It was quite a busy weekend.
Earlier this year I attended a reading group for a few weeks. The group seems to have fizzled out, though – at the last meeting there were just three of us, and not enough people were replying to the guy who organised it. So I've been thinking about joining a new one and on Thursday I sent e-mails to four reading groups whose details were on a website called Not Just Another Book Group. It costs £5 to get access to the contact details for six months.
On Friday I got an e-mail inviting me to a group at the Wheasheaf in central London on Sunday. The book they were about review was Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I was also invited to another at the Garden Gate in Hampstead in a couple of weeks - they were reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. So I ordered a copy of the latter from Green Metropolis and bought the former from Waterstones and spent a bit of Friday and all day Saturday reading it (review to follow).
On Sunday I went to the Camden Liberal Democrats thankyou party. The invitation e-mail said arrive from midday, so I ws there at about 12:05. There were a few people there, mostly still setting things up so I foolishly offered to help. I was made barbecue assistant. That's barbecue assistant in the wind and the rain. And on a roof. Well, we (the main barbecuer and I) had a tenty thing to stand under so it wasn't too bad. Eventually I went in to get some food and didn't go back out (in assistant barbecue facilitator capacity, anyway). I chatted a bit to a few people, but had to leave before speeches were made because I had the reading group at three o'clock.
Which was OK. It's a somewhat larger and louder group than my previous reading circle; this and the fact that it's in an upstairs room of a pub made it less personal. Unfortunately, there were no really fit female members. And ironically, the organiser of the earlier group sent an e-mail later on Sunday indicating – although not actually saying – that his group hasn't died after all. If it does get off the ground again I may well ditch whichever group I'm attending and go back to that one, if for no other reason than it'll mean free drinks (I won't mention the nice women in that group).
That night I climbed into bed in my clothes just intending to have a nap and eventually got up after dawn on Monday morning.
On that selfsame Monday morning I had an interview for the post of Library Assistant; the interview was at Charlton House in, strangely enough, Charlton, Greenwich. I don't think I did that well. What with my hectic weekend I didn't have any time to prepare and this became evident in the interview (although beforehand I was thinking Ah, who needs preparation – they ask you questions and you answer 'em, how difficult can it be?). Even just refreshing my memory with what Plumstead Library deals with would have helped. I was asked questions like 'What kind of services does a library provide?' A deceptively simple question. I listed books, CDs, DVDs, internet access and such like, but had to be prompted into suggesting braile (which, thinking about, I have no idea whether a library would have braile books unless it had a special stock of them) and audiobooks. Supposedly, I should have a phonecall later this week, but I won't hold my breath given that a) the details of the test and interview came way after I was expecting them, b) I didn't get a call to give me a time for my interview (I called them) and c) even my 10:30 interview was three quarters of an hour late.
And on Monday evening it was the latest installment of my Dungeons and Dragons game, Empire of Destiny. To a certain degree, I'd put the players in a bit of a rut. Which is to say, I've made them all members of an organisation that is rebelling against the Empire: so they have to follow orders – but part of the fun of a roleplaying game is deciding your party's course. Last night I set in motion the plot events that will see them heading out on their own (more or less) and moving closer to overthrowing the Empire.
The session itself was OK. I'd done a bit of work on it last week and was feeling quite good about what would happen. Then, as I was trying to finish it off on Monday, I realised I hadn't put nearly enough work into it. I ended up just saving and printing at about 5:15, hoping I could either wing it or we wouldn't actually get through everything I'd planned. In the event, it was the latter. The game was a little bit chaotic, which is inevitable, I suppose, with five players all wanting to do stuff and me trying to tell them what happens at the same time. One of my players also fell asleep. He explained later he was very tired (as they say in America – figures).
So once again, we didn't finish the planned events and once again I'm going to disregard what was supposed to have happened in favour of something better (or, at least, easier to write). Planning discrete encounters is fairly easy – once you in combat, say, it's just a case of each person, or thing, attacking, or possibly running away (although, even that's not that simple). The really hard thing is to come up with cast of characters and let them interact with the player characters in a way that also reveals/advances the plot.
Well, that was a long post. And I still have two outstanding book reviews and some actual, paid work to do.
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