Friday, October 27, 2006

Oddest Question Ever?

I’ve worked in customer service/leisure on and off for almost ten years. Still though the customers surprise me. One customer booked a party with me today. It cost a fair bit too and we ask for payment upfront.

“Hmmm, I’m very hesitant about paying first.” She said.

“No worries madam, should you change your mind you’ve got until 48 hours before your event to cancel with a guarantee of a refund.” I reassured her.

“Oh no, it’s not that. It’s just what happens if you go bankrupt in that time?”

I thought she was joking but she had the most serious expression. I suppose bigger companies have gone tits up in less time but her booking was only 3 weeks away. The centre was, as she could see absolutely heaving and we’ve just invested a fair amount of money in our new Adventure Golf Attraction. Without wishing to tempt fate I reassured her that there was very little chance of that happening since we’ve been open for 10 years and this week was one of our busiest weeks on record.

Has to be said though, customers are fricking weird sometimes.

Anyway. Got my best par today on the above mentioned golf. Only 42. The course par is 38 so I’m almost there!

Growing Pains

I have a theory. One I formulated whilst Djing this evening. It was a 15th birthday party and initially I was looking forward to it. Hopefully it would be unpredictable, some different music and fun – 160 people on the guest list too so I was looking forward to a good atmosphere.

I didn’t get it. Actually I’m wrong. There were some lovely people there, the birthday girls especially, and there were 30-40 who pretty much stayed on the dance floor. What I saw in the rest of the people depressed me.

You’d imagine 100+ teens in a room would be chaos and fun. Instead it was shallow and boring. It was like the pages of Heat magazine before my eyes. All looks no content. I genuinely feel this is a worrying bi-product of societies current obsession with celebrity. We had a huge group of 15-17 year olds whom, rather than get dancing and have a laugh all sat there trying to look good. Girls had hot pants up round their arses boys had shirt, tie & waistcoat combos and a few of them with trilbies too. It was as if there were 65 Paris Hilton and 65 Justin Timberlake clones in the room. No personality just shallowness and self-obsessedness.

They blatantly didn’t want to have fun because they were worried that being seen on a dance floor smiling would destroy their ‘image.’

How sad that more and more the fun of youth seems to be being chipped away.

Mind you, I envied the one lad who was getting a lot of attention off a very leggy blonde. Lucky bastard – at 15 the only blonde I seemed to spend any time with was Princess Toadstool.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Harkness & Darkness

So last night was a big night for UK science fiction fans or geeks like me. The launch of Torchwood – the spin off of Doctor Who from the same BBC Wales production team.

Has to be said yes, I enjoyed it but it didn’t pull me in quite like Doctor Who did.

The main problem is the barrier between Torchwood & the viewer. In ‘Rose’, episode one of Doctor Who there’s a positive feeling. The Doctor invites, and wants, Rose (i.e. you the viewer) on his journey – the adventure of a lifetime. There’s a sense of wonder that continues into the amazing visuals of episode 2.

In Torchwood Captain Jack initially doesn’t want Eve on the adventure. So much so he gives her a memory-wiping drug. Hardly an invitation for the viewer. The other problem is it’s a story that’s been done before. Episode one of Torchwood was basically a scaled down and darker version of Men In Black. While episode two covers ground done many times by other SF shows – the alien that needs sex to live.

Torchwood will also draw comparison to Deep Space Nine. The Doctor uses his TARDIS to travel to adventure. Torchwood is routed in Cardiff and as such the adventure has to come to them. Deep Space Nine solved this by having a wonderful array of supporting characters. They were all beautifully constructed and fleshed out. They all had story arcs and over the seven years truly developed and all had personal journeys – even ones with little screen time like Rom and Morn.

So far Torchwood’s supporting cast consists of nothing but regulars who all seem slightly 2D.

