Saturday, October 22, 2005

Five past nine

Whatever happened to telly programmes starting on the hour? BBC1, 2 and 3, ITV1, 2 and 3 and Channel 5 all have shows starting at 9:05 tonight. It's probably a sinister conspiracy.

It probably wasn't worth doing two posts in one day just to observe that, but hey. I've also got 'The Penultimate Peril', and if there's anyone out there who hasn't read the Lemony Snicket books, you really should get out there now (or when the shops next open) and buy some.

Plans for tomorrow - practice a bit of memory, see Howl's Moving Castle, get some lights for my bike, write a book or two, become some kind of millionaire.

Scientific progress goes boink

That's better. Stella Artois is horrible stuff. I'm sure there are people in the world who can drink more than three pints of it with no ill-effects, and I'm sure they're very admirable and manly people, but I'm just not one of them. So what was meant to be just showing my face at the work do last night ended up leaving me going to bed at half nine, feeling on the verge of collapse. Possibly I'm getting old.

Anyway, I'm sorry if I gave the impression last night that I was going to write about earth-shattering and exciting news, but it really isn't anything like that. When I got home from work last night I had a call from Nick the TV producer, who rather sneakily had decided to phone me to ask if I'd made my mind up about doing this documentary, rather than waiting for me to email him. So I said yes, and having thought about it a bit decided not to get back to him and say no after all. So I'm going to be on TV, yay.

He also wants to film me at work next week, so as to get to see work colleagues who know me. Not that we're going to be doing much in the way of work, although I suppose we can pretend to be busy and industrious for the camera.

So at about quarter past six I went out to the pub to meet the work people. Coming in the door, I took my glasses off to wipe the rain off them, and they snapped in half. Luckily they had a roll of sellotape behind the bar, so we made some repairs, and while they don't look pretty, they stay on my face, more or less. I haven't got a spare pair, unless you count my prescription shades, so I'm just going to have to go with the Harry Potter look for the time being. (Katydid once said I look like 'Harry Potter all grown up', which is the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me)

So this necessitated a trip to the opticians this morning. It's been three or four years since I had an eye test, so I thought it would probably be a good idea. What impressed me, though, was that everything there is much more technological than it was the last time I had them checked. Maybe the Boston Specsavers is just a lot less up to date than the Derby one (the Derby one is much, much bigger, so it probably is), but this one has lots of fancy electronic gadgets for probing and measuring your eyes. I was impressed. My prescription hasn't changed at all, same as the last eye test I had, but my new glasses are going to look a bit different. Big round ones seem to be out of fashion nowadays (well, they were never in fashion, but at least you could get them last time I was buying a pair), so I've had to go for some little rectangular ones instead. Two pairs, this time, to avoid something like this happening again. Everyone at Specsavers was adamant that the new ones would look much better on me than my old ones, so I suppose I'll get used to them. But I've worn round glasses for ages now, and I think they're part of my unique charm. Ah well.

But they can't put the things together until Thursday at the earliest, maybe not till Saturday, so I'm going to be stuck with the old ones when I'm captured on camera at work next week, most likely. My major worry about this documentary thing is that Nick is secretly evil, and is planning to make me look really bad, and while having taped-together glasses may look cute and eccentric if you present it one way, it could also make me look like some kind of socially-inadequate nerd (yes, I am one of those anyway, but you can make me look not like one if you make a documentary the right way, I'm sure).

There's just been a poll on Football Focus for cult hero goalkeepers, and Paul Bastock was one of the choices. Quite rightly too - for many years he was Boston Utd's only good player, always the kind of guy who was much too good to be playing in a non-league team, and really to be admired for sticking with the Pilgrims through thick and thin. If I had a mobile, I'd vote for him, but the poll is texts only. Perhaps I should get one. I seem to come across situations where one would be useful more and more frequently these days.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Too much, too young

It shows what kind of person you are when you're on a night out and you're thinking "I must get home quickly so I can write in my blog about everything that's happpened tonight."

