Thursday, June 22, 2006

TC5 - Dill gets PUNK'D!!!

Ohhh how I laughed when I saw this. As a manager of a bowling alley this is an all too common occurance - the legendary 'Sweep Strike.' If only I could deal with it in the same way as this manager!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Strange Tales

A while back on the blog I told you I was just starting to read Susanna Clarke’s “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.’ Well I finally finished the book. (Took ages to read the first half but thanks to the dullness of the World Cup have managed 500 pages in four days – excellent!)

Have to say the main thought when I put the book down was simply ‘and!?’. On the SFX Forums somebody posted that it’s a long book about nothing. I have to agree. When it ends you do have that feeling but then when you sit and think about it a lot does actually happen.

The main problem is the blurb on the back of the book – it sets you up for this great battle between two magicians when in fact nothing of the sort happens – they just have a mild disagreement about 600 pages in.

I love Clarke’s imagination when it comes to the different magic we are ‘shewn’ throughout the book however I do find the characters pretty boring. I agree that the book could do with having 200 or so pages chopped out of it but then again would be hard pressed to say where.

Strange’s adventures in Spain, for me were some of the most enjoyable parts of the novel however they did nothing to further the story along other than boost Strange’s ego.

Also the resolution is disappointing. Again I was imagining a great battle and when Strange & Norrell attempt to summon the Raven King really though the pay off was coming. Instead it all seems to be over in one paragraph as Stephen Black and the gentleman with Thistledown hair have a bit of a falling out.

It’s just a strange book (no pun intended) in that while I enjoyed reading it I felt dissatisfied with it. I didn’t get enveloped into the world of English Magic but felt distanced at all times. Hard to describe really. I doubt I would read any more of Clarke’s writing by choice and doubt I’d recommend it to anyone. She shows plenty of talent but the story and its world just didn’t leap into my mind like some novels do.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Month Of Hell

Its finally here. The month were the nation becomes obsessed with football. I hate it.
Two of my best mates like this sport. Normally I love their company as they are both into the SF Genre like me and our conversations often spiral into discussions of Bond, Lost and Doctor Who. For the next month I will feel like an outcast as team tactics and results are discussed. Everywhere you look overweight men in England shirts walk the streets while cars are made to look distinctly shit with naff flags flying from all windows.

I’ve stocked up on DVDS and I’m planning to get my aerial fixed so I can finally get Freeview - and thus TV that lacks any hint of ball control - I wont be subscribing to ‘Channel X’ obviously.

Even then you’re still not safe. Because I’m male I’m automatically presumed to be a football fan. I’ll go into pubs or at work a complete stranger will ask ‘what did you think if the match?’ When I tell them I don’t follow the sport I’m looked at as if I’m a leper.

Why cant there be an alternative world cup for non football fans? International tea making or hot-dog eating. I’d watch that. There was a glimmer of hope a few years back when Robot Wars was popular - I really got into that and had visions of it becoming a popular multinational ‘sport’. Sadly poor treatment from BBC and Five soon scuppered that.

So excuse me if I’m tetchy from now until July 9th its simply because I’m being forced to care about something in which I have absolutely no interest.

Ill be in the garden if you need me...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Want To Test Your Nerve?

While I was uni I often used to shop in Iceland and Tecos. Both stores were a good ten to 15 minutes walk from my house. My flat mate and I accidentally discovered a great game to play - a game Id forgotten about until the other day. Basically you stuff your shopping bag with as much stuff as possible. So instead of sensibly spreading your load over three bags cram it into two.

This might seem daft. It is. But that’s where the fun starts. Thanks to the chain stores ever chasing profits the carrier bags are thinner and thinner thus after a few minutes the bags start to tear.

Its a real game of nerves then to get home without your shopping spilling over the pavement. To increase the tension, slip an expensive bottle of wine or sprits into your shopping too. Two years of this game and to be honest were still not sure of the best tactic. I prefer slow and steady and minimum tearing. My opponents have tried the mad dash but this seems to encourage the bag to burst.

Any way last week halfway home - my new house is closer to the shops - the bag started to go. Cue a sweaty brow and slightly nervous walk. While shopping bag buckaroo was funny at uni losing a bottle of gin and a load of apples these days is damn annoying.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Wedding Worries

Last weekend was one of my first DJing gigs in ages. I was really, really nervous. Not from lack of recent practice but because for the first time I was Djing a friends wedding. Only once have I ever really not had a good DJing gig - not bad for 7 years - but I couldn’t get it out of my mind what would happen if I screwed up on Sat. The main problem, I guess, is that there was no anonymity - I couldn’t leave the gig safe in the knowledge i will never see the bride or groom again. Thankfully the gig was great as was the whole weekend. The bride looked gorgeous and the groom delivered possibly the best speech I have ever heard at a wedding. It was also a time to catch up with old friends and I discovered I’m crap at crazy golf while Miss Smeg was suspiciously good.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Me Man, Ug.

Barbecues are a weird thing. Show most men a modern fan-assisted oven and there’s little interest. However give him a metal bowl, firelighters and charcoal and his primitives urges come rushing forward. Women are banned from within 6 foot of the fire while he spends ten minutes poking it with that weird long metal rod with a spiky, pointy bit on that no one actually knows what its for.

Last night was my first BBQ. Obviously I have been to dozens but I have never been master of the fire myself. I tried to look all manly as I loaded the charcoal. Of course the fact that the BBQ its self was bright pink didn’t hinder my Neanderthal grunting.

Initially it was failure. No fire but loads of smoke. I was concerned about the poor neighbours washing, then slightly concerned about my lack of ability to breathe. Thankfully a friend came to the rescue. He’d done this before and expertly rearranged the coals around the firelighters to produce a roasting furnace.

Gladly things went very well. I was actually slightly disappointed in that the food came out perfectly. The meat was succulent and juicy and completely lacked the black burnt to a crisp covering you should have at such events.

So a good night followed in the company of all my best friends, beer and laughter. We also now have enough burgers and chicken to stock a small McDonalds for two weeks but we can consider our house officially warmed... only ten months late.