I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

vsnotplctz no more?

Hmm. Ever since posting about the strange SMSes I was getting, I've barely got any at all. The last one was on August 15th. Perhaps I should have made a more comprehensible post about the single-ring phone calls plaguing me today? They did stop for a while but there have been another 2 in the last 20 minutes :-(

a ton of countries

Chris just alerted me to http://www.travelerscenturyclub.org/ -- a club you can join once you've visited 100 countries. I'm not that well travelled (yet?) but it made me wonder how many I have been to.. hmm, let me think:

"Home" nations: England, Scotland, Wales, Republic of Ireland
European mainland: France, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco
Elsewhere: Taiwan, Hong Kong*, Singapore*, India, USA

* = transit through airport (for now)

That's not very many at all. Well, it's 22, so I guess it's not bad, certainly a lot more than a vast amount of people in the world ever visit. After my trip I'll be able to take the * away from Hong Kong and Singapore, plus add:

Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Gibraltar

to take it up to 28. Not sure 100 is that likely really, I can't come up with another 71 I want to visit. Although that site does list some stupid places as valid, eg Vatican City, "Turkey in Europe" separate from "Turkey in Asia", and a bunch of islands I've never heard of, so maybe it's feasible. If only a trip to Africa or South America was even remotely appealing to me.

will whoever keeps ringing my landline but hanging up after one ring please STOP DOING IT?


Monday, August 28, 2006

Being John Malkovich it is then

Sorted my watch out. By some miracle it appears I do have something that at least resembles a jewellers' screwdriver, and taking a couple of links out was easy enough.

Just put Being John Malkovich on after watching Pompey smack shit out of Middlesbrough. I was going to watch Apocalypse Now but it doesn't finish until 1am, eesh. Watched about 2 minutes of "The Invisible Maniac" (which is followed at 2255 by Toxic Avenger, no less) but it was too poor even for my tastes. BJM is a film my brother recommended I watch several years ago and along with Dodgeball, and more recently Zoolander, he was right about it being great. Last (and only, until now) time I saw it was on a plane, hopefully it'll be even more enjoyable on a real TV with decent sound and stuff.

My mate Ed just emailed me a knowhere URL where someone has claimed Paul Di'anno runs the Wilton pub in Salisbury. I've been to that pub and it was fucking great. Would have stayed even longer if I'd known that though!

Watch out

It turns out H Samuel in Kingston do sell Casio watches, I just didn't look hard enough yesterday. I just bought one and can't work out how to adjust the strap :-( The manual has 70-odd pages of English instructions on how to use the damn thing but doesn't mention the strap at all. I did find this page which describes the procedure but strangely enough I don't have any jewellers' screwdrivers hanging around, and anyway I'm a clumsy oaf. I got the pin out of the bit attached the clasp but can't take any of the links out, ho hum. I guess there are places (eg jewellers) that will do this for a fee but paying just to get the strap at the right length seems fucking dumb. Oh well.


Watched Payback last night. Not that big a fan of Mel Gibson really but as always Sky made it sound pretty good and there was bugger all else worth watching on. Turned out to be pretty. Gibson plays a criminal called Porter who was left for dead after some shenanigans involving his wife and a partner in crime, 'cept he doesn't actually die. Typical revenge flick -- probably why I liked it so much, revenge nearly always makes a decent plot -- he starts making a nuisance of himself amongst the stereotypically shady outfit called, err, "The Outfit", a bunch in whose employ the aforementioned partner is. There's also the standard love interest too, a whore who he used to chauffeur.

Basically he's after 70 grand, his share of the haul of the job they were doing when he was(n't) killed, and goes around killing people left right and centre until he gets to the end of level boss. There's some pretty nice/clever bits throughout in the way he stitches up and/or kills a few people. Mind you I was most amused by reading the continuity error bit on the IMDB page about 2 seconds before the exact scene it refers to happened, so I got to see it.

Dunno what films to watch today. Got Being John Malkovich on the Sky box, well, that and a shitload of others, but I've also got the Football Factory and Schindler's List on DVD that need watching. But before that I'm going to make another attempt at getting that shopping done, and I might grab meself a gourmet burger 'n all.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I feel like I should write something

But I'm really not sure what. I always get bored of keeping this sort of thing up to date :-(

Simpsons is on Sky One at the moment. I've resisted ordering pizza, and instead ate a reduced-price quiche I bought from the Co-op up the road. Bloody nice it was too. As it goes I need to stop buying pizza, it's just so easy to order online. If only some other stuff was orderable online (eg Chinese or Indian), or more unrealistically, if only I could ever be arsed making something rather than just buying it in.

I bought pizza on Thursday night :-( after having a couple of pints after work, following it up with 3 pints at Waterloo and another 2 in the Flyer. I was on my own for the latter 5, getting a bit lonely and miserable and angry and depressed and stupid. Ho hum. Really didn't feel like going to work on Friday but I had to: I can't sensibly work from home without the laptop they've given me, and I'd left it in my desk drawers. Taking the day off sick would have been an option but since I'm working from home on Tuesday too (I love train strikes) I went in. At midday. Ho hum. At least it was pay day.

Did a morning's worth of housework and stuff yesterday before going to my first AFC Wimbledon game of the season. It was shit. Oh well. Went out with Hasty in Wimbledon later on and the damn pub stayed open 'til 1am. Had a beast of a hangover today, but I remembered how I got home which is more than can be said for Hasty, heh. It took me a while to haul myself out of the house to go do some shopping -- I was going to buy a couple of CDs, some books, a watch, a suitcase, some clothes, and perhaps a laptop and camera depending on how profligate I was feeling (my new credit card has a limit of 11,200GBP...). First stop was H Samuel, who had advertised a sale on Casio watches this weekend in the Metro last week.

Kingston's H Samuel doesn't stock Casio watches.

So into HMV I went. Couldn't remember the release date for the new Terrorizer album but Christ Illusion was taking pride of place so I picked up that, and the Municipal Waste album I'd been meaning to buy for months. That's when the hangover really started to kick in. There's something about aircon that really makes me feel fucking terrible when I've a hangover, and my head really wasn't having it. Bought the CDs and left. The Bentalls Centre was doing me in so I headed round to PC World, but decided buying a laptop wasn't the best idea right now. So I just came home. Watched Snake In The Eagle's Shadow which appeared to be one kind of Chinese dubbed into the other (ie Mandarin into Cantonese or vice versa), with English subtitles. Player have been showing loads of martial arts/gangster films from Hong Kong recently and I wish they'd show the ones dubbed into English. Not for the comedy value -- although I do appreciate that such value exists -- but because I could do with not having to stare at the screen the whole time. For a film like SITE'S(!) it's not so bad because the plot is so staggeringly familiar: old bloke teaches rare and powerful kung-fu style to young apprentice, who beats shit out of the evil head of an organisation which uses a different rare and powerful kung-fu style in a 10 minute long fight in the middle of nowhere at the end. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- I've watched loads of these films and never tire of them. As it happens I've just put on The Swordsman, another subtitled martial arts flick. Looks a bit more modern and well-made, but I recognise a few of the actors.

