Saturday, September 30, 2006

IKEA-day!

Note this date down in your diaries people (along with the date when I'm on Radio 2 - as we've now ascertained that it's actually Tuesday, 3rd October!) - this is the start of a new day that we will come to worship and look forward to each and every year:

My friends... Today was the inaugural IKEA-day.

Like the pair of little devils that we are, Jo and I have been plotting IKEA-day for the last few weeks, and by gum it was excitement-a-go-go.

Look at my little cherub-like face glowing with excitement:


Isn't that chair just THE COOLEST THING EVAH?!

Of course, tiny Smurf chairs weren't the only delights awaiting us at the Brent Park branch of IKEA. Oh no, let me tell you: it was a sensory overload of visual delights and bargains galore (there were, of course, few aural delights for me as my hearing continues to cut out sporadically; on the plus side, these ear malfunctions pretty much always seemed to coincide with Jo trying to tell me how great the Robbie Williams and McFly gigs were that she went to recently. Funny that...)

Anyway, what else charmed and delighted us? Let's see....


I don't know what 'Flaj' and 'Dimpa' are, but they don't half sound rude!

I also liked the wicker reindeer in the Christmas department:


Aaaah, ain't that nice?

Then you up-end it and are confronted by a might wicker pee-pee.


Not the sort of thing you want to see under your tree on Christmas day, I think you'll agree...

A smidgeon of disappointment did creep into my mind when I noticed that IKEA had SOLD OUT of red lack tables, and the only ones remaining were part of a multi-lack display, which admittedly did feature some quality lack-on-lack action.


I could've had a bright green one, or a blue one - but why the hell would I want those?!

Fortunately, I was cheered up by some amusingly named food:


Anyone for Snore and Dumie?


Fancy some Swedish Fish sailor?


And why not treat the kids to some Skum?

All in all, it was an exciting and life-changing couple of hours. But the question I know you're all eager to ask is: did I buy anything?

Well, yes I did! And what did I get? A battery-powered milk whisk for frothing milk in hot beverages (a bargain at 99p!), some batteries, and a small ironing board, that, I kid you not, cost me three quid. Oh, yeah, I also got some hand-cooked crisps, and what looks like a cheap Swedish rip-off of Ritz crackers (and at 60p, I ain't complaining).

After all this excitement, god knows how I'm going to be able to sleep tonight. And next year I hope you'll all join me - in spirit if not in person - in a trip to IKEA for the second annual IKEA day.

It's a beautiful thing people, a beautiful thing...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sparky Malarkey exclusive: iPod phone revealed!

Yes, you read that right - Sparky Malarkey has THE FIRST exclusive pictures of Apple's stunning new iPod phone. The device is expected to feature all the functions that today's crazy kids demand - including a bewildering array of annoying ringtones and enough memory to store every single hippety-hoppity song ever recorded.

And as you'll see below, it's all wrapped up in a compact yet devilishly stylish package.

Like me, I expect you're pooping your undercrackers at the thought of bagging one of these little babies!






And there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that's an old Nokia and an iPod taped together. Honest.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A date for your diaries...

Remember I was saying that I'm going to be on the radio? Well, I haven't actually received my copy of the documentary yet, so I can't say for certain if I'm going to come across as a complete spacker or not. But I've decided that you can make up your own mind:

Star Trek - Where No-One Has Gone Before

Comedian and Star Trek fan Stewart Lee takes us on a journey to the final frontier, with a look at the phenomenal science fiction series, marking 40 years since it began, from its conception, to its worldwide popularity. How its creator, Gene Roddenberry, injected his humanist values into the show, and the various ways that the groundbreaking series made television history, throughout its five incarnations.

This documentary also discusses the mighty power of the loyal fan base and the ways that Star Trek reflected scientific fact, inspiring countless physicists.

With contributions from actors Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, astronomer Patrick Moore, the shows producer Rick Berman, and passionate fans, such as Tracey Emin and Gary Numan. Plus input from Red Dwarf's Hattie Hayridge and the comedian Mitch Benn.

(And me)

Radio 2, Tuesday October 3rd, 2030 hours, soldier (anyone outside of Her Majesty's Empire, I think it'll go up online sometime next week).

Chances are that I WILL sound like a complete spacker, so enjoy it, kids. Because elsewhere I'm actually quite suave and sophisticated.

What?!

First of all, apologies to everyone who read the last post three times. I don't know why blogger did that, but as funny as the Hasselhoff and monkey videos were, they did not warrant being posted three times.

*Ahem*

Anyways, moving on - there's been a development in my ear wax situation. It's still there.

I actually got round to getting some ear drops today. Boots had a broad range of Boots' own-brand ear drops or Boots' own-brand ear drops, so I enny-meany'ed for a while, then plumped for the own-brand version.

Being the diligent young chap that I am, I dutifully read the warning leaflet that accompanied said ear drops. Did you know you weren't supposed to put ear drops in your eyes? I didn't - that was were I was going to test them before applying to my ear. Phew - that was a close call, let me tell you!

Fortunately, I was visiting Sparky Ma and Pa tonight, so I enlisted Sparky Ma to assist me in Operation: Ear Drops. Sparky Ma does make me laugh when she does this sort of thing; she pops the first few drops in, then gasps a little like she 'accidently swapped it with acid' or something. She also sternly warned me not to dribble ear juice on the sofa.

Anyway, so she popped the drops in, and I lay in a horizontal orientation while they fizzed away in my ear.

"You'll probably go deaf in a minute," said Sparky Ma.

"What?!" I exclaimed, although I'd actually, and quite surprisingly, heard her quite clearly (it should also be noted that such an exclaimation doesn't appear quite so dramatic when lying in a horizontal orientation).

"I said you'll probably go deaf in a min-" And that's when all sound cut out. I now know exactly how Charlie felt when Mr Eko set that dynamite off in the hatch.

"But this is supposed to prevent me going deaf!" I shouted really loudly.

"Stop shouting, I'm right in front of you."

I "humphed" in protest, which again looked a bit stupid while lying horizontally.

"Do you want to do the other ear as well?" Sparky Ma said, wielding the ear drop bottle like it was a molotov cocktail.

-----

According to a letter from the Halifax, my home insurance "does not cover any loss, damage, liability, cost, or expense of any kind directly or indirectly caused by, resulting from or in connection with any act of terrorism."

"Terrorism," they go on to explain, "means the use, or threat of use, of biological, chemical and/or nuclear force or contamination."

Marvellous. But to be honest, if someone drops the big H on me, I'll be more concerned about my peeling skin and the appearance of a third arm than whether or not the bank'll be paying out for a new roof and double glazing...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Lord of the fries

After yesterday's veritable smorgasboard of excitement generated by mixing southern fried fries with regular oven chips, I decided to try the southern fried variety on their own tonight (chips two nights in a row - heavens!). Objectively speaking, they are nice, if a little lacking in southern fried flavouring compared to the southern fried curly fries I sampled a few months back. On the other hand, as I'm sure I noted then, curly food just seems to taste better than non-curly food anyway, so no big surprise there.

