Mar 4, 2021: To Boldly Go “Hello Cutie Pie”

Our current binge show is Star Trek Discovery, which has its nay-sayers and its yay-sayers. I like it. I haven’t had a problem with it at all. I probably could if I looked hard enough, but I can’t be arsed with all that crap, and the pressures of having to post all about it on the internet and complain about how fans have been cheated or blah blah blah whatever.

So we’re watching Discovery from the start. I’ve seen the first two seasons, but I’m enjoying them all over again through the eyes of Carole who is watching but working things out as she goes. “She’s a bitch,” she says of Detmer. Something to do with her eyebrows. Possibly that, from episode 3 onwards, she only has the one. I don’t know. She’s a bitch though. We’ve also had a lot of branding people evil. Or that there’s more to people than is being let on. Quite astutely, too. She picked up on stuff that I didn’t pick up on when I watched it. Whereas I’m watching it now, the second time round, hearing them say things or seeing them do things and in my head I’m screaming about how obvious it was or how beautifully a throwaway line had more meaning further down the road.

I’m enjoying it.

I’m enjoying Carole’s reactions to things happening. When the thing happened in season one, you know the thing in sickbay, she shot forward to the edge of her seat. It was a beautiful thing to watch happen, to be honest. If I wasn’t genuinely enjoying rewatching it, I’d still be enjoying Carole’s occasional freak-outs.

When we made it to Season 2, Captain Pike came along. A fifty minute, ish, episode starting with Carole deciding she didn’t like Captain Pike at all, and that mood shifting somewhere towards not long afterwards when he starts making with the funnies.

But all that is as nothing to her setting back the march of feminism. She keeps saying she really enjoys the female-heavy cast. The bridge is very female heavy compared to earlier (but chronologically later) Treks where they banished the women off to be short skirt wearers in the original series and just those two parts in TNG once they killed off Tasha Yarr with the tar monster thing.

Also, one of the women is Tilly and she’s an absolute fricking legend.

Carole, however, is lamenting the lack of eye candy on her part. There’s no-one. There have been people. But they’ve gone. They’ve left her.

She is without the occular stimulation of a nice hottie, as she likes to call them.

Mar 3, 2021: More Games, More Wins?

A double header of gaming today, almost taking us back to the game-a-day plan from the start of the week.

We started with Isle Of Cats which we have brought out of the digital world and into the physical realm by actually buying a copy. And this, initially, is what we learnt. It’s great as a physical version because the tiles don’t fit together very well on the digital one, and you end up having to pick up pieces and try and adjust pixel wide overlaps to get things to lay flat.

BUT you don’t have to get all the pieces out and faff around with it all in a digital game, and that’s quite good.

Still we loved playing it. I’d have loved it more if I’d won. I genuinely thought I might have snuck in and done it as I had a good selection of bonus cards up my sleeve (or, more correctly, laid out on the table in front of me). But, and here’s the kicker, while I was doing that Carole was casually using chaos to lay cats in her boat and built up a family of eight yellow cats. My largest family was five, I think, and I’d laid all my tiles neatly and beautifully tessellated, because I could with it being real and not digital. And because of that I lost.

Part of the game comes from filling up rooms on a ship, with cats. The neat approach, while great, means you cover up more squares – probably – but less rooms – definitely. Carole cunningly bypassed the hallway room, the large space which runs around every room, using it as a crossing point to access other rooms and fill those up. All the gaps she’d left drove me mad from a neatness point of view, but she bloody smashed it when it came to putting cats in rooms. My neatness was my undoing. That’s what I’m going with. My neatness and, if I’m honest, the placement – and colour choice – of my first cat was my undoing. I was so busy thinking I could that I didn’t, as they say, stop to think if I should. And I shouldn’t. Definitely. It cost me the game. Simple as that. Bastard cat.

Then we moved on to Tiny Towns. A glorious little game of cube drafting and building building. And, as seemingly thematic for this week so far, it involved fitting things onto a grid.

Tiny Towns is one of those games where you think you know what you’re doing and then you put one cube in the wrong place and fuck everything up. I did it once, and lost. Carole did it once and lost. The worst part about it is that you don’t realise your cube is in the wrong place when you put it down. You could make adjustments then, usually. You can adapt your plan. Build something else that would fit what you have available, centred on that cube. No, you realise way down the line when you’re two or three cubes into a construction, that what you’re doing is absolute unadulterated horseshit. But you can’t do anything except cry and scream about it. Or silently whimper. That’s what I did. I pretended nothing was wrong whereas everything was wrong. I also had a swanky card which allowed me to build the same buildings as my opponent, if she chose to build them, for free. She didn’t choose to build them. But did choose to build the other ones I hadn’t picked but absolutely meant to.

It did not go well.

I managed to squeeze one win out of the three games we played today. That’s not particularly good, to be honest. I wanted to play Die Hard as well, because it’s my turn to be John McClane and he’s obviously gonna win (and by extension, so would I), but we ran out of time.

Conveniently?

Who can say?

Mar 2, 2021: Tipping Point

We took some things to the tip today, emptying out the shed of all the things we’ve stashed in the shed hoping that the shed fairies will take care of them.

Having a new car, with a larger boot is magnificent for going to the tip, it turns out. But now amounts of stuff that would have filled our old car just rattle around in the new one, barely taking up any space. But then there’s also the thing where we really don’t want to put anything dirty in the car because it’s still lovely and clean at the moment and we care about it – the old one was the opposite. In fact, before we traded it in and I was taking stuff (mainly coats and hundreds of pairs of shoes) out of it, I also removed a branch which had been in there since a prior tip trip and we’d never done anything about it.

You won’t get that sort of nonsense with this new car.

