Friday, 14 February 2014
I would love to be playing games with you this evening. Tidying the kitchen and buying pringles, popcorn, skittles and all the rest of it whilst you're at work, and then settling down with the radio on to destroy each other(!) I know instead we are going to have a nightmarish evening with the house invaded by two manically yapping dogs and my mother being quietly, endearingly awkward somewhere. I'm sorry. I'm sorry this has been every Valentine's Day, because my mother's birthday is 15/02 and spending that time with her is very important to me.
Know that I will be mentally playing board games with you. Do please text me your reciprocating moves on occasion - luckily we are both capable of doing so while Midsomer Murders blares in the background and we both feign interest.
This is what I am dreaming of playing with you tonight:
Hive. I love playing this fast-action, complete strategy game with you. I love that it was one of our first ever games and led us into this fantastic hobby. I love seeing your face wrinkle with confusion when I play the Queen early, and I love how you trap my moves until I can only admit defeat. I'm white, my spider has been placed first.
Space Hulk: Death Angel Card Game. We're both sci-fi (and yes, I will always pronounce this wrong, forever - there's a promise) nerds at heart, and working together to battle horrible genestealers (aliens) sounds like some excellent Valentine's fun. Maybe Brother Claudio and Brother Leon will go down at the last possible moment, maybe we'll escape. Either way, let's get trapped in a spaceship together.
3. Confusion. For every time I've driven us in the wrong direction, not seen the correct exit and completely missed something very important (a road sign, traffic lights, potholes...) we have Confusion. This game that highlights my
4. Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. We save it for special occasions, limit our play due to the lack of cases (and that they won't publish the French expansions in English..) but I would love for today to be special. Sat with glasses of wine, debating furiously about how many more places we can visit before Sherlock Holmes whops our rather rubbish arses completely. He'll win anyway, let's have the satisfaction of a case well-solved.
5. Dominion. Darling, I know this may not be your cup of tea for tonight, I know it burns you out, but I promise I won't combo too hard and I'll let you have all the Duchies.. And hey, if you do burn out and no longer fancy more games then perhaps it's time to relax and find something else to do.
With love, and apologies,
Thursday, 23 January 2014
February is an expensive month for me. At the start is a good friend's birthday and then within two weeks I have: Valentine's Day, my mother's birthday, my fiance's birthday, my mother-in-law's birthday and fiance's nephew's birthday. Also at this point is my mother and father-in-law's anniversary and in the two weeks following there is my brother-in-law's birthday, another good friend's birthday and our own anniversary. It's nearly as horrible as Christmas and I rarely manage to save up as well. Nevertheless, a lot of those could be catered for in one shop - a really good geeky gift shop.
Cardiff doesn't have one. It has a Forbidden Planet and the fab Comic Guru (who I love, but it rarely has the cool stuff I'd like to buy.) Firstly neither are gift shops - they are comic book shops that also sell some geek related merchandise. They are both small shops, with grimy poster-ridden exteriors and swap between gloomy and eye-hurting strip light interiors. Neither could be called particularly welcoming, despite generally having lovely staff, they are "serious geek territory" - enter at your own risk.
I would love if there was a gift shop - rather than a comic book shop - hidden away somewhere in the arcades. Somewhere welcoming with their door open (not with a badly sellotaped scrap of paper demanding the door is kept shut) and warm lighting. Somewhere you could walk around the display units (wooden, not finger print covered plastic) and see all the items.
And of course what items there are would be the important thing. Here's my quick idea of the items stocked in my dream gift shop (of course a lot of these probably don't actually exist..)
Actual from show merchandise:
Lakeland range of items for Doctor Who including Tardis teapots, and Dalek cookie cutters? Aprons that dress you like favourite characters, salt and pepper pots in the shapes of your favourite monsters, TV dinner trays with beautiful images from the show, glass chopping boards with logos etched into them, Star Trek Enterprise bottle openers and pizza cutters.
Stationary and office stuff:
Hundreds of pens with slogans and lovely artwork and more subtle ones you canrevealing your inner geek - plain black pens with the Deathly Hallows symbol on, for example. Notebooks with glossy "from the movie" covers, but also retro styling and hand drawn versions. Mouse mats, the Arc Reactor from Iron Man as a USB stick, novelty USB hubs (Tardis, robots), rocket shaped post it notes, calendars, address books, diaries, laptop cases, phone and tablet covers..
all to see. Plus there is so much cool stuff; I'm still gutted that Harlequin Goldsmiths (who produced Doctor Who themed sterling silver and gold-plated earrings and necklaces) has gone into receivership. However there's loads of other stuff: Minecraft Diamond Pickaxe Pendant, Final Fantasy necklaces, Wolverine dog tags, Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter) pendant, Arwen's Evenstar earrings from Lord of the Rings, Game Controller cufflinks.