I will say, however, that Sparky Ma makes the best chips on the planet; crispy on the outside, a good, even golden exterior, and a white fluffy interior. Alas, it seems that I have not inherited the chip-making uber-gene. It must be one of those things that skips a generation. Or it's something like Highlander: THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE! I simply don't know...

-----

The KINGPINS performed as expected upon trying them on for the first time last night: A-A-A-A-AWESOME!!!!! Unfortunately, I'm now in that new trainer zone were you're reluctant to actually wear them outside because, eeeou - they might get dirty, or eeeou, someone might stand on them, or eeeou, it might rain and they'd get damp, or eeeou, I might stand in some dog poo.

I hate that trainer zone; I might have to slap myself to snap out of it.

Although, new trainers are a complete bitch to drive in; it's either clutch pedal up or clutch pedal down - there is no in-between, And quite frankly, bunny-hopping my car down the A316 during rush hour is not my idea of fun.

-----

So ... the last episode of Lost's second season was ... um ... Anyone like to jump in here? Admittedly I spent a good portion of the first part lacing up the KINGPINS, but c'mon - there were no answers to ANYTHING!! Just more friggin' questions!!!!

And Sahid's cryptic response to the statue with only four toes: "I wonder why it only has four toes?" Geez, who really gives a monkeys, quite frankly? But because you've mentioned it I'll bet my arse and a chocolate tart it'll be important next season.

-----

My super busy period at work is NEARLY over... and I'm thinking about rewarding myself on Monday by taking a long lunch break and heading to HMV in Oxford Street to meet David Hasselhoff and get a signed copy of his new single.

Yes, this one:


Do you dare me? Do you double double dare me?

-----

Oh, here's something for Missy and Chrissy over at Love and Cyanide. I emailed Innocent Drinks about why they don't sell their smoothies over in the U.S. and I got this back:

"Thanks so much for your email. I'm sad for you that we aren't stocking in America too, but we are slowly but surely expanding every day, so maybe one day soon we will be on your local shops shelves."

And in response to Missy and Chrissy's suggestion that Innocent are another reason to move to the UK, the lovely Innocent lady said:

"I would love to know what the other 84 reasons are to move to the UK?"

Gosh darn - they're *SO* polite!

-----

Now, we all know I don't like dogs. But I do like monkeys. Let's finish up today with some monkey fun.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fart shoes and a waxy build-up

I've got possibly the coolest pair of trainers EVAH. They're red, white, and black Etnies. They match my car.

Did I just admit that I coordinate trainers and transport?

Anyway, this is the second pair of these particular Etnies that I've had, and they are SOOOOOOOOOOOO comfortable. So comfortable. They're like slippers, except not at all old-man like. I heart my Etnies.

But recently, I realised that the end for my Etnies was near. They started farting. Have you ever had that? Y'know, when you've worn the sole down so much that they begin to make a bizarre farting noise. And last week it started to get embarrassing, because people started to turn round and look at me, and of course, being the polite chap that I am, I felt compelled to say "pardon," because otherwise I just look like I'm being rude.

I'm making excuses for farty trainers.

And so, with a heavy heart, I've come to terms with the fact that the time has come to replace my Etnies.

I tried to get another pair, but Etnies no longer make them. So I thought about a pair of Onimitsuzukikawasaki Tigers (or whatever they're called), but I do like a reasonably deep sole, and the Tigers don't offer that. So I checked out some different Etnies on Kate's Skates.

And that's where I found: THE KINGPIN.


Pretty cool, huh?

I ordered them, and they turned up today.

I'm just about to pop them on and parade around the house while the Lost season finale is on.

Awesomeness will ensue.

-----

Elsewhere in Sparky World - I've got a bit of an ear wax problem. I've noticed it becoming more apparent over the last week or so, but the big lump is just ... out ... of reach. I thought about growing a really long fingernail so I could hook it and scoop it out, but long fingernails generally equate to 'massive weirdo' in my book.

It's been suggested to me that I make use of an 'ear candle.' As exciting as this sounds, I'd rather try it on someone else just for laffs; the last thing I want to do is set fire to my own head.

So I think I'm going to have to resort to some ear drops... I really don't want to, because there's something deeply satisfying about pulling a big lump of wax from your ear (not YOUR ear, I mean MY ear...). But on the other hand, I've run out of different ways of saying "what?!" to people...

-----

AND IN OTHER NEWS...

• I just mixed some southern fried, um, fries with some regular fries. It was really quite exciting, because I never really knew what taste sensation was going to come next...

• Just heard on Supernanny: "Supernanny's back to show them where they've gone wrong!" Oh, I can do that for her - they shouldn't have had children...

• Lost season two finale in ... 11 minutes! What's the betting no questions are answered, Jack looks pained, some new questions are thrown up, and Kate looks sexily perplexed?

Monday, September 25, 2006

A brush with celebrity #3: When Sparky met Sheryl

I got an email from Marcosy today. It said:

"How would you like all access to Christina Slaguilara? I got an email from the iloveallaccess people offering me just that. I’ve decided to pass, but are you interested?"

iloveallaccess is a website, y'see, that gives you access to your favourite music stars. That doesn't mean that you can sneak up on them in the shower and towel-whip them, or secretly snuggle up to them in bed while they're asleep; no, it means you get tickets to one of their gigs, and you get to see them soundcheck beforehand, and you get a little bit of a party (albeit without said star - they obviously don't want to get THAT close to the little people).

Anyway, Christina Slaguilara? My reply to Marcosy was something along the lines of "I'm not entirely convinced, and by 'not entirely convinced' I actually mean 'no.'"

That's not to say we haven't enjoyed an access-all-areas gig before...

WHOA! TURN BACK TIME!!

Toward the end of last year, I found out that Sheryl Crow was playing a couple of gigs at the Hammersmith Apollo. And if there's one lady of rock that Marcosy and I like, it's Sheryl Crow. We've seen her a couple of times before at Shepherds Bush, and on one occasion, when I was sitting just along from Ronnie Wood (!), I leaned over the balcony and shouted "I LOVE YOU SHERYL!" She actually looked at me with an expression that sort of indicated I was a bit of a weirdo. Anyway, I emailed Marcosy and said that Sheryl Crow was playing, and he replied "I know, I've already got tickets." Great, I said, how much do I owe you?

"£120," he said. Now, that almost made me choke on my biro. That's a lot of money for a gig. Then he explained that it was an iloveallaccess thingy, and we got to meet Sheryl. Sold, I said.

So the day came, a day when I actually should've been decorating the at-that-time-recently-purchased Sparky Towers, and we set off to Hammersmith.

