Saturday, December 31, 2005

Challenge #12: SONGS - Complete!

And another challenge tumbles. I'd set myself a task to write and record 10 new songs this year. 10 was a fairly arbitrary number, but it made for a better target than just saying "write some songs". As of three days ago, Wednesday, I had got to four. Yes, in nearly 12 months I had squeezed out just four drops of musical juice. Not very impressive.

In fact, I'd pretty much written off the whole thing. There was no way I was going to get another six songs done in the days I had left. If I'm honest, I'd been thinking the same thing for months anyway. It wasn't going to happen.

But over Christmas, I was chatting to my Brother-In-Law and he pointed out a useful thing to me. They don't have to be good songs! So far I'd been relying on those flashes of inspiration that sometimes come along. Unfortunately these had been rare and some of the better ones had never been noted down at the time and so were forgotten forever more. But if I were to just sit down at the computer and write... anything... that could get me the six I needed! It would still be a bit tight, six songs and three days. This would need a small effort on my part.

But I only gone and done it!

Now I don't bring false illusions to this party. I ain't no Chris Martin. I ain't even no Kris Kross. The songs I've ended up with aren't going to set the charts alight. My guitar playing and singing are strictly amateurish. But that's not important. I've created. I've made. I am an artist.

Here's a brief description of the songs:

1. Busted Are Dusted
This is the tribute to Busted I wrote upon hearing that they'd split up. I published the lyrics back in January. Arguably the best song about Busted breaking up ever written by a Northern Lad with little talent.

2. Falling in Love Song
This is about realising that you're falling in love with someone and being a bit scared. The title lacks imagination. Interestingly, I have no memory of writing or recording this one at all. I just found it when I loaded up Garage Band one day. But it's definitely me. The voice and lyrical undeftness are a giveaway.

3. Fantasy
A song about not being rejected. The title's a small joke. Good chorus though.

4. Cover My Ears
Sometimes people say things that they don't mean because they can't or won't say what they really want to say. That's because people are crap. Maybe if they thought I couldn't hear, they'd say what they really meant. The title could also be taken to be what other people might think upon hearing this song. It works on several levels.

5. Two Weeks
Sadly, this isn't a follow-up to the Bare Naked Ladies' One Week. Instead it's about having to wait two weeks to see someone again and that seeming an awfully long time. Three hundred and thirty six hours, the song tells me.

6. Pizza Girl
This is about a guy (me?) who orders pizza one day and then falls in love at first sight with the girl who delivers it. In the hopes of seeing her again he starts to order more pizza. But it keeps being delivered by blokes, not the foxy girl. "Next night I ordered a pizza from my computer, In the hope of seeing the girl on her scooter, Pepperoni and chicken with extra mozzarella, I was praying it wouldn't be brought by a fella.". This goes on for months, the bloke gets morbidly obese, is admitted to hospital where he dies without ever having have seen the girl again. Quite tragic really.

7. Millions Shining
I felt like writing a song about the stars. I actually wrote this one a few months ago but I rejected it because it was shit. However, I resurrected it yesterday out of desperation!

8. Station
This is about standing in a cold train station on a dark Sunday night waiting for the train that would bring a girl back to me. A bit soppy, but it might appeal to people who like train stations. Or waiting. This is another one where I could maybe have thought of a better title.

9. Sleep
A song about lying in bed at night, not being able to sleep but not minding because I'm sharing the bed with someone wonderful. (I still end up sodding tired in the morning, mind, but that part isn't in the song).

10. I Wish I'd Told You
The final song is fairly simple but structured a bit differently to the others - it's one of those ones that starts with the chorus rather than the verse. It's about wishing the opportunity had been taken to tell someone how I felt before saying goodbye in case I never saw them again (ie in case they died in a freak whaling accident or something. That shit happens. I saw it on telly).

So that's all of them! And no, you can't have a CD.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Festive 20 - 2005

It's that time of year again when I compile my list of the best 20 tunes of the year, under slightly arbitrary rules. 2003 was topped by The Crimea, 2004 by Thirteen Senses. Who will have made this year's official Best Song? Find out shortly. Now! Take it away Top Of The Pops music:

20: Start Wearing Purple - Gogol Bordello
19: Sixteen Military Wives - The Decemberists
18: Portions for Foxes - Rilo Kiley
17: Living for the Weekend - Hard-Fi
16: What a Lovely Dance - Hal
15: Remain - Kubb
14: Forget Myself - Elbow
13: Jerk It Out - Caesars
12: Further - Longview
11: The Bright Ambassadors of Morning - Pure Reason Revolution
10: Please Stand Up - British Sea Power
9: My Drug - Cherry Falls
8: Lay Me Down - Crosby & Nash
7: Love Steals Us From Loneliness - Idlewild
6: Wires - Athlete
5: Katie - David Ford
4: Other Side of the World - KT Tunstall
3: Landed - Ben Folds
2: 1000 Bulbs - Four Day Hombre
1: Joe's Kiss - Amsterdam

Artists who just missed out this year include Art Brut and Coldplay. Bad luck boys. Try not to lose too much sleep over this tragedy. The Crimea also lost out this year because the songs I would have put in here were actually in the 2003 list.

I was quite surprised to see Crosby & Nash make an appearance in the list. I know it's my list and I therefore really shouldn't be too surprised by its contents, but nevertheless I was surprised.

If there were any utterly brilliant songs I've missed, then I apologise and blame my pot of clerical errors. And if any of the songs in the list are actually crap, well then that's your problem for being wrong. Because they're not crap, they're all fantastic.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Challenge #8: PUB - Complete!

I've managed to finally knock another challenge on the head. I am now claiming that I have visited all the pubs and bars within the city walls of York. Here's a Slide Show of me in them all. It's a bit scary to see them all in quick succession, especially the ones where I am pulling some really strange and amusing faces. There are 82 photos in total.

I did the final one, The Blue Bell, earlier today all on my ownsome. Here I am:

The Blue Bell

Can you see how happy I look to have finally finished this ridiculous task? See the joy on my face?

There is potentially some room for argument about exactly which venues should have been included in this task. I'm aware of two places (Flares and Macmillans) that I haven't been to, but in my head they are both more like clubs than bars and can hence be excluded. And also they are sh*t-holes. I think I've got everywhere else though. And if I haven't, tough. My challenge, my rules. And it's over when I say it is, which is now.

Snow picture

I think there's a tradition or an old charter or something that when it snows you have to take a photo. Just to prove that the transient snow is real and not just a figment.

So here's a picture of the snow we had in Sheffield after Christmas.

WInter Snow

It was night-time and there weren't any people about to leave footprints or snowmen. It looks peaceful. Also, interestingly, Sheffield is genuinely only available in Black and White after 7pm.

Ice and Tea

Bloomin' 'eckers. It's cold and icy and horrid out. Just been out for lunch but am happy to now be back home with a hot cup of tea. Blackcurrant tea to be specific. It smells good.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Starting to get quite bored now...

When I was arsed enough to get out of bed this morning, I looked out of my window to discover a light coating of snow. This was news to me, but not to most of my family since they'd all been up for hours already. I don't think of myself as lazy though, it's just that I'm enjoying having a break. And it wasn't really that late, only a quarter to eleven.

I headed off to the local chavvy shopping centre to buy a birthday card. Since it was a bit slippy out and I haven't got my boots with me (due to a lack of suitcase space) I wore my running trainers. But it was still a little slippy in places. The main change to the shops since I was last there is that there's now no sodding newsagents. GT News was the only useful shop there (it sold newspapers, magazines and crisps) and now it's gone, replaced by nothing at all. I had to go to Sainsburys to get a paper and that was just annoying.

I think that other people's supermarkets are one of the most irritating things in the world. My own Sainsburys at home, I know where everything is. I know that inevitably the first thing I'll get to is the tea. Here, I don't have that comfort. Although they lull me into a false sense of security by having the fresh fruit and vegetable produce in the same place as I go in, after that all bets are off. It takes twice as long to do anything because you waste minutes and minutes trying to find a pork pie.

I mean, what kind of idiot puts pork pies on the right hand wall just beyond the fruit?? Pastry products should be at least four aisles in. At least. And as for where they'd put the dolly mixtures... words fail me.

But I survived. I purchased my minimal basket of goods and left for home where I then wasted too many hours doing the puzzles in The Guardian's 27th December Puzzle Special. But god, they are a waste of time. You finish a Sudoku and then what do you get? Sod all. Just the thought of there being 14 more of the buggers still to go. None of which will bring any real satisfaction when complete. I really reckon I'd get the same ultimate enjoyment if I just ripped them out of the paper, cut up the little squares with scissors, threw them in the air and then danced naked underneath singing about the joys of pork pie.

I didn't do that though. It would have scared my little nephew.

Back to York tomorrow, as long as I don't get snowed in here. That would be bad

Monday, December 26, 2005

The UK's Christmas Top 10 Singles

Here are my thoughts on the 2005 Christmas top 10 singles. In reverse order:

10: Coldplay - Talk.
C'mon lads, this isn't very Christmassy, is it? Next year I want to hear a proper original Coldplay Christmas song with bells and reindeer and arguments all over it.

9: Girls Aloud - See The Day. 8: Madonna - Hung Up. 7: Pussycat Dolls - Stickwitu.
This part of the chart is where all the girls are hanging around. But again, we need more bells. Christmas music = bells. Is that a hard concept to grasp? Phil Spector understood that perfectly. Just because he turned out to be (possibly/allegedly/maybe not) a murderer doesn't mean that his views on Christmas should be ignored. In fact, my advice for Girls Aloud is for the five of them to head around to their local high security prison and for them to ask some of the more dangerous inmates exactly what they'd like Girls Aloud to do next Christmas. They might have to ignore some of the more lugubrious suggestions.

