Checkpoint

It’s getting a bit harder. Today has been rough.

I can’t explain why today has felt rougher than other days. But I’m irritable, I’m having trouble sustaining a good mood, and apparently I’m walking around with my face tripping me.

Judging by Facebook, I’m not alone in that. I think everyone’s just a bit drained, a bit tired by the monotony, and either the lack of social contact, or the same faces 24/7. It’s odd how tiring not leaving the house can be.

I’m hoping this is a blip, and that I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling ready and raring to go, with an active plan for the day, and for getting things done, but everything today has felt that bit harder than it would normally be.

I made myself go for a long walk this afternoon, and it helped, a bit. In nothing else, I was glad to get home, and felt I’d at least earned the right to feel tired for while.

Last time I worked from home full time, my limit was almost exactly a week without in-person human contact and leaving the house before I started to climb the walls. This isn’t quite the same – last time it was like a switch flipped in my brain, and I just started to go spare until I got out of the house and got a couple of hours conversation with another human being.

This isn’t quite the same. I’m not doing my own head in, but I’m just feeling flat. In a related state of affairs: I’m desperately wishing for a garden – just small amount of outside space I could put a chair in, and sit and drink a coffee while feeling weather happen.

There’s a long weekend coming up, and if nothing else, not feeling the need to work for a few days should give me a bit of brain space to do other things, and maybe work on something that’ll cheer me up a bit.

Week 3

I quite enjoy the fact that I appear to be settling in to doing these midweek. I’m not trying to produce a summary of what’s been happening, so much as where I am.

It does, however, seem unreal that this is only week 3 of this. I last went to the office on the 16th of March, so it’s actually only really been two weeks. The outside is starting to feel like the Before Time. I just had to ask Miranda what day it was.

Stress wise, I’m doing ok. Actually, this all suits me quite well, as a lazy and slightly introverted person. It’s looking like I’ll probably speak to as many friends/have as many social commitments this week as I would normally, all without leaving the house.

I’ve gone back to an old MMORPG, and have found that having a group of friends playing along as a team, with voice chat running, is an absolutely awesome time. This is, I appreciate, not news to anyone who has ever played them seriously, but the last time I played one was about a decade ago, and we didn’t have the bandwidth for both the game and voice chat, so this is actually a new experience for me, and it’s something I’d actively like to keep up when this is over.

I’m probably going to take part in a virtual pub quiz tonight. I’ve got my regular tabletop group at least hanging out tomorrow night, and so on, and so forth. We’re all adapting. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people I really want to see in person, but while we can’t we’re making good use of technology.

I’m very, very glad that I travelled to see my folks the weekend before all this started, because who knows when that’s going to be do-able again, given the state of the airline industry at the moment (non-existant).

Nat and I took the decision to cancel the LARP event we had planned for April (and let’s be honest, probably May, too, and who knows about June?) a few weeks back, but I had to suspend the billing for everyone today, which was an odd wrench, like handling the commercial side made it real. It’s the fact we’ve basically had to put the game in hibernation, without any idea when it will be back that’s hard. It will be back, I’m determined about that, but I have no idea when.

That all got a bit scattershot, didn’t it? That seems fitting, too. There’s very little left this days to differentiate the time, and with no pressing need to be up early or to stick to a completely rigid routine, we’re definitely drifting a little bit – I’m certainly staying up noticeably later, which is something I need to get a better handle on, I think. I also need to see if the exercise bike I stopped using (because it was acting up) can be coaxed back into life, I think. Put some routine in my days, just so that differentiate a bit.

It’ll be interesting to see how much of this transformation of society sticks afterward, given that it’s been amply demonstrated that there are a lot of people who simply don’t need to work in an office (although equally, that there as as many people who still want to).

43

Happy birthday to me. The lockdown continues, with knobs on. This means we’re not supposed to leave the house except to shop for essentials (as rarely as possible), or for medical reasons, or once a day for exercise, or to care for others. (This time last week, this was strong guidance. Now it’s an actual law, that you can be fined for breaking.)

This rather puts a spoke into any kind of birthday celebrations.

To be honest, I don’t mind. I needed to go to out to get Miranda’s contact lenses, so I added a shopping trip to that, and bought an expensive bottle of proper champagne, because the shops were nearly out of the cheap stuff. (I also bought one of the last half-dozen bottles of red wine in the shop. This crisis is revealing a lot about the nation’s drinking priorities – there was plenty of white left.)