It is, however, only episode two and it shows infinitely more promise that the dreary Robin Hood.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Roughly 2 years ago I posted how excited I was about the start of a new series of Spooks. I haven’t written much about it since though feel inclined to now. You see that last post was at the start of season three. Season three turned out to be a little disappointing. Something was lacking and, of course the show had to deal with all 3 main characters departing in the space of 8 episodes. A huge upheaval Kudos: the show’s production company and, no doubt, the audience.

Lesser shows wouldn’t have coped and no doubt would have disappeared off of out screens. Thankfully Spooks is a daring show and although season 3 was wobbly and season 4 not quite pulling all the punches the current series on BBC 1 & 3 is showcasing some of the best British drama I have ever seen.

Adam’s character has matured wonderfully to a point where I prefer him over Tom. Zaf gives excellent support and Ros makes a brilliant new girl in that I’m still unsure of trusting her.

It’s a show that thrives on grey storylines rather than the black and white of some programmes. The heroes actually make some pretty dodgy decisions at times which even questions your morals as a viewer.

It’s good to hear that the BBC has already commissioned a sixth series of Spooks. I just hope that BBC Wales can produce TV to a similar standard as Kudos – otherwise tomorrow nights Torchwood may be a disappointment.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Although I like my gadgets Wi-Fi was something that had largely passed me by. My Nintendo DS changed all this, the though of battling people all over the world was too tantalizing to resist. So I went on the Wi-Fi site and tracked down my local hotspots. Amazingly there were five and one literally was my local.

So to the pub I went – a nice cool glass of cider and a nice quiet spot. Sadly despite searching from a number of locations in the pub I found no hotspot. No worries I finished the pint and travelled to the next listed location – another pub. Again disappointment.

So eventually I headed to Starbucks, Latte in hand and connection in sight… but low and behold it wasn’t compatible. I gave up for a while until one day in the local Wetherspoons. It wasn’t listed on the Nintendo Wi-Fi site but out o boredom I tried – and connected. I was of course right royally thrashed.

Anyway I now have my own Wi-Fi dongle and have been battling the world for about a week. In that short time there’s one thing that bothers me. Although it’s great fun there is a distinct lack of good sports. The minute someone comes fourth, 9 times out of ten they disconnect which rather spoils the game. If I come fourth I don’t care – I’ll stay to the bitter end determined to make up for it in the next round.

Shame really another chip at my faith in humanity still, just you wait ‘til Starfox Command comes out. Oh I will have my revenge…

Monday, October 16, 2006

Why I Hated R.E.

I have no religious beliefs. But that isn’t why I loathed my weekly dose of religious education. You see although I don’t ‘believe’ religion its history does fascinate me. Sadly though my opportunity to learn about religion at school was wasted all because of crap RE teachers. The two main teachers at secondary school were both passionately Christian and many of their lessons were nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to convert us.

The problem is most of the students played on it. At the start of the lesson we’d be told which passage of the bible we’d be learning about. One smart arse would then pipe up, ‘But Mrs P I don’t believe in this rubbish why should I have to learn it?’ This would then lead to an hour of Mrs P getting all self righteous and pretty much accusing us all of being devil worshippers while she told us how mighty Christianity was and how if we didn’t believe we’d all melt or something.

Thinking back though her teaching style was awful. She had an opportunity to teach us about the many faiths of the world perhaps leading to us each finding one that really spoke to us. All religions have a fascinating history. Much of it bloody but interesting none the less. We could have learnt more about the Koran, the Buddhist way of live. Why do the Amish chose to live their lifestyle? What is a Mormon? So much to learn but no instead she was ignorant to any religion but her own – the same ignorance that is causing the troubles in the world today.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Robin Good?

So I finally got around to watching the BBC’s new flagship drama. I wasn’t that bothered by the hype as apart from the ultimate version – the Disney version – Robin Hood has never interested me.

20 minutes in and I was despairing. The acting was extremely amateur and the editing very sloppy. Why, in this post Matrix world, do all action shots have to be in slow motion and jump cut to various different angles? So clich├ęd. Also another thing that bothered me was how clean middle-aged England was. No spots or sores. A lot of men perfectly clean shaven and all the women in immaculate make up.