Unfortunately Player are just showing 2 films (twice each) over the next week, and I've seen them both before and not liked them. Even if I did like The Heroic Trio, I've got it on video so wouldn't need to record it anyway. Ho hum.

I'm finally done with booking hotels for my trip. A bit more research found me some places to stay in Perth and Hong Kong, while in New York I decided to stay at an airport hotel even though I have 3 nights there. Most people would head into Manhattan but the price difference was too great, and I don't really want to go there anyway. I'll probably get a cab or subway in on one of the two full days I've got there, but really I'm staying in New York just to rest up for a couple of days between flying in from Tokyo and flying back to the UK (not in business class!).

For all the other cities I thought it wise to book now and just use all the flights I'm booked on. If I get to Sydney when I want to, everything's fine; if I have to go 3 days later so be it. With family in Sydney it's a shame I might only get 2 useful days there, but on the other hand it's probably the place I'm most likely to visit again, and certainly a worthwhile destination for burning some of the BA miles I'll have by this time next year (ie: flying there for free*). Oh, and Expert Flyer says there's some availability on a flight one day earlier than my current one anyway, so that's good news.

I also took the opportunity, while booking hotels, to increase my membership of hotel programmes a bit. Why not go the whole hog, eh? Through work I already had membership of Starwood Preferred Guest (Yahoo! puts us up in the Sheraton, Sunnyvale) and Priority Club, and I discovered that the latter has a level of membership you can pay for: Ambassador. This takes your PC membership up to Gold level (not worth a great deal, I don't think) but also gives you a free upgrade to the next room level when you stay at an InterContinental hotel... which I happen to be doing. I'm also staying at a Crowne Plaza, and any way to squeeze a few more BA miles out of this holiday is fine by me. That's also why I joined Hilton HHonors, heh. But that was Chris's fault really.

Hold up -- I think I've seen this film before, recently too. Hmm. I'm going to put on Wing Chun instead. By 'eck I'm getting through a lot of films these days. Yesterday I watched Team America: World Police, and on Friday me and Wooj watched Sexy Beast. "No Don" "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" Heh.

Fuck! Before Wing Chun started there was a public information film, one about the coastguard, that I recognise from my Charley videos! I didn't realise they were dragging these things out for genuine use again, blimey.

Bank holiday tomorrow and rail strike on Tuesday means only 2 more days in the office for me this side of November.

Realised something a bit surprising earlier today: I've stopped looking at new release mobile phones. In the past when I've upgraded it hasn't stopped me keeping up with what's going on and looking for things that would do something a bit better, but it seems that I'm just too happy with my k800i. And it's true, I really have no complaints with it. The camera is perfect, I have no trouble using it as a modem over bluetooth or USB, I can ssh or browse the web or set my Sky+ box to record direct from it, I just can't think of anything up with it. And in fact last Saturday I felt the same, but Chris was playing with his and sending me messages that took advantage of some features I didn't know about, making me even more pleased with it than before. Turns out you can insert SE-specific (I assume) little animations and melody snippets and smilies into regular SMSes (ie, not MMSes). Fanbloodytastic that is.

Mind you I'm not sure I'll like the look of my next Orange bill, last Saturday alone I must have sent 50-odd SMSes and used a shitload of data too. Eek! Still, it'll be even more horrifying when I'm roaming all over the place.

A lot of those SMSes were sent while I was en route to Graham and Hazel's. They were having some kind of naming ceremony for their new sprog, and I was heading over with Loz and Yvonne's gift in hand. Originally I was going to get a lift over there, but their car broke down or summat, and on Saturday the possible alternative they lined up fell through. So I nipped round theirs and then went across to Lee on public transport. A bus from Hither Green goes pretty much straight to their house, and a Hither Green train was first to leave from Waterloo East so I got on that.

Now, I'd never been to Hither Green before and was unprepared for what came next. Firstly, at the bottom of the stairs, signs pointing left and right, with road names on them. I didn't have a clue which road I wanted, and had foolishly expected a sign to "buses" or similar. Using my finely-honed abilities in getting by with London Transport, I guessed that right was the correct direction. Outside the station there were no bus stops, but there was a map saying "Continuing your journey from Hither Green". Unfortunately it was just a street map. No signs for bus stops or routes or anything useful.

Hmm. What to do? Just about 10 yards away was a big crossroads, so I went and stood on the corner to survey for bus stops. After all, I knew for a fact that there was a bus which served the station. Couldn't see any stops though. Bought a bottled drink while considering my options, and when I came out a bus went past. Going the wrong way, and not stopping, but at least I was on the right side of the station. I started walking in the direction it went but missed which way it turned at the next crossroads, and when I got there I couldn't see it in any direction. Nor could I see any bus stops. For crying out loud!

Another guess was required, and I turned left. Pretty soon after a bus going in the right direction went past me. So while I'd missed a bus, it at least meant I was going the right way. Surely I was going to come across a bus stop soon? No, I wasn't. The next thing of note was an ominous looking turn along a road which looked like it might be one a bus goes along. I chose to assume it didn't, and carried on along my existing route. 5 minutes later I still hadn't found any stops, but at the end I could see a big road with buses going past. If I couldn't find a stop for the bus I wanted I could at least make alternative arrangements.

Reached that road and there were, of course, stops in both directions. Picked left, crossed over, and glory be the first stop was one which the bus i wanted served, and in the right direction 'n all. Hallelujah! Got on it and learnt the cause of all my grief: all the roads the bus goes along surrounding Hither Green are hail and ride sections of the route. I'd not seen anyone hanging around in likely stopping points and there'd been nothing at the station giving me a clue. FFHS. Obviously a very "you're not from round here" type service, where you can only use it if you already know. How are you supposed to know what time the last bus is though? Twats.

I had to leave the party after not too long 'n all, because I was off to a gig in town where the doors were opening at the ungodly hour of 1630. Only 4 bands on (despite Stargreen claiming 5, and because of that I missed Gorerotted :-( ) we eventually went in at about 1825 and only saw the top 2: Cryptopsy and Celtic Frost. The former were good but way too quiet, the latter were just good, but by unfamiliarity with the songs didn't help me. We were outside the venue again come 2145! Way too early, bloody club nights making everything happen 90 minutes earlier than is sane. Still, it gave us time to grab a pint, and I put one quid into a fruit machine that promptly paid me 50 quid out. Result.

Fuck. First ads in Wing Chun and I've not been following it at all. Time to stop typing and watch it (from the top) methinks.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Skinless and a skinful

I haven't actually had a skinful, but the word seems to go with 'Skinless' so well. Anyway, just got back from seeing Skinless in Croydon. OH MY GOD THEY WERE SO LARGE. Way way too good to be playing in Croydon in front of less than 50 people, but do I care? They put on a belting show and I'm resplendent in the tour shirt as I type.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My goodness!