Also, the length of time it's taken me to type the above sentence is quite alarming. Somebody, either Lee or Zoe, kept ordering rounds a bit quicker than I can comfortably drink them. With the result that I've had four and a half pints of Stella by nine o'clock. I know from experience that more than three and I'm useless for the next day at least. I switch to rum and coke after three pints, as a rule.

It's no good, I can't do all the typing I was planning to do tonight. Getting the spelling right (and this is very important to me) just takes too long. I keep hitting the wrong keys. Tomorrow, I'll tell you all about everything that's happened tonight. But now, I'd better go to bed.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Howling at the moon

Curse of the Were-Rabbit is absolutely brilliant. But I've remembered today that I can't go to see Howl's Moving Castle tomorrow night, because I'm going out with work people for Zoe's birthday. This seems a bit excessive to me, since we're all going out next Friday too to celebrate our unemployment and/or unprecendented wealth. But still, it keeps me on the streets.

Thursdays off work also give me a chance to buy comics the day they come out, too. This week's selection are all pretty good, but don't inspire me to write about them. On the other hand, though, I read the Beano in Smith's like I do every week, and I was pleased to see a Billy the Cat and Katie story. They keep making attempts to bring Billy back, in the hopes that he'll catch on with the youth of today who don't buy the Beano for adventure stories, and I think that's highly commendable. The tastes of readers seem to be leaning more towards that kind of strip now, judging by the last vote-for-a-new-strip thing that selected Zap Zodiac, which is as close to a non-comedy adventure strip as the Beano has come for yonks.

Funnily enough, there was also the second part of a 'Beano gang' adventure (a multiple-page story with all the characters from multiple Beano strips, which they do from time to time - usually with much better art than this one) featuring Lord Snooty, who concludes that he's too old-fashioned to appear in the Beano nowadays. That's probably fair enough - they kept him on for years when nobody liked it, just because he was the last surviving character from the first ever issue - but it's strange that an attempt to resurrect an old character was put in the same comic as a definitive statement that they're not going to bring back another.

Also funnily, the story featured some snippets of old Lord Snooty strips, one of them showing Polly, the black caricature who (in a genuine attempt at political correctness) was part of Snooty's gang for many years, but who they generally try to avoid talking about now.

I also did a bit of memory training today. Just enough to convince me that I'm still horribly out of practice and need to do a lot more to get back up to my best. Sigh. Ah well, got to stick to those resolutions. When I'm settled into my new job, I'll take a week off and cram pi back into my skull. 25 days holiday at the new place, by the way! Wheee!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Motion picture funnies

Having sounded all virtuous yesterday about doing useful things on my day off tomorrow, I've remembered that I need to go and see the Wallace and Gromit film, so I think I'll do that too. Or instead. We'll see how I feel. Then on Friday after work I'll go to Derby's artier cinema and see Howl's Moving Castle. And probably write about them here, it's been a while since I've done something like that, and variety is the Spice Girls, or whatever the saying is.

Got to work twenty minutes late this morning, not having seen any real reason to get out of bed, to find Suzy waiting outside and nobody else to be seen. By the time someone with a key turned up, it was 9:15. I'll have a longer lie-in in future. Sheesh, I can probably count the number of work days to go on the fingers of one hand now - I doubt I'll be in more than three days next week. So let's say it's five days to go! Probably four, since we almost certainly won't be in on the final Monday (which is officially the last day). It's kind of sad, in a way.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Importance Of Being Zoomy

I sometimes feel like I'm under some kind of obligation to make these blog posts of mine funny and interesting, even on days when nothing out of the ordinary has happened to me, I haven't interacted with any of the interesting people I know, and I haven't even seen anything on TV worth commenting about. But then I remember that the ones where I'm trying to be clever and/or funny are always the worst ones.

Anyway, nothing's happened today that I consider worth talking about, so I thought I'd talk about something that hasn't happened. It hasn't rained here today, although I see from the telly that it's pouring down at Old Trafford (no goals at half-time, although Man U should be expected to beat Lille without too much difficulty). I can't actually remember the last time I had to cycle to or from work in the rain, strangely enough. It has rained, quite a lot, but never during those all-important timeslots between 8:10 and 8:30, and 5:00 and 5:20 on work days. And it doesn't seem to have rained here in Derby anywhere near as much as it has in the rest of the country.