We rocked up to the Apollo at about 2pm, around six hours before the gig was due to start, and along with around 20 other fabulously wealthy rock fans were greeted by Sheryl's superbly over the top road manager. She gave us stickers with our names on because Sheryl likes to greet people by name. Bless 'er.

So we trotted into the Apollo, took some seats at the front of the empty auditorium, and watched the band tune their instruments and drink bottled water. After about 10 minutes Sheryl came out wearing a massive wooly cardigan (not rock 'n roll) and some knee-high pointy boots (very rock 'n roll). She waved at us (we collectively blushed), then she proceeded to warm up her voice, singing snippets of her songs while things revved up around her. She endeared herself to us by having to read the lines to 'Tomorrow Never Dies' from a sheet.

A short while later, we were told that now was the time to meet Sheryl. And so we trotted onstage - yes, ONSTAGE AT THE HAMMERSMITH APOLLO! We lined up as if we were about to have a school photo taken, then Sheryl tottered over to us. She began to greet everyone by name (those stickers were such a good idea), saying "hi, nice to meet you" to everyone in turn. Me and Marcosy were last in line. "Hi, nice to meet you," she said to Marcosy as he grinned like a crazy fool, then she moved on to me and said "Hi Tim, REALLY nice to meet you."

"And you," I said. Marcosy turned to look at me a bit indignantly (at this time, I should point out that Marcosy's general aim in life is to be Mister Sheryl Crow), but he didn't have time to say anything as we were all lined up for a photo with Sheryl.

And so, after that, we got to see Sheryl rehearse the whole gig, then went for a private backstage party with the OTT road manager, who shared a huge number of libellous stories about other rock stars with Marcosy and I, then we wandered back out to the by this time packed auditorium to see the real gig. In front row seats (for £120 I should bloody well hope so).

It just so happened that my seat was DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE MICROPHONE. And for the duration of the gig, I could've sworn Sheryl kept staring at me. Heh heh, I thought, it's just a trick of the imagination...

And then, our nine-hour Sheryl Crow extravaganza was over. And as we strolled out into the night, leaving Sheryl behind us, Marcosy turned to me and said "why was she staring at you all throughout the gig?"

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It sucked... until it broke

I was all organised today - everything was planned with military precision. I got up, made myself a cup of tea, went for a run, got back, got my Henry hoover out, and prepared for some housework!

I was hoovering away like a man possessed when I heard an unexpected "fup" (actually, would you ever expect a "fup"? ). It was around that same point that I realised that Henry was no longer, um, sucking.

I turned round to chastise his damned smiley face - and that's when I saw what had happened. His damn nozzle had sheared off. Not just pulled out. SHEARED OFF. As in 'unable to repair.'

I did what anyone in my position would do. I phoned my Mum.

"Mum, my hoover just broke," I said.

"Oh well, I'm sure you can get a replacement bit."

She's a sage and wise woman.

-----

After dinner I decided I wanted a cup of coffee, so I filled up the kettle, and flicked it on. I walked away, and realised that the kettle wasn't boiling. Dammit! Had this broken as well? I love this kettle; I freely admit that I bought it purely based on the fact that it looked like something they'd have on the Enterprise. It has a button that flick-releases the lid.

As it turns out, the kettle was not broken. I'd just turned the wrong switch on at the plug.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Because we're terribly cultured


Guess where I've been today? Yes, that's right - I've been to Legoland Windsor!! Isn't it amazing what they can do with those little plastic bricks these days?

Ha! You know I'm just joshing - I've been up town! (Oh, and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas - just so you know, this is TOWER BRIDGE. London Bridge is a little bit downstream, and no where near as interesting, pretty, or pointy looking. Although I'd rather stare at it for hours on end than listen to your sorry-ass excuse for music, OK?)

And why did I go up town, I hear you ask? Well I'll tell you - me and Big Bro went to the Design Museum.

Big Bro, y'see, works for a design business doing high-end... design things for... high... end, um, businesses... Anyway, he had some sort of cheapo entry deal thing that expired today, and they've got a Formula 1 exhibition on and he likes Formula 1. I on the other hand, had to pay full price, but I went along anyway because it's been years since I've been there, and despite the fact that I DON'T like Formula 1, I figured that I could just checkout some nice chairs or something.

To be honest the Formula 1 bit wasn't that big, so I actually didn't get too bored by it. Here's one of the pointy cars on display.


Big Bro seemed to enjoy himself, so that was good. I did like this inspiring statement though.


My favourite thing there was some sort of weird projected art installation that projected a silhouette of you (and by that I mean me, not actually you) onto a wall, but augmented it with bizarre-ass features and sound effects. This is me just taking a photo.


And no, I was not wearing my hair like Bjork.

After the Design Museum we grabbed a coffee and walked alongside the Thames, which gave me an excuse to checkout London's UFO defense system. Look - it's speared two already.


That'll teach those goddamn aliens to try and invade London.

Um, oh, and we found a shopping centre with a funky sculpture thing in it.


Funky, huh?

-----

Late last year I was interviewed for a radio documentary. Yes, me - the babbling fool! Anyway, I was told it was going to go out sometime in January or February. But nothing ever came of it...

...Until today.

The guy that interviewed me texted me to tell me that it's going out soon, and he wanted to send me a copy. Now, he interviewed me in a pub, and to be honest it started busying up just as I was hitting my flow, so he didn't get too much out of me. Still, I'm going to be on the radio. I'm such a media whore. Anyway, in an ideal world, I'll let you know when it's being broadcast, and if it's going up online - but I actually want to listen to the copy of it first, because there is absolutely no way I'm going to shout it from the rooftops if I come across as the biggest spacker on the planet. No way.

On the other hand, if I sound absolutely awesome, I am available for voice-over work.

Fun at the gym

I was just down the gym, running on a treadmill, when this awesome OK GO video (which you've probably all seen before) came on the telly.


If there had been a couple of other people on the treadmills at the same time I would've demanded that they join me in some treadmill dance-off action.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Huh!

I'm sorry, I couldn't think of a title for this post. The above "huh!" is supposed to be a James Brown style "huh!" rather than a downhearted "huh."

I think you know what I mean.

(Huh! I FEEEEEEL good!)

Righty-ho...

Ooo, I just saw Clerks II. I'm a big Kevin Smith fan, and kinda in the minority because Mallrats is my favourite, and I actually like Jersey Girl. And now I love Clerks II, too. It had the prerequisite filthy humour, pop culture references, and good characterization. Oh, and it and had Rosario Dawson in it, and she's now my new favourite person. On the downside, I didn't need to see Jay do 'the tuck.' (Don't know what I mean? Go see the movie, then you'll get it...)

Yaz came with me, and she loved it as well, even though she's not seen any of the other View Askew movies. I think she's been inspired to seek them out now. I should seriously be on commission for this sort of thing...