There are some words I dont mind being missing by default from the t9 dictionary that comes with phones. Like 'Surbiton', for example. But what I really like is the fact they always come pre-loaded with the word Guinness. What I like even more is the quality of the aforementioned in the Cartoon in Croydon.

Full Contact

Chow-yun Fat is such an ace actor. Watched Full Contact tonight, I'd forgotten I had seen it before until remembering the very first scene.

AFC Wimbledon played at home tonight, against Ramsgate. We drew - "this match is for people who like S&M - 90 minutes of domination but no scoring" said Jonesy.

Going to attach a photo to this email just to see if it works. Doubt it will. It's one I took in Germany in June! It never even made flickr and probably won't make blogspot.

WTF, radio 4 just had a bit of news about a guy proving a famous mathematical conjecture. It made no sense at all! And now the weather guy is Darren Bent, a likely story.

Getting a recorded delivery in the morning so hopefully I can go in late(r). Bet the twat turns up at 0730! But nothing should ruin a day on which Fleshrot are playing!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

got a map DONE4 me

Chris reckons I should include a map. He's right. Here you go:

DONE4 map

Maps generated by the
Great Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz

What have you DONE4 me lately?

Right, I'm in the proper final stages of planning my holiday now. Good job too, since it all kicks off in less than 3 weeks! I've got me visa for the one country that needs it (Australia), sorted out a few hotels and some extra flights and am just waiting for my travel agent to come back off holiday(!) to actually pay for the damn ticket.

Ah yes, the ticket. I'm DONE4! Bit of airline/flyertalk geekery here, but basically I'm pissing away a shitload of money by treating myself to a 20-odd flight (2-part holiday circumnavigating the globe visiting 14 cities in 9 countries, all in business or first class.

I'm obsessed with flying in comfort and earning BA miles and tier points/status after going to Taipei (and back from San Francisco) in business class earlier this year. I also need a nice long break after the year I've had so far -- not necessarily in terms of relaxation (I'm visiting a whole bunch of concrete, not beaches or fields), but in terms of time away from work, home, England.

Circumstances dictate that (a) I have the opportunity to do this, and (b) this is possibly the only opportunity I'll ever have to do this. It's a bit out of character (IMO) -- never been one for adventure or doing many crazy things on my own, this is going to be a proper bloody eye-opener and I can't wait. Really really excited but shit-scared at the same time, innit!

So, yes, thanks to flyertalk I've learnt all about this DONE4 ticket and I've (almost) bought one. It's a flexible ticket that I've got a year to use up, allowing me to fly:

  • in business (D) class
  • on Oneworld (ONE) Alliance member airline-operated flights
  • in 4 continents (Europe+Middle East, Asia, Southwest Pacific, North America)

I picked a route, going east, and got myself an itinerary sorted. I'm taking a break when I reach North America, coming home on a separate ticket and going back out to flit around sometime next year (probably late May, early June); what I'm about to embark upon is, in true flyer-geek terms (IATA airport code central!), this:


A trip like this doesn't half take some planning, I'll tell you that for nowt. Here's what I'm going to be getting up to:

LHR-GIB 0650-1040 September 8th (Friday)

Heathrow to Gibraltar. A really early start taking me to The Rock. Paid for this ticket separately but because I had to leave it so late, and required flexibility, I ended up plumping for business class. Might as well get used to it early, heh.

I bought my DONE4 ticket from Blands, a Gibraltar travel agent, because it's considerably cheaper than starting in the UK (the saving is way more than the cost of 2 one way flights, even in business class). The actual DONE4 ticket starts with the next flight, which is back the same evening.

GIB-LHR 2030-2215 September 8th (Friday)

Gibraltar to Heathrow just 10 hours after I landed. It's not a huge rock but I've been assured that I won't by any means get to see everthing. On the other hand it's a small enough place (you can walk from the airport to the city in 10 minutes!) that I'll be able to cram a fair bit in on a whistlestop tour. They take English money and there are pubs, and if the worst comes to the worst I can just go back to the airport early and sit in the lounge ;) It's from the BA desks at the airport I need to pick up my ticket anyway, and I probably don't want to pick them up in the morning and carry them round with me all day.

In London I've got less than 24 hours before the flight to Dubai, which means it counts as a connection/transit, not a stopover. So I get to go home, sleep in my own bed, pick up luggage and go back to Heathrow on Saturday afternoon for an hour or two in the lounge without breaking the rules of the ticket. Living near Heathrow rules!

LHR-DXB 2140-0730 September 9th/10th (Saturday/Sunday)

Heathrow to Dubai. 2 nights in Dubai. Going to Dubai for various reasons. It's supposed to be nice but the main reason is that it's the furthest you can go in "Europe/Middle East" as defined by the ticket's rules, which means it earns a lot of BA miles and Tier Points, but the planes are the long-haul ones, so they have beds. Handy given the flight times! Hopefully this flight will be the one that gives me BA silver status. Not much use on this trip given the class of my flights, but useful for any work or leisure trips I take between October and May. Also I think the remaining flights on the trip will be enough to make me reach Gold :-)

DXB-LHR 0145-0620 September 13th (Wednesday)

Dubai to Heathrow. Back home before I venture outside of my continent of origin. This means I won't have had to take a huge amount of luggage to Dubai, will be able to drop off anything I've bought, and do a bit of washing. Plus I need to get prepared for the real meat of the trip...

LHR-SYD 2150-0515 18-20/09 (Mon-Wed)
LHR-SYD 1215-1850 15-16/09(Fri-Sat)

London to Sydney. I want to go to Sydney on the Friday and spend 6 days or so there. But at the moment the flights are all full, on that day and over the weekend, and the first one they've found a seat for me is on Monday night. I'm on the waiting list but I think I screwed up by not giving my BA number at the time, that would at least give me a tiny bit of priority. Not to worry, an extra couple of days at home is OK... might even be up to seeing Gorgasm in London on 13/09 if I've 3 more days to recover from Dubai!

SYD-AKL 1135-1635 September 22nd (Friday)

Sydney to Auckland. 3 nights in Auckland. I kinda chose the number of nights in each city pretty randomly except for Sydney (which is the only one to have screwed up!), with a minimum of 2 to make sure I get at least a full day in each. I guess for Auckland I chose 3 because I'm arriving on a Friday, so I get a full weekend experience. Or something. Who knows?

AKL-SYD 1325-1450 September 25th (Monday)

Auckland back to Sydney. Visit my brother for a second time. Either for 2 days or 4...

