Sunday, December 31, 2006
The Eve Of Destruction
It's New Year's Eve, 2006. Do you know who's in your boxen?
In an incredible break from tradition, I actually received an invitation to a social occasion! The invitation was to spend New Year's Eve with Sebastian, a German computer science student who Richard and I had met at the 23C3. Richard was not keen on the idea because he had his heart set on seeing the fireworks at the Brandenburg Gate, not sitting inside with a bunch of geeks. Also, as Sebastian observed shortly after meeting Richard his "life follows a sad pattern". I persuaded Richard that we should go to Sebastian's apartment, assuming he would leave at some point to go to the Brandenburg Gate. Sebastian's apartment was wonderful. The interior was very modern and it was quite spacious. I was surprised when he told us how low the rent was. It made me think about the standard of living here in Berlin compared to that in Rip-Off Britain, and how much I hate the UK.
Sebastian's brother and some of his friends came over. Everyone was friendly and interesting. And clever. Guess which one is most important to me:)
Somebody cooked great pizza at some point. Richard and the others drank B52's, a three-layer cocktail consisting of Bailey's, Grand Marnier and Kahlua. For reasons that were never made clear, it was decided that the drinks should be set on fire and then drunk through a straw. This proved to be quite a dangerous course of action as the straws caught fire and molten plastic dripped everywhere.
Throughout the night I spent quite a bit of time playing Street Fighter 2 on MAME. I've always considered SF2 to be a console game as most of my friends played it on the SNES. I felt it was very inferior to Final Fight, a side scrolling beat 'em up that Dr Edward Bearskin and I used to play for hours on end. I was never into console games as a teenager, being an owner of an Amiga.(A REAL computer) It was still good to see the game and all the characters I had forgotten: Guile, Chun-Li, Dhalsim, Ken, Ryu, Blanka etc.
It was somehow decided that we should all go to the Brandenburg Gate for the countdown to midnight. We traveled by bus and arrived to find what appeared to be a small war. Fireworks were being set off in the street and were flying around just a few feet from people's heads. The ground was covered with broken glass. At midnight champagne and wine glasses were produced. Despite some minor peer pressure from Richard, I didn't drink any.
When we got back to Sebastian's apartment we ate more pizza and discussed various issues relating to cryptography, steganography and anonymity for many, many hours. Eventually it was past 4 am and time to go home. All in all, probably the best New Year's Eve I've ever had.