Tonight, we will order takeaway and drink champagne. I’ve had plenty of worse birthdays on a purely personal scale. (Although on a global scale, probably not, which is a sobering thing to think about. Thank goodness for the wine.)

I’ve baked banana bread, and some scones, with variable success. (The banana bread is great. The scones taste ok, if perhaps a little singed at the edges, but they totally failed to rise.)

The company I work for has taken advantage of government schemes to help with this situation, and put all but a skeleton staff on 80% pay, but asked them not to work (because there’s very little work for them to do for various reasons). I’m in the skeleton team, but I’ve got a few days off right now, which means I’m noodling about with my own coding projects, so it doesn’t honestly feel a lot different, other than the freedom to get up and bake scones just because.

Miranda, working in comms for a large university, is having a bit of a time of it, as students are not unreasonably asking questions like “we’ve paid you quite a lot of money, what about the things you owe us like a degree show?” (It’s an arts university, and the degree show is how many of them get work afterward, so they care quite a lot.) Sadly, everyone is figuring things out one day at a time, and no-one knows what the answers are yet, which is making for a bit of a rough ride for those telling the students “we’re figuring it out and will let you know”, because displacement stress is clearly very real, and the students can (try to) control this in a way they can’t the rest of what’s going on. Plus, as a much larger org, moving very suddenly to remote working, the internal comms overhead to keep everyone moving in the same direction is much higher.

But we’ve both got computer games and telly to keep us occupied in the evenings, and things are, on the whole, going pretty well for us personally, a week and a bit in. We’re both thinking a lot about friends and strangers who are much less fortunate.

Housebound

I came to the decision a while back that I ought to use this thing to write more. Not a regular journal, but to take a little time to use it to mark interesting or unusual things that happen.

I resisted doing that for a long time, because the world does not need my hot takes on anything, but it’s also true the the world is understandably not interested. I ceased to be the top search result for my own name a few years back, there being other Alasdair Watsons who have something mildly of note about them.

These days the most common visitor to this blog is me, trying to look up something I’ve forgotten, but am reasonably sure I made a note of a few years back. So I’m fine with writing things up just for my own future benefit.

Right now, it seems unlikely that any of us will forget the Spring of 2020, but I wonder if I’ll be saying the same thing a few years from now. “When was that mad time when we were all stuck at home, and people were panic buying everything and shanking one another for bog roll in the supermarkets? Was it 2020, or 2021? What did we do?”

So, a short record of an unexpected turn of events, that has Miranda working upstairs, and me working in the living room, and almost everyone we know not leaving the house except for important things. A state of affairs we expect to last for the forseeable future – weeks, certainly, and possibly months.

This is all a virus science has designated COVID-19, one of a family called coronaviruses. (I take the time to write that out because it’s already winding up my inner pedant that people are referring to “the coronavirus”, to the point that Miranda has been told not to use the term COVID-19 on her work social media, because people misunderstand what it is.) It’s a highly contagious fucker, and for 90% of people who catch it, the virus results in a cough, and a fever. A flu, but not the end of the world. But for between something like 1-5% of people who catch it, it requires hospitalisation and serious help to recover. The elderly, the infirm, and those with underlying respiratory conditions are “at risk”.

Hilariously, this includes me, on the grounds of asthma. That would honestly be funny, if I didn’t know plenty of folk with more serious asthma than I or with other health issues, who are legitimately at risk.

The solution to this is, at present, “social distancing”. This means working from home for anyone who can (which is most of my friends, with our computer-based office jobs) and no going out to pubs, gyms, restaurants, cinemas, or anything fun. Schools are closed to all but the children of keyworkers from the end of this week, and it’s impossible they won’t re-open this side of the academic year. No human contact outside the household that is not absolutely necessary, is the idea. It may yet become more draconian than that, with all non-essential shops shut, and only supermarkets and chemists open.

This outbreak started in China, about three months ago. It’s taken them until this week, and a near total shutdown to get the spread under control, and the rest of the world is now following suit with lockdowns. So it’s not actually mad to say it could feasibly be June before we’re all allowed out halfway normally again.

