Today on project Morrowind, we will start turning some horrible binaries into beautiful data structures in the memory space of a Python interpreter. They are still technically binary, but let's not dwell on it too much. Otherwise we will realise we're all made of atoms and will have an existential crisis and that wouldn't be very nice.
I…I don't even see the code. All I see is tree, rock, marshmerrow...
Elder Scrolls games made by Bethesda Softworks, including Morrowind and its successors (Oblivion, Skyrim and that peculiarly also kind of includes Fallout 3 and 4) store their core game data (that is, maps and locations of various objects, but not textures/audio/meshes) in the ESM (Elder Scrolls Master) format. It's been evolving ever since Morrowind as the Bethesda developers have been adding more and more features to it, but its main idea remains the same: these files are a collection of records of different types.
For example, we can have an NPC_ record, defining a character in the game, which will contain entries for the character's gender, race, AI behaviour etc. It can also have references to other records, for example, the inventory of a character, which refer to ARMO and WEAP records. CELL records describe in-game cells (actual locations) and contain references to, well, everything that is located in that cell, like NPC_, ARMO, WEAP or CONT (containers, e.g. chests). The actual binary format for Morrowind is described very well here and every release of a new Bethesda game promises players lots of fun in reverse engineering their ever so slightly minor alterations to the game data file format.
One clever idea that Bethesda had was making game save files an overlay on the game data files in this format. For example, if you were to kill someone in a certain location (pretty much what usually happens in Elder Scrolls games), your save file would have a redefinition of the CELL record that would list the NPC in question as perished. Sadly, this idea has no relevance to this project, just like lots of other clever ideas, but it's interesting nonetheless.
There are more complications though: cells can be exterior or interior. Exterior cells are square-shaped and are joined together edge-to-edge to create the actual great (dubious) outdoors of Morrowind. With interior cells, all bets are off - each of them resides in its own little reality and is joined to other cells by doors which basically function as teleports in this case. A small house in the exterior cell often is quite a bit larger from the inside, which means that you can't reliably judge where the player actually is when they're indoors.
So if we want to reconstruct a graph of how you can travel around in Morrowind, we have to take care of doors, amongst all other means of movement.
With regards to the Almsivi/Divine Intervention spells, there are special marker objects in every Temple and Imperial fort - this is how the game determines where to teleport the player when they cast a particular spell. It's again easy with the exterior cells (as all markers are located outside), but gets more complicated with interiors. Some people claim Morrowind uses the last exterior cell you've been to (which has some pathological cases - say you use a Guild Teleport that teleports you from the indoors to the indoors again, so casting an Intervention spell will warp you to the closest marker to the first Guild, not the second one) and OpenMW, an open-source reimplementation of the Morrowind engine, tries to fix that by using the closest exterior to you as a reference. My copy of Morrowind behaves the correct way for some reason, so I'll emulate that.
In much better news, if NPCs offer travel services (be it silt strider, boat or Guild teleport), it will be encoded in their record.
All in all, it seems like we want to scrape the hell out of all CELL and NPC_ records, as they contain everything we need for now.
Now, as much as I thought it would be feasible and fun to decode the binary data according to that excellent spec, I still decided to cheat and used Morrowind Enchanted Editor, a low-level editor for ESM files. In particular, I used the "Dump to Text File" function, which turned the unreadable binary mess into a readable ASCII mess.
This is something we can work with: each entry in the record is on a separate line and is clearly keyed by the subrecord (e.g. FNAM is the full name, RNAM is the race name etc). As a good starting point, we can easily extract just the NPC_ and CELL records and tokenize the data by just converting it into a stream of key-value pairs (so a line NPC_ NAME todd would get turned to a tuple (NAME, todd) since we already know it belongs to an NPC_ record).
(I was going to put source code and explain it, block-by-block, here, but WordPress decided to not be on my side today. I'll post it on GitHub later, promise. I mean, seriously, who the hell converts > to > after a save cycle and then again to &gt?)
In the end, we get something like this:
In : cells[:10] Out: [('NAME', ''), ('DATA', '\x02\x00'), ('DATA', '23'), ('DATA', '7'), ('RGNN', "Azura's Coast Region"), ('NAME', ''), ('DATA', '\x02\x00'), ('DATA', '23'), ('DATA', '6'), ('RGNN', "Azura's Coast Region")] npcs[:10] Out: [('NAME', 'player'), ('FNAM', 'player'), ('RNAM', 'Dark Elf'), ('CNAM', 'Acrobat'), ('ANAM', ''), ('BNAM', 'b_n_dark elf_m_head_01'), ('KNAM', 'b_n_dark elf_m_hair_01'), ('NPDT', '1'), ('NPDT', ''), ('NPDT', '')]
Parsing the stream of NPC_ records into a list of NPCs isn't that difficult. I found the neatest way was to pass the stream to a class constructor and allow it to consume as much from it as it needs to initialize itself. But keep in mind that we need to stop parsing when we see the next NPC's NAME subrecord and if we've already consumed that, it's too late, so we need to define an iterator that allows us to peek at the next item without consuming it.
