed a victory on that game.

We’re going to play it again next week, all being well, with Daniel if he’s not galivanting hither and thither. So technically, it’ll only be a practice game then, too.

But we’ll wait for the final scores before we decide that for definite.