This entry is dedicated to…
Kriab, who is responsible for my having played SuperActionBall

In the morning, I check carefully and discover that my kidneys are still in place. (It is only later that I'll realise they stole my spleen.) I grab breakfast on the way to work and, arriving, am introduced to Mike and Jim, who will be working on the other systems of the "pill" (don't worry, I'll explain this soon).

Slightly after noon, Steve comes into the room and informs me that he's arranged housing - using one of his students - in one of the residence halls. In response to my question, he tells me it's right next to the greenest part of the city. Hopping in his clown car we drive up to Durdham Hall. [The following was added on 8-28-02012.] This is where he lived when he was at the university, he explains. We walk into the office and he (as I recall, writing this sentence in 02012) essentially asks the man if there's a place I can stay, after explaining that I'm working on a project. A few minutes later I have a key and have been shown up to the room. I'll later discover all of my neighbours are working for the Rolls Royce factory. [End addition.] Afterwards, Steve tells me to take the rest of the day off.

As painful as it is, I decide to take him up on the offer, and walk about town. Naturally, I don't cover too much ground, since about 500,000 people live in and around Bristol, but a good place to start is taking a walk through the green, green downs and along the gorge.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge O'er The River Avon

Later, my wanderings took me on down past the Floating Harbour and I began to feel lonely.
Which is when I encountered these people. The men and women of the "interesting games laboratory" (iglabs) - noblely dedicating themselves to the research, creation, and pursuit of interesting games. In this case, circular football.
Once the boldly becostumed players (more pictures will come later) finished their match and learned of my plight, they adopted me and - in a large energetic, happy troop - we jogged through town to play something they called "Korean Laser Ball".

Korean Laser Ball, being the technically demanding game that it is, ends up being delayed by technical difficults. Whilst waiting, the teams light up sparklers and have a relay race around the harbour. Something about madly dashing, costumed, cheering people seems to create a vacuum through which we're sucked. I notice that course boundaries seem rather more like guidelines as the tiger-stripped-lycra sprinter ahead of me vaults a fence and takes off running along a dock. Arriving back at the finish line, we find that Korean Laser Ball is ready for us… but are we ready for it?

It's difficult for me to really capture the joy that is Korean Laser Ball in words, but I'll try. First, you have to be really, really enthusiastic - if you're watching you express this by waving of hands, jumping, and, basically, screaming. If you're playing, you express your enthusiasm by repeatedly making your team's war-hollar and working up a good sweat. A couple of people in front hold up lasers which score, if they're reflected off of mirrors held by people in the back onto a target on the screen behind the laser-holders. But, in between laser-holder and mirror-holder is a gyrating mass of humanity allowed to do almost anything necessary to block the lasers, as long as they stay inside their designated box. (In the picture here, we're just figuring out what the rules were. After that, there was just too much enthusiasm for pictures.) All this happens while loud music is pumped around you.

My adopted team and I suddenly found ourselves called up to play. I spent the first half of the match successfully preventing our opponents from scoring at all while the world around me dissolved in chaos. For the second half, I held a mirror and, due to my height, discovered that I was awesome. I scored and kept on scoring! The other team became so enthusiastic that they forgot the rules-that-were-guidelines entirely… especially the "rules" encouraging them not to tackle me.

But it was too late - our victory was assured.

As we geared up for further matches, we ran out of time for that space and the iglabs researchers faded into the night. The only crazier game I've ever played was SuperActionBall.

By this time, it was quite late and I tried to walk home, but become disorientated on the way. So, by the time I finally did achieve homedom it was quite quite late.

[On 8-28-02012, I was thinking about my new living arrangement in Heilbad Heiligenstadt, Germany, and couldn't find pictures of my home in Bristol on this block. Accordingly, I have added them below. The pictures themselves were taken on July 17, 02009 as part of a series of directions I left for a group of five hitchhiking girls in another story. This explains why the room is so neat.]

The room was just down the hallway from a kitchen/dining area in which I may have seen only one or two other people during my whole residence.

The building was really kind of classy on the outside.

Check if this is a private message just for Richard:

Mom - Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 15:35:55 (PDT)
Being over 6' is awesome for many reasons! But is of no help walking home late in a strange, big city!!

Richard - Sunday, August 02, 2009 at 16:16:54 (PDT)
Actually, I think it's a very good thing at such times ;-)