It had been a little while since the last update, so here are some things I have indeed done, and what I thought:
I've undergone a revolution in mind and body, which is to say that I've bought a Wii Fit and indeed a Wii. I may also have tripped over and bought SuperMarioGalaxyMetroidPrime3OkamiZackAndWikiNoMoreHeroes, it's not clear. The Wii Fit is more or less as you'd expect - it's a very cheery manipulator, lots of "Hi Andrew! Were you busy yesterday!" and "Aah, a little exercise before going to bed!". But then if you're a motivated self-starter, you'd just be down the gym, wouldn't you? It does well at what it does, it starts with a few simple exercises (the four main categories are Yoga, Muscle Exercises, Aerobics Exercises and Balance), and as you spend more time (literally, there's a piggy bank for the minutes you're at it) it unlocks more and more exercises/games, and more reps for the ones you have. Also it has the obvious properties of exercise - the more you do the better you become, and stuff which nearly kills you one day (for example the pushups, which your hands are too far together for) goes by fairly easily after a day's rest and a retry.
Thanks to tigerpig, I got a ticket to go see Neil Gaiman give a talk about digital rights. Things he talked about:
Specifically, he was arguing in favour of piracy wrt books - he made a point of asking who here had found a favourite author by having a book pressed on them by a friend or picking one up in a library, as opposed to going into a bookstore cold and buying one. I'm actually in the second category more than the first, but I wasn't surprised to be in the minority.
How in his lifetime it has become impossible to read all of sci-fi/fantasy/most genres, and how obscurity is a much greater worry than piracy, both for him and for upcoming writers.
An experiment in allowing downloads of American Gods, and the salutary effect it had on books sales across his oeuvre.
A conversation he'd had with Douglas Adams 15 years previously about the rise of e-books and how a book's saving grace is that nothing does what it does as well as it.
How himself and Terry Pratchett and a few dozen other authors have the same problem - people will queue for hours at a signing, way past the point where anyone involved is having fun. He's cutting out signings now in favour of presigning the hot new book and having a Q&A section.
And of course quite a bit about how wonderful and well-loved he was.
Oh! And before, we went to a lovely French restaurant just off Clerkenwell Green called Passage Cafe, which was dead cheap and lovely and we were the only people in it. So if that's at all handy to you, try it out!
I did the 100km one from last November again, all in one day. This meant leaving the bike in Waterloo after work on Friday, then getting up at ridiculous o'clock on Saturday to pick it up and take it out to Twickenham for first light (7.40ish). This provides many excellent sights, including mist on the Thames, and a particularly lovely shot of the new sun filtering through trees, as well as othe views of who's up that early as I sail up through Kensington. As the route is a loop, I could have started anywhere, but I liked the idea of finishing in the Parks - Richmond and Hampton Court/Bushy, both of them pretty sizable. I think I must have blocked out of my mind the actual traversal of the parks from last time - this was better in that I wasn't having to block my front light with the directions in order to be able to see them, but it's still a grind at that point, and a long featureless one at that. In the end it was 8 hours 20 more or less, two hours off the previous time, some of that due to familiarity with the route. If I had it to do over again (and I don't think I'll do it again without company) I'd probably start at London Bridge - not only would stashing my bike be easier, but getting the long hill in Richmond Park out of the way in the first half would probably be a good idea, albeit at the expense of going up Greenwich Hill at about the same point in the route. Also it would have had a definite advantage that day - I could have just nipped into work to shower, and headed over to the Royal Oak to catch up with pub crawl. Which, yes, ow. I really didn't do much that Sunday.
Out again to the excellent "Where is my head?" Pub quiz run by Charlie No.4 in the King's Head under the Luminaire. Emergency shuffling meant we were only a team of four: therealjo, miss_newham, hoshuteki, and me. We still came second no real thanks to me, except for a few of the tracks in the 1988-1992 indie spot-the-intro round. It was nonetheless a lot of fun. Also met funny couple James Dowdeswell and Sarah Bennetto, the latter of whom convinced me that if I was doing nothing on Friday...
And so I found myself on the train down to Brighton yesterday, for the Halloween episode of comedy club Sitting on a Rug, now rebranded Sh1tting Yourself on a Rug. It was to run from 9pm until 5.30am (when the first trains back to London leave), with many a scare along the way. I actually decided that I'd made a poor decision after a few hours, and attempted to take my sore throat home for some bedrest. Unfortunately the last trains from Brighton are even earlier than I remember (11.30? Seriously?) so I in fact treated my throat to an hour's round trip through the freezing streets of Brighton, venue to station and back. I was only able to think myself warm by comparing the people of Brighton, and what they thought appropriate to wear out in the name of Halloween. I think it's possibly the first time in quite a while that I've spent a lot of time on the streets on this magical day, and I'm impressed by the effort put in. Quite a lot of Jokers of various degree of quality, unsurprisingly. Anyway, back at the venue, and more japes. Eventually the once-packed room starts to clear as people get last buses, until eventually it transpires that I'm the only person left who's paid to attend. At about 2.15, we start on the centrepiece: Ghostwatch! I hadn't seen this ever, though I was aware of it on its one and only showing in 1992, before it was put on ice for a decade. It's very well written, and has a great technological twist that I suspect might be original to it, but the acting seems off. I think this might actually be due to the extinction in the last 16 years of the idea of normal people who don't know how to react when you point a camera at them, but it really does break the spell at times. Also, the fact that the haunted cubbyhole beneath the stairs is referred to several times as the "Gloryhole" doesn't do it any favours either. Afterwards, is a walk to a 24-hour diner and then a train to London and bed. Today's been quiet, yes.