At the moment, Miranda and I pop to the shops once a day, doing our best to maintain a distance of 1 meter from all other humans. (This is apparently not possible in Tooting, judging by the number of times people barged in to me.)

The shops contain almost nothing. Our shopping list today amounted to milk, flour and yeast. We got the milk. And some wine, because there’s nothing else to do but drink in the evenings.

OK, that’s not true – we have more telly than god – but still. People are panic buying everything. It’s kind of mad. I’m actually contemplating getting up early tomorrow, just to see what the supermarkets look like at 8am, because they’re empty at lunch.

I’d more or less stopped doing a “weekly shop”. I’d gotten used to keeping a few days ingredients, and store-cupboard staples in the house, and basically just buying what I needed, when I needed it. That option has temporarily vanished. Now, I’m sort of wandering about dazedly, seeing what’s there, and thinking of things to do with it.

We’re in no danger of not getting food at the moment. This would have to worsen several steps (and it might, but probably not, judging from other countries) before that was a problem. But we’re definitely having trouble getting pasta. And rice. And flour. And anything that the supermarkets get delivered on a less-than-daily basis.

Personally, I reckon it’ll be the back end of next week before this becomes “the new normal”, and the panic-buying stops. After that, well, who knows? The economic cost of this is going to be staggering, and who knows what the world will look like in a year’s time….

Fire Hazard

A slightly sad post. Fire Hazard Games is shutting up shop, and I wanted to make my own permanent record of my time making games with them. I’ve worked for them in fits and starts since 2015, and honestly, I’m more gutted about the fact I won’t be doing so again that I have been about some of the full-time jobs I’ve been made redundant from.

It was Douglas that got me involved, in 2015 as part of their Shadows over Shoreditch game – they needed an MC, and their standards at that time amounted to “Loud voice, doesn’t mind making a bit of a tit of himself, can learn most of a script and improv the rest”, and I just about managed that. Their standards have improved since then, and they now hire professional actors for that kind of work, but I absolutely loved what they were doing from the first moment I got involved.

It’d be very easy to call my involvement with them bittersweet, because it was while crewing Shadows in 2015 that Douglas suffered his accident. Absolutely nothing to do with Fire Hazard, just a sad coincidence, and if I’d never worked for Fire Hazard again, it would 100% have been that bittersweet thing I looked back on.

But I’ve worked on five or six of their games since, over the years. I’m never going to forget wandering around the Russia Dock Woodland at night in a giant Cthulu mask, barely able to see, but able to scare the bejesus out of the players, for Shadows over Southwark, the more ambitious sequel game they did the following year. (The costume was quite a lot scarier coming at you in a darkened wood, I assure you…)

I did my longest continuous stretch of crewing on their game called Undercover, and after starting out in the simplest role, I think I played just about every part it was possible to play over many weekend, and was stage managing or MCing it more weekends than not at one point in it’s run. It was a superb bit of game design, that managed to involve a lot of direct player-vs-player competition that nonetheless could never really get mean spirited or confrontational, and I’d always wished it would run again one day.

Plus it involved one of the crew standing in Leicester Square in a giant bird costume. What’s not to love?

My own involvement tailed off a bit over the years – having a permanent day job meant that a lot of the games they produced didn’t run at times I could work on them, so I didn’t audition to join in. And let’s be honest: by that point, they did not need my dubious abilities in any case. But I loved doing what I could, when I could.

I’m doing a few nights of stage managing for them yet, on Jekyll and Hyde, arguably their most immersive and narratively ambitious effort to date – not a lot, just enough to be involved, and cover when their more regular stage managers might not be free. I’m very pleased I am, because it’s going to be their last show, and I’m glad to be able to say I was involved in it, and I’ve made a special point of booking to attend the last night of the run as a player. (Tickets are still available for most of the nights. Book. You won’t regret it.)

I’ve met amazing friends through it, I’ve had a huge amount of fun, and it’s had a huge impact on my thinking about how to use technology in games, and in how I approach running my own live games company. I’m sad that I’m not going to have their standard to measure up to in the future. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t already thinking about producing my own variations on some of their tech for my own games, if I can, but it’s the way they approached empowering their crew (come to that: paying their crew – they were the first live-games company that I encountered that did that) that has made me determined to try to live up to the example they set.