6: The Crazy Frog - Jingle Bells/U Can't Touch this
Now if you did get the loopier inhabitants of Dartmoor Prison to actually create a single, this might be what it would sound like. Why would anyone sane ever consider doing a cover version of an MC Hammer song? I accept that the "anyone" here is possibly not sane since they are a short cartoon frog with a blurry penis, but it's still wrong, wrong, wrong. I mean, who actually buys this stuff? Is there a large outlet within Dartmoor itself? Do the inhabitants each buy several copies with the cigarettes that they've been saving up? Anyone involved in making or buying this gazelle-doo-doo should be locked up themselves, forever-ever. And when I become Prime Minister I will make that happen. That's my goal.

5: Eminem - When I'm gone
I wonder if when Eminem is actually dead and gone, he'll just keep putting out single after single like Tupac did?

4: Westlife feat Diana Ross
If I was actually listening to these singles whilst writing this, it's at about this point I'd be reaching for the letter opener with a view to opening a vein. Preferably the jugular vein of all of Westlife. I'll leave Diana alone, she's probably old and senile with no idea what she's doing any more.

3: The Pogues - Fairytale of New York
Best. Christmas. Song. Ever.

2: Nizlopi - JCB Song
When I first heard about this, I was sceptical. A song about a five year old and a digger? I assumed it would be a Bob The Builder type novelty song aimed at five year olds who like diggers. But it's not. It's actually a gentle, innocent song about how life is much simpler when you're a kid, with your father there to look after you. And about how at that age, anything seems possible. You're not constrained by the standard limitations of reality that adults get hung up on. If you want a T-Rex to eat up all the bastards at school, then it might just happen.

It's a great little song and it should have been number one. And Optimus Prime is in the video.

1: Shane Warne - That's My Goal
Goooooaaaaaallllll. Quite why Australian cricketer and X-Factor winner Shane Warne has felt the need to release a crappy song about football, I may never know. That's My Wicket would have been more appropriate. It would still have sounded crap though.

And that's all I have to say.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Have yourself a Christmas

It's Christmas! Again. So Happy Christmas everyone (unless you're feeling down, in which case Miserable Christmas to you!).

On Friday afternoon and evening I went out on something of a pub crawl, taking in along the way some of the less illubrious (is that a word?) pubs of York. The Brown Cow was a particular highlight - as we arrived, in the later afternoon, there were some police outside who looked like they were breaking up a fight between some drunks. We slipped inside, drank a swift half of bitter and then quickly left.

Round the corner from there we found a man shouting and swearing at his car.

But we had a good time.

Since then, I've spent some time in bed, some time out of bed, the usual. For the first time in my life, I went out running on Christmas morning today. I hadn't really intended to, but my sister suggested it and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Since I'm in Sheffield at the moment, I didn't do one of my standard York routes - the 100 mile round trip would have been a little further than I could cope with whilst having a mild Christmas hangover. Instead, there are some lakes nearby which I was able to run around. It was really rather pleasant. There were a hell of a lot of people out walking their dogs. Big dogs, small dogs, plain dogs and spotty dogs. All sorts of them.

But clearly the most exciting and anticipated part of today will be the Doctor Who Christmas Special, now only two and a half hours away. I think most people are just as excited about this. It's gonna be fabby.

And finally, I haven't really mentioned it here so far, but a young lady has entered my little world recently and has been making me smile. I might write more about her soon, but I'll have to think of a name for her first. I'm missing her a lot. :-)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Running Late

It's Christmas Eve and I'm running late. I have a huge pile of presents to wrap, a bag to pack and a train to catch. I should get on with it. And not write this.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Out of office

Well that's working finished for another year! I think I'll go back again next year though. If they'll have me...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Yo-yo, dude!

Today at work I was given a yo-yo. How cool???

I used to have good skills at the yo-yo. Though they have now weakened somewhat from years of neglect, I was still the best yo-yoer in the department by some margin.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Just let me sleep...

What does a guy have to do to get a good night of uninterrupted sleep?

Yesterday I bedded myself nice and early with the intention of sleeping straight through until morning, without interruption or disturbance, when I would wake up refreshed and ready to face the final push to Christmas.

This didn't quite happen.

At some time after midnight, my door buzzer went off. It is quite loud and it woke me up - this is a good feature if for example the postman is delivering an important package in the morning. The postman rarely comes in the small hours of the morning though (ahem) even in these days where the postal service seems under constant degeneration. I ignored the buzzer, figuring it was probably just some drunks.

A short while later it went again. I ignored it again.

Then it went again, so I got out of bed, grabbed my dressing gown and went to reply. But there was nobody on the other end of the door-phone. So I assumed it was either a) just some drunks who had now run off or b) my imagination.

I went back to bed and tried to get some shut-eye. This predictably lasted mere seconds. I started to be able to hear noises from around the other flats and from the corridors. I figured this was likely other residents who'd also been awoken my imaginary door buzzers and had been more active in trying to find out what was going on - possibly including them heading outside with sharp sticks.

I thought "grrrrr".

Then I had a knock on my door. I thought "oh stuff and nonsense. what now. who can that be a-knockin' on my door at half past the witching hour?". I was too tired to think with appropriate capitalisation. I got up again, re-put on my gown and went to answer the door. Looking through the spy-hole I saw two police-women.

I thought "oh bugger, they've finally come for me. i always knew this would happen one day. i'm off to prison forever".

I opened the door to them. They observed that it looked like they'd awoken me. They had the gall to sound surprised at this, despite it being way past a sensible school-night bedtime. I confirmed that they had awoken me. They smiled. They were actually quite attractive.

However, since this was real life and not a pornographic movie, they then explained what they were doing. They'd been given some kind of bogus address and were looking for a bloke whose name I didn't recognise and who certainly does not live in my flat since, as far as I'm aware, I live alone. They were doing flat-to-flat calls to try and establish what was happening. I said that I knew no such person.

They then went away and let me go back to bed.

It took ages to get back to sleep.

The only good thing that came out of this was that I got the phone number of the attractive police-women. 999!!!! Booom Boom!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Do I get a wish?

I think I had my first mince pie of this year's Christmas season today. A bit late, but it tasted... good.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Three for two (and two for tea)

I tried to buy a Christmas present today. I was in town early (for a Sunday) and so the shops were quiet. If I'd maybe give more thought aforehand I might have had a really productive session. What actually happened was that I wanted to buy a book. It's a very easy book to buy, all the bookshops have it. It should have been very incredibly easy for me to walk into a bookshop and buy it.

In fact, I'm sure that Waterstones, Borders or even WH Smiths would happily have sold the book to me had I managed to move it from a shelf to a counter. I'd have given the kind person behind the counter some money, I'd have taken the book home. Capitalism would have worked its wheels once more.

None of this happened, because I got hung up and stressed over a 3 for 2 offer. This book was in such an offer in one of the shops only - let's for the sake of argument, call it Waterstones. This was bad because it meant that the book was technically cheaper there and straight away I'd be mad to buy it elsewhere. That would be like giving money away for no reason.

So my choice of purchase-shop was made. All I had to do was buy the book. But now I was stuck in a three for two and to save money I would have to find at least one more book I wanted. Two would be good, but I could make this work with one.

Could I find any other books though? Of course I sodding couldn't. They had hundreds of books in their offer but any that were remotely good I already had. I could have found other books elsewhere in the store but they would have been no use.

So I had a dilemma. I could either buy the book at full price, knowing that I was being messed with and ripped off, with my mental health suffering accordingly, or I could not buy it. Option two won out. I left the shop empty handed.

So, Mr Tim Waterstone (or whoever owns the chain now. Sorry, Tim, if it's not you) here's what trouble you've caused today with your love of multi-buy offers.

1. I nearly lost a proportion of my mentalness, and I don't have much of that to spare.
2. One of my FriendsOrFamily is incrementally less likely to receive a present this Christmas that they might have liked slightly. Can you live with that?
3. You lost an easy sale that you could have had.
4. Not only that, all your competitors lost a sale too because I was sulking.
5. Imagine the effect that this will have upon the English economy. Can you live with that? All that extra unemployment and crime and illicit backyard sex?
6. I may now lose an extra part of one of my lunchtimes in the week, whilst I attempt to resolve this issue. This will reduce my overall productivity and that of my employer and hence that of England too. This might lead to more illicit backyard sex (maybe).
7. Can you, really, CAN YOU LIVE WITH THAT MR W (or whoever the appropriate person to address is now, as discussed above)?

Waterstones? Wankerstones more like. I'd bouycot them but I always have trouble spelling the word.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Maybe I'll write something interesting tomorrow

Tonight is a big night on TV for people without lives since it features the finals of both The X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. I'll be watching SCD. I'd like Zoe Ball to win, mainly because her dad is the legendary Johnny Ball.

In contrast to last Saturday, I've managed to actually do a couple of useful things today. I've had my hair cut (too late for most of my Xmas parties, but it still needed doing...) and also bought some Christmas cards and stamps. Now I just need to write the bastards.

I nearly bought a Christmas present too. But in the end I was put off by the queues. I've still got loads of time for that kind of thing.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Don't listen to that

One thing I've recently noticed is that whilst iPods are great, iPod headphones are rubbish. Really quiet.

Just thought I'd share that.

In other news, :-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Watch out ladies...

I'm looking hot tonight...

I look hot

Badger Week Continues

Last night I went for a curry at The Akash. Good curry house, I'd recommend it despite its lack of size.

After dinner they gave us all an inflatable badger! After my experiences of the past couple of days, this struck me as inconceivable! On closer inspection the badgers turned out to be calendars for 2006. When we looked at these in the dark last night we thought they featured pictures of Yorkshire, lovely Yorkshire (you really should visit).

Upon more close inspection this morning the pictures were actually of places like Bangladesh and Chittagong. Arguably the paddy fields and oxen should have been a giveaway.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

No Badgers Here

I was back in the fancy dress shop at lunchtime. Whilst I was in there, not one person asked about the availability or otherwise of inflatable badgers. After my experience yesterday, this disappointed me. I shan't return.

