KHAAAAAAAAAAN!   Leave a comment


Saturday began with Civilization 5. It then continued with Civilization 5 for quite some time. Eventually I had to get up and get ready, though, because I was going shopping.

Before Saturday I hadn’t bought any clothes for quite a long time, so many of the ones I wore regularly were starting to get a bit tatty (and neither the clothes, nor the pool available, were helped by a lack of proper storage in my house). Also, losing weight had meant that many of them were now too large; I’d needed a belt to stay in 36″ waist jeans for quite a while, but it was starting to get silly. Never mind the 38″ pair I’d bought by accident a few years ago.

By happy coincidence, my mother had a 20% off voucher for Matalan, so that is where we headed on Saturday afternoon; Mum wandered off to find what she wanted, whilst I went to try and remember how one decided which clothes one should buy.

I’m not good at choosing clothes. They are, to my mind, purely utilitarian items, and society has reached the point where any available will fulfil my requirements (keep me warm, dry, and unarrested). I don’t really see why it’s necessary to produce more than one type for each set of weather conditions you’re likely to face. Despite this, clothing manufacturers insist on producing a variety of functionally-identical styles, and then making them available in a number of colours, so one must, alas, choose.

Colours aren’t too bad; I understand a little basic colour theory from painting toy soldiers. Colours adjacent on the colour wheel are fine; those that are opposite you should be careful with. Straightforward enough. But styles… I don’t get style at all. I don’t understand which are “good” or “bad” or “stylish” or “fashionable” (I’m not a dedicated follower), and if the only difference is appearance then, well, that’s no difference at all. Happily, there are others; I hate things being tight around my neck, so V- and polo-necks are better than, er, whatever you call necks that aren’t V- or polo-.

But jeans… Gosh. It turns out that, much like you can’t just buy a cup of coffee any more, you can’t just buy jeans either; you must buy regular jeans, or straight-cut jeans, or relaxed jeans, or even stretch denim jeans. I would have thought that “stretch denim” was an oxymoron, denim being intended as a fairly stiff, hardwearing material, but there you go. Oxymoronicity aside, they sounded like a good idea, but testing revealed that they’re surprisingly uncomfortable. “Straight-cut” sounded silly, because humans are all sorts of bendy and lumpy, so I didn’t bother with them. I presumed that “regular” are the Americano of the jeans world, and “relaxed” seem to do exactly what jeans have always done on me, so that decided that. For some reason the “regular” pair were the most expensive.

Overall, I don’t think I did too badly. I’m not sure about one of the shirts, in the cold light of day; it looked fine in the funny-coloured light of Matalan, but in retrospect might be a bit OTT. Still, they only seemed to sell patterned shirts, rather than plain ones, and I tend to consider all patterned shirts OTT, so it might be fine. I don’t really like my clothes to make me stand out or be noticable; they’re camouflage. I want them to be as unremarkable as possible.

Anyway, Matalan was pillaged (to the tune of £100 before the voucher, which sounds like a lot of clothes to me), so we moved on to Asda. Which was much more up my street (I like and understand food), and once more I was being overly excited about visiting a supermarket. I know. Anyway, many goodies, bargains and Chrimblemas things were bought, and I decided to take advantage of my newly-expanded calorie limit by grabbing some sausage rolls and mini chocolate doughnuts. Mmm, tasty goodies.

But by far the best things I bought were a new pair of slippers and a hot water bottle. Yes.

It wound up that I’d spent more than I was expecting. And, when I got home and checked, that my credit card was fuller than I’d thought. If my sums were right I’d gone over my credit limit by eighty pence*! So I threw some money at the card, hoping that it would get there in time to stave off a £16 charge. Getting charged £16 for the sake of 80p would be annoying.

The evening was finished off with a tasty baked mackerel dinner (I don’t know how long you should bake mackerel for, but anyone who says it should be baked for a different amount of time than I gave it is wrong with a capital R. It was brilliant. Hurrah!) and then I played Civilization 5 until it was way past my bed time. The game showed up the best in the AI – the French were doing quite well, and I’ll have to keep an eye on them – but, sadly, also the worst. Genghis Khan declared war on me. This is bad not only because I find “Genghis” very hard to spell, but because we’d been living side by side, the whole continent to ourselves and a few city states, fairly peacefully. We’d been trading happily, and yes, we’d had three wars in the past (I only started one of those, to capture a settler, but didn’t take any of his cities or anything in the peace deal), but I thought those days were behind us. Yes, my army was smaller than his, but he was bringing up trebuchets whilst I was researching artillery. His Mongol horsemen were no real threat to my cavalry and riflemen. I could out-produce him easily.
And, like I said, we were alone on the continent. Why? Because the other civilizations on it had declared war on me, and I had wiped them out.
It was a shame, because research pacts are useful and corpses don’t conduct diplomacy, but this time I couldn’t be bothered to put up with him any longer. There would be no peace in his time.

The AI really should notice when the limiting factor of their annihilation is the unhappiness caused by razing their cities to the ground.

* They weren’t. Turns out there was another £10 I’d forgotten about that hadn’t shown up yet.


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