Makes my heart pound, as if
To remind itself
Met a homeless drunk.
Bought him a bacon sandwich
And a can of beer
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone reading that I’m a pretty big fan of The Witcher. Although I’ve not read the books (I really should fix that), I love the computer games, and everything about them – the setting, the characters, the shades of grey in the decisions you have to make. And Triss Merrigold is pretty much my perfect woman. But I digress…
Anyway, my friend Nathan is also a massive Witcher fanboy. In fact way moreso than me. One of the reasons I love this guy is the fact that when he gets into something, he doesn’t do it by halves. Literally everything related to his current subject of focus must be obtained, devoured, investigated, learned, lived. That level of enthusiasm is completely energising to be around, and in all honesty, it’s helped me through many a rough patch over the past three years. Nathan’s enthusiasm is infectious, and I find myself more excited about anime, more interested in manga, more addicted to videogames than ever before, simply by hanging around with him. The world needs more people like this.
It was my birthday recently, and Nathan made me the most awesome gift. A “Witcher Starter Set”. It comprises a Witcher’s medallion, two Witcher’s potions (swallow and tawny owl) and bag full of orens. The medallion was purchased, but the rest were hand crafted. The wax seals on the potions are so well done, the whole thing is great. Nathan told me “the potions are technically drinkable, but it’s probably best if you don’t.”
These are EXACTLY the sorts of gifts I love to receive, and I’ve already had comments today about how much happier I seem than normal. Check out the picture below (taken at work, I’ll try and get some better photos when I get home)
I even received my first contract: hunt and kill the twisted “Gove” which has been skulking around Westminster!
Remember that time
I sent you flowers from
Half a world away?
Spend all day writing
Code which fails. Meet up with friends.
Then you fix the bugs
Yes, I had spent pretty much all damn day trying to modify a program to map two separate joystick devices to one virtual device so that I could play a game. Just one game. The code was almost there but it wasn’t working properly – it was combining the devices, but the axes were barely reading. I was about to give it all up as a lost cause, and then I went to see a few friends. When I got back at 2:00 am I decided not to go to bed and instead to have another look at my code. And then the answer was staring me in the face. The joystick driver works now and I can play my game. It was literally a 5 minute fix, but I don’t think I would have even spotted it if I’d not have been around such great people.
Wake up in unfamiliar surroundings
And contemplate the journey that led me here.
Late night spontaneity taken to extremes,
Two souls crying out for something
But never certain of the nature of their desires.
Well met, and matched, and joined;
Gliding on the fragile surface tension of unfamiliarity.
A journey to places, sights, sounds and feelings
Both new and forgotten…
But what happens when we run out of roads?
Me and my father have had a bit of an odd relationship over the years. There’s been numerous reasons for it, which I’m not going to list here, and blame lies on both sides. However, over the last year or so we’ve both been making more of an effort to build bridges over all the bad blood which has flowed in the past.
And honestly, things are pretty awesome at the moment. Yesterday I did something which, had you asked about two years ago, I’d have categorically said “That will never happen” – I sat with my dad and watched the F.A. Cup Final.
I despise football (that’s soccer to all you merkins), and I always have. I hate the showboating of the players. I don’t understand the rules. I find it boring. I don’t understand the attraction. I just find it boring. My dad loves football. He also hates the showboating. He understands the rules because he used to play semi-professionally. Obviously he doesn’t find it boring.
So we had the hatred of showboating in common. But then I realised there was something more. The two teams playing were Arsenal and Hull City. Hull city were absolute underdogs, and Arsenal are supposedly one of the best teams in the country. My dad is a Tottenham Hotspur (“Spurs”) supporter, so naturally hates Arsenal (“The Gunners”) – Spurs and The Gunners are rival London teams, see. I have a natural penchant for always rooting for the underdog, and so we had a second common point of interest.
So imagine our elation when mere minutes into the game, Hull City smashed one into the back of the net. A few minutes later they sent another one in. We were less than ten minutes into the game and “our” team was already 2-0 up. Of course, dad and I were cheering and discussing what the Gunners were doing wrong. I went along with Dad’s suggestions, as I had no real clue about what ANYONE was doing, right or wrong.
The game went into extra time, due to Arsenal gradually clawing back to equalise over the remaining 80 minutes of the game. It looked as if the match would go on to penalties, but Arsenal managed to knock another one in late into the second half of extra time, and that was that. Still, Hull gave them a run for their money.
Dad and I caught up on bits and bobs, and then he showed me a bunch of books which he had found which I might be interested in. Including some cold war thrillers, some books I vaguely remember from my childhood, and some German school books which he originally learned from. He then gave me a lift home.
All in all, it was probably the best Saturday I’ve had in a long time. Thanks Dad.