Monday, December 12, 2005


True story: I was in a fancy dress shop at lunch time when this guy walks in. He goes up to the counter and says "Hi. Do you have any inflatable badgers?". The shop assistant replied "No, sorry we don't. I've never even seen an inflatable badger.". And then the first guy left, badgerless. If this hadn't been a true story there would have been a great punchline here.

I was left wondering two things:
1. What on earth did he want with an inflatable badger? Was he putting on a special blow-up version of Wind In The Willows?
2. Why didn't the assistant try to sell an alternative animal? Something more conventional, like a vole or an aardvark. I expect they have a backroom full of inflatable marmosets. He missed a good sale there.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

My Weekend

That's the best title for a post, ever!

I haven't managed to do some of the things I was supposed to have done this weekend. These would have included:
- Buying Chistmas cards
- Organising a 60s/70s themed costume for the Christmas dinner on Wednesday
- Have a haircut
- Buying a newspaper
- Other things that are even duller than that last one
- And maybe some other things that I've forgotten

On the other hand, it's been a good weekend. So far anyway. There are still five hours of Sunday left...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Bah Humbug

Whenever I take part in a Secret Santa I'm sure that I always end up down on the deal. We had one yesterday, with gifts worth a maximum of five pounds - I got a black and white Santa Hat with the words "Bah, Humbug" on it. It doesn't even have an exclamation mark. I suspect that whoever bought it may not have understood the instruction that gifts could be up to five pounds. Or maybe they were just tight.

I wore it though - it kept my head warm.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bad me. Bad!

I think I might have done something naughty this morning. Whoops. Ah well, so sue me.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Music Items 1 to 3

The following post is mostly about music. If you don't like music, I suggest you read yesterday's post which was mostly about snowmen.

Music Item Number 1
Last night I went to see The Electric Soft Parade at Fibbers. Haven't seen them play for a couple of years - but now they're back and still great, even though the sound wasn't brilliant at times. There were supposed to have been six of us going, so I bought six tickets. Unfortunately, three of them dropped out due to illness/laziness/perhapsitwassomethingisaidness leading to there being more spare tickets than is normal. It worked out ok though because I was able to sell the two spares I had on me to strangers outside the venue. I felt like a dirty tout, but I got the job done. The third ticket was not in my possession but since I had already received money for it, the fact that it remained unsold was Somebody Else's Problem.

More interestingly, at the end of the gig, the drummer got up and I thought: "Hmmm, I don't remember ESP's drummer being a fat bloke". My memory was correct. The drummer yesterday was in fact, Matt Priest, ex of Dodgy (Unless it wasn't and I was just lied to by a band, and I believed it like a seven year old. That can happen).

Music Item Number 2
Many years ago, Belle and Sebastian recorded one of my all time favourite albums, If You're Feeling Sinister. It's great. Earlier this year, the band played the whole album live from start to finish at a gig in London. The gig was recorded and has now been put out as an album (which I think is only available on iTunes). I've listened to it a couple of times now, and suffice to say, this new version is great too! The same but different. Like all live albums, it suffers slightly from annoying clapping in places but generally, yes it's great. Warm fluffy smile, Happy face.

Music Item Number 3
And finally, I realised whilst out running yesterday that I hadn't ever put a single one of my Toad The Wet Sprocket albums on to my iPod for some reason. This evening I have remedied this. I think Fear is still my favourite. Is it really 14 years old? (yes)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Death of a Snowman

Whilst slightly bored on Sunday night I started playing with a computer drawing program, and this is what I made:


It might be funny if you're an actuary or then again it might not be. I think it's amusing but I also quite enjoy Ben Stiller not being able to turn left in Zoolander so I'm possibly not a good judge.

What it definitely does do, is draw out the tragic, mayfly-like life of your average English snowman. Each year, thousands of snowmen are born here in England. How many of them make it past their first year of existence? None. They fall prey to all sorts of ends - meltings, beheadings, avalanches and plain good old fashioned cholera. The only certain thing is that come 1 year later they are all gone, as if they were never there.

I feel that these passings go largely unremarked. Where's the large memorial for them in a London Park? Where's the minute's silence? Where are the armbands, the ribbons, or the paper flowers? Does nobody care any more?

It's a travesty.

So what I hoped to do with this piece of art is to first make people laugh like they've never laughed before. But then maybe they'll think: "That snowman cartoon was really, really funny, funnier even than Derek Zoolander's inability to turn left. But now that I give it more thought, there was a very serious point being made there too. I've never considered the plight of the English snowmen before but that picture has made me rethink. In fact, it's made me see the whole of my life with a different perspective. I feel renewed, reborn and remade. I am a better person. I care, and I will do all in my power to aid the Snowmen and ensure their need is recognised by the wider population. Oh yes."

If just four hundred people think this way then I, as an artist, will have succeeded. I will have Changed The World For The Better.

And that has to be a great thing.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

0.05 miles per hour

This evening I finished my first marathon! Yep, in just three and a half weeks I have run over 26 miles and hence I must qualify for some sort of medal and a big shiny metal cape. I expect they're in the post - I was a little disheartened when there wasn't a man outside my front door wating for me with said items when I got home. Am I supposed to have called someone first to set that up? Aren't they just supposed to know? Who are "they" anyway? And why aren't they watching me?

Saturday, December 03, 2005


My parents came up to visit today and I took my mother shopping in town. The way I take my mother shopping is that she tells me a shop she wants to go to, I take her to it and wait outside and she goes in and does whatever it is that mothers do in shops. It seems to take a long time.

Today I was waiting outside Duttons for Buttons. A young couple came up to me and asked if I could point them in the right direction for the Jorvik centre. I could indeed do this - they just had to go back the way they'd come about twenty metres and then turn left down a pedestrian street. They'd have been there in about a minute.

Unfortunately for them, I appeared to have a brief mental seizure and forgot where I was standing. I thought I was up the other end of the street I was on. I pointed them in what I thought was the right direction, but sadly my instructions will have taken them to a completely wrong place. I'm wondering how far down Walmgate they will have gotten before realising they had been misled.

The funny thing was that as they walked off (in the wrong direction), I overheard the girl saying to the boy "see, I told you it was down here". For a short while the boy will have felt useless. But soon they would both have felt useless, perhaps thinking that they had been too stupid to follow the simple directions that that nice man had given them.

Maybe they'll have had an argument about it, ended their relationship there and then on the spot (outside Macdonalds the furniture shop, not to be confused with the other one) and then both comitted suicide by tossing themselves into the septic waters of the River Foss. Maybe.

Ah well, I'd like to say sorry to both of them that their sad pathetic lives had to end that way.


I didn't really expect to see much of this morning, and I sort of wish I hadn't because a) It's miserable and wet outside and almost certainly cold too; b) It means I don't have the hangover I'd fully intended to have (which is actually a bad thing).

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Miracle Of Tea

I'm starting today with a mug of Earl Grey. That's not interesting but it is information. Since information is knowledge and knowledge is power, then each and every one of you is a little bit more powerful today than you were yesterday.

I said earlier in the week that I was going to have my first lie in (until 8) on Thrusday for well over a month. Sadly that fell through and has now been postponed to Monday. But then it will happen. Even if I have to strap myself to my bed with leg-irons. I had some installed a few years ago for just such an occassion as this.

But back to the Earl Grey. I wonder if the human race would have advanced so far without the miracle of hot drinks? Normal Tea, Odd Tea, Coffee in all its many forms, Lemsip, Mulled Wine and Fresh Urine - all these drinks have advanced mankind to its present state. I could dwell on this longer but I Have To Go.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Christmas starts here

Since today was the 1st December, the Christmas season has officially started, in my book. This means one thing: tinsel around my computer monitor at work. I've got a piece that I've had for a few years that I've taken with me from role to role. It's a good piece of tinsel and has always served me well.

It sparkles like silver sparklings. It wasn't long before the rest of my team got jealous and they dug out the official team box of decorations, a slightly sorry collection of more tinsel and a single christmas bell which we stuck on the boss's door. He was happy when he saw it. Yes.

Tomorrow is the 2nd of December and will contain my first Christmas Dinner of the year. From then on it's Christmas dinners every week, possibly until next June.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm stumped

I've developed a new skill. I can type using only the power of my mind. I'm doing it now. It's great. I just think of a word and it appears on screen without me having to touch the keyboard. I think the word "Jamboree" and it appears. I think the word "Jambaroo" and it appears too. I can think them together if I want (Jamboree-Jambaroo) and they appear, just like that. I am brilliant.

It's quite lucky that this skill has just developed though because I lost both arms today in a horrendous industrial accident involving a whiteboard, a middle aged man and a bread-making machine (please don't ask). The stumps are still stinging somewhat.

I'm not sure how I'm going to clean my teeth.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Everything's different, everything's the same

I can't believe nobody ever told me (convincingly) that regular exercise and only drinking twice a week could actually make me feel good. Not actually less miserable, on the whole, but mentally and physically ok.

[Did I just say that? Has someone kidnapped the real me? Can I have him back please, I'm scared]

So let's talk about my day. Let's look at some of the things that I can't generally be bothered to mention. Because I'm in the mood to share.

I got out of bed at half six, as I have (at the latest) every working day for the past five weeks or so. This is something that I think has really got out of hand now. Last November, I decided that I was getting a bit tardy and I forced myself to get in to work before 9am every day. That felt like quite an achievement at the time. But this year I seem to have done the same taken to an extreme and I've been in well before half seven. When I set my mind to something I'm unstoppable boardering on barking.

I've decided that tomorrow, as the final day of November 2005 will be the last continuous day I do this. On Thursday morning I'm lying in. Until 8am! It's gonna feel good. And perhaps more importantly, a little bit naughty :-)

It's been useful being in work early though. I currently sometimes feel like I'm trying to do two completely separate, unrelated jobs at a time at the moment - mainly because that's exactly what I am doing. There's my normal actuary role, and my secondary, let's just see if we can squeeze it in, role which whilst enjoyable is taking a bit more time and giving a little bit more stress that I'd ideally like. I can't really talk about it here though since I'd quite like to not be sacked.