I'm quite impressed by this, really. Possibly someone's installed an impressive system of weather-controlling devices or giant invisible umbrellas in order to make my life slightly easier, or possibly it's just coincidence.

Another day off on Thursday. I'm going to use it for a trial run of the commute to Burton-on-Trent, just to see what kind of time I would get to the office if I catch the train at half past eight (I don't have to start till nine at the new job! Yay!), and then I'm going to do some serious memory practice.

Also, at some time before November 26th, I'm going to practice othello in the kind of professional way that I've always meant to do. I think I'm going to switch to the diagonal opening, and hopefully catch some people by surprise. As long as they don't read this blog, that is.

Just got an email from Step, telling us that he's written a "poem about the assertion that Zoomy has powers a lot like King Midas only much ruder." There's a story behind this that I probably shouldn't go into in such a public forum in case it puts anyone off their lunch, but it just shows the kind of conversations we tend to get into at these meets after a lot of drink and very little sleep. Step wrote me another poem for my birthday, incidentally - that was why he wanted to know the exact details of my age. I'm going to get it framed and hung on my wall, because it's very flattering.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Skeletor, Dick Dastardly, Count Duckula, Tom Cat, Captain Pugwash

Yes, two entries in one day, just to make up for skipping Saturday. Don't expect deep insights, though. I've just seen the video to Franz Ferdinand's "Do You Want To?", which has the above list of cartoon characters written on a wall, for reasons presumably best known to the band. Nice mix of personalities there.

It actually surprised me a bit - I'd been under the entirely mistaken impression that the Franz Ferdinand gang were significantly younger than me, as everyone seems to be nowadays, somewhere in their early twenties. And that would mean that they were of a generation less likely to know of Skeletor or Duckula (both have made various resurrections over the years, but there's a definite gap for that age group, as Ed Cooke and his friends demonstrated at the world championships when we got talking about Skeletor, like you do).

In fact, it seems that three of the four band members are older than I am! This teaches me two important lessons: 1) Don't assume that cool people are young, and 2) It's not too late to become a pop star! This has cheered me up quite a bit, really.

After the merrymaking

Twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep after last night's entry, I was woken by my alarm at half past seven this morning thinking "God, I'm still knackered..."

I spent a while debating whether it was worth the effort of getting up and going to work, and ultimately decided that it wasn't. Called the office at 8:45, but nobody was in yet. Called back at 9:15, intending to confess that I had a hangover after a weekend's boozing, but Zoe just said I could have the day off without me needing to give any reason, so that's all right.

Anyway, it was a great party. And everyone did more or less fit in the flat, so I needn't have worried about that. Documentary guy wants to film a Poohsticks meet some time, which we all think might be cool. Although we'd have to watch what we say, and behave a bit more decently than usual. He also wants to film an othello tournament, which might be very cool for the game, raising public awareness, making it look sexy and appealing and so on.

Also, talking to the aforementioned docco-wallah (thanks for the expression, Sam) was a lot of fun - he's a nice guy. He was flattering/patronising/humouring me to a certain extent, but not so much that it's likely to become annoying. And I suppose you're not going to get anywhere as a filmmaker if you don't develop a habit of doing that automatically, so I can't blame him. He was filming me for a couple of hours in the morning, with a minimum of rearranging my furniture and asking me to say things more than once, so if he carried on like that it would be bearable to do this documentary thing. But I'm still not convinced that I want to waste my time with it.

On the other hand, if I'm going to keep those resolutions of mine, I probably should. A bit of self-publicity like appearing on TV would probably help with the aim of getting a book published. I said I'd let him know some time after this weekend, so I've got plenty of time to think about it.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Partied out

I'd like to write about the party we've had here over the weekend, as well as the surprisingly enjoyable visit by Nick the documentary producer on Saturday morning, but I'm tired. A bit under three hours of sort-of-sleep isn't really enough for me, so I'm off to bed now to recharge my batteries before I go back to work tomorrow.