Parsing the list of destinations, one of the Holy Grails that we're looking for, is easy too - just look at this example (which is one of the places that Todd's Super Tester Guy can take us):
NPC_ DODT 1822.641 NPC_ DODT -231.5323 NPC_ DODT -292.9501 NPC_ DODT 0 NPC_ DODT 0 NPC_ DODT 0.5 NPC_ DNAM ToddTest
We literally get a list of 6 numbers: the x, y, z coordinates and the angle (which we don't really care about). Sometimes there's also a DNAM subrecord if we're in an interior cell.
Add a repr method and we can see a list of actual NPCs!
npcs[:10] Out: [NPC (player, player, Dark Elf, Acrobat), NPC (todd, Todd's Super Tester Guy, Dark Elf, Guard), NPC (Imperial Guard, Guard, Imperial, Guard), NPC (agronian guy, Tarhiel, Wood Elf, Enchanter), NPC (murberius harmevus, Murberius Harmevus, Imperial, Warrior), NPC (madres navur, Madres Navur, Dark Elf, Acrobat), NPC (farusea salas, Farusea Salas, Dark Elf, Commoner), NPC (erval, Erval, Wood Elf, Commoner), NPC (Dralas Gilu, Dralas Gilu, Dark Elf, Rogue), NPC (uulernil, Uulernil, High Elf, Smith)] npcs.inventory Out: [('steel battle axe', 1), ('glass war axe', 1), ('steel mace', 1), ('chitin guantlet - right', 1), ('chitin guantlet - left', 1), ('chitin boots', 1), ('chitin greaves', 1), ('chitin pauldron - right', 1), ('chitin pauldron - left', 1), ('chitin cuirass', 1)]
(Interestingly, there are three problems with the "agronian guy" named Tarhiel over there. Firstly, that race name is spelled Argonian. Secondly, he's not an Argonian, he's a Wood Elf. And finally, he has some mental issues but also talents.
Next time on project Morrowind, we'll move on to trying to decode CELL data, which has some more peculiarities (like the fact that it contains most of what the player can perceive). But now that we've gotten through the background and the boring bits, we will start moving faster and might even get around to constructing an actual travel graph!
You should play Morrowind.
(warning: lots of skippable praise for Morrowind here, scroll down for the meat of the post)
At the beginning of Morrowind, you're a chump who just got off a prison ship with 87 gold pieces (one loaf of bread costs 1 gold piece in this world, so that's conveniently about £35 - that's how much you would pay for 87 packs of Tesco Everyday Value Sliced White Bread). Your first assignment is to take a parcel to a guy in a different city, and you either have to take the silt strider (a massive insect with long legs piloted by a possibly drunk creepy guy, not unlike London buses) or walk there through the wilderness, fighting off hordes of oversized carnivorous birds with the iron dagger you had just stolen from the Census office, except the dagger always misses because, see, Morrowind's combat system is inspired by tabletop roleplaying games and they didn't pay their animators that much, so even if your weapon clearly appears to hit the mushy body of whatever it is you, the player, are aiming at, there's no guarantee at all that you have actually hit.
So after ruining a couple of mice with repetitive rage-filled clicks, you decide to quit Morrowind and do something better with your life.
Or you keep going and learn about how fatigue affects your chances to hit everything (and on everything), read up on game mechanics, buy a new mouse, make your way to Balmora and get immersed in one of the richest worlds I've ever seen in gaming. You go through a story that raises questions about organized religion, xenophobia, colonialism, tribal legends, prophecies, free will and the priorities of an individual versus the organization that they belong to.
And somewhere during that process of discovery, you realise that the swings with your crappy dagger don't miss anymore. In fact, your dagger is no longer crappy. In fact, you don't even use a dagger, instead having found an amazing sword in a dungeon guarded by a couple of possibly too sexualized and extremely dangerous monsters. You decide to murder a God and capture his soul because it has the biggest enchantment capacity. When you need to get somewhere, instead of a long slog through the wasteland you use one amulet to teleport to the nearest Temple, bunny-hop (because that makes you move faster) or levitate your way through whatever town you ended up at, enter the Mages' Guild, use the Guild Teleport, use another amulet and finally fly to your destination. You murder entire cities in drug-fueled rampages just to please yourself and then reload the last save. You pilfer the treasuries of great Houses and steal rare armor and weapons, just to go to a remote island and sell them to someone who just happens to be a massive crab - you say it's because he gives you the best prices, but it's actually because everybody else is scared of you.