And then today has just been one of those bloomin crappy days where I haven't got any of the things done I was supposed to, due to RUBBISH happening and using up all my time. Trying to clear up some issues when every single person who has been involved is either on holiday, on a course, sick, skiving or in some jail cell for impersonating a baboon. Perhaps. So all I want to say here is UMMFF.

Anyway, after all that, I was ready for my planned run this evening. I even turned down an offer of a drink from a friend girl (as opposed to girl-friend) in order to get my dose of leg-action. But then that got cancelled due to other friends also seemingly having a crappy day and not being able to get away from work early enough. Now it's nice that it's not just me having a crappy day, but when other people's crappy days start interfering with me being able to improve my crappy day, I can get a bit UUUUUMMMMMMFFFFGGG!

So with the run cancelled, I thought "Sod that sock and nonsense - I'll go out for a drink after all. I might choose to peruse the non-alcoholic menu, or maybe I'll have a beer instead. After all I am an a-dult and can have a pint of the foamy if I wish to". I mentioned my changed mind and the drink was back on. But then it turned out that said friend-girl was only wanting to go for a post-work drink because she was going on a first date later in the evening and had some time to kill.

Now if there's one thing that's generally going to make me a miserable person to be with, it's going out for a drink with someone when they're about to go off on a (potentially, at least) fun time to which I'm not invited. Especially if it means they're gonna get some love-action when I'm still a single, miserable arse. I might pretend to be happy for them, but behind their back I'd be pulling rude faces and crying into my pint of foamy. Possibly only metaphorically but you maybe see my point.

I didn't really want to go out and end up even more miserable. So I rainchecked the beer and said I'd be better off going for a run instead. Now, thankfully, I'm still at the point where people are so shocked to hear me say something like that, that I can use it as an excuse to get out of pretty much anything. Family wedding? "Sorry mum, I've gotta run some relatively small distance". "Oh that's fine - go for your life - I'm sure she'll get married again". I won't be able to do this forever but I'm never averse to abusing a good excuse when I have one.

So I missed the drink, went home and went running. I'm definitely better in the evening than in the morning. I expect this is because of my perpetual lack of breakfast.

Now I find myself back in front of the computer writing crap for no good reason except that it kills time and I can't be bothered to pick up a book and turn on the telly. I think I might have rambled too much already. I'm starting to bore myself.

I want a beer. Except that I don't.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A new release from the Daleks

Possibly the funniest thing I've come across (if you'll pardon the expression) today was a news story about the BBC seeking to ban a new porn DVD featuring the Daleks, Abducted by the Daleks.

Quote from the Dalek owners: "The reason the Daleks are still the most sinister thing in the universe is because they do not make things like porn. They weren't ever intended to be sexual creatures. It's simple, Daleks do not do porn.".

Thing is, I think they have missed a trick here. "Debbie does Daleks" would have been a much better title.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Footwear for rambling

You could possibly make a case that Ugly Kid Joe's cover of Cat's In The Cradle is the greatest rock song ever recorded. I'm not sure how such a case would go but you could make a case. I'm pretty sure it would be wrong though. I think it may have as much claim on being the greatest rock song ever as I do on being the best shoemaker ever.

I've never tried making a pair of shoes or even a single shoe. I don't have the right tools, the right materials or a suitable workbench. Even if I did have these things I wouldn't know what to do with them. I never took shoemaking lessons at school. My best method for turning the shoe parts into shoes would be to go to bed and hope that the elves come like they did in the story.

I'm thinking of "The Elves and The Shoemaker" here by the way rather than "The Lord of the Rings". Tolkien could have had his elves making shoes but he instead chose to have them poncing around being too aloof to get into the footwear trade. I won't try and knock the man, it was his story after all. I'm just saying that if Galadriel had offered to treat with Sauron and arrange an exchange of good-quality elf-made slippers in exchange for two hundred years of peace, then a whole lot of mess would have been avoided and The Dark Lord could have sat by the fire (of Mount Doom), in his comfy slippers, and perhaps have found contentment.

I'd certainly be happy with a night of contentment, but then I have neither slippers nor a fire and so I feel that will not be happening tonight. Ah, sweet boredom. I'll have to return to listening to some tunes and wondering if it's still too early to go to bed.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I'm evil. And so is my cat.

On Thursday night York was terrorised by an evil genius and his cat:


Oh the evil schemes that were wreaked that evil evening.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Challenge #11: EBAY - Complete!

I set myself a challenge at the start of the year to make £200 from selling things on eBay. I am now deeming this challenge over, with total money made of £205.52. Whoooh, I'm rich! Huzzah.

To get to this total I've sold about 30 items. Here are the things I sold and the prices people paid. They are a mixture of bargains and madness.

1. Franz Ferdinand - Darts of Pleasure CD single. £5.50
2. The Bluetones - Fast Boy / Liquid Lips CD single. £1.00
3. The Thrills - Santa Cruz CD single. £1.00
4. Keane - Everybody's Changing CD single. £2.70
5. Keane - Somewhere only we know CD single. £2.79
6. Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out CD single. £1.00
7. Mickey's Racing Adventure - Gameboy Color. £4.20
8. Metal Gear Solid - Gameboy Color. £14.00
9. Warioland 2 - Gameboy Color. £7.01
10. Deja Vu 1&2 - Gameboy Color. £1.00
11. Bust-a-Move 4 - Gameboy Color. £4.80
12. Pokemon Red - Gameboy Color. £3.70
13. Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot CD single. £4.00
14. Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare - Gameboy Color. £2.20
15. Wild Arms - Playstation. £16.00
16. Alundra - Playstation. £12.00
17. Grandia 2 - Dreamcast. £9.00
18. Zelda - Oracle of Ages - Gameboy Color. £10.00
19. Zelda - Oracle of Seasons - Gameboy Color. £10.00
20. Coldplay - Brothers and Sisters CD single. £4.00
21. Black Box Recorder - Child Psychology CD single. £0.50
22. Duke Nukem Advance - Gameboy Advance. £9.10
23. Skies of Arcadia - Dreamcast. £12.00
24. KT Tunstall - False Alarm EP CD single. £8.01
25. Animal Crossing - Gamecube. £20.51
26. Amsterdam - Does this train stop on Merseyside? CD single. £1.00
27. Pure Reason Revolution - The Bright Ambassadors CD single. £3.75
28. Pokemon Gold - Gameboy Color. £13.00
29. Farenheit - Xbox. £14.03
30. Dead or Alive 2 - Dreamcast. £2.21
31. Baldur's Gate 2: Dark Alliance - Xbox. £5.51

So a various mixture of CD singles and computer games. But it's fairly clear that the best money was to be made from flogging old RPGs.

Nice to have that one over and done with. And I'm glad I didn't have to resort to selling my complete collection of Star Wars Tazos. Mainly because I don't think I could cope with the disappointment when it turned out to be worth only twenty four pence.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I'll sing it one last time for you

Well, I'm quite pleased with myself. I started running less than two weeks ago, and I've just gone out and done 3.2 miles without taking a break (except when I had to walk up and down the stairs at either end of a bridge). It was a bit cold though so I was glad of my wooly gloves and hoody. The time for this was about 31 and a half minutes, which while not quite up to the standards of the late Sebastian Coe, is still better than say a small two year old child might manage. As long as they weren't being chased by a scary bear!

I even sped up at the end like a prisoner on the run who suddenly realises he is being chased by a scary bear and thinks "Shit!!! BEAR!!!! RUUUUNNNNNN!!!!!".

Go me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Gift For You

Are you fed up of typing into your browser? Well, just for you, I have taken the time and trouble to set up a new, much shorter and easier url for you. is a whopping 4 characters shorter and by using this you can save yourself literally seconds of work each time. Possibly as many as two seconds!

This means that in a year, the average user that visits World of Lint once every five minutes throughout their waking day, say 16 hours a day, will save a massive 1.6 days per annum! Yes, you'll regain 39 hours of your life each and every year.

This, is my gift to you. Be sodding grateful.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I read the news today, oh boy

I bought the local paper today. Not because I wanted it, solely because the woman in the shop gave me two free Kit-Kats (worth twice the cost of the paper). I didn't really need the chocolate either, but hey, a bargain's a bargain. I didn't realise at the time but the paper also contained the autumn issue of a glossy Yorkshire wedding magazine. It features lots of pictures of brides in wedding dresses, that sort of thing. I wasn't too impressed with this until when flicking through I found that it also contained lots of pictures of hot girls in bridal lingerie. Result. Good articles too. Ahem.

I thought I'd give you a summary of some of today's local news. I promise, none of this is made up. In no particular order:

1. Mike Tyson was due to be visiting York today. "Roman soldiers were planning to greet the boxing legend" at the Minster. It doesn't mention whether they were due to spar or not. "The boxer's trip to York was set to include a visit to the Minster, York Dungeon and the City Walls" - yes, Mike Tyson is going for a fun day out in York Dungeon. Perhaps a fake torture chamber is the only local place where you can acceptably bite off someone's ear.

2. A baby has been born. Its idiot parents have named the child "Bodicea".

3. From a story about local con-artists being put away: "Another York con-artist - Louise Winskill, formerly of Thief Lane - has started four years behind bars...". Like, hello! She lived on THIEF LANE. Of course she's a f***ing con-artist. It's bleeding obvious. It must have taken the police years to find her. Hint, guys. If you're looking for a murderer, check out Death Row (*).

4. The next meeting of the Huntingdon Over-55s will be on Thursday, at 2pm. There will be a bingo, and a raffle, followed by tea and mince pies.

5. Bingo is obviously popular in Huntingdon - Huntingdon Rovers Football club have a bingo night tomorrow from half seven.