I can’t thank, Gwyn, Amy, Michelle, Tony, Ziz, Sofia, and all the many other people I worked with, or who played the games we were making, for all the fun and games over the last 4 and a bit years. It’s been brilliant, and I’ll miss it terribly.

2019 In Review

The world is on fire. Absolute bastards are hell bent on reducing the country I live in (and many other) to ruins, and stripping my generation, and those that come after us, of all the rights and privileges that our parents enjoyed.

So with all that taken as read: I really can’t look back on 2019 with anything other than happiness.

I’ve had a good year. I was hoping for a more settled and stable year than I had in 2018, and I absolutely got that. I’ve spent time with family and friends both old and new, I’ve enjoyed my job, I’ve been generally happy with how I’ve spent my spare time, and most importantly of all, Miranda and I got back together, and are actively planning for a future together, and I don’t have words for how happy I am about that. (That’s a lie. I do. I’m really really happy about that. No, happier than that. And happier than that, too.)

I can’t say I’m looking forward to 2020 on a global scale, but on a small and personal level, I’m really excited for the year to come.

I know that not everyone is as fortunate as I am, and that many people have had a shit year, or are staring down the barrel of a rough year ahead, or both. I hope things will improve soon.

I hope that when the time comes to take stock at the end of 2020, we can all find ourselves happier than we are today.

The Making of Mercy

I spent the weekend in Wales, making a bronze age sword, and learning a lot of things. I can’t claim to have done it all by myself, and I can’t say we did it 100% as they did in the bronze age, but there’s enough of my sweat, blood and pain in the blade to make me feel like I got at least close.

The Bronze Age was not evenly distributed, but in Northern Europe, it ran from about 3200BCE to 600BCE. That’s the point at which we worked out that by combining copper with roughly 10-15% tin, we got a metal that could be used in all sorts of ways. In very broad terms, the smelting of bronze is the first serious bit of technology that humans came up with, and it’s the one that put them in charge of the environment. It’s the technology that allowed us to fell trees in a serious and sustained manner (seriously: try chopping into a tree with an axehead made of stone, and one made of bronze. You’ll soon see what I mean.). Bronze is the technology that first put us in charge of our environment.

To do this, I went to the middle of Wales. Really pretty literally. I went to a bronze age foundry a few miles away from Llandrinod Wells (look on a map – it’s not smack bang in the middle, but it’s close). And if ever I’d wanted the connection between smith and shaman made clearer, I got it here.

Comfortably outside the tribe, I think.

The shortest version of that connection: they’re specialist members of the tribe, who have special skills and a particularly ritual role, but there’s a lot we could talk about in regard of the symbolism of fire, and the fear of the person with access to technology that others do not understand as well. It’s not for nothing that the smith was sometimes the person who initiated the shaman, that’s all I’m saying.

The sword I made is one that’s designed after a sword that was believed to have been made in Ireland about 3000 years ago, one that would have looked a bit like this.

A leaf shaped blade, and a wooden hilt. Simple enough. But, as we saw over the weekend, with just a very little sharpening, this can slice a person badly – we watched a leg of lamb cut open to the bone with little to no effort with a sword exactly like one of the ones we made.

One of the most impressive parts of the weekend, aside from the work, and the magic, was the way that all this was put into a context for us, by the people that operated the foundry. Their understanding of where these technologies came from, and what they changed is profound. They encouraged us to think about what these things meant then, and now, and to us. I particularly loved what we did on the Saturday evening, when we sat in a bronze age roundhouse, by a firepit that is itself used to smelt bronze on other occasions, listening to a reading of a book of the Illiad, to help us realise that when we think of the heroes of greek myth, we’re talking about champions of the bronze age, and the kinds of swords they used were almost exactly like the ones we were making.

In the roundhouse.

So, the process, in brief:

  • Tin and copper are heated in a furnace.
  • The molten mixture is poured into a soapstone mould.
  • The resulting shape has various bits of mould flash removed (with an an angle grinder, because doing that part by hand would take longer than we had).
  • The sword is filed down with a couple of grades of hand file to remove pits and mould marks, then polished with many, many grades of sandpaper.
  • The sword is fitted with a wooden hilt, which is shaped a bit with another angle grinder then finished and polished by hand.
  • More polishing with sandpaper, and then an edge is put on it with more files. And it is sharp. The point of the weekend was not to make a toy or a display item, but to make a sword.

