liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
I feel amazingly lucky that I could just turn up here and slot into [personal profile] jack's social life. Thank you, Cambridge geeks, for being so welcoming to an outsider.

I went to [ profile] alextfish's games evening on Tuesday. We played Dominion (which [ profile] darcydodo had introduced me to in California), and one abstract strategy game, Blokus and one German-style game, Agricola. Blokus, like Ingenious which I was introduced to last week, is a genuinely novel variation on a theme that I would have expected to be completely played out. And I totally loved Agricola, it's satisfying in something approaching the way that the Civilization computer game is satisfying, presenting a really complex problem of balancing your strategy while competing for resources, yet having a structure that's simple enough to pick up fairly fast. The game was rather slow, partly because I was a beginner but also because everyone was thinking deeply about decisions. Anyway I had a very enjoyable evening indeed, and greatly appreciated everyone being patient with my lack of familiarity with their games.

Then I spent the rest of the week writing a grant for my recently ex boss T. Yes, I have reasons for doing this even though he's not paying me any more. I will probably end up proof-reading and advising on my some of my former colleagues' PhD theses too. And played Scrabble with my parents, which is a bit unfair as I just can't go back to being a living room Scrabble player now that I've learnt some strategy, but hey.

I had a great weekend, though! I went to shul with the parents in the morning, then to the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival's Measure for Measure in Robinson College gardens. [personal profile] jack joined us, as did HVN who is a daughter of some friends of my parents as much as she is a friend of mine (she left Oxford to study at Cambridge at the same time I left Cambridge to study at Oxford, so we've never actually spent much time together). I really enjoyed the production; it's an obscure play, probably for a reason now that I've seen it, but the direction and acting really made the most of it. The basic plot is that Angelo, a corrupt official, tries to buy the virginity of virtuous Isabella in exchange for pardoning her brother who is under a somewhat unreasonable death sentence. The production took seriously Isabella's terror in this situation, and really brought out the lines about how Angelo could get away with anything because people would believe his word over hers. At the same time, Angelo was played with a lot of pathos and came across as a real character in spite of being basically the villain. It's very rare to see a Shakespeare production which takes into account modern ideas about gender, sexuality and rape, without distorting the play with anachronisms or making a political point, and I think this one succeeded. Around the edges of this, the performance did a great job with the physical comedy elements, and handled the bizarre sub-plot with a duke dressing up as a friar and meddling in people's lives very well.

[personal profile] jack and I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at [ profile] sonicdrift's extremely excellent barbecue party. There was lots and lots of good conversation, even if it veered towards the intensely geeky at times. And a really astonishing amount of vegetarian food, including even jelly that I could eat, which made me extremely happy and squeeful. Yay party!

And Sunday we joined and a bunch of other shiny people on an expedition to the Maize Maze. It was verging on too hot for spending the afternoon outdoors, but never mind, we had a brilliant time. The maze was surprisingly at the right level of challenging; hard enough to be interesting (you had to find 10 landmarks within the maze, ensuring that you covered it fairly thoroughly to win) but not frustratingly impossible. I was quite impressed by how lost it's possible to get among 2 m tall hedges and along paths which did a very good job of misdirecting. There were no dead ends, only loops and paths which sent you in the opposite direction to where they appeared to be going. Also they had really nice icecream to celebrate our success.

The only downside to being back in Cambridge and in reach of lots of fun conversations and culture is that I can't actually breathe here. But hey, I'm actually doing better than normal so it's well worth it.
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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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