6. A very positive review of The Crimea: "The Crimea's sound is similar to The Crocketts' intoxicating brand of apocalyptic folk-punk, hushed and introspective one moment, fierce and lacerating the next. Macmanus's voice sounded better than ever, all husky soul and strangled yelp.". I wish I'd managed to write that, rather than "It was a pretty good gig".

7. My horoscope: "Aries: Do be careful how you speak to the younger generation, as they might take the advice you give more literally than you think". So here's some good advice from me: Are you a teenager? Go and kill yourself, you useless little shit. You'll never amount to anything and the world hates you and itself.

8. In the small ads, it seems that Bunny Girls Escorts require additional staff. A number is provided for interested parties to call.

Wasn't that totally fascinating? I could make this a regular feature if they keep giving away free chocolate and soft porn.

(* It's in Copmanthorpe)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

If you want to see my happy side...

I went to see The Crimea at Fibbers on Friday night. I've been a fan of the band for several years but have never had the chance to see them live before. I was also a bit of a fan of the singer's previous band, The Crocketts. Back then, he went by the name of Davey Crockett, which is frankly a silly name unless it's your real one.

The Crocketts never really hit the big time, which was a shame because they had some great songs. I think my favourite was Will you still care?, a song as radio-friendly as they come, apart from the excessive swearing in the chorus. Though the swearing was fully justified within the context of the song, (kind of an update of The Beatles' When I'm 64), it did make it hard for the song to garner much radio-play. Oh, well this was eight years ago - I should move on and get over it.

But if you can track down the song, it'll be worth your while. I recommend the version from the Hello and Good Morning EP rather than the re-recorded album version. It's better.

So The Crocketts got through two or three albums before disbanding. I never got to see them live, though they did play Norwich whilst I was living there. Unfortunately I was in Bristol at the time so couldn't go. I should get over that too. After disbanding, some time passed (probably. I'm guessing some of this) and Davey made a new band and started to use his proper surname of MacManus.

The Crimea put out a few great singles back in 2003 (two of which made it into my super-fantastique Top 20 of 2003. Then a while later I tracked down the album, which was a self-recorded one which may have been personally mailed to me by band member or a friend of a band member. That must have been in late 2004? Now, nearly a year later, they've just put out a re-recorded version of the album (with a partially different track-listing) and so I had to buy it again, but at least they are also touring, and hence I was able to witness their goodness on Friday:

The Crimea at Fibbers

It was a pretty good gig in the end.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Toiletry dispensation

I don't think I'll ever get used to bars where they have little men in the toilets to give you soap and spray things on you and then expect to be tipped for doing something that you can do perfectly well youself. It's something that should only happen on television - not in real life and certainly not in York.

I'm going to have to be a bit of a NIMBY here, but I don't want this sort of thing to go on here in York. I don't mind if they want to build a nuclear reactor down the road or if they want to build a sex-offenders institute next door, those things are fine. I just don't want people washing my hands for me.

The guilty establishment was The Parish. I wanted to go to the toilet for a second time but chose instead to hold it in rather than have to pay another pound.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Oh, you, harbinger of food

I don't want this to turn into some sicko exercise diary, but...

I'm not entirely sure why but I decided to sneak in a sneaky post-work run tonight. Only 48 hours since my last run, I think I nearly killed myself. Not literally.

The beer afterwards was sweet. The pre-beer water was way better.

Now: I sleep until the reckoning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Why you need mums in an emergency

I've just been to an Extraordinary General Meeting of the management company for the development which I live in. It had been called in order to explain why we had recently changed managing agents from CPM (who had been utterly rubbish, I pity you if you have them as your agents) to a local company. The main reason for changing was because we wanted an agent who would actually bother to do things. Like collect money (off people who wanted to pay money as well as those who were indifferent either way), cut the grass or fix the light that loudly buzzed for weeks outside my front door.

Anyway, we have changed agents and all is now fine and dandy.

The meeting was held in a little church hall just up the road. Clearly the church hall was mainly used for things like toddler groups but it served well enough for an EGM. Technically since there were only seven of us in attendance we could have done it in my front room and all had a cup of tea too but I suppose you have to allow for the possibility that more people might take an interest in affairs. And I'm out of milk at the moment in any case.

On the wall of the church hall were some instructions for what to do in case of an emergency (eg a fire). They were handwritten, possibly in felt tip or crayon, and read something like the following:

"In case of emergency: one mum to go and phone the emergency services. Two mums to take the children safely out to the front of the building. One mum to check toilets and the upstairs rooms are clear." etc.

It wasn't clear what to do in the event that there were not sufficient mums there to carry out these tasks. Would fathers have been sufficient? What if the people using the room were childless, either voluntarily, from natural causes or from compulsory sterilisation? Tonight for example, I'm fairly sure that we were short of the number of mums that would have been needed to carry out a full evacuation. Luckily we didn't have to but I'm sure that we must have invalidated the church hall's insurance for the evening. Sorry vicar.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Holding onto one another's hand

I've just been running again. I was amazed at how much I seemed to have improved since last week. We did the same route, but about five minutes faster and I felt much better at the end of it. Reasons for this may include:

1. I bought some proper running shoes. Last week I was wearing some cheapy crappy old trainers I've had for years. They were ok, but possibly not the ideal footwear. So at lunchtime today I went into town and bought some proper running shoes. Now, I know that you're supposed to wear shoes in a little bit before going out running for a few miles in them, but I didn't have time. I did try them on in the shop to check that they fitted, so it's not like I was being stupid or anything.

2. I had more confidence, due to knowing that having done running once, I wasn't actually going to die at the end.

3. I was running in front rather than at the back and so was able to set a pace more suitable for me. This actually turned out to be a bit faster than the girls would normally do, so I was running on my own for most of the time...

4. ...which didn't really matter because I'd decided to take the iPod Shuffle along. Finally I was able to use its lanyard! Tunes it gave me included "Run" by Snow Patrol (quite appropriate!), "Underneath the sky" by Oasis, "She's an Angel" by They Might Be Giants, "Shine On" by The House of Love and "E-Bow the Letter" by REM. It would have been nice if all the songs had been as relevant as the Snow Patrol one, but also a little bit scary.

Also, for those of you who thought I was diving in a bit too quickly last week, I added in an extra stop so that I did four 8 minute (ish) stints rather than the three legs I had last week. Although, as mentioned above, they were a bit faster.

At the end I felt significantly less dead. I might even go as far to say I felt ok and could have gone a bit further. But it's probably best that I didn't because my right little toe was starting to hurt a bit due to the new shoes. I might have a little blister tomorrow. Souvenir!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Here's what you could have won...

I won a secretary at work today. Not forever, just for a day. An as yet undisclosed day sometime in the future. She was a prize in a prize draw.

Unfortunately, I don't really have any use for a secretary. I have no idea what I will do with her. I suspect it will mainly involve cups of coffee.

If I'm honest, I'd have preferred to win one of the bottles of champagne that were also up for grabs. I know exactly what I'd do with one of those. It wouldn't involve any coffee.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Clouds of smoke obscure my view...

This weekend has seen the final wedding (#4) of the year, or at least the final one which I will be attending. This makes it sound like there are several other weddings that I won't be attending. This is almost certainly true, but I haven't been invited to them and it's rude to crash.

Here's a photo of the bride and the groom looking all married, to prove I was there:

Helen & James

With all these weddings out of the way I can sit back and analyse them scientifically. Here are my findings:

1. Religiousosity is clearly in decline. Only half of all weddings take place in churches. This is in comparison to the combined 2003 and 2004 period where around two-thirds of weddings were church-based. God must be quite irate.

2. White is still the most popular colour by far for brides. 75% of all brides choose this colour to get married. All remaining brides wear red.

3. Most couples these days choose not to wait until the wedding night to consummate their relationship (Ok, I'm only guessing this one, but I reckon it's true all the same).

4. Nobody gives you free whisky when you get to the reception. This is clearly an area for development.

5. There doesn't seem to be much bouquet tossing going on any more. Possibly it is just happening when I'm not looking.

And that concludes the detailed statistical anaylsis.

To end the wedding topic for a while, I think most brides would look cooler if they wore sunglasses. Just a thought, but it's a totally true fact that all girls look better if they wear sunglasses and smile.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Another Blatant Plug

I should mention that Four Day Hombre's debut single, 1000 Bulbs is finally out in stores this week. HMV, Virgin and the indies should have it (though HMV has been a bit crap - try the others) so go out and spend a couple of pounds to help this baby into the charts (and to get your hands in a couple of well decent songs too)! Or alternatively, you can load up iTunes and get it from there.

You can see the video on either the FDH site or alternatively, on T4. Help a sad pirate!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

And if I only could...

Those of you who have known me for a long time may find the following post a little hard to swallow. This evening I turned down an invitation to go to the pub in order to go running instead. Come to think of it, there may be two separately strange things in that last sentence...

I don't think I've really done any running since cross-country at school and that would have been at least 13 years ago and so probably is close enough to "never" as you can get. In fact, I haven't really done any exercise at all ever. I climbed the steps in work once but that was only because the lifts were out of order.

But tonight I did some actual running. I'd call it jogging but jogging sounds so middle-aged and I don't want to sound middle-aged. There is a reason for this Mr Hyde style turnabout, though it's a pretty tenuous one. I'm going skiing in February for the first time, and I was told that it might be a good idea to do some exercise in the meantime. I can't quite remember why, I wasn't paying too much attention. But in the same way as I seem to say I'll do absolutely anything these days, I said I'd come along for some weekly running sessions. There were a couple of girls starting running at the same time so I figured that we could all be crap together to start with and it would be easy and straightforward.

Darn it turns out I'd been slightly misled.

I'd missed the first session last week due to having said "yes" to another, completely unrelated, stupid thing. So I thought that this week, I wouldn't be that far behind. I wouldn't be starting from a Being Good At Running position too far behind the girls.