Just like real life.
(skippable praise ends here)
I decided to replay Morrowind recently and in the middle of that "high-ranking executive" stage, as I got slightly annoyed by all the fetch quests I had to do to get promoted in some guilds, thought about making myself a journey planner. This is not a completely trivial task because there are so many ways you can get around in Morrowind:
Walking (or levitating, because any self-respecting player has already enchanted something with a constant Levitation effect)
Taking the silt strider (or the boat) - but note you can't immediately get to your target town and might have to change through one of those bad parts of town. Takes in-game time, but we'll say it's instantaneous as perceived by the player.
Guild of Mages Teleport - instantaneous as well. You have to talk to mages, but they are a nice bunch, really.
Divine/Almsivi Intervention - this is where it gets interesting. Divine Intervention teleports you to the nearest Imperial fort (Morrowind is part of the Empire and is still quite reluctant about that idea) and Almsivi Intervention teleports you to the nearest Tribunal Temple (which is the official religion of Morrowind that was around way before the Empire).
Mark/Recall - two spells, one places a mark and the other one teleports you to that mark.
Propylon Indices - long ago, someone decided to build lots of cool-looking strongholds in a circle around the island. Good news: there's a teleport chamber linking them in a round-robin fashion. Bad news: you need a Propylon Mark for each one of those strongholds to use their teleport and those are often tough to find. Also, these strongholds have been overrun by various nasties and generally aren't pleasant to be around. I'll exclude them from my analysis for now.
There are minor delays on the Circle Line due to sharks (from http://www.terminally-incoherent.com).
So you can see how some interesting ways to get to places can arise by combining these means. For example, you could totally cast Almsivi Intervention to get teleported to the nearest Temple, then Divine Intervention to get teleported to an Imperial Fort, then use a Guild teleport and immediately cast another Almsivi to get to yet another town.
But of course it would be boring if I just spent some time reading those Morrowind travel maps, making a graph and running Dijkstra on it. For one, that wouldn't make for a good blog post. In addition, it doesn't help you if you end up somewhere in the wilderness (see that area in the middle, circled by Falasmaryon, Valenvaryon, Rotheran, Indoranyon, Falensarano, Ald'Ruhn and Maar Gan? Yeah, don't go there).
Finally, there are quite a few large fan-made add-ons to Morrowind, including Tamriel Rebuilt, because, see, I've been lying to you and that island isn't called Morrowind, it's actually Vvardenfell and Morrowind is the province Vvardenfell is part of. Tamriel Rebuilt tries to recreate this whole province (yes, the whole Morrowind isn't in the game called Morrowind. What's more, Tamriel is the whole Empire of which Morrowind is a part and, yes, Tamriel Rebuilt just tries to recreate Morrowind in-game. In the game called Morrowind).
All of this was me trying to convince you that it's a good idea to find a systematic way to scrape this data out of game files to make our lives easier. And imagine the kinds of things we'll learn if we do that! Demographics! Population heatmaps! Graphs! We might even plot property prices and travel times!
Next time on project Morrowind, we will battle with confusing binary formats, bizarre conventions, linear algebra, Python and will possibly learn more about the lore of Morrowind and its game mechanics. Stay tuned!
So I decided to dust down this old blog for once. I realise I haven't posted anything in the last 3.5 years, but that just means I have a lot to write about, right?
Here's a quick recap of what went on since the last post:
I went to university, managed to graduate with a decent degree and met lots of cool people (you all know who you are!)
My final year dissertation project was at the intersection of bioinformatics, machine learning (Bayesian networks) and kind-of-but-not-really-high-performance Python.
My Raspberry Pi is still alive, bar a single memory card failure (there are two types of people: those who do backups and those who don't do them yet). I decided against running large-scale raytracing experiments on it, so it now hosts some random lightweight services (files, wiki).
tRayce got some cool new features. I tried adding global illumination to it (photon mapping at first, but then settled on simple pathtracing), as well as importing OBJ files and textures. Here's the Stanford Bunny, painstakingly pathtraced to perfection.
I'm getting some Donnie Darko vibes from this.
I wrote lots of other crap, including a Scheme interpreter, an AI for the card game of Durak, a Minesweeper board solver, an unfinished space trading game with a simulated stock exchange etc.
