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The Date: 7th April 2001

The Place: Laserquest Chester / Sainsbury's Upton

The Occasion: Serious Fun With A Laser Gun / Aftermath of a large pitcher of margaritas


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A bit of introduction for this extra-large gallery of photos. The night before, we'd had a long, long game of poker which was never satisfactorily resolved from my point of view (because I didn't win). Anyway, we decided to work out something to do for the next day, and hit on Laserquest. Due to a miracle of planning, we incredibly managed to field six players to Laserquest. Unfortunately we could only get one game, and it was our six against eleven young teenagers and parents.

"Are you sure you want the sides to be like this?" asks the Laserquest attendent.
"Well," I say, "I suppose it is unfair. Maybe we should give the other side some more players."

Laserquest is a very peculiar thing. It's generally the perfect outlet for the buildup of testosterones in males so that during the pre-game proclivities you have people saying stuff like, "Don't make me shoot you, you stinking motherfucker!" And that's before the game, remember.

So the game started off fine and it was very fun since the other side were pretty useless but they provided good target practice. Speaking personally, the best part of the game was when Moby's James Bond theme tone started pumping out and I strode up, Matrix-style, to the enemy-held base and casually picked off target after target with one shot bursts. Like I say, it's a good and safe way to have fun, kids!

This photo was taken after the sole game we had in the party room where we'd stowed our coats (there was a keypad lock to the room, with which we had a great deal of fun pretending to play the Crystal Maze, hammering out sequences of numbers on the pad and crying in desperation at being locked out. Anyway.)
Apparently people had picked up on the fact that I like being in photos and so they offered to take one of me, which was very nice. We were aiming to get a photo of one of the lads with a boot on some hapless youngster and a gun pointing at the face, in classic 'Make my day' pose but it never materialised probably because I didn't want to take my camera into the game.

Fact of the day: People in Germany aren't allowed to play Laserquest, or in fact any game involving guns or shooting people. Can't say it made much of a difference to my German friend at university who enjoyed Laserquest immensely.
Shortly after the game and a three minute wander around Chester (during which we concluded that our sweat pants and trainers probably would bar us from, well... every place in Chester) we drove off to a Mexican restaurant. Feeling in a justifiably celebratory mood (we'd won the Laserquest by a huge margin), Martin and I ordered a pitcher of margaritas and proceeded to celebrate.

Of course, we paid no attention to the sign stating 'No sportswear or trainers are allowed in this bar'.

Interesting Digression: There's a school of thought that believes that states of drunkeness can be assigned numerical values. Sober is zero. Unconsciousness is two. The perfect, nirvana-like state is One - where you are at your most entertaining and interesting. Obviously One is a subjective determination and really a state of mind, and it also varies on situation (e.g. corporate dinner or curry with the lads). However, in this case Martin and I were fairly confident on reaching One, or thereabouts.

We left most of these photos to the end of our stay at the bar to prevent being chucked out. Martin is on the right here. I am not looking anything like myself in this photo. I don't know why.
Richard and Rachel in a ominous red light. Rachel is a semi-regular reader of Vavatch, which is pretty incredible since most of my friends don't read my weblog. Well, it's not that surprising, since I make a point of not talking about them since I'd probably get into trouble for revealing all sorts of things.
I believe at this point we were talking about remotely piloted micro-air vehicles. At least, I said something like, "You know those, um, flying, um, things. With helium. Yeah. You put the, uh, motors on the bottom and use a remote control."

After a bit of a mixup with nanobugs (not sure how that happened), the conversation veered wildly off into a discussion of the little airship Mel Gibson's son has in the film Ransom, and how he'd used the ridiculously expensive although technically audacious method of a digital video camera sellotaped to a remote control helium mini-airship with radio uplink. After this brief moment of lucidity, everything degenerated into stories of drunkeness at our respective universities.

Martin on the left, Katherine on the right.
Outside the restaurant we passed a Warner Village cinema and saw this rather peculiar spectacle of a pig only half-dressed. Protesting loudly, I was made, nay, forced, to photograph it to the bemusement of onlookers.

Perhaps this entire situation dates back to the early Friends episode where Chandler remarks, "Donald Duck never wears shorts, but when he comes out of a shower, he's got a towel on. What's that about?"
After the post-drinks obligatory trip to McDonalds (20 chicken nuggets and 'one of each dip you have' - resulting in us getting mayonnaise dip, of all things), we decided to go to Sainsbury's, ostensibly to allow Katherine to get a birthday card which was urgently required. Sainsbury's was open 24 hours so no breaking was necessary.

And so begins 'Martin's Day At The Supermarket'.

Visible here is Martin (foreground) quietly stalking Katherine (midground) who is looking for a card.
Martin's eye is caught by the rather attractive selection of budget girls' clothes. Perhaps his state of intoxication has resulted in him actually considering the clothes here.

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