Still failing to keep up

Um, so where did I get up to? Oh yeah, we were at rarsberry‘s hen night.

The other thing we did to celebrate was to release some appropriately themed books around Dunedin (and a few leftovers on the trip back to Christchurch):

As usual when visiting a backpackers, I brought some pre-numbered labels with me intended for the book exchange shelf. I didn’t have time to do as many as I’d have liked, and some of the books suited the wedding theme so were snarfed for release, but I did manage to label a few and return them to the shelves: Hjärtat är bedrägligast av allt by JT Ray, Gray Eagles by Duane Unkefer, Monte Carlo by Stephen Sheppard, and The Cardinal Sins by Andrew M Greeley.

On the way home, we stopped off at Oamaru for lunch, which turned into a bit of a mission, because it seemed that every cafe we tried was shut for the weekend. In the end we went to a cafe in the historic district called The Star and Garter (where I released Primary Colours by Anonymous), which turned out to have the slowest service in the known universe. The food was fabulous, once we finally got it, but it took SOOOO long! The woman who served us seemed incapable of doing more than one thing on any trip into the dining room, so she’d bring a plate of food in for someone, then wander off to the kitchens again, and *then* come back and take the orders of the people at the next table… (and half the tables were being served by the chef, because she obviously couldn’t keep up). Catching her attention to get the dessert menu was a real challenge, but we managed 🙂

At Timaru, we made a slight detour out to Richard Pearce Airport, just so I could release Mister P and His Remarkable Flight by David Martin (and then realised that there was a monument to Richard Pearce a bit further down the road that would have probably made a better release location). And of course we made our usual stop at the Rakaia fish, where I released Satisfaction by Rae Lawrence.

And that’s the end of our Dunedin adventure.

So, what else have I been up to in the last few weeks?

Well, there was meerkitten‘s concert (starring Steph as well this year), which was the usual mix of the merely ok (the recorders – they were particularly bad this year!), the great (the kitten’s choir sung a song about books that we think should be declared the bookcrossing anthem), and the completely fabulous (the orchestra and massed choirs did Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, which is one of my favourite bits of classical music anyway, and sounded utterly incredible, especially the loud bit at the end (technical term there 😉 )). I had intended to take some books to release, and even had some suitably themed ones all picked out, but I was running late and forgot to pick them up 🙁

Labour weekend was reasonably quiet. Lytteltonwitch and I had talked about going down to Pleasant Point for a craft/train festival (what do you mean, weird combination? 😉 ), but Dad rang to say they’d be up on Monday, and lytteltonwitch was leading a tramp on Sunday, so we ran out of time. I did manage to go for some long walks to deliver flyers for MrPloppy (and release a couple of books on my way (though once I had my bag full of flyers I wasn’t too keen on carrying a lot of books as well – it’s amazing how heavy little bits of paper can be!) – Man and Boy by Tony Parsons, So Far, So Good by Paul Eddington).

Most of Labour weekend, though, was spent playing The Sims 2. That’s because I managed to finally (ahem) *acquire* a copy of the latest expansion pack, Bon Voyage. Yes, that’s right, I’m now officially a criminal – I’ve pirated my first game. This is not something I’d normally do, because I consider the digital sort of theft to be as much theft as any other kind. So despite virtually every game being available on the internet within minutes of its release, I’ve always been good and waited until I could buy a legal copy. But Bon Voyage is different. I was intending to buy it for myself for Christmas, but wasn’t sure if it would be worth it (because I found the Vacation expansion pack for The Sims 1 pretty boring) so thought I’d check out what was being said about it in a fan site I lurk around sometimes. There, to my surprise, I found a discussion about people whose computers had been killed/compromised/slowed down by Securom, a nasty bit of DRM/Spyware software EA kindly had included on the installation disks.

That would be bad enough in itself (I seriously object to software that installs extra stuff without asking me first), but when I went to the official Sims2 site to see what they had to say, I discovered that they were basically telling a lot of lies about Securom (the usual “you’ll only have problems if you’re a pirate” rubbish), and giving players very bad advice, and, even worse, banning people from the forums who tried to correct the information given. So about then I decided if they were going to treat their customers like idiots and crim
inals anyway, then I might as well act like one, so I went back to MATY, where it was pretty easy to pick up clues as to where one could acquire a nice Securom-free copy of the game…

And so, I’m now a criminal. All because of software that’s supposed to *stop* piracy! And I know I’m not the only one – talking to other Sims2 players, it’s amazing how many have been inspired by the whole Securom thing to seek out an “Arr-ficial” copy of the game instead of buying it. And as someone on MATY pointed out, it’s ironic that not only did Securom not stop the pirates (Bon Voyage was available all over the net hours after its release), but because the pirated versions bypass Securom, they’re actually *better* than the ones you can buy in the shops. So the pirates are releasing better software than the game manufacturers. No wonder so many people turn to piracy…


(PS. It did turn out to be a very good expansion pack, much better than Vacation.)

(PPS. I’ll probably feel guilty eventually and end up buying a copy anyway, but for now I’m still filled with righteous indignation and feeling good about ripping off a company that’s trying to rip off its customers)

No more time to write anything now, so more catching up to follow… eventually…

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