Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The big-footed lady who doesn't like science fiction

Conversation overheard yesterday between two elderly ladies browsing the paperbacks in a charity shop:

Lady 1 - (accidentally kicks chair)
Lady 2 - Are you OK?
Lady 1 - Yes, it's just my big feet.
Lady 2 - Did you find what you were looking for?
Lady 1 - Well I can see "S".
Lady 2 - That's Crime.
Lady 1 - Who?
Lady 2 - No, Science Fiction.
Lady 1 - Who?
Lady 2 - Science Fiction.
Lady 1 - Oh.
Lady 2 - Is that what you want?
Lady 1 - (Aghast) No thank you. (Pause). Anything but.

- The end -

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mah Jong humiliation

Last night Julie and I played a short session of Mah Jong. Within two hands, she had scored over 2000 points, and I was on just 96.

In the first hand, she scored for 'fishing the eyes' which is where you blind draw the exact tile you need to go Mah Jong by completing your pair. Not only that, but it was a pair of white dragons so was worth even more.

In the second hand alone she scored 2112 points. It was a superb winning hand with all major tiles including a pair of South Winds, and no Chows. The base score of the hand was only 66, but it was doubled 5 times.

Overall it would be fair to say I got the biggest thrashing I have ever received in any game ever.

If there is anyone reading this, what's the highest you have ever scored in a single Mah Jong hand?

If you don't play Mah Jong, I would heartily recommend it. It's arcane, physical, contains more than average randomness, and looks great.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Real fear

This is going to sound unbelievable but it is true.

The thought of travelling in an uncomfortable enclosed space to the other side of the world without a book to read terrifies me more than the risk of being blown up by a bottle of lucozade. I am really hoping things settle down by October when we are scheduled to be flying to New Zealand.

If a paperback really is a security threat, I would urge airlines to bring on board a selection of books and magazines for passengers to use. Anything less would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

The whole episode further reinforces my resolve to travel by train everywhere possible from now on, even if it takes days. This is mainly for environmental reasons, but increasingly it is also for convenience and comfort. We are planning to go to northern Sweden at Christmas and we intend to take trains all the way, probably via Paris, Hamburg and Stockholm.