Whilst most cool geek stuff is going to appeal to children as much as it does to Superman: I Can Read series (or Green Lantern, or Spiderman should you prefer..) on the shelves would be lovely. Add in the Marvel Colouring Book, Marvel Sticker Book, a toy Batcave, pencil cases, Lego Minifigures and sets (e.g. this fab Indiana Jones one), Minecraft merchandise like this Light Up Torch.
Firefly: The Game where you roam around space completing goals, to awesome miniature games Star Wars: X Wing and Star Trek: Attack Wing. Of course if battling in space with awesome ships isn't your thing then there's a game where you all have to work together as Marvel superheroes in Legendary - and if you don't like Marvel then there is also the DC Comic Deck-Building Game. If you'd prefer high fantasy then there are several great Terry Pratchett games out (Discworld: Ankh Morpork and The Witches) as well as many games based on the Tolkien licenses.
wrapping paper would also be available to buy for those who'd prefer to wrap at home. I love some of the wrapping paper that is already available such as these Cybermen (Doctor Who) sheets (I love the stylish nature of the BBC Shop wraps), this Lego Star Wars sheet, and this Super Mario Bros wrapping paper.
And for now that's it! What would you include in your dream geek gift store?
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
Last week I turned 22. I'm practically still in the womb compared to some of my closest friends and colleagues.
And yet I've been nagged by a phrase today. A nasty little creature has been on my shoulder muttering. It's been muttering that I'm getting old.
It started last night, when I sat down to write a shopping list before going to bed. Firstly that level of organisation is rare for me - normally I'll go in for eggs and come out with a newspaper. Secondly the list of items was so mundane that reading it for a second time made me age twenty years: black bags, toilet roll, kitchen roll, toothpaste, milk.
The creature visited me again this morning - I woke my fiancé up simply to ask him to put the clothes I'd put on to wash in the tumble when he got up as I'd be on my way to work. (Okay, maybe I'm confusing increased organisational skills with aging..)
Driving to pick up my fiance from work I saw two teenagers clinging to each other against the wall, groins moving in tandem. The monster giggled and suddenly I was thinking of how cold and uncomfortable it must be, how nice a bed with clean sheets was. I was getting old and they didn't care - to them it was an exciting stolen time never to be forgotten.
And this evening, the creature left. He left because I realised I needed to take responsibility for looking after my mother, all over again just like I did when I was a child. He left because I understood that getting old doesn't mean I know how to solve problems, it just means I have to keep trying until I succeed. And really, that's something I should have remembered from being a child.
Monday, 13 January 2014
I've been with my fiancé, @gabundy, just under three years. The year before that I was on a depression-fuelled kick of self destruction where anybody was fair game, life was for sleeping until 6pm and staying up until late morning and tears were my showers - I was attempting to deal with a nasty illness diagnosis. I didn't deal with it very well. Luckily things changed, I met Gareth and he turned my world around (well more literally: he moved my world to Wales, which worked beautifully.) and I settled back down to being a less extreme human being.
Munchkin, Hive - one a silly, fun, fast card fest and the other a two-player strategy game where you try to surround your opponent's queen bee. That was enough - it widened our eyes, and we were hooked. It's been a busy couple of years and it's now weird to think of a time firstly and foremostly without Gareth, and secondly without games. Things have changed now: the days where we don't play a game are the unusual ones, I work at that very shop we bought those first few tantalising steps into the hobby, our friends now know games that haven't been produced by Hasbro by name.
I am very grateful for this.
I am grateful for the constant distraction, the mental stability it helps provide me when I still struggle with negative moments - the psychological satisfaction of doing something productive (the end of Agricola: looking over your board and seeing the farm you painstakingly created), the assurance of social contact (the Resistance: are you lying to me, am I lying to you? We don't know, but let's work together and find that spy..), time away from the digital world (which I desperately need as it harms my eyesight, but like everyone else it's hard to pull myself away from twitter, just in case @WaterstonesOxfordSt is funny again.), the mental training of heavy strategy (Mage Knight: is fighting rampaging Orcs but getting wounded the best option for me?) after my mind feeling dead from not being able to read for two years is amazing.
