Friday, August 26, 2005

Trains, planes and

There really is a more boring place than the departure lounge of terminal 1 at Birmingham International Airport! It's the departure lounge of terminal 2! I didn't get round to buying a good new book for the journey this time, so I'll have to make do with re-reading The Unconsoled, by Kazuo Ishiguro. There are plenty of worse things I could be reading.

There's also cricket on little tiny TV screens dotted around the place, so I'm probably being much too harsh, calling it boring. Anyway, I probably won't get a chance to write anything while I'm in Paris, so this'll be the last entry till Sunday night, when you can expect either an account of the othello tournament or a thrilling commentary on whatever else has distracted my attention. Octopusses, maybe, and why that sounds so much better than octopi.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Racing from Uttoxeter

The trouble with Michael Page Recruitment, which I'd forgotten since the last time I was registered with them, is that they've got branches all over the country who all have access to candidates' CVs, and occasionally call people on spec to see if they'd be interested in relocating. So I got a call today about a job as management accountant with JCB in Uttoxeter. And since I can't say no to people over the phone (don't laugh at me, it's a serious problem), I cheerfully agreed that MP could send my details over and try to set up an interview. Knowing my luck, I'll get the job and have to commute or move there, which I can't imagine would be much fun either way.

I went to Sheffield this afternoon, just for fun. I haven't been there for ages, but it doesn't change much. The shop that my hat came from has closed down, though. I thought it had, but I wasn't quite sure. I did get the Thunderbolts comic I was looking for (#11, not #9 as I said whenever it was). It's rubbish, as I expected it to be, seeing as it's a House of M crossover, but I don't mind buying something irrelevant, meaningless and incomprehensible every now and then if it supports comics like Thunderbolts. Or like Thunderbolts is the rest of the time, anyway.

Paris tomorrow! I should hopefully get there with a bit of time to wander around the city, the plane's due to arrive at 3:40pm. I'll have to dash off before the finals on Sunday to get the plane back, because I seem to have booked an earlier flight than I really needed to, but never mind. It's not like I'll be playing in the finals myself, and the EGP might well be settled by then, unless Graham plays a lot worse than he has been doing all year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


One of my favourite things that I don't seem to have mentioned in this blog thing yet is the wonder of webcomics. I'm a big fan of comic strips of all kinds, and the kind that you can read in the comfort of your home without even paying for has to be the best kind.

Being me, I particularly like the furry comics with cute characters, and Newshounds, Ozy and Millie and Count Your Sheep are my current favourites.

The current story in Newshounds features Nigel, a supporting character with whom I'm head over heels in love. He's just such a nice guy that I'm pretty sure everyone in the world just wants to give him a cuddle. He's much too good for you, Alistair. But the strip has its appeal even for those who aren't attracted to male, fictional cats - it's a mix of political satire and character-based comedy-drama set in a unique world of its own.

I always love any kind of fiction set in a world like our own but with a strange little twist. I mentioned Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends the other day, set in a world where imaginary friends have form and substance, and Codename: Kids Next Door is another good example, where an ongoing war between kids and adults doesn't get in the way of the characters going about their everyday lives. In Newshounds, animals walk on two legs, talk, and can do anything humans can, but the way people treat animals is basically the same as in our world. It's like the old funny-animal comics and cartoons, only with a bit more thought going into the premise.

Go and check it out, I'm sure you'll like it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Come on you Pilgrims

I see Boston Utd are playing Sheffield Utd at Bramall Lane tonight in the Carling Cup. I haven't been to a game for ages and ages, and I assume it's my lack of support that has led to Boston's atrocious start to the season so far (two points from four games), so I would have gone to this one if I'd bothered to check the fixtures and found out it was happening a bit earlier than an hour after kick-off. It's 0-0 at half-time, with Paul Ellender having been booked, which probably means that they've adopted the usual tactic of having him actively try to cripple the better team's best players.

I hope they win. A good run in the Carling Cup is always a boost, even if it's only by being lucky enough to be drawn against the many teams who don't bother really playing in that most pointless of competitions.

In other news, I'm definitely going to Paris at the weekend. I've booked the plane and hotel and everything. Which is nice, because it might turn out to be my last foreign jaunt of the year - there isn't going to be a Vienna memory competition, annoyingly enough. Someone needs to organise one in Britain and find a miraculous way to make it both popular and profitable. I suppose I might still qualify for the WOC in Iceland, although I haven't got round to my plans to improve my othello enough to give me a chance yet. I might try tomorrow.