SYD-PER 1220-1525 27/09 (Weds)
SYD-PER 1220-1525 29/09 (Fri)

Sydney to Perth. I'm booked to do that on the 27th but it depends now. If I do manage to get an earlier flight from London to Sydney then I'll stick with that, but if not then I'll want a couple more days in Sydney on the second visit so will put my trip to Perth back by 2 nights. Expertflyer.com lets you check how busy a flight is and I have a guest account with 20 free queries which let me run a few today, and flying this route in the middle of Friday looks fairly empty at the moment. Either way, 2 nights in Perth should do me.

PER-HKG 0925-1715 29/09 (Fri)
PER-HKG 1220-2015 1/10 (Sun)

Perth to Hong Kong. It's Hong Kong that screws up, really. I don't want to change too many flights basically because I'm a wouss who isn't that confident dealing with airlines and stuff. I'm not a proper fatcat frequent flyer just yet :-/ So if I leave Sydney 2 days late, I take those nights away from Hong Kong. 4 nights or 2 nights, therefore. Have to wait and see what happens. 2 nights isn't ideal especially when I don't arrive until 8pm anyway. What's that, 10pm at the hotel? :-(

HKG-SIN 1040-1420 October 3rd (Tuesday)

Hong Kong to Singapore. Nice. You can see why I'm loathe to change the timings, these are very agreeable times of day indeed. Mind you by now I'll probably be so fucked with jetlag and not having a clue where I am each day it won't bloody matter. Singapore's supposed to be a nice place but I won't exactly be staying in the Raffles hotel. In fact I've not really got any plans for Singapore yet.

SIN-HKG 1605-1955 October 6th (Friday)

Singapore back to Hong Kong. Arrive late, leave early, I'm just going to stay in a cheap nasty place near the airport. I might regret this if it does end up I only spend 2 nights there first time round. Given that come the end of the whole trip I'll have masses of BA miles, it looks from this distance like a trip to Hong Kong will be worth redeeming them for.

HKG-NRT 0910-1425 October 7th (Saturday)

Hong Kong to Tokyo. Uh-oh! 4 nights here and the whole city sounds MENTAL. Might try and grab a trip to Mount Fuji, perhaps a guided tour, etc. Got some great advice from LapLap on FlyerTalk even though I instantly went for a hotel that wasn't suggested, heh. I chose the place I am staying in because it sounds nice (on TripAdvisor etc), has internet in each room, but most importantly is right next to Tokyo train station. This is the station (with a great name -- imagine "London station"!) that the bullet trains from the airport go to and has a name I should be able to recognise. Also strikes me as a useful base for the days I'm there and an easy place to get back to Narita from when I leave.

NRT-JFK 1755-1715 October 11th (Wednesday)

Tokyo to New York. This is where I spend 13 hours on a plane and arrive 40 minutes in the past. ie, younger than when I left. MENTAL. Originally I didn't want to stay for long in New York, but after a crazy across-the-international-date-line-for-the-first-time-ever journey I thought maybe it'd be better if I chilled out for a while before going home. Especially as the flight home won't be in business class :-(

JFK-LHR 2001-0800 October 14th (Saturday/Sunday)

New York to London. Home. Yahoo! Q3 results come out a few days later, hope they're good so the stock goes up and I can pay off my enormous credit card bills, heh!

At the time of writing I've got accomodation sorted for Dubai, Sydney (both times -- I hope!), Auckland, and Tokyo. I should sort out Singapore really, but don't yet know what to do about Perth and Hong Kong. Hrm. :-/ But fuck it, it's an adventure, right? Maybe I'll just not bother, arrive at the airports and pitch up at a desk. "Got any rooms, luv/mate?"

Drunken Monkey

Just finished watching yet another film, courtesy of newlly-discovered channel ActionMax. Yet more kung-fu, this time a Shaw brothers film called Drunken Monkey. Standard fare: kidnappings and vengeance, comedy clumsiness turning into graceful prowess, a montage, etc. The key to all the good guys' power was getting shitfaced and acting simian. Favourite move: lazy monkey's piss. Reminded me of several other films at various times, eg Buddhist Fist, Snake Deadly Act, Drunken Master. Probably because I've not seen any of those for a while though.

Should perhaps stop staying up watching films on a school night so often, hmm. Oh well!

Monday, August 21, 2006

friday, part 2

Originally I was supposed to go out with Wooj, Darrell, Hasty, John and Del on Friday. But Wooj hadn't gone to work, I'd come home sick, Del had put us on hold saying he felt ill too, and John had had something come up, I let Hasty know and it was all off. So I stayed in watching stuff on Sky+ and noticed, when Loz phoned Wooj because he couldn't get me, that my phone said "Inactive SIM" on the front. Bit odd, that! Rebooted the phone and it came back next time with "No access to network", third time the message was something different but I can't remember what now. Either way it was fucked. Sigh. Kept turning it off and on again a bunch of times but it did no good, so eventually I phoned Orange up. Turns out it was all their fault. Pah.

While doing all that I'd emailed the Raj in Surbiton to order a curry. Foolishly I thought that because they have a website, because they say on that website that you can order by email, and because the email is order@theraj-surbiton.co.uk, I thought this was a reasonable thing to do. not so! After waiting about 45 minutes Wooj called 'em up to chase and they said "Oh, we don't take orders over email". Well done! They must have got the message though 'cos after placing the order on the blower it turned up in about 15 minutes. Nice 'n all, although the Korai Murgi Masala could do with a few fewer vegetables.

What on earth is going on in this country? TERROR plots, a plane to Malaga not flying because passengers didn't like these two Arab fellas, and now BBC news has just said an Arab family was booted off the London Eye today for not much more than just being an Arab family. Christ on a stick. :-(

Cricket chaos

Today's cricket was very funny. England not losing the test is superb, and the circumstances were marvellously entertaining. Way more so than Chelsea's game anyway.

The Cooler is a good film.

Blogger's beta just went up in my estimation as it seems to work well (albeit understandably cut down) in Pocket IE. Oh. Except it doesn't and i've had to email this.

In the massively unlikely event that someone reads this who is currently booked in D on QF0032 on September 15th, how about moving to another flight to open up the seat for me? Cheers. :-)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

black Friday

Jesus, what a bloody mad day yesterday was. Went out on Thursday night but probably had less to drink than on either of the two preceding nights and woke up in the morning feeling fine. No Internet at home because on Thursday it had been cut off. Well, my BT line had been cut off because previously it was in Anne's name and they couldn't just change the name and billing details, they have to turn the line off and then start it up again. Sigh. So it had stopped working at about midnight on Wednesday night, 0830 on Thursday I called up and reopened the account in my name, phone came back on by 0900 ... but no Internet. Talked to my ISP who said that when a line gets cut off, all services get cut off -- and to get ADSL back on it costs 53 quid and takes a week.