On the left, what it looked like to start with. On the right, the mostly-finished product.

And then, when you’re done, if you want, you can name your sword, and if you’ve come prepared, pour a libation on it and dedicate it to the deity of your choice in a pool fed by a stream – dipping the metal from the earth that has been purified by fire, into living water. For a number of personal reasons, my sword is named Mercy, and is dedicated to Brigid. It’ll be displayed above my hearth, just as soon as I have the mounts to do that.

In Memoriam: Hugh Hancock

On Monday morning, I was swapping texts with an old friend, Hugh Hancock. The basic gist of those texts was “sorry we can’t catch up tonight, I’ll catch you in a few months”.

I never will. He died suddenly, that evening, of a heart attack, aged just 40.

To say he accomplished a lot in his far-too-short life is to undersell it. I don’t think he knew the meaning of the word “impossible” or “can’t”. Or anything like them. For as long as I knew him, he’d parked himself on the bleeding edge of technology and storytelling, and he was always doing something that no-one else was. It wasn’t always perfect. It wasn’t always polished. But no-one else was doing it. So he did.

His career took him all over the world, to speak and lecture. I’ve always been sorry that I never actually got to see him do that professionally, because I’m sure he was great at it. You only had to talk to him for five minutes before you saw his passion and heart, and it was bloody infectious. He poured it into everything he did, and he brought people along with him.

In the process of this, he named an art-form, Machinima, and made the first feature-length film in it, at a time when every else who was making Machinima thought they were doing well to make a five minute comedy short. When he concluded that one of the things that was letting his film-making down was the quality of the voice talent, he went out and booked Brian Blessed, Joanna Lumley, Jack Davenport and Anna Chancellor for his next work. I still don’t quite know how he managed it. I’m not sure he knew how he managed it.

I think it’s fair to say that Machinima wouldn’t look the same without him. And as if one art form wasn’t enough, in the last few years, he’d turned his attention to VR games, and storytelling. Lacking the equipment to do so, I haven’t played his effort in that field but from the reaction to it, and it sounds like he hit exactly the mark he was aiming for, and showed people that yes, you can use VR games as a narrative form.

I’ve read a bunch of the tributes to him, from his friends and from strangers who only knew him through his work, and of all of them there’s a comment on a facebook thread made by his close friend Johnnie Ingram (whose own tribute to Hugh is singularly perfect), noting “The number of people saying some variation of ‘he quite literally changed my life’ is extraordinary”. I think that’s very true, and is absolutely the measure of the man.

But as I remarked elsewhere, it’s not his achievements I’ll miss. It’ll be my my funny, warm, kind friend.

It’ll be the lunatic who decided he wanted to cook sous-vide at home, years before you could buy a home sous-vide device, so dragooned an engineer friend into helping him hack about with a slow cooker and an electric thermocouple, to create the monstrosity of wiring and water that he dubbed his “atomic crockpot”. (He did not know the meaning of the word “impossible”. He may sometimes have been hazy on the meaning of the word “safety”.)

It’ll be the man who reduced me to tears of helpless laughter describing the process of drying duck for a banquet between two computer fans.

It’ll be the man who I could (and did) talk about anything with, and be assured that he’d just get it. Whatever it was. The friend who I might not see for months or years at a stretch, but we’d meet, and five minutes later, it’d be like no time had passed.

On Monday morning, when he texted to cancel, I wasn’t upset. I was sure that I’d see him in a few months time, and it’d be like no time had passed.

It is so unfair that that’s no longer true, I don’t have the words.

He was 40. He’d done so much, and still I am sure his best work was ahead of him. The world has lost a brilliant and kind man, and many, many people have lost a dear friend. My love and sympathy goes out to everyone that knew him, most especially his partner, and the rest of his family.

Idiocy: Week #2

Dinner

Well, it’s been a fortnight. How’m I doing?

Well, badly, on one level. I’ve eaten a fair number non-Huel meals. I think I’ve only had five or six days where I lived entirely on Huel (meaning: 2000 calories worth of Huel consumed, plus maybe a biscuit or two). I’ve been out for meals with with friends a fair bit and I will not be the fucking weirdo drinking his sludge while everyone else eats real food. I’ve also had a friend’s birthday party at a craft beer pub, and the beer festival on Friday, so my less-alcohol thing isn’t doing terribly well, either.