-----

I finished watching season three of The OC on DVD yesterday, and yes, I know I've said it before, but I'm going to say it again: AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME show. I had held out hope that Marissa's death in the last episode might've been augmented with some quality CGI to make it even more amazing - maybe the odd limb being blown off, and Ryan having to wipe bits of her off his face - but alas it was not to be. Still, at least I've got it on DVD now and can watch it to my heart's content.

-----

I usually slide into a bit of a post-OC slump after finishing a DVD boxset, but not this time. No, I have something incredible to keep me occupied - William Shatner's latest Star Trek novel!

OK, I know it's not going to be Shakespeare, but as page-turners go the mighty Shat has got it covered. And I know he doesn't actually WRITE them as such, but there's something quite wonderful about picturing Shatner reclining on a chaise longue while reciting dialogue to a young secretary tapping away at an old-fashioned manual typewriter.

"Have I ... covered the alien ... love ... scene yet?"

"No Mr. Shatner."

"She's ... green ... and I've ... got my ... phaser ... drawn. Are you getting this?"

"Yes Mr. Shatner."

"Good... Where ... was I? Oh... yes ... She's ... WAIT! They ... There's many ... MANY ... green women..."

-----

I'm sort of getting addicted to Solitaire on my communicator, or phone as I probably should call it. I've been playing it in Starbucks at lunchtime. And I'm getting quite good at it. Did you know there are multiple different styles of Solitaire? I didn't, but I'm steadily mastering them all.

-----

I sneezed massively over my computer at work this morning. Fortunately I was the only person in the office at the time. I actually sat there for a good few seconds in complete shock at what had occurred; there were long mucusy tendrils and everything. It must've looked like I was testing some sort of new bio-mechanical link between man and machine.

-----

I tried a Muller toffee sticky pudding yoghurt last night, and I must say I was a little indifferent to it. On the plus side it tasted OK, and the empty pot in the bin is making my house smell like toffee; on the downside, the cakey element was not sufficiently cakey, and Sainsburys did not count it as part of their 'buy five Muller yoghurts for £3' deal, so I actually bought four yoghurts for more than £3, and the sticky toffee pudding-yoghurt on top. Which miffed me a tad.

-----

My bagel inexplicably turned blue today (no, this is not a euphemism), so I have not had the opportunity to refine my use of the new office toaster. I did think about toasting the rancid bagel anyway just to see if I could locate the optimum toaster setting, but after a closer inspection of the aforementioned bagel I decided that it might explode in the process.

As such, lunch consisted of a Yorkie bar (they're not for girls), a packet of bacon flavour Wheat Crunchies (I have developed a taste for these, despite the fact that they taste like bacon-flavoured all-bran), and a can of chocolate Nourishment drink (whose name I have always loved as it gives me the opportunity to do my impression of a Talosian when they order Captain Pike to "consume his nourishment")

I briefly considered threading the Wheat Crunchies onto a piece of string and lowering them into the toaster.

-----

I got an email from Cancer Research today reminding me about the upcoming 10k and wishing me good luck. And then there was this passage:

"Facilities: Toilets, refreshments and a first aid area are provided. A water station will be at the halfway point. A Marie Keating Foundation cancer awareness unit will also be at this event, please come and Take Five minutes with one of our nurses."

Come and take five with one of our nurses?! Now, either they know something they're not telling me, or there's definitely going to be some saucy Benny Hill-style slutty nurse shenanigans going on that day...

-----

Check this out - it's the new TMX Tickle Me Elmo (I assume the 'X' stands for 'EXTREME!'):


Am I alone in thinking that it should've been called Super-Epileptic Elmo?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Quality nerd time

Some of you may have noticed that in the comments section of one of my recent posts there's been a little discussion about me making Star Trek sound effects to amuse myself. I bet you're wondering if I really do that, or am I - heh heh! - merely making light of myself for comedy value?

Ha ha! I really do it.

Well, I never used to. But then the batteries ran out in most of my office Star Trek toys and I was left with no choice. Both my phasers have stopped working, so I'm defenseless when angry couriers come in. On the plus side, I've still got two working communicators - one talks with the voice of Sam from Quantum Leap, while the other one makes beeping sound effects; I used the latter one yesterday to pretend to be Captain Pike after he was crippled by delta radiation, and spent some quality time wheeling around the office with drool leaking out of my mouth. Unfortunately, it couldn't do a single beep, so in Captain Pike twin-beep terminology I was a negative nelly all day.

Moving on though, I've been using a lot of the original series DVDs to check facts in the latest issue, and I've realised that if you leave it on the menu screen it sits there whistling and beeping like the bridge of the Enterprise. At first this was kind of unnerving, but then I realised that if I closed my eyes I could sorta imagine like I was actually on the bridge; unfortunately, when I opened my eyes I was still in Hammersmith, and I didn't have an extravagantly bee-hived yeoman to serve me coffee or clutch me inappropriately during crisis situations.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Busy

So there I was the other day being all blasé about how we were behind, VERY behind, with an issue, and how Р*shucks!* Рwe're just too cool to care, when I get home to find an email saying "final day for printing is monday."

Hmmm, I thought. Monday. Monday... So if it needs to be there monday... we need to have it finished by... hmmm... Oh. Wednesday. Oh. And then, obviously there's a weekend between those days, so we lose a bit more time.

Bugger.

Earlier in the day I'd been pondering whether to spend tuesday night down the gym or out for a run. Well, that all went out the window. To steal a phrase from Spock, the needs of the issue outweigh the needs of the abs, or the biceps.

I set to work. My friends, let me tell you - I was like an editor possessed. Sometimes there's nothing like a super-tight deadline to bring out the best in people. I'm not saying that's what happens to me; no, I'd rather not have any deadlines and spend my days watching The OC, but unfortunately you can't have everything your own way.

Anyway, the issue is now (*cracks knuckles, casually puts hands behind head and leans back in chair*) done. Time to chiiiiiill out.

Wha... what do you mean there's another one to do?

-----

I stole The Killer's album off my brother the other day. They're another one of those bands/artists that I've discovered a bit later than everyone else (the same thing happened with Nirvana - I was about seven years late to that party; anyone know what Kurt's up to these days?). It sort of makes me feel like the special kid at the back of the class who's just mastered 2+2 while everyone else has moved on to trig.

Two things:

Firstly, although the album is called Hot Fuss, thanks to Dora, I can't help but refer to it as Hot Ticket. And because that reference was only made in this blogger circle, no one else understands what I'm on about, and once again everyone looks at me like I'm that special kid at the back of the class.

I was, I'll have you know, a straight A student.

Secondly, consider these lyrics from Mr Brightside:

Now they're going to bed
And my stomach is sick
And it's all in my head
But she's touching his chest now

He takes off her dress now
Let me go
And I just can't look
It's killing me
And taking control

Question: why on Earth was he wearing her dress?