So, anyway, no Internet at home on Friday morning meant obviously I couldn't check email or do any other time-wasting nonsense when I woke up, so bored with BBC Breakfast I went to work at a vaguely resepectable time for the first time all week. Got out the house, turned my Rio Karma on, plugged in my headphones and only got sound out of the left ear. Fiddled around with the cable and the headphones and stuff all to no avail. Oh well. I guess I need to find the guarantee for the 'phones, although I'm not yet totally convinced it's that and not my already-pretty-fucked Karma (haven't been able to change the volume for over a year, scrolly wheel is broken, hard drive has busted on more than one occasion...). The thing that gives me hope about the headphones is that when I flick the noise cancelling switch I definitely get that in both ears. The cable is new so shouldn't be busted either.

Bought Terrorizer magazine on the way into work and rejoiced because this issue has a Death Metal special in it and interviews with Deicide and Terrorizer(!) anyway. Bit confused by their gig guide which claims Skinless -- who are fucking large, based on having heard one song of theirs -- are playing in Glasgow next Wednesday. I'm expecting them to be headlining at the Cartoon in Croydon though. Confusion.

On the train I got an SMS from Mark, although I didn't notice it until I was waiting for a bus near Waterloo. Turns out he'd got the X68 bus into work. Sad though it is this makes me incredibly jealous. I love bus travel in general, in London especially, and the X68 is an express that goes from way out in the sticks all the way into the centre near our work. By the time I replied he was waiting for a 176 just up the road from me, ended up on the one just in front of the one I got. Later on IRC he admitted just how right I am about Waterloo Bridge being a fucking ace bridge in London to cross by bus :-)

In work I wasn't sure why but I just found myself being wound up by everything. In a really odd mood, and stuff I either overheard or in conversations where I was a participant, everything was just making me react really badly. Just one of those days I guess. Played table tennis and was awful, then had a not great curry from the canteen. Back at my desk a headache came over me, a real twat of one 'n all. Had a few cups of water, a can of Sprite, and two Nurofen, but 90 minutes later it still hadn't shifted so I went home.

Quick aside: yet another thing about blogger beta is hassling me now, it's being super-sluggish and every 3 seconds I'm getting the beach-ball come up. I reckon firefox is going to crash any second :-( and since it doesn't 'seem to support any kind of API, eg flickr can't post to it I'm really regretting having changed to it. Oh well.

Got home pretty quickly and on my approach to the flat I was cursing Wooj for leaving his bedroom window open when he went to work. Except he hadn't: it was open because he was at home. And he had some good news too, turns out the Internet connection was back on. Now just before leaving work I'd left a comment on my ISP's support system asking whether there was any way they could get us turned back on before next Thursday. I could only assume that they'd said "Yeah, OK" and logged onto their site to say thanks. Loaded up the ticket and... they'd said "Nope, next Thursday's the earliest we can do it". Umm, OK... well it's still working now, and not only that it's 8mb where before it was just 2mb.

Sat on the sofa watching cricket. We are proper shit so far in this test. :-(

Fuck it. This interface is really pissing me off now, composing this entry is painful so I'm going to give up and just watch Soccer AM's first show of the season.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

News Sketches

All hail BW! News Sketches is bloody great. I reckon he'll have a book out inside a year.

Tokyo and time-shifting

I've got a holiday in the final stages of planning right now. The last bit of it involves visiting Tokyo, flying to New York, then flying home. I was chatting about this with some mates last night and two things were mentioned.
  1. Tokyo has bars where you can pay by the hour, rather than the drink
  2. When I land at JFK I will be younger than when I left Narita

seek assistance

the gang's all here
The gang's all here
Fucking hell. Since moving to blogger beta I also can't "blog this photo" from flickr any more and composing this entry has been a proper pain in the arse. Bah.

Anyway. I use public transport a lot and there are lots of things about my fellow passengers that wind me up. The number one thing that enrages me is people not seeking assistance when a ticket barrier tells them to do so. Number two is people hurrying, running for trains or buses or whatever. In almost all cases there's going to be another one soon, so just fucking wait. Or leave wherever you came from earlier. Just stop fucking hurrying around so much! Third on the list is people who don't read the BIG WORDS on the front of a bus that says where it's going to finish and then get surprised when it doesn't go as far as they were expecting, and fourth is people who ring the bell even though the next stop is the last stop.

I rang the bell on the 243 last night even though the next stop was the last stop. So lame. I blame Alex. I thought I was going out for a beer with him, see. What I didn't realise is that I was going out for a bunch of beers with him, Alix, Rich, Mike, Simon and John. Gah. We were all in the Princess Louise in Holborn, a decent Sam Smiths boozer with great toilets. Spent a lot of time talking about music and gambling, although the earlier part of the evening involved being regaled by Simon -- who didn't look anywhere near as evil as in the photo -- and Mike about their recent trip to the Nuburgring. I SMSed Ed about that 'cos I had it in my mind he'd been there too, turns out he hadn't. Managed to conditionally arrange a pint or three in Salisbury this Sunday though.

Checked mmh and chris's blogs when I got home (takeouts from the Flyer in hand; I'd left the Louise early, which goes some way toward explaining why I don't feel totally fucking awful this morning), and despite promises I was disappointed to see that neither of them had fucking said anything. Grr. Chris was obviously feeling guilty about that after I ranted on IRC at him, because not only did he write something straight away, he bigged me up too, heh.

While I was on IRC chris accused me of being pissed. Actually, of being PI5ED. Granted I was a bit, but at least I'm not (yet/atm) a total fucking disgrace of a pisshead fat-cat twat like he is. As if that trip to London wasn't bad enough, he came out with this on IRC on Monday night:

<chris> M
<chris> ER PISDES!
<chris> FUCKER
<chris> -S+de
<chris> -de+se%
<chris> -%SE
<chris> FUNIK IT!
<chris> OH FHSH
<chris> -I!
<chris> *gon"*

All this from the man who once SMSed me from Las Vegas:

It's alltuie the honki that does hue vioload, welshe shoo duck! Peter is bent,,. Haggmm err icino, .. Hahoo! Night wei?

Hughes, get a fucking grip! ;-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

beta bloggers

Bollocks. Changed to blogger's beta service and now I can't edit the raw HTML of the template I use, which means I'm stuck for the moment with bloody awful list element icons and unjustified text. Twat. And the rich text editor no longer has an 'indent selection' button. Mind you everything else about it seems good. I like the archive bit on the left, seems you can tag entries (although they've decided to use the word 'label' instead) and the whole UI seems a lot more responsive. But I want my justified text and default list icons! Bah.

Fleshrot are my new heroes

Mailed Fleshrot this morning asking whether they'll have merchandise on sale at the Cartoon. "Ben Rot" tells me that they might, they might not, but there's some new stuff coming out anyway because they've "just received [their] new artwork". Alarm bells rang!

New artwork? Hope you're not changing your logo!
erm, we are kind of, [bit more of an explanation]
All I really care about is that the band name remains almost indechiperable. That's the mark of true metal
hahah yeh man, itl be even more undreadable!!

