Thursday, February 08, 2007

Country life

Derby's postcodes are very strange. I live in DE23, yet I just have to walk down the road and I'm in DE1. I'm right next to the city centre, how come I get a postcode that makes it sound like I live somewhere in the wilds of Derbyshire? When I lived in Tumby Woodside, the best part of fifty miles from Peterborough, I was in PE22, which is the postcode for all the little villages on the far side of Boston that aren't quite close enough to Lincoln to get an LN code. Boston itself is PE21. I've never lived, long-term, in any place with a postcode number under twenty. That statistic makes me sound like some kind of country bumpkin who's afraid of settlements with more than three inhabitants and lives in a cave somewhere, eating passing rabbits and weevils and shouting at goats. It's a good thing nobody knows or cares about my postcode.

I'm watching Crimewatch right now, for want of anything better to do. I used to watch it regularly when I was a lot younger. I don't know why, maybe it's the appeal of the badly-acted dramatisations, or the vague hope that I might have witnessed the arch-criminal without knowing it at some point in the distant past. Of course, with my inability to remember faces, I wouldn't know about it even if I saw them on Crimewatch.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

COLD winter ahead!

It's going to snow! Unless the weather forecasters have lied to me, of course, but they don't usually. If I'd thought about it, I would have bought some more new shoes, or wellies, or something suitable for walking around when there's snow and slush on the ground. The famous other-materials shoes haven't really stood up to the strain of being walked around in every now and then, so perhaps next time I really need to splash out on the second-cheapest shoes in the shop instead of the cheapest.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Little Green Men (and Zoom Zoom)

I was wondering whether to watch the repeat of the last episode of the first series of Life On Mars on BBC4 in ten minutes. There's a new series next week, or possibly the week after. While pursuing my usual means of making my mind up about something, ie by doing nothing and waiting to see what happens, I clicked on the uk.misc newsgroup, for the first time ever and for totally un-Life-On-Mars-related reasons, to find a post about it. From a German who thought the characters speak with really weird accents and that it's strange that the police officers don't carry guns, but that's not the point. I took this as a sign from the universe that I should watch Life On Mars, and so that's what I'm doing.

If I were to think about it rationally, I might be worried about the way I'm taking orders from the internet. There are conspiracies, you know. This is probably what led to Spencer Perceval being assassinated. Innocuously-placed websites designed by freemasons and communists designed to prompt lone gunmen into doing things.

Also, it's been decided (by me and Jemfy, and we know about these things), that the word 'gerrymander' now describes the way geese walk. 'Goose-step' tends to have negative connotations nowadays, you see.

Incidentally, does anybody out there get the reference in this post title? I know they're normally obscure, but this one is particularly so, and I think it's particularly clever and funny (though I says it as shouldn't).

Monday, February 05, 2007

More tea, vicar?

It occurred to me early this morning that I had James and Ravinder and Victoria coming round with cameras and tripods and brain buddies and things, and that it's polite to offer guests something to drink. Since the only liquids I had available were tap water and past-the-sell-by-date milk, I went out to the corner shop and got some tea. I did consider getting coffee as well, but decided against it because while I can bring myself to drink tea every now and then, coffee tastes like yuck.

James arrived, asked if I had anything decaffeinated, and when I told him I hadn't, opted for tap water. When the TV people turned up, with all the accompanying excitement and talking, I forgot to offer them anything until just before lunch, when they politely declined since we were just about to go for lunch. So now I've got a box of teabags AND a pack of sugar that I'm going to have to drink and/or eat myself. With hindsight, I really should have bought coffee, seeing as my brother's coming round for the weekend and he drinks no end of coffee but dislikes tea.

But despite my shortcomings as a tea boy, I think today's secondary purpose of making a documentary went well. We did lots of talking about this and that, memorising cards and reciting pi, showing the camera around my stylishly untidy flat, drinking and talking in the haunted pub and expressing scepticism regarding James's mind-altering flashy-lights-and-pulsing-sounds Brain Buddy device. Actually, I expect the thing works very well - Dominic's always raving about it - but it normally takes me at least a couple of years to agree to try new things.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sheriff John Stone, why don't you leave me alone

I can't get the song 'Sloop John B' by the Beach Boys out of my head today. I've also had an email from a TV guy asking me if I want to do a bit about counting cards for a programme called 'Beat The Casino', but I've turned him down. As previously mentioned, once or twice, I love holidays in Las Vegas, and when Dominic did a similar documentary years ago, all the casinos in Vegas sent him polite letters telling him never to set foot inside them again on pain of nobbling by hired goons. Well, I don't think the hired goons were mentioned, but I just assume they're implied in all letters from Las Vegas casinos.

The above paragraph makes it sound like I'm some kind of genius card-counter who periodically goes to Las Vegas to supplement his income by winning squillions of dollars at blackjack. I'm really not. When they hear that I can memorise cards, the first thing everyone says is 'I bet you're good at blackjack', or 'don't play this guy at poker', or something like that. And yes, I'd be great at blackjack if they allowed me to look through the deck of cards before the start of the game, but strangely enough most casinos prefer not to do that. Card counting is a completely different skill.

I can do it a bit, admittedly, but when I'm in Vegas I prefer to just trust to luck. It's more fun that way and I usually win anyway.