For my next trick, I'm going to try posting here more often than once every 43 months.
Hi, Chicken Cottage on Praed Street here. I haven't seen News from Paddington for about two weeks now and I think I know why (see the attached front page of the Guardian). I dug around in its computer and found these notes which would probably have been parts of the Friday's News from Paddington, but I think this is urgent enough to be posted here in its unfinished form with all the notes and mistakes.
Well well well, dear readers, I hope you enjoyed not having News from Paddington around for one week. Because News from Paddington knows it enjoyed not having you guys around for one week. Welcome to the final month of the year and let's get straight back into it!
This fortnight's edition of News from Paddington is brought to you by Boom Boom! Boom Boom is News from Paddington's neighbour and a Feng Shui master: his primary occupation is what sounds like moving furniture around his room every night in order to ensure his room always has a Northern Luopan aspect, since only then will Qi ride the wind and scatter. Boom Boom also seems to have obtained complete and total enlightenment and often mumbles something to himself ("need to get some chicken", "fucking lights are broken again", "shit"), a habit News from Paddington is intending to also take up.
This fortnight's edition of News from Paddington is also brought to you in partnership with Shure! Shure make earphones with amazing isolation, which is invaluable when sleeping next door to a passionate Feng Shui master.
Turns out, there are many hostels near Kings Cross and also turns out many of them actually claim to not let any guests check in without searching their bags. [TODO: snarky comment about how searching kids' suitcases will protect this country]
[TODO: figure out how to segue into the food section] [TODO: should i tell them about tuesday?]
Hi, I'm News from Paddington and jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.
News from Paddington went to a database conference last Friday instead of going to work! Going to a conference is basically like going to university, except the lectures are more interesting, filled with swearwords and useful content, and all of the food is free. Five Paddington points out of five.
It's amazing how little it takes to stop a city. Somebody decided to hold the door for a second on the Jubilee Line train at Waterloo one morning and that broke the doors. After staying at the station for 10 minutes and finally moving, the train arrived to a massive crowd of happy commuters at London Bridge (a diligent reader might remember Jubilee Line has doors on some platforms and so people usually queue in front of these doors, except in this case the queues were too long for the platform and evolved into some sort of a multiplayer Snake game without losing their integrity at any point. This did prevent News from Paddington from getting out of the station in less than 10 minutes, though).
News from Paddington steadily keeps approaching legal age as it's already been fourteen weeks since a drunken rant by News from Paddington got out of hand and became News from Paddington.
News from Paddington went to see a film called Crimson Peak. Unsurprisingly, the showing was preceded by half an hour of trailers and advertisements which had more plot twists than the actual film.
"Hi, this is the museum of procrastination. This is where we put your dreams. This is where we put your unfinished novels. This is where we put all the musical instruments you didn't learn how to play. This is where the gym memberships go. Blablabla. Only with HSBC."
"shows things people are terrified of, like not being able to find their phone charger, having somebody share a photo of them on Facebook, having tons of voicemails from their mother, wearing sandals with socks, having a local MP come around. Blablabla. Only on GiffGaff." (News from Paddington thought that everybody else was scared of different things, like their loved ones being slowly dismembered in front of them, limb by limb, as they can do nothing but watch, or losing all their facilities and having to rely on others to feed, bathe, and clothe them, or suffering from depression and their lover breaking up with them, or having their brain infected with a parasitic fungus that slowly turns them into zombies, or realising that their tenants' rent is no longer enough to cover their interest on an interest-only buy-to-let mortgage. Nope. It's sandals and socks.)
Or The Steve Jobs movie! This is Steve Wozniak asking Steve Jobs "you're not an engineer or a designer. Who the hell are you?" and Steve Jobs replying... oh no, cut! This is Steve Jobs getting fired by his board. This is a theatre crowded with people who are slamming their feet on the floor as Steve Jobs unveils a computer. This is some actors saying "oh, he's really important and such a man deserved a film made about him" and "the way he revolutionized our lives... it's...". Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs.
Oh yeah, Crimson Peak. It's a film about some British guys killing people with tea. Tea Paddington points out of five.
Turns out, London has a nightlife. Somebody decided to hold a dance performance on the Northbound Bakerloo line platform at Piccadilly Circus a couple of evenings ago, which then started being accompanied by a station announcement saying "please be reminded that flash photography is forbidden on all London Underground property". News from Paddington consulted with Chicken Cottage on Praed Street who owns a square of land on Praed Street, hence everything above and below it, hence part of the Edgware Road -- Paddington Bakerloo line section. Turns out, flash photography is forbidden on the platforms because drivers who pull into a station are sometimes confused by the flashing lights and think they are an actress at a movie premiere, thus demanding higher salaries.