Now excuse me while I do a happy dance. FLESHROT FTW!!!1!!11!

Monday, August 14, 2006

come back to what you know

#1:Telewest have sent me some marketing spiel telling me how much they really want me back as a customer, and just how great their TV and phone and internet services are. Sent to an address I've not lived in for nearly a year, it goes to show just how fucking useless they are (since I stopped working for them, obviously). I mean, it would be fair enough for them to send it me had I just closed the account last year. But I didn't just close it. I closed it and told them I was moving out, and I know for a fact they got that -- and that they have my current address too -- I even blogged about it in my old blog! Except what I didn't mention there because I barely wrote another entry was that a few days later they bloody sent a collector round -- to my current flat -- to get the set-top box from me. Which I didn't have. And after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing I ended up with a phone call from some director's PA promising that they're now investigating their procedures and stuff and apologising wholeheartedly and all that gubbins.

Dear Telewest: I won't be coming back, you fools.

#2: Death and black metal are back, and in a grand way. See, after having my Dad round for a bit in the morning on Saturday me and Wooj watched Surrey be fucking shit at cricket for a few hours, then on a totally random whim I looked at the Peel's website. What did I find there? Extreme metal night. Now, I've discovered by being a regular reader of Metal Hammer, Terrorizer, and even Kerrang, that there is a noticeable trend in metal bands rediscovering what made music so great in the late 80s and early 90s. I mean the classic things:
The last point is absolutely key, and OH MY GOSH did Fleshrot and Necroritual ever get that right. This flyer demonstrates it wonderfully, and this flyer shows that there are loads of bands doing it: fucking large! Obviously the main problem with Saturday was Artisian, and we quite literally intended to arrive too late to hear them just because we could make out their name too easily on the flyer. But we actually didn't miss them, and they were pretty good. Odium Incarnate weren't bad either, a lot better than expected based on listening to the stuff they've got on myspace. But the final two bands..

Necroritual. Corpsepaint and spiked armbands and all that shit, down the Peel. Fucking superb! As it happens I'm not the greatest fan of black metal, at least not all that orchestral nonsense that seems to be popular. Stuff like Enslaved and Opeth, for example. I saw Emperor back in 1997 which IIRC is before half of them got put in jail or summat (I really should know, I have read Lords of Chaos...) and thought, well, meh. But anyway Necroritual don't have a keyboard player. They've got a great vocalist and a really tall guitarist whose live sound was ... a bit rubbish, really, and another guitarist who I couldn't hear. Shame. But they didn't half put on a decent show and I really liked the vocals. I have videos available.

But who cares about Necroritual? I did, for a bit, but then came Fleshrot and OH MY GOD THEY WERE SO LARGE. The start was inauspicious: no vocalist in sight and the others looked pretty normal. The intro riff to their set was decidedly not black or death metal, more stoner rock than anything. Wooj looked and me and I looked at Darrell and Darrell looked at Wooj and we all wondered whether the wrong band were on. And it didn't look like it was getting any better when the vocalist did come on. Fat bloke, hair not excessively long, stood by the mike not doing anything, just facing the floor with his face covered as the stoner riff continued.

WTF? turned into WTF! pretty sharpish when the vocals did kick in. Not just the vocals, but the riffs. Just everything! Their music was so damn large. It had bits of everything: death metal, black metal, thrash metal, grindcore, even a bit of punk. The vocals were almost solid Cannibal Corpse (Chris Barnes era) but he had a bit of high pitch on him 'n all. And as it goes I've not got much more to say. Fleshrot were quite simply fantastic. I've already plans to go and see them at the Cartoon in Croydon next week (also on the bill are a band called Beef Conspiracy!) and if I'd had my way I would already be the proud owner of a Fleshrot t-shirt. They just weren't selling any. :-(

I fucking love metal. And this Saturday I'm going to see Celtic Frost with Cryptopsy and Gorerotted and whoever else (doors open at 1630!). I've also just been promised a bunch of extreme metal that "makes Cannibal Corpse sound like Westlife" from Hans, and that in turn has reminded me to look up Vital Remains and Deeds Of Flesh, two other bands he recommended last week. And if there's a man who knows the best extreme metal bands to listen to, it's Hans. I'd raise a glass to him if I wasn't having an all-too-rare dry day.

Metal metal and more metal

Went to the Fox and Firkin in Lewisham last Tuesday night. I was supposed to be going there with Wooj, Arnold, Harvey and Hasty but Haste had to bail out because, frankly, Lewisham is a total twat of a place to get to from deepest SW London/north Surrey. We were heading there to see Hans's current band Neoentity play.

In the middle of the day Hans had told us that it looked like they were starting at 1930, but since none of us could get there that early he said he'd try and get 'em held off until 2000. We got there at about 1955 and the headliners were soundchecking.

Then Neoentity soundchecked.

Then the openers (Second Class Stamp) soundchecked.

The gig didn't start until 2100 or so, maybe even 2130. Damn it! Given what we thought was happening originally I'd said to Hasty that once Hans's mob were done I'd nip back to God's own quarter of London for a couple of jars, but that was totally blown out by this.

Talking of blown out, Second Class Stamp didn't have much luck. During their soundcheck the vocalist/guitarist guy's amp fucked up, the overdrive circuit blew IIRC, so he had no sound to speak of. So when they came to start their set they were a guitar down, and by the end of the first song the remaining guitarist -- perhaps trying a bit too hard to beef up the sound on his own? -- had snapped a string. To top it all off, they were SHIT. I appreciate it was a trying evening but frankly the vocals were toss and the songs unoriginal and boring. Half the time I thought they were about to launch into a cover of something or other, such was the startling familiarity of their riffs. The best thing about Second Class Stamp was the bird giving out free CDs of their 3 track demo/EP afterwards. Not 'cos I wanted the CD or to ever listen to them ever again, but because I got a jewel case for a CD.

Oh, also, what kind of band plays with the vocalist not in the centre of the stage? He was stood on the left (as we faced it). That's totally wrong. C'uh.

Neoentity, on the other hand, were large. A part of me is probably saying that because of knowing Hans, but then again Hans is a great bassist and the songs were, I reckon, objectively good. Some of them worked well without vocals, some less so. The ones that did work OK were coincidentally the ones where the keyboards didn't sound rubbish, where they acted as a pretty decent alternative. It's difficult to imagine that they actually need a keyboard player when they have got someone singing, though.

Unless, that is, they let me be their manager and implement all the changes I was discussing with Gabi and the others beforehand. Primarily it would involve putting a fancy curtain over the front of the keyboards, down to the floor, and dressing the keyboardist in a proper magician outfit. Then periodically throughout the set he could produce doves and bouquets of flowers and shit from beneath his instrument, and at the end he could hide behind it while Hans yanks the curtain away and WHOOSH! He's gone! Neoentity: next stop, Vegas.

