Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Today I was going to write about how dark it is here. Because it is really, really dark. The Hague runs on Paris time but is closer to London than Paris in terms of longitude. That means at 6.30 am when the alarm goes off it is pitch dark. At 7.30 am it is still pitch dark. Round about 8.15 it starts getting light. In England this would be happening at 7.15. Over here it's just so dark that everything only opens at 10.

However, since I bitched about the weather yesterday, I thought I would sound like a real Moaning Minnie if today I bitched about how dark it is. So I'm going to write about my two current addictions instead, both arising out of National Novel Writing Month.

Yes, November I wrote most of a novel, about 55,000 words. The only way I could do this was by using procrastination as a tool, and the guys at theToronto forum introduced me to Kingdom of Loathing.

This is a role playing game you play online. Except that your characters have classes such as Pastamancer, Sauceror, Seal Clubber, Turtle Tamer, Accordian Thief, and Disco Bandit. You have to prove yourself literate before you can enter the chat room. The graphics are stick figure cartoons. The currency of the game is meat.

And yet it is enormous fun. You have little control over your adventures, you basically go somewhere and get the result, reaping rewards of meat and items such as filthy trousers, hemp bangles, leather masks and suchlike. You can also find things like tomato, olives, bottles of whiskey.

You only get forty adventures a day, but you can eat and drink to get more adventures. Unfortunately, eating makes you full, and drinking makes you drunk. And then you have to sign off and wait for next day's rollover to play again. You can create a second account, with a second email address, if you're a hard core addict. The rules say your characters must never meet online, but it is kinda cheating. However, even those adventures run out quickly enough.

So that brought me back to Scrabble. In July I found out about Internet Scrabble, but I only managed about three games before the move and then forgot about it. Now that KoL has bitten, what do I do when I run out of adventures? I've turned to the Scrabble board.

I like Scrabble, but nobody ever plays with me. This is mainly because there's nobody here most of the time. However, the Internet provides all these days! Of course, on an international scale I am pathetically useless at the game. This is good. I hate games that I win all the time, so I can see I'll be playing Scrabble for a long, long time!

And even without a novel to write in 30 days, I need something like KoL and Scrabble. You won't believe how long and dark the winter evenings are here.