Saturday, June 03, 2006

London Nights

Just got back from London after a day's othelloing. And on turning on the computer I thought "hey, there's a tournament on kurnik starting in three minutes. I should play in that!" Then I remembered half a minute too late that I'm drunk and tired and this isn't going to do my rating any good. But never mind.

Today was fun - the tournament was (as I think I mentioned yesterday) in the George public house on the Strand. It's one of those pubs that are steeped in tradition and go out of their way to tell you about it, although to be fair if Samuel Johnson once used my place as his postal address, I'd boast about it too. Among the photos and drawings on the walls I noticed one of soldiers drinking with the caption "Let me the canakin clink", so it's obviously a very suitable venue for an Othello tournament. We didn't get let into the building until 11am, and we were due to be kicked out at 6:45, which I thought would cause all kinds of trouble trying to fit in seven rounds (which generally last an hour each) and a lunch break. It turned out not to be any trouble at all, and we were finished by about half past five. Shows what I know.

There was also some actual playing of the game involved in the day too - I didn't play quite as spectacularly badly as at Cambridge (although dead mice have been observed to play better othello than I did at Cambridge, so that's not saying much) and managed to win three out of seven. Iain Barrass won. Other things happened too, probably. I'd make a terrible reporter, wouldn't I? Actually, the most entertaining part was having a drink in the pub afterwards and playing othello-related truth-or-dare.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sartorial elegance

I normally defiantly wear a suit and tie on Fridays, even though it's casual day. Two reasons - firstly, I can't think like an accountant unless I'm dressed like one, and secondly I haven't got a lot of clothes that are more or less acceptable for being seen in. I'd hate to go to work in the same T-shirt more than once. Besides, everyone else wears England shirts and I'd stick out like a sore thumb with my Dr Seuss or pocket dragons shirts.

Today, though, I had to go casual, because the finance team were having our fortnightly meeting combined with a team-building pub lunch, and it was my turn to be chairman. Which would have meant everyone in the pub seeing me as the stuffy old boss in his suit and tie hassling his casually-dressed staff with work stuff during lunch. Regular readers will already know my attitude to meetings, team-building and unfavourable public opinion, so I really had no choice but to minimise the annoyance by ditching the accountant costume in favour of jeans and my stylish (ten years ago, possibly) bright green collarless shirt. The one I wore on The Weakest Link, for my TV fans.

Still, it wasn't such a bad day - we got confirmation that we're all getting a 3% pay rise, backdated to the start of April, which will be nice. Although since the big bosses are over the moon about the stockbrokers upgrading our shares from 'hold' to 'buy', you'd think they could have shared the anticipated wealth with the masses in a slightly more extravagant way.

Also, it's the weekend again! Othello in London tomorrow, at the George pub on the Strand where we had the London regional two or three years ago and I did unusually well. That's probably a good omen. 18 players signed up, which would break all recent records for Regional attendance! And not starting till 10:30 due to a last minute change of plans and landlord, so I don't have to get up too spectacularly early. Unless I decide to get up at 5:30 anyway to watch the cartoons on Boomerang, I'll see how I feel.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's Thursday already?

Three-day weeks confuse the heck out of me. Still, it's a good kind of confusion, because there's only one more work day till the weekend. Woohoo!

I'm getting to the point where I can count the number of free weekends I've got left to practice for the WMC, and realise there's not many. Probably about five now at most. Time to come up with a definite plan for how much I'm going to attempt in the hour-long events, because it needs a couple of trials to work it out. And then I always change my mind at the last moment on the day of the competition, so I suppose it doesn't really matter in the end.

What concerns me more is that I really don't like Robbie Williams's latest single. This is unusual for me, I normally secretly love his stuff (but I wouldn't tell anybody in case they laugh at me). They normally take a while to grow on me, I didn't like Advertising Space when it first came out but I'm still singing it now, but this one definitely isn't. Perhaps now I can truthfully go around saying 'ugh, no, not Robbie Williams, turn it off!' and people will think I'm cool.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

No costume = No admittance

I've just been reminded that I haven't yet done anything about arranging a costume for my brother's birthday party in two and a half weeks. Yes, it's fancy dress. And not just that, it's Battle of the Planets fancy dress, and if I don't at least turn up in stripey flared trousers and numbered T-shirt, preferably full good or bad guy costume complete with helmet and accessories, I will be unceremoniously thrown out on the streets. 28 years of deriding, bullying and occasionally being nice to a guy counts for nothing at one of these shindigs.