All in all though, as I say, Neoentity were good. They sound like a metal version of Ozric Tentacles, except for in one song where they sound like they're covering Metallica's One. And, of course, they have "a myspace", like everyone else. What with playing in rock and metal bands being mainly the preserve of people keen to express their individuality, full of youthful angst and rebellion and sticking-it-manwards attitude, it's great that everyone now just sets up near-identical websites-by-numbers on a system owned by Rupert Murdoch. Jumping into bed with News International (home to Fox!) -- that'll teach society not to fuck around! Yeah!

Didn't bother staying for the headliners that night. It was almost 2300 by the time Neoentity had finished anyway!

Hmm. The picture accompanying this entry is of Necroritual, who I saw on Saturday night but can't be arsed talking much about just yet because, being at work, I have to stop blogging and get down to business. ie, go play table tennis.


Since getting my k800i -- 12th July, although I actually started getting them on my old phone a couple of days previous to that -- I've received 48 SMSes from a number I don't recognise and can't find on the 'net. It's a UK number and the SMS is the same each time: one word, if you can call it a word...


What the hell is that shit? Yahoo doesn't know anything about it, nor Google. It looks like Polish l33t-speak but the only guy I know in Poland with a UK phone number claims not to be behind it. I'm getting at least one a day (although didn't get any on August 5th or July 31st), at various times of day but most days I get one at dead on 3am. Less than convenient, that, especially when I forget to put my phone on silent before going to sleep.

But anyway. What the hell is going on? If it were phone calls and heavy breathing or whatever then I'd report it to someone (Orange or the police, I guess) but as it goes I'm just intrigued by it and wondering how long it'll last and whether I'll ever get an explanation. I could phone the number up and just ask (for both an explanation and for them to fucking stop it), but where's the fun in that?

ps big up floAt's Mobile Agent for being precisely the bit of software I was after (making totting up the total number of vsnotplctzs nice and easy, even if I do have 4 or 5 of them from Chris and Mark :-P)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Zone Horror is my new favourite TV channel

Not that the films are any good, but the titles and descriptions are fucking beauties. Last night I recorded Maniac Nurses Find Ecstasy. Probably shit, but with a title and plot like that...

Talking of horror films, me and my new flatmate/lodger(!) watched Day Of The Dead last night. It was shit for a good hour or so, then fantastic for half an hour, before finishing with an ending so poor I might as well have been watching Sliver or 28 Days Later. Romero, I boo you.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

cannibal zombies keep me awake at night

I'm watching Raiders of the Damned on Zone Horror right now. Just like most nights my plan to go to bed before midnight has been foiled, this time because it's impossible to not at least try and watch a film when Sky's guide has this to say about it:

A small team of mankind's best soldiers is sent to go forth and destroy a bloodthirsty cannibalistic army of zombies after a biological weapon almost wipes out humanity.

Loving London #2

Ironically enough the previous post's contents had started off with a comment about how unfeasibly good my mood was today, heh. And as it goes after the initial rage (all directed at myself, the cock-up being entirely self-inflicted) I'm back in that good mood anyway so I'll try again.

I bloody love London. My commute in today inspired one of my not-frequent-enough moments of clarity and appreciation about just how ace this city is and how much I enjoy living* and working in it. It's a beautiful sunny day and there were (and no doubt still are) loads and loads of people out and about having a good time. And why not? It's piss-easy for me to take London for granted, what with having been born here and lived here all my life except for when away for 3 years at uni, but the fact is a massive amount of people will never get to see the things I see every day, and an awful lot will see them just once or twice in their life ever and remember it for the rest of their lives as something totally fantastic.

It could all have been so different. After leaving Manchester I went back up there a few times for job interviews, and could easily have ended up working for CIS or some company in Morecambe(!) rather than have a career which has kept me in constant employment in a London postcode for the past almost-10-years (10 this October; the first 10 months of my career were spent in Woking, gah). Today I'm really bloody glad that I was shit in those interviews.

When I set out in the morning I start my journey at a train station just 2 stops (about 10 minutes) from Hampton Court palace. Pretty historical and touristy, that. Have I ever been? Have I bollocks, heh. But I'm just round the corner while shitloads of people head there from all over the world. Go Surbiton!

Then what? Well, the train goes through Wimbledon. Pretty famous place, what with having that there tennis tournament in the middle of every summer (not been to that either, mind). Then Britain's busiest railway station, Clapham Junction, swiftly followed by Vauxhall, home to MI5 (or is it MI6?) and Surrey CCC. You can see the Oval from platform 8, and probably could have heard the roars from it when England sealed the Ashes win last year.
Parliament #2

Apparently the Russian word for train station is pronounced "Vauxhall" and spelt as closely as you can get for a language which uses that dumb alphabet with all its backwards Rs and shit. So the story goes -- a story I am only too happy to perpetuate without bothering to research its validity -- a Russian VIP of sorts came over on a state visit to England a whole bunch of years ago and was taken to Vauxhall. He asked what it was and was told but misunderstood, thinking the response was a noun describing the type of structure and not, as it actually was, just the name of the place. Silly bastard, heh.

*cough* Anyway, from Vauxhall the train hugs the side of the Thames most of the way into Waterloo, and before arriving you can see Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. Waterloo itself is impressive enough and housing Eurostar (until the east and north steal it, the fuckers) means its also the entry point to London and the UK for a lot of people. I get to go there every day!
another k800i test photo

Thousands of people use the tube every day in Central London. These people are fools. Well, not all of them, but from Waterloo to Tottenham Court Road there really is no contest between the Northern Line and the 176 bus (or the 1, but that doesn't suit the points I'm making nearly as well ;)). Because, not content with all the sights I've already taken in from the train, there's considerably more to come before I get to me desk.

The top deck is where it's at. Top tip for bus travel from Waterloo: to virtually guarantee a seat up there the trick is not to join the long queues at Waterloo's bus stops. Instead I walk one stop further away from work/the river and get on there. I may not always get a seat when I board, but I'm already on the bus when it half-empties as people change onto trains/tubes, thus having jumped the entire queue and in prime position to nick a recently vacated spot upstairs.

Round the side of the IMAX we go and between some of the South Bank's buildings (eg, the Royal Festival Hall) and here's Waterloo Bridge. To my left there's Big Ben and the HoP again, plus Hungerford Jubilee Bridge and Charing Cross station. To my right I can see St Paul's, the Phallus, the City of London skyline, a few bridges and the South Bank's sights. On a sunny day, or after dark, Waterloo Bridge is awesome and I don't think I will ever get tired of crossing it.
Eye 2

The Strand is famous the world over. Being on the Monopoly board helps, as does having a few decent theatres, the Savoy Hotel, and leading towards (on my commute) Charing Cross station. When I'm there I'm 0 miles from London - IIRC it's the point which all road signs in Britain are referring to when they say "London XX" (miles). The bus carries on past the ends of Whitehall and the Mall and hugs the edge of Trafalgar Square for a bit, all tourists and works of art and tables at which to drink coffee and statues and pigeons and pedestrianisation (good job Ken!). Then Leicester Square looms before my departure point just before Cambridge Circus. Another huge and famous theatre and a four-way junction. To my left, Chinatown and Soho; to my right, Covent Garden and St Giles. Without my weight slowing it down the bus speeds on up past what used to be the Marquee club, past Denmark Street/Tin Pan Alley and Centre Point, left along Oxford Street (Oxford Street!) and finishes at Oxford Circus. Before it's even there I'm at me desk. Not exactly an inconveniently placed office if I want to do a it of shopping. Or see a show. Or a film. Or eat some fantastic cuisine from any country in the world. Or have a beer. Or see some sights. Or...

