Q - What is this blog about?
A - It's stuff written by Andrew Girardin. And comics and games.
Q - I'm weakminded and need to be popular. What do my peers say about it?
A - "Your blog is so funny! It's the best written blog! Why don't you write a full-length novel? I'd gladly buy it!"
Q - Is Andrew that guy who translates the Asterix jokes?
A - Yes.
Q - Why doesn't he just stick to that?
A - Good point. Don't know.
It was a day so hot the sun's hat melted. I stayed home and shed moist dead skin cells onto all the surfaces. To cheer myself up I played the next level of Monument Valley (a smartphone game inspired by the art of MC Escher).
The level is called The Box, and the whole sprawling expanse is hidden away inside a tiny little cube. Depending on how you open it, you'll find different things inside. Making a change inside one 'inside' will change something inside a different 'inside'. The insides and outsides expand and contract in a surprising, elegant, and satisfying way.
One of the insides of The Box
Playing Monument Valley is a dreamy experience. Not the kind of dream where I'm feeding my own face to a slobbering dog - I mean the kind of dream where I'm riding a flying mattress over Derbyshire.
Today I helped a child, and felt good about it. He was in the teacher's room watching a video on a Macbook and listening through headphones bigger than his head. He was breaking numerous rules by being there but I decided to be nice. (Wise - turned out he was the 'enfant' of a French colleague.)
"Dude," I said.
"Quoi?" he said, startled.
"Are you one of the new teachers?"
"Je nai fromage pas..."
I gave up trying to entertain him with my British wit. It takes the French years to grasp the fundamentals and to be fair, he hadn't even mastered watching computerised media. "Why don't you watch it in fullscreen?" I leant over and pressed two keys. The video expanded to fill the screen. It must have seemed like witchcraft to the lad. He looked up at me, awestruck, full of a gratitude he could only express with fearful disbelief.
Did you ever have an emotion that could only be a race memory from distant ancestors? Like maybe a cloud moved funny and you thought the moon was falling? Or you saw a neanderthal-type guy and all the hairs on your back stood on end because you thought you'd have to fight him?
Walking down a busy street, cocooned with music thanks to my ace new bluetooth earphones, I heard a loud, unfamiliar bellow and had a moment of pure primal panic.
This was my thought:
"There's a fucking hippo charging at me!"
I felt like this:
I very quickly remembered that I live in Switzerland and there aren't any hippos on the loose. I also remembered that I was fully dressed. Still, I turned to check if there was an 1,800 kg James-Earl-Jones-faced-beast attacking me, and there wasn't. The cause of the bellow was mundane - a car had made a funny noise.
The thing I don't understand yet is why being scared of a hypothetical hippo made me happy. (But it did.)
Today the World Cup kicked off, and I went 'Yay! A month of top notch football and drama and close-ups of sexy crowd women!'
It kicked off with the hosts Brazil against Croatia. I spent an hour drooling over the sublime performance of Luka Modric, then the referee handed the game to Brazil, and killed my buzz.
I like that the organisers aren't even pretending to run a clean sport these days; the refs wear the same kit as the team FIFA want to win.
Big in Japan tonight - gambling on pro sports.
As you know, this blog's target demographic is the willowy Eastern European female, so I don't want there to be too many football-based posts.
But holy crap, Robin van Persie just startled me so hard I let out a mighty roar. (It woke Jen up from one of her little snoozes and she said 'Did you hear a badger?')
Holland are playing Spain. That's Spain, winners of the last three major tournaments. And this random Dutch dude hit the ball really far and RVP ran to where the ball was going. But it was, like, hard to kick the ball because it was up in the air for ages, so he sort bounced off the turf, trampolining the ball in a perfect parabola over the goalie's hapless head.
That's what cricket people call a 'champagne moment'.
There's a rather beautiful series of photos and gifs on a link at the bottom of the page. Watch it, sigh, bookmark it, and watch it again on your death bed.
Note - I like the World Cup again.
"When is the World Cup final?" asked Jen, while I was watching my 7th game in about 50 hours.
"Um... 12th July I think."
"Just wondering how long it'll be before we can start watching the next season of The Wire."
That's right, folks! Jen has finally understood why people rave annoyingly and endlessly about The Wire. Oh lordy - if she thinks Avon Barksdale is scary, wait till she meets the new power in Baltimore's waters!
Yeah but that'll have to wait a month.
And so, just like England's World Cup has ended (after one match), so too has Monument Valley.
I knew (from reviews) that it was short, which was why I was rationing it. Oppressively hot? Take your mind off it with Monument Valley! Girlfriend reneging on birthday threesome promise? Monument valley!
Some of you might be wondering why I like this game so much. The puzzles are quite simple. It's very short. For a game that lasts about 90 minutes, 4 francs is way too much. If someone described the concept to me I would probably think it was annoyingly twee. It has little replayability.
So? I was happy every minute I played it.
Literally the only bad thing about Monument Valley is that there is now a Monument Valley-shaped hole in my life.
What will I do next time I'm sick? Next time it's too hot? Next time England forget to do something about Andrea Pirlo?
Perhaps my happiness project is doomed to fail...
(See that ending? That's one of those annoying hooks they put at the end of bad TV shows. I've actually written 6 of the next 7 days already, and they're ace! Happy happy happy!)
Progress after 42 days:
Mood: Enjoying life. Compliments: "I'd love to see you running from a hippo." "Your blog? Yeah, I had a look at it." Optimism: Apparently they're going to make a few more levels.