I was thinking of making a Spectra guard outfit, but then I saw this super-cool home-made helmet on the internet which puts anything I could possibly come up with to shame. I'll just stick with my original plan of going as Chief Anderson, although that would involve shaving off bits of my beard to just leave the moustache and sideburns. And buying a wig. Or I could cobble together a 7-Zark-7 costume...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It's like collecting stamps, only funnier

I've decided to get on with that longtime ambition of mine to collect every Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon on tape. As I think I've mentioned before, the rules of the game are to get as many as I can through either taping them off the TV or finding obscure video and DVD releases, before resorting to downloading or asking someone else to make me a copy. Not that I have any ethical problem with 'stealing' cartoons like that, I just like the challenge of hunting for them myself. There are quite a lot that practically never get shown on TV, and probably haven't ever come out even on the dodgiest of videos, but some intensive research and cartoon-hunting might still track them down. I think I've got about 100 now, so 900 still to go...

What I'll do when I've got them all, I don't know. I have a mind to start another blog and review one cartoon a day until I've got through the lot of them (which would take about three years). I think it would be fun, anyway.

In other news, I've had the day off work sick today. I'm just feeling completely run down - I've essentially spent the whole last three days in bed. Don't know what it is. I think the cure is to give myself a (strictly metaphorical) kick up the backside, get up early tomorrow and spend a long day at the office whether I feel up to it or not. But I'd appreciate any ahh noises and messages of sympathy if anyone wants to send them...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Blog roll

I haven't got one of those lists on my minimalist blog here of other people whose blogs and things I read on a regular basis. This makes me feel quite guilty, since several of them have links to me, so here - look at these people, everyone:

Jemfo/Jen (you have to be on her friends list, but if you know her I'm sure she'll add you to it. And if you don't, well, you can always ask.)
Jemfy's other blog
Darth Tigger/Jess

Is that all the VPSers? I bet I've forgotten someone who'll be mortally offended now. They'll never speak to me again, whoever they are, and spread malicious rumours about me behind my back.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Lazy Sunday Book

If anyone's keenly following my othello progress, I came 11th out of 24 in last night's tournament, which could have been a lot worse, and didn't play all that badly. So who knows, I might not lose all my games on Saturday.

Anyway, I've done nothing at all today. I didn't get out of bed till gone twelve, and I've spent the whole afternoon lounging around lethargically. I think I've got sleeping sickness. Or ME. Or clinical depression. Hmm, I need to get a medical encyclopaedia so I can look up more possible ailments - I'd quite like to be a hypochondriac, it sounds like a fun hobby.

Still, no work tomorrow so I can do things then. This is, of course, the root of my laziness problem - why do anything today when it can be safely put off until the extra Sunday tomorrow?

Hey, I was going to talk about comics last night, wasn't I? I went into Nottingham yesterday for a change, where there's a really cool comic shop called Page 45. They stock a really wide range of comics and comic-related junk, and the people who work there are really nice and friendly too. They charge 60p more for a $2.99 comic than Forbidden Planet just round the corner, so they obviously either need the support or have commendable levels of cheek. I always buy stuff there, anyway - there should be more comic shops like that.

As well as the usual week's supply of superhero action (including She-Hulk #8, that makes me go oo, isn't Dan Slott the best writer in the world, not for the first time) I bought volume 28 of Ranma½, which I would urge anyone who hasn't heard of it before to check out. There are actually 30 volumes out now, I've just got a bit behind with buying them. It's a hilarious martial arts comedy saga from Japan, by Rumiko Takahashi about a young martial artist called Ranma who turns into a girl when he comes into contact with cold water. He has a huge range of friends and enemies, most of whom also turn into something else when exposed to cold water, three fiancées and countless rivals for their affection, and a mother who will force him to commit ritual suicide if she finds out he's a girl part of the time. This volume features a girl who trains sumo wrestling pigs, a cure for Ranma's father's baldness, Ranma's teacher harnessing the battle energy created by fighting fish to make her a better teacher, Kuno being posessed by a tree in such a way that only a date with Ranma will cure him, a fever providing a temporary cure for cold-water-related transformations and a cursed kitchen spatula. I don't think there's another comic series in the world that stays so inventive after such a long time.

Since I've got no money at the moment and that always makes me splash out on things, I also bought Babymouse - Queen Of The World! by Jennifer L Holm and Matthew Holm, which is somehow also a lot of fun. It's the adventures of a young mouse girl who wanders off into pink-coloured fantasy sequences at the slightest provocation. The characters and plot are a string of overused clichés, but in this case it still works. It's funny. You should buy this, too.