Londoners like to bitch and whine about London (go read the Metro and Evening Standard letters pages FFHS) and I'm not exactly a stranger to bitching and whining meself. But I shouldn't, because London's fucking ace and I'm massively privileged to live and work here. I get to be a tourist in a huge and fantastic city every single day, and I also get to call it home.

Loving London

Shit shit and more shit. I wrote a really bloody long entry here going on about just how much I love London and how large my commute is, and then I screwed up my flickr posting template and had trauma with the Windows clipboard and lost it all. Shit.

high quality blog entries R us

I've got loads to write and it's all great. But I'm not going to do it right now. Thankfully I was sad as fuck tonight and kept notes on my phone about the things I want to mention when I finally get round to writing up my evening. Not that I noted down everything, but nor did I strictly need to. My memory's thankfully not so totally shot as to forget things like the guy in Subway saying "long time, no see!" to me when I went in there between work & pub this evening. I know I used to go there a lot, but jeez... anyway that wasn't noted (but I did SMS Chris about it, including saying "I should blog this!").

Talking about Chris, it turns out both he and Alex were really quite disappointed with last night's entry. Despite my admitting just how shit it was they each saw fit to take explicit umbrage at the low quality of my writing (not to mention my egregious use of italics) and, in independent-yet-concurrent conversations, the idea of OfBlog was mooted. A watchdog set up specifically to monitor -- and when necessary, complain about -- the quality of blog entries, it genuinely made me wonder if there was any mileage in setting such a thing up (as a blog, obviously). On the surface a place where the three of us could quote dreadful blog entries and lay into them sounds great. Chris was massively enthusiastic for a good 2 minutes 'n all, after which he said he couldn't be arsed. And TBH I probably can't be either. Alex? If you do it we promise to subscribe...!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ace news, this

Ace news, this
Originally uploaded by Darren Foreman.
Anyone traumatised by the low quality of my previous entry (you know who you are) will be glad to know that, according to the leaflet shoved through my letterbox this morning, suffering is near its end. I presume that Jehovah will smite me until I am smoten unless I buck me ideas up and stop writing such total fucking drivel. Innit.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Guilfest - Saturday

Maybe I'll write more about the trip to Ireland sometime, but I guess before I do that I should finish up chatting about Guilfest. So here, after an evening in Wetherspoons, Surbiton, with Archers Loz, Yvonne and Freya, may I present what passes for a recollection of Saturday 15th July 2006.

After getting home so late, and staying up even later, I needed some sleep. So I had some. Not masses, like, 'cos I've never been a big one for sleeping late (except for when I was at uni, where I alternated between incredible laziness and ridiculous feats of sleep deprivation, often within the same week -- 7 days with 16 hours rest in total followed by a single ~18 hour sleep springs to mind). Not sleeping late suited me anyway, since I wanted to get back down to Guildford for day 2. But then I realised it could wait, because the test match was on and we weren't doing half bad... at the time. Strauss declared too late though :-( Anyway... I watched the session until lunch and then headed on down to the festival. Didn't do a lot of phoning or SMSing to find out where people were although I was told about a vague plan to be near the second stage. Wandered near there but saw no-one, so I wandered around everywhere else too. Bought a beer and then carried on wandering (there really was a lot of that going on) and eventually found the others by the second stage after all.

We saw a bit of Kovak, who sounded pretty good and who Keen thought might be featuring someone he went to university with. He didn't recognise anyone though. Now I'm looking at the lineup on the Guilfest website and, uh, I can't remember seeing any of the acts until A-ha. Oh, wait, I saw the Hedrons too, and they were alright. Very Scottish. But mostly I guess we just all drank, ate, and perhaps spent a bit of time back at Anne's folks' house on the road opposite. Was it Saturday when we went for a wander to the model railway thing that was actually shut, or was that Sunday? Damn it, if there was ever an argument for blogging at a time remotely close to the time an event actually happened, this is it.

InMe aren't playing

And flickr doesn't help me either. I took photos of crap on the Saturday. No bands or anything. The headliners in the rock cave that night cancelled (as you can see in the photo), but in all honesty I can't remember if I wanted to see them anyway. It might have been nice but let's face it -- I've now seen A-ha do Take On Me live. What's not to like about that?

Didn't try and be too clever on the way home, but ended up going to sleep about the same time anyway. Bah.

This is a shit blog entry! I should be ashamed of myself. Especially because I gained a new reader today. I mean, I'm not ashamed, but at least I recognise that I should be.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

car #1

car #1
Originally uploaded by Darren Foreman.
I'm so knackered, jesus. Probably what I deserve after going out late last Thursday and Friday, then spending Saturday-Monday in Castlebar, Ireland. The occasion was Rob and Una's wedding, and by 'eck do the Irish ever know how to do a wedding properly. Mind you we English held our end up pretty well, although I did fall asleep slumped on a table at half-midnight in the reception. Recovered, if that's the word, enough to let Keen convince me that drinking until 3am was a good idea.

It wasn't. Neither was spending two nights on the trot sleeping for less than 6 hours, in my clothes, on a small sofa.

Upon my return I was 3kg heavier than when I departed. Surprised Ryanair didn't try and charge me extra on the flight home. Got to work really late yesterday feeling not exactly awful, but not exactly great, only to spend the evening on the sauce again, this time at the Great British Beer Festival. Was there mob-handed, amongst a party of 12! Had way too much dark beer but was sensible enough to not take me up on my offer of my vodka when I got home. Phil, however, did take me up on my offer of my vodka and was proper fucked this morning. Bloody lightweight. Wish I'd not stayed up chatting shit with him 'til almost 0200, not because his conversation is dreadful -- mine is far worse than his -- but just because I really need a decent night's kip.

My holiday is almost booked and I'm as excited as a very very excited thing. I'm also somewhat terrified. A curious mix of emotions. I really hope the terror subsides soon.

Under Siege has been on for 40 minutes. What a film this is. I'd forgotten how good the cast is. I wish it wasn't on though, I've already got too big a backlog on Sky+ to cope with which is why I'm watching it live but it means I'm once again not going to get to bed 'til after midnight. And as I opened with: I'm so knackered.