-----

According to the weather forecast we're going to have a mini-heatwave in the south of Britland tomorrow. Now, look: I do like summer, and I do like heat. But it's September - the latter half of September, in fact - and I demand some autumnal weather. I want cold; I want rain; I want wind (and not the sort you get from an all you can eat buffet at the local curry house). I want leaves falling off the trees, and as a resident of Britland, I want to complain about the weather being too cold. And I can't do that if it's hot.

-----

I burnt myself reaching into my oven tonight. It stung for a while, but on the plus side, I've now got a manly scar.


That said, how would you define a womanly scar?

-----

We've got a new toaster in the office: £9.99 from Woolworths! Now that's either the bargain of the century, or a Claims Direct case waiting to happen.

So far I've managed to under-toast one bagel, and over-toast another. I'm guessing that the optimum setting is probably somewhere in the middle...

More on this exciting development as it happens!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Arrrr!

Holy crap - it's Talk like a Pirate Day!

That means you've got to talk like a pirate - all day! Savvy?

Splice my mainbrace!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Butter fingers

Despite the fact that you stroll into work thinking Monday's going to be relatively easy, there's always something that goes wrong. And to be honest, the fact that we're supposed to have an issue at the printers tomorrow and we only started it today hasn't been the pinnacle of today's trauma tree (oh, publishing - it's such a gas! We're all so anarchic and frivalous!)

No, first of all, I bought some new cereal. Oatabix, the new oaty cousin of Weetabix. Shitabix more like. Y'see, it tasted like shit. One to avoid, my friends.

Then, at lunchtime, it took me about a minute to get a plate out of the cupboard. For some reason I couldn't get a grip on the damned thing. I must've looked terribly spackerish squatting on the floor and apparently stroking all the plates. Then, to my horror, I discovered that the toaster had bust, and to actually toast my bagel I had to stand there holding the friggin' button thing down. And I kept having to lean over the toaster to see if my bagel was toasted; quite frankly I'm amazed I actually have any eyebrows left.

To add insult to injury, I then burnt my finger getting the bagel out of the toaster. For a brief minute I considered plunging it into my fresh from the fridge tub of butter to cool it off, but then I realised that's probably quite unhygenic. So I put it in someone else's butter instead.

And then, in the afternoon, I discovered that penology means something completely different to what I assumed it meant!

You learn something every day, huh?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

All good things...

Well, this has been a weird couple of days. Weird good, not weird bad. I seem to have entered some sort of bizarre comfort zone/nostalgia spiral.

First of all, yep - I finished that last TNG issue on Friday; ran it close to the wire too. It was like the old Star Trek Fact Files days where we just about got everything finished at the same moment as the Fedex guy walked in the door to take it away. Of course, there are still little bits to tidy up here and there, but editorially I'm done. So that left me kind of relieved, exhausted, sad, and elated all at the same time. Thinking of the old Fact Files days. Thinking of how fast three years on TNG has gone by (my boss couldn't believe it either; "F**K! You still look 16," he said to me). Realising we've still got a LOT to do on the new TOS project. Maybe that's part of the nostalgia thing too. The original Star Trek has always been a bit of a comfort zone for me, and I'm looking now at potentially (all things going well) a years worth of work dedicated to it.

Then there's The OC. I love this show, and I've been mainlining the third season DVD boxset over the last couple of days. This is another comfort thing. Even if I'm in a bad mood (which I'm SO NOT!) The OC just takes my mind off it. Maybe it's the beautiful scenary. Maybe it's the bright colours and sunshine. Maybe it's Kirsten Cohen and Julie Cooper?


Next up is music. I got some free downloads from iTunes, so I spent an hour or so trawling around trying to find some decent songs to download; I thought about the new Killers track, because it's grown on me a hell of a lot. I even thought about Sexyback by J*st*n T*mb*rl*k* because I inexplicably liked his last album and this track. But what did I end up buying? Get Ready by Roachford because it's a cracking toon that reminds me of a family holiday we took to Cornwall years ago. Damn, I even almost downloaded Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm by the Crash Test Dummies!

And then there's Love and Rockets. I've made it quite obvious before that I love Love and Rockets, but I usually wait for the collected editions to catch up with what the characters are upto. But there I was in the comic shop on Thursday and there was the latest issue, and I just bought it. I haven't read it yet, and I doubt I'll understand much because it's probably mid-way through a story arc. But I just felt like checking in with Maggie and Hopey and all the other characters to see how they are doing. It's going to be a long time until the next book, y'see.

I also got in touch with an old mate I haven't seen in aaaaaaages. We're meeting for a bevvy later in the week.

And finally, I sorted out some bit 'n bobs to do with my aforementioned scheming, so fingers crossed on that front. I ran my half-formed plan past Sweatband the other day and rather than laugh in my face and slap my forehead repeatedly she actually thought it was quite good. See - even when I'm stuck in a comforting nostalgia zone I've still got one eye on the future...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Paper plague

I stayed at work a bit later tonight, and rather than rush off decided to wander down to Hammersmith for a post work coffee (which actually turned into a post work caramel hot chocolate, but that's sorta irrelevent).

Anyway, I was wandering down Hammersmith high street when I noticed something. A sea of people dressed in purple. What was this, I thought, some bizarre cult of... purpalists? No, it was not, I soon realised.

For those who don't live in or around London, let me fill you in on recent events: London is a warzone, and the combatants are free newspapers.

We used to just have the Metro, a free (and rather excellent) newspaper available in the mornings at tube stations. Now there's two new evening freebies - TheLondonPaper and London Lite. And the streets are pratically jam-packed with greasy little people trying to ram them into you hands as you go about your evening business. I reckon I had about five offers in two minutes (for free newspapers, I mean).

And where TheLondonPaper people are standing, London Lite people move in - and vice versa. I actually thought two newspaper numpties might start beating each other with wads of free papers. Well, hoped more like - I could've recorded it on my phone and popped it up on YouTube. There's nothing more exciting than a bit of newspaper-based happy-slapping.

Anyway, I took a copy of TheLondonPaper to read in Starbucks; it was OK, but, and please excuse my editor's eye here, poorly designed and a bit lacking in content. It clearly thinks it's the next best thing in bringing news to the masses. Well I've got news for you, buddy: the internet does it better, quicker, and on better quality paper if you print it out on photographic stock.

As soon as I binned my copy, two purple-clad news warriors zeroed in on me to try and give me a replacement. I gave them the patented Sparky withering glance.

I did not checkout a copy of London Lite, but if the front cover is anything to go by I think the Cockney-rhyming slang online dictionary could have a new definition for shite.

-----

Junk mail is also a growing problem at Sparky Towers; when I bought my house last year, Sparky Ma gave me a 'NO JUNK MAIL' sticker for the front door. And it worked for a time. Then it began to curl at one corner so it kind of read 'O JUNK MAIL' as if I was declaring some sort of breathless exhilaration at the prospect of junk mail.

However, it's continued to curl a bit more, so it now simply reads 'JUNK MAIL,' which suggests that I've designated my letter box as a repository for any and all forms of unsolicited post.