We ran for about forty minutes (possibly around three miles? - it was hard to tell because I didn't take a trundle wheel with me) altogether. About two thirds of the way round, the girls said I was doing really well for my first time. I said that likewise they were doing well for their second time. But it turns out it wasn't their second time at all. One of them has been running for a year, and the other I think for longer! Bloody girls. They always mislead you. Can't be trusted, the lot of 'em.

Anyway, I kept up all the way (with only two v short breaks) and I don't think they were going slowly for my benefit (though I wouldn't have complained too much if they had!) and finally we got back to the start where we stopped.

And then I died. Or at least wanted to.

Overall, I was quite happy with myself that I'd managed to do it. I have this vague feeling that you're not supposed to just go straight from doing no exercise at all to doing a three mile run. You're supposed to build up to these things slowly. But I say, sod that. In for a penny, in for a pound. Help a sad pirate.

It's funny the way that had I been doing it on my own, I don't think I'd have pushed myself anywhere near as much. I'd have taken many more breaks and not gone as far. Realistically I wouldn't have gone at all. Having other people there just makes the whole thing more... not sure what the word is. It's not "enjoyable". Well, it just makes it more.

So that was my introduction to the crazy world of exercise. Next session will be next week. Which will probably be easier. Hopefully.

It would have been nice to have gone to the pub as well though. But maybe the running will make me sleep well.

I can imagine that to many of you reading, this will all sound a bit pathetic. But isn't that what you come here for?

I wonder if I'll hurt tomorrow?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Pirates in Need

I'm a little worried about the problems that avian-flu might cause for our pirate community. Their lovely parrots could end up being knocked out by the hundreds, leaving lonely pirates with an empty shoulder and a birdy memory. I was so worried that I declared today "Pirates in Need Day" and I drew a campaign board to help the cause:

Pirates in Need

The pirate pictured is one I met in the pub last night and his story is heart-rending. In his own words: "Shiver me timbers. I am utterly downtrodden at the loss of my favourite parrot, Jim, to this dastardly avian-flu. Ahoy and Avast! I will kill myself out of pure despair". It's totally tragic. He did kill himself too, there was nothing I could do. Except start a campaign.

I didn't raise any money as such. This might be linked to the way that only about ten people saw the board and they are all tight arses.

Help a sad pirate!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Sleep.... and one day thou shalt awake a king

Last night I slept really craply. Tonight I'm going to sleep better. The power of positive thinking and a glass of wine. And being really f**ing tired.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Bush returns. And is still mad.

Kate Bush (God bless her) has a new album out today. It's called Aerial and I think that may be a reference to Aerial washing powder. Sample lyric:

Washing Machine
Washing Machine
Slooshy sloshy slooshy sloshy
Get that dirty shirty clean
Slooshy sloshy slooshy sloshy
Make those cuffs and collars gleam
Everything clean and shiny
Washing Machine
Washing Machine
Washing Machine

I'm honestly not making this up. I know she's always had a reputation for being a little bit barking, but... "Slooshy sloshy slooshy sloshy"???

Maybe it's actually genius. But more likely it's total barking bonking madness.

It sounds more like the sort of thing you might expect George Bush to have written. Maybe they're related

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Third wedding of the year...

I've been to an old schoolfriend's wedding this weekend. I think she must hate everyone because it was in a very out of the way, hard to get to place. Or maybe she's giving gentle hints that it's really time for me to buy a car.

The wedding was just outside Hawes, a nice enough little village if you can actually get to it. The nearest train station is however 6 miles away in Garsdale - a small place notable mainly for its complete lack of anything useful like pubs, shops, taxis, sunshine or mobile phone reception. Luckily I'd been organised enough to pre-book a taxi otherwise I'd have been pretty stuck. I'd possibly still have been there now, so a big thank you to Steve the Taxi who was ferried (taxied?) us around all weekend.

Boy it was wet. Not great wedding weather - arguably though if you're going to get married in November in the Yorkshire Dales you have to plan for a degree of rain. It did at least stop for a little while before dinner to allow some fireworks to be set off from a nearby farmer's field. The hotel itself, Simonstone Hall, wouldn't allow fireworks to be set off within the grounds - presumably for health and safety reasons. They were quite happy to allow two sixty year old men to climb into a wet and muddy field in the pitch dark to play with explosives though. That was fine. No safety issues there.

The wedding was good - plenty of food, wine (standard and mulled) and whisky. And cigars (which weren't even my idea for once!) too.

And here are the happy couple, all married. Or possibly not quite married yet. I'm not sure where the registrar has gone...

Ele and Adam

The groom is a young actor (he was on TV recently in Love Soup. I didn't see it) and some of his friends were actors too. This meant that I had to be extra careful when people asked me what I did for a living and make sure that I pronounced actuary clearly so that people didn't think I was an actor by mistake. Most people there seemed to have jobs beginning with A. Actors, actuaries, accountants, archivists. I don't think there were any ambulance drivers there but I can't completely rule this out because I didn't speak to everyone.

Best thing... the name tags on the dinner tables were little gingerbread men with our names iced on!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

An Haitus


There will now be a short hiatus whilst I go and do some stuff.


I anticipate normal service being resumed within a couple of days or so. Don't worry, all is good.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Favourite song this week: Coles Corner by Richard Hawley. It sounds like it's from another time and another place (possibly Sheffield in the 1940s). Fantastic.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Crack Of Dawn

For the last five (working) days I've been doing something which seems odd even to me. I've been in work at around a quarter past seven in the morning rather than my normal nine o'clock. To do this, I've obviously had to get up earlier than normal but this hasn't actually been too hard. As long as I can hit the snooze button a couple of times I don't really mind what time the alarm actually goes off. I get the illusion of having had a lie in.

It's very quiet in work at that time in the morning - mainly because most sane people are still in bed pressing their snooze buttons. The quiet is nice though. A quiet office is an office in which I can sit around and listen to some tunes whilst having a bit of a think, tidying my inbox or just drinking coffee.

It's also saving me a small amount of money since the in-work cafe doesn't open that early. Whereas I'd normally buy a (Regular Black) coffee on the way in at nine, I can't do this at the early time. 85p saved straight off. It's like having a pay rise! So I have to get coffee from the machine instead which although not as nice, is at least free (and it's still better than instant coffee).

Early mornings are ideal times to return phone calls to people you don't really want to talk to. You know that they won't be there and so it's safe to call them. You can leave the phone ringing for a bit and then hang up and not have to worry about it any more because you've done the thing you had to do which was call back. It's hardly your fault that the other person isn't there to pick up the phone.

I don't know how long I'll keep this up for. I'm surprised I've managed five days. Perhaps I'll wake up one morning with my sanity back. Or perhaps my alarm will do the thing it sometimes does to annoy me: ie not going off.

In the meantime, I'll see you at seven (or just after).

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Taste my wine

There's a good story buried here tonight. Sadly, I've had a couple too few glasses of laughing water to make it worthwhile decanting here.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Lucky I spotted this one...

I wrote the post below a few minutes ago and, luckily, before I posted it I realised I had made a grave error. I'm slightly surprised at myself that it took me about twenty minutes from the event actually happening, through me writing it down here, before I realised that I had made a grave error.

However rather than discarding it completely I'll turn it into a game of Spot The Grave Error. Play along at home


I was listening to some tunes on the way in to work this morning on my portable tune-playing device (PTPD). It played a couple of decent songs and then it chose Lambchop's Up With People for my delectation. This is generally a great song. However this morning, when it got to the end of the song all I could hear was "Come on Roger May" for some reason. Now that is not the true lyric and the song has nothing to do with ex-members of Queen. But I just heard it over and over again, sung by Kurt Wagner and a gospel choir. Come on Roger May, Come on Roger May, Come on Roger May etc etc.

That really wasn't an image I wanted in my head.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Lee and Herring

I went to see the legendary comedian Stewart Lee tonight. Whilst I've been to many music gigs on my own, I think this was the first comedy gig I've been to alone. It was a similar experience, just with more chairs. I think the main reason for me being alone tonight was very bad planning. Live and learn...

Stewart used to work with Richard Herring. As Lee and Herring, they sounded slightly like Lee and Perrin, the Worcester sauce firm. [I'm often amazed by the sheer coincidences that lead to comedy duos having names that go together so well. Cannon and Ball. Little and Large. Hilter and Slatin. The list is almost without beginning.]

I've had the pleasure of seeing both of them perform live this year, in the same venue at separate times. Prior to this year I had only had pre-recorded exposure to them. Lest you be confused, it was them that was pre-recorded rather than myself. Never once did I sit alone in my bedsit after nine o'clock with a tape recorder and a packet of Supernoodles. Never once did I record a tape of myself enjoying said noodles and then send it to them in the hope that it would give them the same enjoyment that I had myself received. They had not had any pre-recorded exposure to myself in that way. And anyone who says they did is a nasty liar.


All in all, I enjoyed them both. Stewart (I nearly called him "Lee" their, but that sounds far too pretentious and journalistic) seems a little annoyed with the problems he had with the religious nuts due to his association with Jerry Springer: The Opera, but other than that is still very funny. His set took in the London Bombings, the IRA, a drunken walk home with Jesus, the death of the Pope, and Joe Pasquale. I feel that my final comma in that sentence was technically incorrect but necessary to avoid confusion over who had died. Joe Pasquale is still alive. Jesus died some years back. It's tempting to suggest that this might be a better world should those have been reversed.

Richard (Herring) on the other hand talked about the death of the Pope, molesting the girlfriend of a reviewer with a trout (a large one) and yoghurt. Lots of yoghurt.

It's hard to choose a winner.

It's also (sometimes) hard to be a woman. But you shouldn't believe everything a song tells you. If you are a woman then why not tomorrow find it EASY to be a woman instead. Go on. It's the first Monday of the rest of your life. Go for it.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Could it be magic?