Also, I feel the need to point out that Samoyed puppies are the cutest things in the universe. They're like happy little bundles of cotton wool with big smiley faces. In fact, they look so much like cuddly toys that I suspect they're made in a factory somewhere. Perhaps when I get that big house with hundreds of cats that I'm always talking about, I'll have a few dozen Samoyeds wandering around the place too...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Flime ties

I've been doing this blog for a whole month now, I've just realised. And I'd like to think it hasn't been nearly as boring as it could have been. I could have written about knitting every night, you know.

Anyway, Michael Page don't waste any time - they called me today with a job that sounds quite cool, although it's in Spondon, which is a bit too far out of town for my tastes. Still, assuming they get me an interview, I'll go along just for jolly old wouldn't you.

I'm a bit short of inspiration for things to write about tonight, to be honest. I hear from Jeremy Dyer that next to nobody turned up for the othello tournaments at the MSO, which sort of vindicates my decision not to go (although I might have won if I did...), and there's a meeting there tomorrow on the subject of 'Survival of the MSO'. I did think about going along, but I don't think any of my opinions would make any real difference. Also, I feel bad about not going in the first place, so I'd have trouble looking Tony Corfe in the eye.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Palm tree

My palm tree. Gone. Paradise lost. Carrion carcass corpse. Vultures circle for a taste.

I can't remember how the rest of it goes, but that's an obscure quote. And how did it get into my head? Well, I've got a plan for what to do over the next week. I'm going to clean my flat. Properly, with proper cleaning materials and everything. I'm going to buy them tomorrow. Meanwhile, I picked up the Incredibles poster my brother got me for Christmas, which has been lying on the floor since it fell off the wall four months ago, and stuck it back up again. And while I was in a poster-putting-up mood, I dug out the Nessie poster I bought a few weeks ago and put that up in my bedroom, and then hauled my collection of old posters from the cupboard they've been living in ever since I moved here two years ago, and stuck them up around the place too.

It looks pretty cool. Kind of a getting-back-to-my-roots feel, seeing as these are posters I thought were cool roughly ten years ago. Teletubbies, smiley faces, Pulp, Oscar Wilde quotes and a strange computer-generated thing involving a stack of spheres. I also blu-tacked up the two six-foot cardboard palm trees I got sent by mistake when I ordered the cowboy paraphernalia for the party in Nottingham back whenever it was. I didn't ever return them, because I figured everything happens for a reason, and if the universe wants me to have two six-foot cardboard palm trees, who am I to argue? They look quite nice too.

So tomorrow, if I'm still in a cleaning mood, I'll pick up the piles of comics lying all over the floor and put them back in my wardrobe. Pick up the pile of clothes from the other part of the floor and put them in the kitchen cupboard where I theoretically keep them. Then get some heavy-duty cleaning gear and clean the kitchen surfaces, which are so filthy I'm sure I must have salmonella by now, just on the general principle of the thing. I'm also inclined to pick up the piles of books from the bedroom floor and either rearrange them in the single big pile they're supposed to be in, or acquire some wood and/or a proper bookcase and arrange them a bit more tidily.

I might also have to get a new vacuum cleaner. The one I have was bought mainly because it's the same colour as a Constructicon, it's very small and probably not cut out for the kind of use it's going to need to be put to. I've only used it three or four times in two years, poor thing.

I'm not sure if all this domesticity is a sign of growing up (in which case please feel free to shoot me) or just of boredom (which is fine). But if it wears off, I'll go to Nottingham tomorrow instead and just wander around. I need to get a copy of New Thunderbolts #9, anyway, as Forbidden Planet in Derby have sold out. They seem to be doing that a lot lately - perhaps I should have a pull list, but I travel around such a lot that it'd be a real drag having to wait until I got back to Derby to collect my week's comics.

Speaking of travelling, I'll decide tomorrow whether to go to Paris or not. It's a bit expensive, and I should really be keeping my savings in case I don't find a job. I calculate that I'll run out of non-savings money right around Christmas if I don't. My savings amount to another couple of months of high living after that, so I've got plenty of time for job-hunting. Besides, worrying about money is even more grown-up than cleaning. So I think I'm going to go anyway. It'll be fun.

Oh, talking of jobs, another thing on the to-do list for this week - sit down and write a bit of How To Be Clever, the book I've been meaning to write for years now. I'll write more about that some other time.