Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Start spreadin' the news...

...I'm leaving tomorrow. And okay, that's a very unoriginal way to start a post about going to New York, but I'm excited so I don't care. Haven't packed yet, but I've got a pile of clothes to take with me. Not sure whether to squeeze everything into my little rucksack or take the big one and have to lug it around with me - I think I'll go for the small one, it'll just about be small enough to go as hand luggage, but on the other hand maybe the American customs people will be suspicious of me if I haven't got much luggage with me. I get paranoid about that - I got held up in customs one time (only about five minutes, not like I was arrested and sent to Guantanemo Bay) and asked why I was travelling so light, among other things. I probably shouldn't have told them I'd just quit my job and was aimlessly wandering the world. But I never take much luggage with me when I travel. Three changes of underwear, three shirts, a pair of trousers and a jumper, plus what I'll be wearing on the flight, pair of pyjamas, toothbrush and paste, alarm clock, couple of books, a few packs of cards, pens and paper and that's it.

Turns out it's going to be warm in New York after all, so I might not even bother with the spare jumper, actually. My leather jacket's nice and warm, even if the zip doesn't work any more (my fault for stretching it out of shape by stuffing my briefcase inside the jacket while I cycle to work). Wishing I hadn't agreed to meet and be filmed by Nick while I'm there - I want to go and see the sights, especially since Josh is going to show me around the big city (so much easier than finding the cool places by yourself). I'll try to get rid of him as quickly as possible. Nick, not Josh.

In other news, I think it's rather cool that Arsenal have got through to the quarter finals of the champions league. I quite fancy them to win it this year, they've somehow been amazing in Europe all season, and mediocre at home. Arsenal for the CL, Liverpool for the Cup and Chelsea the League would be cool. Poor old Man U.

Monday, March 06, 2006


There's a guy who works in sales ledger or something like that who's just moved over into our building from the old one down the road, who looks EXACTLY like Sam. It's not just an ooh-they-look-quite-similar kind of thing, it's a really freaky identical-twins-separated-at-birth kind of situation. I'd take a photo, but that would probably alarm him even more than me staring at him all afternoon already has.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Truth About Joel Blackmur

Joel Blackmur is an othello player from Norwich, aged almost certainly over twelve, and probably under fifty unless he's unusually well-preserved. He's of very average height and has dark hair, nostrils that serve as a portal to an alternate universe where Winston Churchill is still alive, brown eyes and may or may not wear glasses.

Joel has contributed a great deal to othello opening theory over the years; openings named after him include the Aubrey, Leader's Tiger and the Octopus (the latter is seldom played nowadays as it involves a deliberate flipping error at move 1, and white illegally playing three consecutive moves at move 10). The Horse opening is named after Joel's pet horse, Terence. Terence is a talented othello player in her own right, with a particular talent for complicated midgames, although she's had little success in tournaments due mainly to her lack of opposable digits forcing her to make moves by kicking the table and hoping that the correct discs flip.

Joel is married to the supermodel Claudia Schiffer (no relation), who objects violently to the game of othello, believing it to have been invented by a man of lax morals. In order to attend tournaments, Joel has to employ an actor to impersonate him at home, and another actor to impersonate the first actor at his own home for the benefit of his own wife who disapproves of acting. The second actor is a bachelor.

Joel made history last night by becoming the first person ever to specifically request that I mention him in this blog thing. I pointed out that I don't do requests, and that anyway I mentioned him about a month ago, just before the Cambridge International. So for future reference, if anyone thinks they can get me to write about them just by asking me, they should think again.