The clocks go back tonight meaning that I get an extra hour in bed. However, this isn't particularly convenient for me. I haven't done anything of note tonight and so don't really need more bed-time this week.

Bloody timekeepers, with their silly rules.

Next week would be much more useful. I'll be at a wedding reception and so will probably have a jar or two. Next week, I'd be very appreciative of an extra hour in bed. But I won't legally have one because the powers that be have deigned this week to be the one where it happens. They could have at least done some consultation with the people that will be affected (ie me).

So I think I might delay the addition of the extra hour for a week, just in my life. For the next 7 days, when everyone else is having seven o'clock, I'll be having eight of her majesty's clock. I think. This will have some advantages. The pubs will appear to stay open until midnight rather than eleven. I also won't have to get to work until ten o'clock. I think. I do tend to get confused by this whole thing.

This is clearly another fine plan of mine. And it will mean I get an extra hour in bed next Sunday morning (when it will do me most good) as I realign myself to the nation's main time syatem.

I'll have to be really careful with the train timetable though or I'll miss the wedding itself.

Strange lights: Normally a sign of an alien presence

Apparently there's a thing going on at York Minster at the moment where they are shining lights on it to make it look pretty. I didn't notice it last night, but that's most likely because I didn't pass the Minster.

Maybe I'll be lucky enough to see it in the next few days. I could stand there and go "Oooohh".

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I can't believe you fed that to a dwarf!

I'm thinking about trying an experiment tomorrow. Details of this may, or may not be posted here at some point. Scientific rigour: Hoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Where'd all the aliens go?

I'm a little bit tired out after being at the careers fair smiling at and talking to strangers all day. I was a little bit disappointed that nobody, taking a cue from my post on Monday, had dressed up in a Vorlon encounter suit for the occasion. Not one person. It's like nobody makes an effort to try and get a job these days. Does everyone have a f***ing job already? No? Then get your finger out and put on a decent alien costume (*).

Now, if I was looking for a graduate job, the first thing I'd do is thoroughly research my favourite prospective employer. I'd phone up each person at the company until I found the person who would be attending the fair:

Switchboard: Hello, how can I help you?
Me: Hello.
Switchboard: Hello.
Me: Please can you put me through to any employee whose surname starts AAAA
Switchboard: I'll just check that... Sorry, we don't have anyone whose name starts AAAA.
Me: What about AAA?
Switchboard: Sorry sir.
Me: What about AA?
Switchboard: Ah. We have a Mrs Aardman.
Me: I'd like to talk to her please.
Switchboard: Please hold.
[hold music - Greensleeves]
Mrs Aardman: Good morning. This is Mrs Aardman. How can I help?
Me: Are you attending the careers fair tomorrow?
Mrs Aardman: No.
Me: Please can you transfer me back to the switchboard?
[hold music - Rock Me Amadeus]
Switchboard: Hello, how can I help you?
Me: Hello. It's me again. Can I speak to the first person whose name begins with A please?
(and so on)

Now, this process might take a while, but that's ok, I'm thorough and I really want this job. Eventually I would find the correct person. I'd then stalk them for a while and use the internet to find out everything about them. Eventually I'd find that they (I) had a private blog where they'd mentioned that they were going to a careers fair and that they (I) would quite like a Vorlon to come along.

Now, as an useless unemployed, possibly unemployable freakazoid, I would wish to do everything possible to show my prospective/future employer how good and customer focused I was. And if this involved manufacturing a Vorlon encounter suit from scratch then by golly that's just what I'd do.

A little bit of time spent on a job application can work wonders.

The mere fact that this didn't happen shows me that nobody really really really wanted a job. They were just in it for the pens.

(* not like as in the alien from Alien. That would scare me too much)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It's all over. Again.

Darn it. Last week I thought I'd finished marking actuarial exams forever, but that turned out to be slightly premature. I've agreed to do one final mini batch (just nine scripts) as a favour. Hopefully it'll be a favour in return for money though, which is the best sort.

But after tonight (or maybe after tomorrow night) it really will be over. Yay!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Diverse Recruitment

I've been asked to go to a careers fair in London on Wednesday. It's the GRADES careers fair which "promotes graduate careers to all, irrespective of Gender, Religion, Age, Disability, Ethnicity or Sexuality" (see what they've done with the name there?). I'm clearly the ideal person to go due to me being a shining beacon of diversity in the UK workplace. Well, I'm male, atheist, young, able-bodied white and straight.

I don't even really wear glasses.

Mind you, I suppose statistically that I must be as diverse as everyone else. In fact it must be quite hard for any one person (even me) to be diverse on their own and so I can be as good at it as the rest if I try hard.

So I'm off to London to see the Queen.

If you happen to be an elderly one-legged African lesbian nun from Stoke then please come and see me and we can talk about whether you're right for a career as a graduate trainee actuary.

Actually, if all I recruit is a lesbian nun, then I don't think I'm trying hard enough. I want to recruit some actual proper aliens. A Vorlon would be cool. They have the cryptic communicational ability of a typical actuary.

[Me: Hello!
Vorlon: ...
Me: So you want to be an actuary then?
Vorlon: ...
Me: You don't want to be an actuary?
Vorlon: ...Yes...
Me: What do you want?
Vorlon: Never ask that question
Me: OK. How can I help you?
Vorlon: It is time.
Me: Right. Would you like a brochure?
Vorlon: ...
Me: Egads. I'd get more sense out of Yoda.
Vorlon: If you go to Dagobah, you will die.
Me: That's nice! Bye!]

Or maybe No. 5 from Short Circuit. He'd be cool, and probably isn't doing much these days.

And failing that I should at least be able to get loads of free pens.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Milky Clock

I think there's an extent to which I mainly measure the passage of time by the use-by dates on the cartons of milk I throw away. Currently the 23rd October is next to be binned. After that it'll be the 29th October. Inevitably these will be thrown away, unopened, unused and unloved. I don't like milk. But each one gone marks another week that's expired.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


When men get married, they typically have a stag night/weekend/party and invite all their male friends along to celebrate/commiserate the end of their life as a single. Similarly, when girls get married they typically have a hen night/weekend/party and invite all their female friends along to wear L-plates and fall over. These twin traditions leave something of a hole.

If for example you are a male friend of a female marriagee, you will tend to not get invited on either the stag-do (because you don't know or disapprove of the groom) or the hen-do (because you are a not a no-tail). You're missing out on a party through simple circumstances of gender. I think this may be illegal in some countries.

Likewise, female friends of male marriagees don't get invited on the stag-do (because they are girls) or on the hen-do (because they are either evil-enemy-ex-girlfriends or potential ex-evil-enemy-ex-girlfriends. Probably. I'm having to enter the female mind here, which is never easy. Where's the door? What's the alarm code? I'm never sure. Let's move on. Anyway...) and so they also lose out.

So it's all a bit rubbish really.

There is clearly a third party that needs to happen. What would happen is that all the groom's female friends go out with all the bride's male friends, possibly for up to 12 days, and they have a fun time and drink some beer, shoot some pool, sail some rivers and maybe even walk the dog a few times.

This would be good because:
a) Everyone would have a party
b) Everyone would know more people at the eventual wedding

This party would need to choose an animal name too. Stag and Hen have already been taken, so I might suggest Caribou.

I'm undecided on whether the bride and groom should be allowed on the Caribou Party or not. They'd be useful on day one so that they could introduce everyone to everyone else. But after that maybe they'd just get in the way like a broken lorry on the A11.

Were such a party to take place, the following places should be avoided:
1. Lincoln. I hate Lincolnshire.
2. York. Too many Hen/Stags already. Caribous can do better.
3. Exeter. I'm not really sure where it is.
4. My friend John's house. It's quite small and the toilet has a dodgy flush.

See you there! Maybe!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Curly wurlys

Girls: They can be really annoying when for the first three days you know one they have curly hair. You assume that's how they are and you accept them at curly hair face value. Then, they suddenly have straight hair and make some wild assumption that you'll still recognise them. How's that ever going to work???

Fact: Photofits would be useless if you could change one part of the face and still have the same person. You change the nose. It's a different person. You change the ears. It's a different person. You change the hair. It's a different person.

If people want to go around straightening their curly hair then the least they can do is wear a sign or a badge pointing out this thing. "Hi, I'm still XXX even though my hair has not the curls it once had". Something like that.

And don't get me started on dye.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Only Gazelles Bound In The Dark

When I went to work this morning, it was dark. That's bent.

When I came home tonight, it was still dark. Bent, bent, bent.

Stupid darkness. Why can't people put it safely in jars for use in case of a war of light bombs?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tomorrow's TV... today

Well, that was unexpected. I just heard the BBC have commissioned a Dr Who spin-off series called Torchwood, starring Captain Jack. It sounds like it'll be a bit darker and more adult. Maybe a bit like how Angel was compared to Buffy?

Other spin-offs I'd like to see soon:

Serenity: The Series. This'd be a TV series based on the movie Serenity. Ok, so I know this kind of already exists, but they should do it again and not cancel it.

Actuary Who. In which Dr Who regenerates as an actuary rather than a doctor. Y'all know this would be cool.

Pinky and the Dr Evil. Pinky and the Brainy was a cool cartoon. Dr Evil is very funny. Let them take over the world together, what could possibly go wrong?

Lost: Clothes. In which Kate from Lost has lost all her clothes.

This is the last time...

You don't always know when you do something for the last time. And in particular you don't always make an effort to remember the last time you will do a particular something. For example, you may not remember the last time you kiss somebody before they callously dump you to run off with a sailor (It was just like any other day...). Or you may not remember whether or not you turned off the gas on the evening you went out and your house blew up. If you have no reason to do so, one occurrence of a regular event is just like another and there's no reason to pay particular attention. Perhaps that's why she ran off with the sailor...