Vietnamese food week on News from Paddington! Sponsored by Nandos in Croydon! "Nandos in Croydon! Yes, Croydon, but Nandos!"
"...I was visiting a bar there, not unlike this one. They serve beer, not quite as good as this, but close. ... So, I'm sitting there, and in walks the biggest News I have ever seen. Big as shit. Just walks right in like it owns the place. Now, nobody knew quite what to make of it, or quite what to think. There it was and in it walked."
Thank you, Steve Buscemi. Time for the really short flu/cold season edition of News from Paddington, named after what News from Paddington thinks it has after a two-week long paracetamol and ibuprofen binge that presumably keeps the fever and the rest of the pain away. Incidentally, if anyone ever tells you to have anything that is a fancy brand name for any two of those things and also gets offended when you instead pick up the store-branded chemical and calls you a fool, News from Paddington authorizes you to punch them in the face. Please don't mention News from Paddington when you do this -- we've had enough trouble with the Bobajam incident already. Do consider doing the same thing when you're recommended to overdose yourself on Vitamin C because that will only make sure that whoever drinks the piss of the person who drinks your piss will never have scurvy again. Prefer paracetamol to ibuprofen -- as far as News from Paddington knows, stomach lining transplants aren't a thing and liver transplants are. This should not be considered medical advice -- take this with a grain of salt. Incidentally, the jury is still out on gargling with salt.
If you were food, where you would be? That's right, the next section.
Hi, Chicken Cottage on Praed Street here. It's been two days now since I've seen News from Paddington and I haven...
(loud thud, scuffling)
It's time for the vacation edition of News from Paddington, named like that because News from Paddington suddenly realised it has unspent vacation days which will expire at the end of the year!
Meet Steve (name picked at random) whose conversations with his friend News from Paddington overheard as it was walking past them. Steve is a Paddington native and provides multiple valuable insights into Paddington real estate:
"(points at St Mary's Hospital) Meet the ugliest hospital in the world."
"(points at two abandoned dock warehouses by the Paddington Basin) Fuck knows what's in these derelict buildings, but they're probably worth a fortune."
News from Paddington met a Zen master the other day on the Tube. News from Paddington was standing with its back towards the door between the carriages. Some kids asked News from Paddington how to get to Leicester Square, to which News from Paddington responded and continued its journey.
Then News from Paddington heard an "excuse me, can I get through here?" behind it and was surprised to find out that a fat, door-sized kid had opened the door between the carriages (whose main feature is a massive warning sign saying "EMERGENCY USE ONLY RISK OF DEATH IF USED WHILE TRAIN IS MOVING", and yes, the train was moving), walked into the carriage and asked his friends, "Are we there yet?", to which they responded "Nope, two more stops."
Not satisfied with his display of not-giving-a-fuck, the Zen master said "Okay, see you soon!" and left the carriage the same way he came in.
News from Paddington went to Canary Wharf! Canary Wharf is like Singapore meets John Galt. It's like Poplar meets Isle of Dogs. It's like skyscrapers meet sky. It's like Costa meets Starbucks. It's like Charles Tyrwhitt meets Paul Smith. Since most of the buildings in Canary Wharf, including a residential one, are joined together with an underground mall, it is entirely possible to, without ever going outside, be born here, live here, do grocery shopping in a nearby Waitrose, work in one of the several banks, perhaps get married here, have kids here, retire here... When the apocalypse finally strikes, Canary Wharf will just seal itself from the external world and everybody in there will be safe, assuming they're not scared of LIBOR rigging.
Food with News from Paddington, sponsored by News from Paddington's wallet. "News from Paddington's wallet! Please, no more!"
According to various sources, including and limited to the number of files on News from Paddington's computer, today is the 10th anniv... weekiversary of News from Paddington! This edition of News from Paddington is hence a special edition by means of being really short.
Thank you for reading this short edition of News from Paddington. Now it's time for food!
News from Paddington's song of the week is a short informative public service announcement about the anatomy of reptiles.