Also, I have to be blunt but am the only person that thinks the supposedly beautiful Marion is actually, well, a bit ugly?

Anyway I watched the rest and admit when the story gets to Nottingham thing do perk up. Lily Allen’s Dan TM isn’t the great actor the hype had him be but he definitely is the scene-stealer, chewing the scenery like the best pantomime villain.

So though I’m not overly impressed – I’ll give it a 6 – I will watch the next few as it’s infinitely more watchable than the two Geordie tossers on ITV.

There’s something that did hugely impress me on BBC 1 on Saturday. The new idents are fantastic. Love the music and love the visuals and so glad the hideously overly PC dancers are gone!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Top 10 George W. Bush Moments (Letterman)

Great moments from the world leader. *sigh*. It's just a shame that ITV4 doesn't treat the Letterman Show with a bit more respect so that I can actually watch more of this at decent times.

Lately Letterman has been shifted all over the late night schedules. Oh there’s plenty of time for cheap, crap quiz shows throughout the network but the US’s premiere chat show – don’t be daft it’s best screened somewhere between the hours of 11pm and 4am, not in a regular slot of course, you wouldn’t want anyone to get into the habit of watching it would you?

For fucks sake ITV sort it out and put it on at a decent regular time. Failing that hand it to more4. They treat the Daily Show with respect, I’m sure they’d handle Letterman better too.

Monday, October 02, 2006

You Will Die Painfully...

What is it with the media’s current obsession with scaring us?

It all stems from 9/11. For months after that the papers & current affairs TV shows were filled with items on how terrorists would kill us all and destroy our lives. Slowly, as 9/11 faded from the news new scare stories emerged.

We’ll all be killed in 2012 by an asteroid strike apparently. That’s as long as SARS doesn’t kill us all. It didn’t though did it? Just over 813 people died in the 2002/3 SARS outbreak. 3000 people die daily from Malaria – that puts things in perspective.

(SARS has since been declared wiped out by the World Health Organisation – only the second disease ever to be given this status, the first being smallpox.)

Luckily just as the Media was running out of scare stories 7/7 came along and gave terror pundits another month long frenzy.

2006 has seen things get worse.

It all started with the dreaded H5N1 – Bird Flu to you and me. If the papers were anything to go by 2006 would be the year that the population of the UK was decimated. So far it hasn’t been – but of course the new flu season is just dawning. I have no doubt that there will be another feathered flu frenzy in the coming months.

Summer 2006 saw the papers striking fear into potential fliers once more. Apparently there was a threat to all UK/US flights and as such you weren’t even allowed to take a can of coke onboard. (What were the terrorist going to do – pump you with dangerously high sugar levels?!)

Lately it’s the Earth its self that’s going to kill and drown us. Global warming has been everywhere.
I’m all for doing my bit – I’m a keen recycler and I think we should passionately care for the environment though I do have one problem with global warming. No one can 100% say it actually exists. Mother Earth is very powerful, how do we know it’s not just part of a natural cycle – the Earth coming out of an ice age?
Don’t overfill your kettle they say, it uses the most energy in the house to boil it. So what happens when you accidentally put too much water in? Do you pour the excess away wasting precious water or do you save water but boil the kettle wasting precious fossil fuels? Gah such dilemmas!

Give it 10 years I really do think we’ll be a nation of paranoids. The minute someone coughs they’ll be put down for fear of spreading flu. Billions will be poured into anti-asteroid missile programmes and terrorists will live on every street corner – probably next to the paedophiles that live everywhere according to the tabloids.

It seems that fear must sell papers – otherwise all these stories wouldn’t be so sensationalised. It’s just if I want scary stuff I’d rather rent out ‘Saw’ or ‘The Hills Have Eyes’. It’s time the news did what it’s supposed to and just give us the facts without the hyperbole.