We’ll be cleaning everything before it goes in there. There’s a piece of downpipe in the shed left over from the absolute abomination of a con-job bathroom fitting. It’s been there for ages. It’s filthy. It needs throwing away. It has, as yet, not been thrown away. It can’t be thrown away until we have enough stuff – which we probably do in the loft – to nestle the filthy pipe away from any of the car’s interior furnishings.

I’m fairly sure, even without asking, that we will never been doing any kind of garden waste run. Everything we throw away will be bagged and boxed and cleaner, potentially, when it’s binned than when it first came into our lives. Such is the power of the car.

It wasn’t even a ball-ache to sit outside the tip for nearly three-quarters of an hour either. And even if I’d thought it was, I certainly couldn’t say anything as Carole spent quite a long time outside it yesterday afternoon, only for them to close the gates when she was about four cars from the front of the queue and – let me tell you – she was not a happy bunny about that. At all.

And that was only partly because the rubbish we’d loaded the car up with was some of the best travelled in the world. We filled (or would have filled if it was the old car) the car in the morning and then come the afternoon, Carole got itchy feet and needed to go and look for plants for the garden. With a car full of crap she tried to drop off at the tip several times before her fateful turning away after which she came home angry and everything was super fun.

No board games today, though.

The tip was excitement enough!

Mar 1, 2021: Patchy At Best

Back to the board games, huzzah.

Patchwork this time. Get polyominos. Fit them on a board. Try not to have a negative score like you always get. Don’t cry.

That’s patchwork.

It’s a good game. It’s a simple game. It’s very easy to teach, learn and play. I do not find it easy to win. Or even get a positive score. Before today, I had not achieved anything above zero, I don’t think. I mentioned how hard it was to get a non-negative score during our gaming with Nik and Daniel last week and they both shot me down saying it was easy to achieve.

Well, it’s not. I don’t care what they say. It’s hard to get a positive score. It’s soul-destroying looking at the unfilled squares on your board which essentially mock you for all the poor decisions you’ve made during the game. Pissing things.

Anyway, I managed to get a positive score. Yaay. And a decent one at that. Like a good positive. Not just nudging into the pluses, it was double digits. The best score I have ever had, and the best score I will ever get. There will never be a greater moment than this. This is the peak of it all. Nothing can surpass it.

Then we played again and it was back to the negatives.

It’s such a fickle game.

I hate it.

But I don’t hate it. I hate that I can’t do it, especially when I play games – all sorts of games – and that’s my thing. And this is essentially Tetris if you had to pay for the pieces with buttons, and I just can’t do it. I can’t even manage to be the first person with a 7 by 7 filled square. Every time I’m one piece away from getting it, Carole casually sweeps in and snatches it from me. I should be able to play this thing. Maybe I think about it too deeply. Maybe I’m looking too many moves ahead and I should be focusing on the pieces in front of me.

Or maybe I’m just rubbish at it and destined never to win. Apart from that one time tonight, but that won’t happen again anytime ever. I knew from the first turn of our second game (i.e. the one after I won) that I was on a downhill slide. The first turn. I knew as soon as I made my move and Carole made hers that it was all over.

And yet the game before I was like a machine.

Calculating. Making quick moves. Decisive moves.

I guess we’ll have to go with possession. But even if that was the case, it was my body that did the playing. So that win still counts.

Feb 28, 2021: Coming Unstuck

Well, the plan for a game a day has gone a little bit off the rails today as we haven’t managed to get anything played.

It’s been quite a busy day, all told, with a trip to my mum’s this morning to do a huge list of jobs that she’s managed to rack up in the past couple of weeks since we last saw her.

These ranged in complexity from “get a peg off the washing line” to “break into the summerhouse”.

Getting the peg off was easy. Checking all her pens to see if they were black or blue – suddenly a priority because of, when asked, “POSTAL VOTING!” – was a doddle. Showing her where the rest of the crosswords were on her Kindle, piece of cake.

Breaking into the summerhouse, less so.

Basically, the summerhouse is a victim of wood warping from a variety of different weathers and the subsidence and general decay of the bit of decking that it’s standing on. While mum had the majority of the decking replaced a few years ago, in quite a slip-shod fashion if truth be told, the bit the summerhouse is on is very much the OG wood. Which means it’s potentially going to disappear into the ground at any given moment as the decking beneath it gives way like a sinkhole.

What also compounds the difficulties of breaking into the summerhouse is my dad’s sudden need to put bolts into everything to make things harder to open for ne’er-do-wells, criminal elements and sons who have to bodge stuff now he’s no longer around. The doors also come with metal plates around the locking mechanisms to prevent tampering and a sort of flange affair which prevents any sort of access to the catch of the door.

Which is great if they are working as they should, less so if you have to break in.

The garage door catch conked out a few years ago and I had to crowbar my way into there because there was no way I could get an implement in to push the catch back. This wasn’t quite as bad, it was just that the summerhouse is slightly bent out of shape and the doors are hideously out of alignment – something that was the case when dad was around too – but all the anti-interloper additions provide a muttering son with very few points of ingress.

It’s not even like we could have got the window open either, because he put bolts in that too. Which I did take out early last year but, with winter coming, mum helpfully put back in.

I managed it, with some gentle persuasion. And then spent some fun time chiselling away at the bottom of the door frame so that the door wouldn’t stick (it still totally sticks) as badly so at least mum could get in there if she needed to. And all the time I was wielding the chisel I was thinking back to the time when I was a kid and messed around with the tools in the garage – dad having left a chisel out – and neatly sliced a huge gash in my thumb, such was its well-maintained sharpness. Hoping this time that I wouldn’t do that – but, I suppose, this time I wasn’t just twatting about so it stood me in better stead. Also, I suspect, the prospect of nearly bisecting my thumb as a child probably puts you in good stead for not doing it again as an adult.

Still, a board game would have been nice.