You are News from Paddington. It is 10:30pm. You enter London Bridge Station after having a nice walk-and-talk with a coworker over London Bridge. Of course, neither of you are drunk. She left you before you walked into the station -- she lives around here. You walk down the escalator on your secret unmarked route that few people know of, sharing approving glances with your fellow revellers. The train approaches, protected by suicide doors. You get in and take your favourite seat: the quarter-metre sized perch at the edge of the carriage. People get in, people get out. They seem to always be able to squeeze past you. You get off at Baker Street. The Bakerloo Line train is standing at the opposite platform, half a minute's walk away from you. If you run, you will make it. But you don't care. You are News from Paddington. A gentleman can walk but never run. As you walk into the train, the doors start beeping. They are about to close. The commuters behind you are running to get on the train. Some of them do. Some of them don't. The train leaves the platform. Minutes later, you arrive to Edgware Road. You leave the train and go up the stairs to the lift. The one on the right is gone, but the one on the left opens its doors to you. You get in and stand in front of the very exit from the lift. You are News from Paddington. You swipe your Oyster card and exit the station. You enter your Headquarters and open up your laptop. There is a file on your desktop. It says...
News from Paddington!
Meanwhile in Meanwhile Gardens...
You are standing on a Tube platform. There is a train approaching and there is another train in 1 minute. Do you 1) pile up into the first train, getting squeezed inside of it more than the British middle class or 2) wait 1 minute for the next train, which comes empty and stays empty because the train in front of it is collecting everybody else?
You are standing on a Tube platform. There is a massive crowd of people by the entrance. The end of the platform is empty. Do you 1) stand in the middle and then pile up into the middle carriage, getting squeezed inside of it more than people who shorted the SP500 before its biggest weekly gain of the year or 2) walk leisurely to the end of the platform and board an almost-empty carriage?
You are standing on a Tube platform. It is 17:30 on a weekday. A train is approaching. Do you 1) pile up into the train, getting squeezed inside of it more than small business owners by the Mafia in 1930s or 2) reevaluate your life choices and decide to never be on the platform again at 17:30 on a weekday?
Just like News from Paddington suspected, Lena's Cafe, Victor's Cafe and Sarah's Cafe, located in various parts of London, are owned by the same person whose name is neither of those.
"Oh yeah, of course! I know you!" -- everyone, meet the head manager of Waitrose on Edgware Road. After the previous time she approved a sale of an exorbitant amount of alcohol to News from Paddington, she now knows News from Paddington and says that every time she approves a sale of an exorbitant amount of alcohol to News from Paddington. Seems like there are very few stores in West London that don't know News from Paddington yet.
Quote of the week: "It fills up faster than you can say 'it fills up faster'"
News from Paddington promised once to keep monitoring the events on London Bridge and that finally paid off last Wednesday as the whole bridge was closed and cordoned by the police, with police boats on the Thames because of a "suspicious package" on the bridge. About half an hour after that, a man exited a police van, walked over to the middle of the bridge, crouched for five minutes and then got picked up by the van and left. The bridge was opened soon after. It is said that the man in question has difficulty travelling by air because his genitalia keep triggering metal detectors.
Did News from Paddington eat this week? Of course it did.
Mixology with News from Paddington, brought to you in partnership with Jecur Organ Transplant Services. "Jecur Organ Transplant Services! When the mind is willing but the flesh is spongy and bruised!"
"Hi, I'm PC Savile from the Metropolitan Police Service. We're looking for News... News from Paddington?"
"What a weird name. Afraid I don't know anyone like that. What happened?"
"Well, we've been forced to arrest some people who were harassing some girls around Chinatown..."
"They kept following them and saying they want to... bobajam?"
"And said that they've been told to not mention News from Paddington?"
"Well, that's terrible, sir, but I've never heard of News from Paddington."
"Alright then, thanks. Oh, do you know of any good places to eat around here?"
"Okay. Well, if you hear anything about News from Paddington, give me a call on this number!"
Damn, that was close! I told you guys to be careful! Oh well, let's see what happened this week.
News from Paddington went to the UCL freshers' fair and pretended to be a student (there is this sweet spot of aging where neither bars nor Universities ID you). The first victim of News from Paddington was the UCL Energy Society, which News from Paddington signed up for as a certain James Smith. If any of the readers know James Smith, a second-year at UCL, please apologize to him on News from Paddington's behalf. As a consolation, he is eligible to be treated to a lunch in Chicken Cottage of value up to £3. News from Paddington recommends an innovative burger from which Chicken Cottage has removed all buns -- it consists of a piece of chicken between two pieces of chicken. It's really good!
News from Paddington then walked around the fair, collecting flyers and making fun of everyone and everything:
-- "Join the scuba diving society!" -- "No, thanks, I'm afraid of water."
-- "Haha, funny, this sheet for the sign language society says 'Sign-up sheet' on it!"
-- "Sign up for the European Society!" -- "Okay!" -- "It's only 5 pounds!" -- "Actually, I forgot my university card at home :("
-- "gives flyer Join the UCL Marxists!" -- "takes flyer, in a Russian accent Thanks, comrade!"
