Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas 2010

This year's Christmas was the same sort of standard affair as every other year. Go round and see various relatives, eat too much, drink too much, plenty of arguing and bickering and then all the old people fall asleep in front of the TV.

So, onto Xmas swag. I'm finding as I get older I get more and more mundane items like clothing, but I still got some cool stuff:

  •  A Samsung 24" 1080p monitor for my laptop, which is most definitely my main present. It's half for my laptop, and half for my future desktop once I get one. It's weird that for the first time I've got my most awesome present and I can't really use it for another two weeks or so. I have a desk at home, and there's nowhere I can really use it. Most of the time at home I have my laptop on the table in the kitchen and there's not really scope to use it there. Plus if I want to use a bigger screen I'll just use the HDTV in the living room. I tested it just to see that it worked and looked OK, but I'm probably not going to use it again until I get back to Cambridge :P
  • A Bialetti stove-top espresso maker. So now I won't have to put up with crappy instant coffee when I'm at university, or at home for that matter (my dad already has one but I don't really feel like I'm allowed to use it). I could have just got a percolation coffee maker thing, or one of those cartridge things, but I've used both before and I reckon you get better coffee out of a stove top, even if you're diluting it and adding milk to have a cup of coffee rather than espresso. Now all I need is a portable stove so I can use it at the IfM as well...
  • The Secret History of Codes and Code-Breaking, by Simon Singh, because his other books are good and this one sounded pretty cool. I've also gotten Stephen Fry's autobiography, which I didn't ask for, but which I'm looking forward to reading.
  • A new gel-comfort bike saddle, because the one I've currently got on my bike is ball-breakingly painful after an hour or so of riding (almost literally too) 

I've also got some chocolate and dosh, and in what has been a sort of unwritten tradition for the last eight or nine years, a Liverpool FC calendar. Oh yeah, and I got clothes (which are nice, and I'm seriously grateful for, but it's hard to really get enthusiastic about them).

I got knocked out of the Tetris champs yesterday, and in the pretty undignified form of a whitewash as well. To be fair I lost to someone who could quite possibly win the tournament overall, and I'm still coming back from a year of not playing, so I was never really going to stand much of a chance. Failure is just success rounded down.

Still, it would have been nice to have at least kept it from being 15-0. There were times when I almost scraped a few points, but ultimately Hebo was just too strong for me. I finished in the top 32 at least, so I can't be too disappointed with that. And if he wins I can claim 17th place. Mostly I'm just a bit irritated because I know that I'd worked a bit harder on my seeding I could have gotten a fair bit further into the tournament, given that the last 16 is a double elimination format, rather than single elimination.

Anyway, an hour or so after my match, my copy of Yotsuba&! Volume 9 arrived through the post, and all tetris woes were quickly forgotten. I don't think it's quite as funny as some of the past books, but it still cheered me up, and there were a couple of points that had me laughing out loud for a good thirty seconds or so, so definitely good stuff.

And onto one of the best parts of Christmas: the holiday deals! What with it still being bank holidays and stuff I've yet to visit proper shops and things (and probably won't because I hate shopping lol) but there's some cool shit online.

The first being that if you're in the UK you can get Burnout Paradise Ultimate Box FOR FREE if you click this link. I fucking love Burnout, and Burnout Paradise is awesome and the only thing that's really kept me from getting it so far is that I don't have a current-gen console and I tend not to buy games much for my laptop. But still, free is free, and when that free thing is also FUCKING AWESOME then good times are had by all.

The other thing of note so far is Steam's holiday sale. I don't quite understand how sales work when you've got digitally distributed content, and you don't actually have any physical stock to clear out, but I'm really not complaining. I just got Batman: Arkham Asylum for £3.75 - it's one of the best games of the last two or three years, and I've had pints of beer that are more expensive than that. Pretty much fucking everything on Steam is at least 25% off, and they have a huge catalogue of games. As usual, Valve are getting me to cough up money on games that I won't really find the time to play for another six months (I bought Mass Effect ages ago and still haven't played it), but fuck it, I'll buy them while they're cheap anyway. Plus it's Steam, so it's not like they're going to take up space on my hard-drives while I'm not playing them - I can just download them when I get around to playing them.

Anyway, going to try and get some solid work done for the next few days, so might not make any blog posts for a bit. Hope you guys all had a good Christmas Day and enjoy the rest of the holiday :D

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