Playing games is fun. The best bit is that playing games is more than fun, it's a way of life for me and one of the many ways I keep my sanity track from dropping down to zero. It's a little bit of sparkle and sometimes she-goats need tinsel wound around their horns.
Friday, 10 January 2014
|Dan Starkey, Neve McIntosh and Catrin Stewart film in The Maltings.|
Intriguingly a blink-and-you-miss-him character from the 2012 Christmas Prequel, Vastra Investigates, was also at filming that day. All information about this character is courtesy of the encyclopaedic knowledge and memory of @Ruther2. Paul Hickey played Inspector Gregson of Scotland Yard, and it looks as though this likely to be the case again - he was in similar clothes, and there were many uniformed policemen on set.
|Inspector Gregson in Vastra Investigates|
|The mysterious alien gadget.|
|The lovely Neve McIntosh waves goodbye. |
She is quite possibly my favourite actor in
Doctor Who - always friendly, even
after the slog of filming. Cheers Neve!
For larger pictures just click on the image you would like to view and a slideshow will open.
Wednesday, 25 December 2013
|Gareth's stocking for me. I'm a lucky girl!|
(without the tea, because I was already drinking it!)
Anyway - Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you've all got past the rush of the presents (and the breakfast of Buck's Fizz..), the grumpiness of standing in the boiling kitchen wondering why something just won't boil, and the traditional arguments and are now sitting in a warm fug in front of the telly contemplating why anybody needs dessert after that massive meal (yet knowing it's compulsory for good reason - it's bloody lovely.)
This year has made me more set in my desire to have children early. An adult Christmas full of booze and relaxation is glorious, but lacks magic. I see photos all over Facebook and twitter of rooms filled from Santa's sack and the faces of nieces and nephews beaming. I can't wait for that in our house. However the few solely adult years are great in their own ways - it's been great fun to do the stocking challenge we set for ourselves, and treat ourselves to more generous gifts than we normally would choose to.
|My stocking for Gareth.|
Here are the results of our stocking challenge (the names are the person that gave the present):
Something for £1 or under:
Aimee: a "hit die" (a di(c)e with different body parts on it) and various massage tokens.
Gareth: a miniature wheelie bin (because I constantly moan about the fact the council owes us two bins.)
Aimee: a pack of cards covered in gold foil.
Gareth: A welsh dragon keyring, a badge with English and Welsh flags (seeing as I am now half-Welsh apparently) and some lovely glittery nail polishes.
You want but is disguised as a gift for other person:
Aimee: massage oils
Gareth: The Matrix Blu-Ray box set
That reminds me of you:
Aimee: a toy frog with long legs (an in-joke)
Gareth: a book of WW1 poetry (my favourite literary period)
Aimee: a notebook with photos of family, friends and events from the past year cut out and pasted all over it.
Gareth: a certificate saying he is mine forever. (This is a useful confirmation prior to getting married!)
Aimee: The Eternity Clock PS3 Game
Gareth: a cuddly toy bear with an awesome hat.
Aimee: white chocolate fudge covered pretzels
Gareth: tea leaves, a tea diffuser and a posh tea cup.
To do together:
Aimee: Gormenghast: the board game.
Gareth: Doctor Who puzzle.
Aimee: A magnet saying "Keep Calm Cameron's in Charge!!!"
Gareth: Thorntons chocolates (which I think taste really plastic-y), a Justin Bieber calendar and One Direction tissues. (Yes, I think he went a little overboard on this category.)
Aimee: a Dominion Board (for the board game Dominion)
Gareth: a little book of Cocktail tips (epic!)
All in all I really enjoyed buying presents from a list, and if it's interested you then I recommend trying it next year. It curbed my habit of impulse-buying everything cool I see, and it meant I paid more attention to what I did get. It also meant I could spend more money on his main present (a Last Exit to Nowhere hoodie and loads of cool geeky t-shirts) - which I think is much nicer than loads of random tat.
Saturday, 7 December 2013
As much as I applaud anybody who goes for a run at 6am in the complete dark and freezing cold please, please employ some road sense: wear high visibility; black running clothes, like this woman was wearing, mean you do not stand out. And if there is a safe place for you to run (like the pavement for example..) please use it, rather than presuming that you won't see cars because it's a quiet time of day or you will have time to act if one does come screaming past. If I hadn't been driving slowly, then potentially today could have been a far scarier experience. I admit, I am possibly over-reacting but I'm sitting here with all the "what could have been"s running through my head, and it makes me so anxious.
Please take care of yourselves. Take a few extra seconds to think about what you are doing and improve your safety.