-- "How did you find the Fair? Would you like to fill out this survey?" -- "Sure! gives the nicest answers ever and says 'better than the last year's fair!' in the end"
There was even a stage there! News from Paddington saw the Kendo society. A Kendo spar involves taking turns to 1) yell at the opponent 2) hit them with a stick. The yelling is especially funny when girls do it. This is how News from Paddington sounds like when the alcohol in its fridge runs out.
Then News from Paddington miraculously met the girl it scared off last week with its friends. News from Paddington contemplated saying hi again and seeing if she would give up her hard-earned place in the queue, but decided not to. News from Paddington is really bad with the ladies.
The time has come for supermarkets to start charging for all plastic bags. The time has also come for News from Paddington to start showing the middle finger to the checkout machine and carry all of its shopping without a bag.
News from Paddington, alongside every other room in its accommodation, got a letter! The letter was from News from Foxtons and they were wondering if News from Paddington wanted to rent out its room. News from Paddington likes its room too much to rent it out and doesn't own it anyway.
News from Paddington was sitting in the Tube once with its friend opposite a dodgy-looking guy. News from Paddington then stood up and started walking to exit the carriage. The dodgy-looking guy for some reason stood up and ran away from News from Paddington towards a different exit. When he saw that News from Paddington simply exited the train, he said "Oh come on!" and walked back to his previous seat. Did News from Paddington and its friend look like ticket inspectors? Hopefully.
Next up, it's this week's culinary adventures!
Bartending with News from Paddington! Tired of making Sidecars and trying to dispose of Grand Marnier by pouring it into tea, News from Paddington explored the exciting field of mixology some more.
This edition of News from Paddington was brought to you by Surprise Surprise on Queensway. "Surprise Surprise on Queensway: Surprise Surprise! It's Surprise Surprise!"
(originally from citikey.uk)
"Hi, we're from the Guardian and we're looking for the guy..."
"Sang cheo reur chi ryo hae jur sa ram eo di eopt na ga man hi nwa du da gan kkeunh I’m eops I deot na"
"...that names himself News from Paddington and hasn't been doing his..."
"Sa rang do sa ram do neo mu na do geop na hon ja in ge mu seo wo nan it hyeo jil kka du ryeo wo"
"...duty as a rational economic agent and instead is living in some cheap student place and eating in..."
"Sang cheo reur chi ryo hae jur sa ram eo di eopt na ga man hi nwa du da gan kkeunh I’m eops I deot na"
"...in Chicken Cottage on Praed Street and pricing other people out of aff..."
"Sa rang do sa ram do neo mu na do geop na hon ja in ge mu seo wo nan it hyeo jil kka du ryeo wo"
"affordable parts of London, do you know where he is?"
"No. Also, Edgware Road is not an affordable part of London."
"Okay, thank you!"
Whew! Surprise surprise, it's News from Paddington time again!
It's also time for News from Paddington to disclose a very dark secret. In fact, News from Paddington is usually in no shape on Friday evenings to write News from Paddington and so this edition (as were multiple ones before it) has been written over the course of the whole week.
After a few weeks of not having been to Sainsbury's, News from Paddington finally went there and was rewarded with a 200 Nectar point voucher. Is Sainsbury's scared that after 5 years of productive patronage Paddington perhaps pondered preferring prestigious places? No, News naturally nominates nearer nooks. Also, alliteration.
News from Paddington's work ordered lots of hot dog assembly kits from Herman Ze German for lunch once (Herman Ze German! Our wurst is ze best!) and News from Paddington decided to keep the bucket of dried onions instead of throwing them away at the end. News from Paddington then went out to a bar with its coworkers in the evening and was stopped at the entrance by some bouncers:
"Can I look at your bag, mate?"
"Sure, here you go."
"What the heck is that?"
"That's dried onions."
"What the fuck, is that for your breakfast?"
"Okay, go ahead!"
Good thing they didn't find the mustard bottle!
News from Paddington thinks it has a split personality that awakens when it's asleep. This second personality is most likely a prominent member of some crime syndicate. For example:
Culinary adventures with News from Paddington!
Wanna know how News from Paddington got these scars? News from Paddington tried to jump into a Tube train as the door was closing. It succeeded. The door succeeded too.
In other news, Tube on the weekends is amateur hour. "Covent Garden! Covent Garden!" -- some kids boarding the Piccadilly Line train at Leicester Square (known for being 100 metres away from Covent Garden). "Boy, getting through these ticket gates sure was tough! Better stop right here and have a little rest!" "Goodness, what could 'move down inside the carriage' possibly mean?" "I see this guy is mashing his wallet on this yellow spot and going through the gates, I should do the sa... oh God why are my ribs broken"
News of Paddington's song of the week is this -- especially see 1:48 when the guy goes full-on Scatman.