Either way, I've pledged that if I'm ever here and someone tries to push a load through my door, I'll take it straight back out to them, shake my fist in their face, and call them an imbecile. Mark my words - I've learned my lesson from the only previous occasion on which that's happened: by the time I'd unlocked the porch door, picked up the supermarket-based junk mail, unlocked the front door, and noticed in a quick glance at the offending mail that Budgens had six packs of Pepsi Max on a two-for-one special the sneaky bastard had gotten away.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bye bye Balok

You might've noticed that I've changed my profile picture. One of the reasons for this is that a lot of people found little Clint Howard a tad scary. My brother hasn't read this blog since I replaced The Brain with Clint.

My new pic is courtesy of comic book pal Graham; he whipped it up as a birthday card for me a few years back. Awesome innit? It's amazing what you can do with a dodgy photo of yours truly and a 'Captain Kirk Ken' (aside from putting him in naughty positions with 'Hailing Frequencies Open Barbie').

So it's bye bye Balok!


Lordy. That is a face only a mother could love.

It's awesome Thursday

I apologise in advance if your Thursday is not quite as good as mine. I don't know why mine is so awesome today, it just is; accept that, go with the flow, enjoy it.

How the hell has yours been?

So we've all had fun with the testicles thing, huh? I'm going to draw a line under them now though (not literally), mostly because you've all made me want to pee every time I've read your comments. Shucks, you lot are funny!

And what am I going to draw a line under them with? Why, my new biro! There's something incredibly satisfying about a new biro. And by biro, I do mean the REALLY cheap ones - the ones that cost about 20p for a box of four million. I don't know what's so satisfying about them - maybe it's the disposability factor. Maybe it's because they taste so ... neutral, and look so natural when I push one to my mouth in a sexy yet thoughtful manner. I don't know. What I do know is that after a tea-based incident this morning which rendered my previous biro moist and able to write only in Earl Grey, I needed a new biro.

And by gum, we got some doozies with our last stationary order. A transparent body, a firm nib, and a matt black cap. Cheap biro heaven, my friends, cheap biro heaven.

-----

I'm officially on the road to stud-muffinliness. A while back I signed up to an Innocent drinks thingy whereby every now and then they drop a few bottles of smoothies into the office - ABSOLUTELY FREE! Hurrah!

Today I was just sitting finishing some work off when a perky little blonde lady walked into the office (through the door, I hasten to add; she didn't just slam into the wall), and called out my name.

"Yes," I said, after determining that she wasn't a nutter. I mean, she could've been, but attractive nutters are acceptable.

"I'm from Innocent," she said, plonking TWO BOXES of mango and passion fruit cartons on the floor. TWENTY FOUR CARTONS OF SMOOTHIES!!!!

"WOW! Thanks," I said.

"That's alright," she replied. Then she just stood there, smiling and blinking at me.

I thus determined that I had a three-pronged course of action:

1) Say "Well go on, your work here is done - bugger off."

2) Give her a free copy of our latest issue. She might've quite liked a figurine of Mister Spock.

3) Pull her towards me and kiss her passionately on the lips like Captain Kirk, and teach her about this human thing called love.


Sadly, while I spent time pondering what to do, she realised that her work here was done, and she turned around and left. Still, I know where she works; I park my car opposite their office. Hubba hubba.

(This is, of course, purely innocent; I just want to make sure I get my five portions per day. Of fruit and veg! Get yer mind outta the gutter!!)

-----

As much as I like Innocent smoothies, I don't like bits in my drink. As such, I often, erm, strain the bits out of juices (or buy smooth if possible). And with so many cartons of smoothies, I decided that I needed to buy a strainer for home. So I did. And then I got home and realised I didn't have it. So I rushed back outside, only to find that I'd dropped it in the road. I swooped it up just moments before it was run over by a Vauxhall Tigra of all things.

Could you imagine the look on the cashier's face if I'd had to take it back to Tesco?

Anyway, the only downside to straining smoothies is that it takes an age, and your left with masses of what can only be described as fruit paste to dispose of. I suppose I could always use it to fill some holes in the wall...

-----

I was sent a photo of me from Tuesday's party today, sporting my school boy/popstar stud-muffin look. Another reminder of the party is in the form of a small plastic heart badge that we were all given and made to wear. It has flashy lights that won't turn off, and I can't quite work out if it's the coolest freebie I've ever gotten at a party, or the stupidest.

You decide:


Oh, and it also gave me quite a fright on Tuesday when I got home. Why are my trousers pulsing with blue light, I wondered? I've subsequently stashed it in my desk drawer, and it scares the tits out of me every time I open it for something. I wonder how long until the batteries run out...?

-----

As good as today has been, it's also been tinged with a hint of sadness. Y'see, tomorrow I will officially finish the final issue of our Star Trek: The Next Generation DVD magazine. I owe this publication a lot; to be honest, almost three years ago, I actually opened a blank word document to write my letter of resignation from the company after spending a year working on non-Trekkie magazines following the end of The Official Star Trek Fact Files which I previously worked on. Just as I was about to type 'Dear...' my boss called me up and said "Star Trek's coming back to life!"

I never looked back - and now we're almost done, something that seemed almost unimaginable back in 2003. So with 70 issues behind us, and the two newbie Star Trek mags now released into the wild, I raise my glass of mango and passion fruit smoothie to The Next Generation. Make it so!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A load of old balls - AKA: shameless thievery

Now, I'm not a massive fan of him in general, but there was a feature on Richard Bacon's Xfm radio show today that actually reduced me to tears of laughter.

The basic gist of it was that you had to insert the word 'testicals' or 'testes' into a the name of a well-known television show, the idea being that hilarity would ensue.

Thus, there were answers such as:

Faulty Testicals (towers)
Testicals or no Testicals (Deal or no Deal)
Teletesticals (Teletubbies)
One foot in the Testicals (One foot in the Grave)
America's Next Top Testical (model)

And so on.

Well, seeing as I found it so amusing, I thought you lot would too. So I've stolen the idea. Except let's do it with movie titles, because they're a bit more universal than TV shows.

I'll start you off with:

Desperately Seeking Testicals
The Testical Strikes Back
Testical Story
You, Me, and Testicals
Back to the Testical
Pirates of the Testicals
Sky Captain and the World of Testicals
The Good, the Bad, and the Testicals

Go crazy kids!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

2.4 hour party person

I'm back! From the party, that is. D'you know, I actually had rather a good time (I usually dread these sort of things). The Kensington Roof Gardens is an amazing venue (though I didn't catch sight of the much-rumoured native flamingoes). I caught up with some good friends, met some people I hadn't seen in a while, some fascinating new people, and a magician called Sav who did things with cards and coins that no one should be able to do. I actually called him a witch at one point and threatened to burn him; apparently Richard Bacon said the very same thing to him. I suppose it's an occupational hazard.