Anyway. I don't remember the last time I watched Neighbours. When I was a nipper (ie at school/university) I used to watch the Australian soap every day. Looking back I have no idea why I thought this was a good idea but I can't deny my past. I think I fancied Bronwyn. That was probably why. But then I entered the World of Workcraft and my free time dwindled away, I wasn't home in time to watch it any more and gradually like rusks and PE lessons it left my life. But do I remember the last time I saw it? No.

Well, actually I do. Because I have just watched it just now for what I totally intend to be the last time in my life ever ever ever (*). It was a special twentieth anniversary edition. Twenty years of soapy crap. What happened was a girl comes back to make a documentary about Ramsey Street and its inhabitants. And lots of old people come back or get filmed. I recognised some of them. Some of them I recognised but couldn't quite work out who they were supposed to be. Others I had no idea.

Thoughts on some of them:
Phillip Martin: Every time he came on screen I thought he was Tony Soprano. This was very confusing.
Paul Robinson: He looks the same as ever except for having done a Heather Mills.
Phillip Martin's daughter who isn't Hannah: She has really dumb eyebrows now.
Joe Mangle: I think he has cushion stuffed up his front. I saw the actor who plays him perform live once in Norwich - he's quite an accomplished stand-up.
Lucy Robinson: Really quite cute.
Harold Bishop: No change at all. He's the living embodiment of "Constant".
Others: Older and fatter, mainly. But that's enough of this.

So I've wasted twenty five minutes of my life watching it. There seemed to be some vague real plots going on as well but I found it hard to care. Anyone who watches this stuff on a regular basis is clearly a mentalist.

I certainly have no intention of watching it again. Even if I had the motivation and energy to get myself home from work by 5:37 every day I still wouldn't watch it because it's just rubbish!

Lucy really was hot though.

(* Unless I'm wrong)

Monday, October 17, 2005

End of the exams

Quite excitingly, I've just finished exam marking for what I intend to be the last time ever, ever. Or at least until I find myself bored in a few years time.

I just need to make sure I really practice saying that "NO" thing for when the Institute phones me up looking for markers for the Spring exams.

Spring seems a long time away. But it, like love (according to The Pet Shop Boys), will come quickly and bring with it all the usual stuff. The stuff of Spring. I don't know what that is. I probably shouldn't be writing. I have a headache and my (creative) juices are spent, absent.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Some Meat

This weekend, I've mostly been eating meat. I like meat.

Here's Saturday meat:

Saturday Mixed Grill

And here's Sunday meat:

Sunday Mixed Grill


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sing me a song

Now, I know that not everyone will agree with me here, but I think that if a night ends with a sing-song, then it's been a good night.

"How many roads must a man walk down..."...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Someone get me a tissue

I'm always faintly annoyed at they way I let myself be emotionally manipulated by television programmes. Buffy used to make me cry on a regular basis. The ep of Lost I've just watched (s2e4) got me the same way. Pathetic.

Absolutely pathetic :-)

Three, yes three (!) crap posts, In One!

Today was the first ever John Peel Day. I was supposed to have been going to a gig tonight (Pure Reason Revolution: A fantastic Pr0g rock band) but it was postponed until December due to illness. Illness of a band member rather than of myself. I'm fine. I have got over my recent mild cold. In substitute, I intend to listen to a Hefner album later, over a glass of red wine. It's what he would have wanted.

In other news, here's a church that's now a bar:
The Parish (2)

I was very well behaved this afternoon. I know that it's important to eat my greens. I had a packet of Walkers Salt & Vinegar Crisps, a Mint Aero and a Packet Of Polos. Afterwards I felt mighty fine.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Comfort in 'Coasters

I've been to Alton Towers today. I went on lots of rides. Wahey and indeed, Wooh.

As I've got older I think I've started to rate rides and rollercoasters in a different way to how I used to when I was a youngster. Previously, it was all about speed, acceleration and Pure Thrills. The more adrenaline the better the ride.

Now what I'm mostly looking for in a ride is a comfortable seat. Don't care so much what the seat then actually does - upside down, inside out, fast and slow, slow and fast - as long as the seat I'm sitting on feels comfortable then I can be fairly sure I'll be happy. Specifically, what I want is a soft bit to actually sit on and a soft back and head rest to lean on. Ergonomic moulding is fine as long as it's not designed to fit physical freaks. And enough legroom to prevent me feeling I'll get cramp from having to sit in a strange position.

What I'm unable to do here is list the most comfortable rides because they all blend into one another after a bit and I find it hard to remember which chair was on which rollercoaster. But I think Nemesis is pretty comfy whilst The Flume Unplugged By Imperial Leather is not so comfy. It also has perhaps the worst name of any ride, ever.

I think I'd probably have as much fun in a sofa salesroom as a theme park. Especially if they provided me with a nice hot cup of tea.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Again: Nobody Ever Tells Me Anything

So why did nobody tell me easyworld had split up?? A year ago?

You Gats!

This news was tempered by me finding that Dav from easyworld has a new solo album out. He's calling himself David now though. But that's cool. Whatever.

It's raining.

Monday, October 10, 2005

A pathetic attempt to garner sympathy

I have a mild cold at the moment. I blame my parents. Virtually the first thing they said yesterday when they arrived was that they both had colds. Excellent, cheers guys, thanks for sharing that with me. I know that realistically it's unlikely that I'd see them in the afternoon, catch something from them and then be all snuffly the very next day, but still, that's surely what parents are for. Someone to blame when you're ill. They should have had DNA that mixed to give me a better immune system.

Actually, I don't get ill that often so maybe they did alright for me after all.

I didn't have any proper tissues in work so I was stuck using whatever bits of tissue-like paper I could find. Mostly this was the pile of napkins I've built up on my desk from various sandwich shops around York. I've realised that these really could be softer. Say I go to Pret a Manger and I pay Two Pounds Fifty for a sandwich. For that money surely I've got to expect a decently soft napkin. One that will not only clean mayonnaise from my keyboard but will also wipe my nose without me going Ow. It's not too much to ask is it?

Accepted, they are still preferable to the toilet tissue from the toilets, but they're not exactly Kleenex. Well tomorrow I think I'm going to dig out a pack of tissues that I took rafting in the summer. They should still be ok (possibly a little squished) as long as I can find them.

This is thrilling, isn't it?

I'd intended to go out to see a band tonight. They'd travelled all the way from Iceland to play here in York. But since I've got a cold (and I'm going to see bands tomorrow and Thursday), I've decided to stay in. I hope they won't be too disappointed that I'm not there. Sorry Leaves!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Sunday. Gahhh!

My Mother had called me earlier in the week to say that her and Father were thinking of coming over at the weekend to see me, and drop off some of the piles of old stuff that's been congealing in my old bedroom for the past 10 years or so. She said that she'd email later in the week to confirm that they were coming and on what day etc. Since as of this morning I had ha no such email, I had made the (rash) assumption that they had decided not to come over after all. I would hence be able to look forward to a dull day of marking, reading and generally sitting around on my arse.

But then, just after midday I got a call saying that they were on their way and not only that, they would be at my flat in about ten minutes time. Ten minutes! That's not a lot of warning. First thing I had to get rid of all the whores I had a around for a party last night. And then finally get rid of that body that's been in my bath since "The Incident I Haven't Spoken About". Finally after a quick run around with the vacuum cleaner and a splash and dash washing up session I was ready to accept parental visitors.

Since my upstairs neighbours (who have two cars) were parked in my parking space, I advised my parents to park in theirs, a space which is next to mine. Whilst I realise that two wrongs don't make a right, I also realise "Hah, see how you like it". It was quite amusing when one of said neighbours returned half an hour later and I could see the look of frustration on his face as he realised his space had been taken. I'm not sure if he realised exactly what lesson he was supposed to have learnt there, but maybe he did.

I haven't met my upstairs neighbours - they only moved in last weekend. They have two very near identical crappy white cars. Like twin cars. As far as I know, they're just a couple of guys sharing a flat, but there's something wrong with them both having the same car. It wouldn't be quite so bad if they were a couple but I don't think they are. (Couples can get away with matching clothes, even if they do still look ridiculous. I think this applies to cars as well.)

Anyway, I took the parents into town for lunch. We went to Caesars for pizzas which were pretty decent though Mother complained about the lack of an apostrophe in the restaurant's name. It's lucky I hadn't take her to a pub featuring some of York's more inventive spelling and grammar.

I also discovered today that instant coffee does in fact go off if you leave it long enough. I think I have had my current jar for around 2 years - it would have been bought before my year of No Coffee in 2004. When I opened it today, there was a kind of fine fungus covering much of the coffee. Rather than brush this off and pretend it was ok, on the basis that boiling water kills everything, I threw the whole jar away and made proper coffee with beans and a grinder. Although to be honest, they tasted a little tasteless too and I suspect they may also need replacing.

So parents come and parents go. It's lucky they hadn't decided to come yesterday - they'd have found me hiding in bed nursing a bally awful hangover. I'm glad that went away.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Memory Lapse

I keep forgetting brilliant posts that I was going to write. This would have been one of them. Sorry.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bleeding Hands

There are a lot of jobs where it would be really awkward to suddenly have an attack of the stigmata. Pastry Chef for example. Nobody wants a bloody vol-au-vent. Or Shark Feeder. The shark would sense the blood and have your whole hand off.

However, I reckon an actuary would get away with it. It wouldn't really matter if a little bit of blood dropped on the keyboard whilst a computer model was being built to describe the inner workings of a pension plan. I regularly get all sorts of sandwich filling and drink inside my keyboard and it continues to work fine.

Even if it started in a meeting you could get away with it. You could just claim that you'd accidentally stabbed yourself with a pencil. It happens. Or you could just come right out and say "It's ok, I have the stigmata. Ooops, here it comes again, ha ha" and just make a joke of it. It'd be fine.

I don't actually have the stigmata myself. But it's nice to realise that should such a condition afflict me in the future then it won't be the end of my career.

Now leprosy, that could be a problem.