This edition of News from Paddington was brought to you by Surprise Surprise on Edgware Road. "Surprise Surprise on Edgware Road: Surprise Surprise! It's Surprise Surprise!"
(originally from citikey.uk)
"Hi, we're from the ONS and we're surveying people's preferences in mass media. Do you have a..."
"News from Paddington."
"News from Paddington."
"Okay, and how about..."
"News from Paddington."
"Great, umm, okay, can I have your name and address please? It's so that we can cross-reference the..."
"I'm Chicken Cottage."
"Chicken... Cottage? Is that your... "
Straight from the edge of the world, not where rich people live, but not from the outside of London where actual Londoners live either, where cultures clash, smoke from shisha pipes and roars from Lamborghinis and Bentleys with Kuwait license plates fill the streets, it's News from... Paddington again! Yes, it turns out that Edgware Road is in fact part of Paddington. News from Paddington is currently in the process of claiming a refund from Chicken Cottage Consultancy Services.
More culinary adventures!
And now, for a very special guest, It's Chicken Cottage from Praed Street!
"Hi, Mr Chicken Cottage! How are y..."
"News from Paddington."
"Thank you, Mr Chicken Cottage! And h..."
"It's really good!"
"Hi, I've just moved here, do you know of a good place to eat?"
"Well, there's Praed Street nearby. You could go to the Chicken Cottage there. I heard it's re..."
Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition of News from Edgware Road, formerly known as News from Paddington! Yes, in cooperation with Chicken Cottage Consultancy Services, News from Paddington underwent an extensive re-branding programme that involved being renamed to News from Edgware Road and moving just right to the end of Praed Street where it meets Edgware Road, 2 minutes away from Edgware Road Station. More good news include the fact that everything News from Paddington loved about Paddington (Kenneth from M&S on Edgware Road, Chicken Cottage on Praed Street and ChoZen Noodle on Praed Street) is now paradoxically closer than it used to be. News from Edgware Road's commute now takes 28 minutes door-to-door and a new runbook of where and when to change trains is currently being written!
The headquarters of News from Edgware Road could best be described as a room designed by a person who accidentally used the Seven Deadly Sins as a how-to manual:
LUST: Market it as accommodation for students. 20-year old sophomore girls always stay 20 years old.
GLUTTONY: The room should have everything. Cram a fridge, a microwave, a kettle, a kitchen sink, a wardrobe, a bed, some cupboards etc in the same room.
GREED: Make sure there's a lettings agency occupying the first floor of the building.
SLOTH: All bills, including Internet, electricity, water and council tax, shall be included in the rent.
WRATH: Four rooms shall share one bathroom and a shower. This should cause sufficient wrath in the mornings.
ENVY: Look at all these sports cars you don't own!
PRIDE: Base the building as close to Praed Street as possible.
Culinary Adventures with News from Edgware Road!
News from Edgware Road had a haircut! It was in Costas Barber Shop on Queensway, but News from Edgware Road wasn't cut by Costa(s?), instead being cut by his apprentice who was being really sad that people that were in front of News from Edgware Road in the queue would not take him and instead wait for Costa(s?) and so News from Edgware Road wanted to take pity on him. Costa(s?)'s(?) apprentice's signature move is smashing the scissors against the comb even when there's no point in doing that. But News from Edgware Road survived and lived to collate another edition of News from Edgware Road!
This edition of News from Edgware Road was sponsored by Chicken Cottage Consultancy Services. "Chicken Cottage Consultancy Services! When chickens come home to roost!"
"Excuse me, sir, do you know how to get to Chicken Spot?"
"You mean, Chicken Cottage?"
"No, Chicken Spot. Someone told me it's really go- OH GOD WHY DID YOU STAB ME?!"
"Sorry, my grandmother died today and the only thing humans can do in the face of mortality is laugh, so here goes..."
Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit, it's time for more news from Paddington!
For this week's edition of News from Paddington, we have a special guest, Paddington Brown. Paddington Brown is well known for having invented the brown colour and founded Braun, a consumer goods company.
"Sir, are you aware you're a bear?"
And finally, next week on News from Paddington! A reveal of the new headquarters of News from Paddington! Will News from Paddington stay in Paddington? Or will it become News from somewhere else? Or perhaps it will be something else from Paddington? Maybe News something else Paddington? Find out next Friday! In the meantime, this has been News from Paddington! Stay safe and stay Paddington!