I was told by one lady that I looked like a pop star. Or a schoolboy. I said I'd probably go with the pop star thing. She replied that the older ladies quite like the schoolboy look. I'm officially a stud-muffin. Or a whore. I don't know which...

Oh, and it seems like my scheming might just pay off... I ran my idea past a very good colleague, and she thought it was great, so I officially have a 'LONG TERM GOAL' now. Which is exciting and nerve-wracking all in one go. Hurrah!

I left after two and a bit hours feeling refreshed, energised, and excited (not in that way, perverts). What a top evening.

Monday, September 11, 2006

And so Sparky schemes...

Before I begin, look at this:


Sainsbury's have friggin' Christmas things out! It's SEPTEMBER. Goddamn! HAPPY GODDAMN FREAKIN' CHRISTMAS! WOO-HOO!!

*Ahem*

Where was I? Oh yeah, 'Sparky schemes.' How machiavellian (and yes I did spell that right). Indeed, I am scheming. I've got a plan... a possibly exciting plan...

I'm off to an exciting party tomorrow. We tend to have a lot of those in the publishing world. I say 'we,' but I actually mean 'other people.' Either way, I very rarely go to them. Not because I'm above it all, merely because... well, I can't be arsed, actually. That sounds rude, and looking back over it, it is. But, y'know, whatever.

Anyway, I'm going to this one, for a number of reasons; one being that it's at the Kensington Roof Gardens, which aside from being very posh and expensive simply intrigues me, and another being that I'm... scheming... Muwahahahahaha!

Anyway, the dress code says "gorgeous." I'm not sure I can manage that, but I'll definitely wear my shiny shoes.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Shoe'd!

So there I am, sitting on my comfy sofa watching the first disc of The OC season three boxset, and what do I see?

Another big spider walking across my living room floor.

Well, this time I was ready.

In one swift, ninja-esque move I leapt from the sofa, pulling a shoe off my foot in mid air. As I reached my apex, I held the shoe aloft, and then began to bring it down in a fateful arc of fury.

In an instant justice was dispensed upon my eight-legged enemy, and it was rendered dead in an explosion of legs and spider juice.

Nothing, I repeat NOTHING, comes between me and The OC.

Get cape, wear cape, die

Sweatband and I have been talking about the upcoming Hampton Court 10k, which is, ooo, three weeks away (yee gads!).

Anyway, Sweatband, being super-hardcore, is a bit worried that the event is going to be full of, and I quote "beginners," who will hold us up in our attempt to complete the run in super-quick times. I suggested that she could just shout "GET OUTTA MY F**KIN' WAY!!!" or wield an electric cattleprod in the general direction of any ditherers. I think she likes both ideas, to be honest.

We've also discussed ways to amuse ourselves while running. And that's when I mentioned that we could do the run in fancy dress (having just found what looks like an awesome fancy dress shop in Twickenham). I thought Sweatband would laugh this off, then poke me with her cattleprod and tell me to stop being so stupid. Thing is, she actually quite liked the idea.

And so we planned this a little bit more in-depth: I would be Superman (obviously), and she would be Supergirl (because she's a girl).

Sod the times, I thought, we'll have superhero fun instead!

Then I had a bit of an email conversation with Lee, who reminded me of the sequence of events in The Incredibles in which they reveal the fate of several caped superheroes.


And I decided that I'd make do with the traditional shorts and t-shirt combo. There's a reason it's an established athletic classic.

That said, I might just hire the Superman suit and wear it around the house. Or go to work in it.

Saturday night trauma

As you might guess from the post heading, last night was a little bit traumatic for me.

Everything was going fine initially; popped over to see Sparky Ma and Pa after their holiday to Cornwall. Even with bad weather they somehow managed to get a tan - I ask you, what's that all about? I countered with my tanlines from the bike ride last week, but when Sparky Ma tans, she tans good. I looked like a half-arsed tanning spacker next to her.

So we had a lovely dinner, watched The X-Factor together as a family (somehow it's developed into a tradition), then I decided to head off. Bizarrely, as I stood on the pavement bidding Sparky Ma farewell, one of our former neighbours zoomed down the road in his car, almost hit me, waved hello, and zoomed off. It was very random.

Anyway, I got in the Sparky mobile, and decided to head to Kingston for a late coffee in Borders. So I get their, I wander in, have a look at some books, and am just about to go upstairs to Starbucks when the lights go off. "Borders is now closing," said a voice from the ether.

Huh? I thought. It usually stays open till 10. And then I saw the notice on the door: new opening times - 9am-9pm.

ARRRRGHH!!!!!! LATE NIGHT COFFEE IS NO MORE!!!!!

I literally fell to my knees beside the the top 10 bestsellers list, my hands clenched into fists, my eyes squeezed tightly closed, and screamed "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! WHY MUST YOU TAUNT ME SO?!?!?!?!?!??!"

Then some student employee told me they were closing, and if I wanted to make any purchases could I take them to the till. I stood up, sneered at him, and departed for home.

Perhaps the only worthwhile part of the jaunt to Kingston was that I made a new friend. A pidgeon sat guard over my car while I was gone.


Anyway, with this disastrous news still ringing in my mind, I got home to find that some new neighboury people were having a party - a LOUD party - on their front lawn. Seemingly the entire female contingent of the party was made up of clones of Nikki from Big Brother; "I haven't HAD enough to DRINK!". For those unfamiliar with Nikki from Big Brother, just believe me that this is A BAD THING.

It was as I started writing my long-delayed Ambassador Soval article for the Japanese Star Trek Fact Files, that they began to sing.

And it was as they started singing a drunken rendition of Culture Club's 'Do you really want to hurt me?' that I lent back in my captain's chair, put my hands together in a Mr Burns stylee, and thought yes... yes, actually, I do...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Best go onesies people...

...'cos I'd hate you all to pee your undercrackers after watching this:

Branching out

I realised today that I'm in the wrong job. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, but the events that have unfolded over the last couple of days have opened my eyes to the possibility of a new career that could make me LOTS more money.

Let's turn back time to Thursday morning at eight o'clock...

Picture this: I'm unlocking the office, and as I step in the front door I discover a piece of paper folded in two on the floor. Written on the front in capital letters is the word URGENT.

Intrigued, I unfold the paper.

Written inside, in a barely legible scrawl that would not have been out of place in a kindergarten, was a brief note that read:

Dear All,

Your tree has fallen into my garden. Please remove it and repair any damage IMMEDIATELY. I shall be at work all day.

Hmmm... I thought. Then I wandered outside to take a look. Now, the use of the word 'tree' was a tad misleading. If I had written that note, I'd have substituted the word 'tree' for 'a bloody big branch'; the tree, you see, was still standing. It had merely shrugged a huge lump of wood into this guy's garden.