I’ve gotten through a bit more than two bags of Huel. I’m adjusting to it. I bought a blender, which improves the texture no end, to the point where I’d say it was non=optional – shaking to mix just doesn’t cut it. The biggest help was the discovery that adding a banana and some cinnamon to it *massively* improves the taste, to the point where I quite enjoy it. Probably means I’m in danger of banana poisoning. Strawberries are another good additive, as are peaches. I tried using raspberries yesterday, something in the artificial sweetener in Huel does not go well with them. Still better than plain Huel up front, but the aftertaste with raspberries was very artificial – more so than with regular Huel. I’ve got a mix of blue and blackberries lined up next, as you’ll see in the photo above. Overall it’s turned out that I’m eating more fruit in addition to the Huel, so I’ve cut back so I’m only eating five portions of Huel a day, or three if I’m out for food in the evening.

Effects wise: Had a couple of nights where I found I was going to bed early, because I was tired. But I was up and feeling well-rested at 6:30 the following morning. I might actually just have been tired. Had some headaches the first day on all-Huel, but was fine the following day. Otherwise, I feel relatively normal, aside from some salt cravings the first few days. I suspect I might have stronger cravings for real food if I wasn’t eating out every few days. I’m finding myself hungry at odd intervals, because the calorie size in each meal isn’t what I’m used to, and I’m having to put a bit of mental effort into correctly spacing out my drinks, and not snacking over-much.

I’ve lost a small amount of weight. I’d probably have lost a bit more if it weren’t for the beer and those meals out with friends. Still within a pretty sensible range, something you’d expect with a balanced diet, and consuming slightly less calories that I have been while keeping up the same amount of exercise.

Honestly, I think the biggest difference I’m noting is what a daily step on the scales does for one’s awareness of what one is eating. On the one hand, it’s not an intrinsically unhealthy habit, tracking one’s weight, but I can absolutely see how it might be. The thought “what will eating this burger do to my weight tomorrow?” honestly crossed by mind the other night. Not, I will say, in a “oh god, I shouldn’t do this” way, I hasten to add, more in a “this will be interesting to learn” way. But I can see how one might go from one to the other. And I’ll be amused to watch any weight loss I might have managed from

At the moment, my overall impression is reasonably positive, particularly with the addition of fruit, and given that this supply is almost certainly going to last me more than a month, it’s certainly something I’d consider adopting as a replacement for breakfast and lunch when this trial is done, and then eating real food in the evenings. I’m going to try and force myself to consume nothing at all but Huel-with-fruit this week, just to see how I feel about it then…

Idiocy: Day #2

Don’t panic, I’m not going to write about this every day, just when I have something to note. So it’ll naturally front-load a bit, as I work out my routine, and what works for me.

So I actually wound up eating two meals of Huel yesterday, rather than my planned one. I didn’t have anything else in the house for lunch, and couldn’t leave the house to buy anything for various reasons. Huel recommend a 3 scoop (they give you a handy scoop for measuring) batch of Huel for a “good sized sandwich” type lunch of 450 calories or so. I had trouble drinking it.

Some of that was my fault – I added water to the powder and shook it, rather than adding the powder to water and shaking it. Turns out that order makes a big different to the texture – my lunch was really lumpy, which is not a phrase to fill anyone with delight, no matter what they’re eating. Huel, in their defence, are clear about this on their website.

But preparation errors aside, consuming 3 scoops in a sitting left me feeling a bit bloated. I’m thinking I’ll have to go with a 2-scoop drink every 2 hours or so, rather than 4 3-scoop meals a day. That’ll net me about 1800 calories from Huel, which leaves room for coffees, and blending some of the Huel with fruit to improve the taste. (I’m stress again that I’m not calorie counting, but I do need to know how much I’m consuming so I’m not grossly over- or under- eating.)

One of the theoretical selling points of Huel is that it’s convenient. I’m not convinced that preparing and consuming half a litre of beige slurry at roughly two-hour intervals is going to be at all convenient, but I guess we’ll see.

Also worth noting: I don’t know if it’s because I’d been to the gym this morning, or just because I am already learning to love my new slurry diet, but I found this morning’s batch much more palatable. I wouldn’t go as far as “nice” but I was hungry, and it tasted better than it did yesterday.