Now let's move forward to today, where, despite my suggestion of dousing it in lighter fluid and chucking a match on it, we have hired a tree surgeon to come and sort out our devilishly devious deciduous. Lovely office manager Janice tells me that the tree surgeon is coming round to assess the situation, and adds that if we need some emergency tree surgery it's going to cost £230 per hour.

YOU WHAT?!

Yes - £230 PER HOUR! Now, I'm not an expert, but I've always figured that being a tree surgeon basically consisted of knowing what end of a chainsaw was the dangerous end. £230 per hour?! Even a non-emergency situation costs £170 per hour. I consider offering my services to the surgeon as a triage nurse. Triage nurse. I said: TRIAGE nurse. Geddit?

Anyway, my money making tree surgeon fantasies continued to escalate.


"Stand back," I'd say to concerned tree owners. "He's lost a lot of sap... but I'll be damned if I'm going to lose this one."

So there I am, basically tidying up my desk and redistributing my collection of biros in anticipation of my new career, when the tree surgeon turns up. In his manky old Ford Transit. He looks at the tree, lights a ciggie, revs up his chainsaw, hacks away at random branches, looks at me, says "I've curtailed the problem and poisoned the rest," gets in his Transit and drives away in a nebulous cloud of blue smoke leaving us £170 lighter.

I am definitely getting myself a chainsaw tomorrow, people.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thursday randomness

Oops. It's been a couple of days without a new post, and I know Marcosy gets a bit antsy if I don't write something inane to keep him occupied when he's not perving over Katee Sachoff. And quite frankly I think we should all be moving on from the Ron Jeremy/winky discussion that's been dominating things recently. Ron Jeremy; winky; dominating; three words that should not be seen together, at least on this blog.

Anyway ... fasten your seatbelts kids - here we go!

*****

I keep getting emails from a Russian dating service telling me that Svetlana is waiting for me to reply to her. I don't know, nor have I ever known, a Svetlana. I don't quite know how to stop her from emailing me. I just hope if I ignore her she'll go away eventually. That usually works with girls. (GASP!)

*****

I'd forgotten about this, but I got to realise one of my Battlestar Galactica fantasies during the bike ride on Sunday (alas not the Number Six Cylon fantasy). Yes, while in formation with Sweatband and Mr Chunt, I turned round, saw another cyclist behind Chunty, and shouted in a miltaristic fashion "There's a bogey on your six!" I suppose you had to have been there, but it could only have been funnier if the guy behind him had sneezed on cue.

*****

The lovely Nikki has started her own blog! And having passed the 200 posts mark, I took it upon myself to impart my immense blogging knowledge on the unsuspecting lady.

Fortunately, she ignored me and has forged her own path (but seriously, who doesn't like miniature horses?!) It would be super cool if y'all popped over to check out her fledgling blog; and, just for laffs, if you leave a comment it would massively freak her out. Just click on the Roll Credits link over there on the right...

*****

Excerpt from an email I sent comics pal Graham today:

"Are you going to get an Xbox 360 when the Star Trek game comes out? Because it would be awesome to blow the shit out of each other online. I'll be Kirk and you can be Khan."

Graham didn't like the idea of being Khan. Which reminds me of the time in infant school when I asked my childhood friend Charlie to play Star Trek make-believe with me. I made him be Spock to my Kirk, and lashed him every time he accidently showed emotion.

Seven year-old boys make lacklustre Vulcans, and crap first officers.

*****


Aaaah... that explains...


Because, quite frankly, who hasn't had the murderous asian triplet fantasy?

*****

I went for a run last night, but half way round my regular 30-odd minute route I had to stop. The cause? A strange dull ache in my left foot.

Hmmm... Now this is bad, because it ain't so long until the Hampton Court 10k, and I need to get some training done. And worryingly, the area of pain seems to be in the general region of ... the infamous metatarsal that has plagued so many of England's footballers.

And if it is something to do with that I'll be livid.

Broken metatarsals are *SO* last season...

*****

Well, the bunting's up, and I'm all ready for tomorrow's celebrations. What do you mean "what celebrations?" My god people! Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of Star Trek!! That being the case, I've cleared the proverbial Friday evening decks, and I'll be settling down for a private viewing (i.e. everyone I invited has politely declined my invitation) of my very favourite example of the franchise - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; yes, I know technically I should watch 'The Man Trap', the first episode to have actually aired 40 years ago, but I just think Khan is a much better slice of Trek. And if I'm feeling particularly nerdy, I might just follow it up with back-to-back viewings of Star Treks III and IV.

I believe the neighbours have erected a geek exclusion zone.

Oh, and on a related matter, I think it's safe to reveal why I've been *SO* busy at work recently (and by default, the source of my constant bitching). Find out why I've been such a busy boy here and here.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Stupid thought of the day

Why hasn't Ron Jeremy done a cover of the Foo Fighter's 'Generator' renamed 'Penetrator'?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Marcosy's 15 seconds of fame: AKA - tonguing Farah Fawcett

Despite everyone's pleas, Marcosy refuses to post his Farah Fawcett story (although to be honest, have you seen her lately? I'd be frightened too). He's gone a bit shy (cue "aaaaaaahs"); if he was a four year old kiddy he'd be doing that thing where they bury their head in mummy's leg when introduced to a strange elderly relative.

Anyway, I coaxed Marcosy into emailing me the infamous story, which I reproduce faithfully and with his full approval here:

"I wouldn’t know what to write really. I was 10 and so super cute that one of the world’s most beautiful women (she’d just left Charlie’s Angels at the time and it was before she had all that Son’a face-stretching plastic surgery) just had to give me a big snog and my life has been down hill ever since. If you could turn that into a decent post you’re quite welcome to."

So there you have it. I'm not quite sure that I've turned it into a decent post... more like I cut and pasted it from an email, but whadya gonna do about it, huh? Oh, and if you're wondering, he didn't just bump into her in the high street; he knew someone whose dad was working on a film she was in and he wangled a set visit. OooooOOOOOoooo!

Anyone else like to share a celeb snog story? And I mean real life, not your sordid dreams.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Richmond to Windsor 2006: AKA - The Arse, the nipple, and the defective horn ***UPDATED!***

It's bike ride day! Yaaaaaaaay!

Seriously, I look forward to this day every year. The bike ride has become something of a tradition, and it makes me giddy with excitement.

So, with my tyres pumped, my Camalbak bladder sufficiently filled, and my helmet polished, I set off to the rendezvous point where Team Sweatband (formerly known as Team Sparky) had arranged to meet.

I got there a bit early, so I waited a bit. I received a text from Mr Chunt saying "Running a bit late." I replied "bitch."

Then sweatband turned up. Alone. Having made such a big do about recruiting so many people that she'd made me change the name of the team, this struck me as a bit odd. I hope they're not imaginary, I thought. The last thing I wanted to do was spend the day trying to avoid crashing into imaginary cyclists. I was also disappointed that she hadn't brought her cat, who I had suggested we could've put in a basket on the front of her bike like ET.

As it turns out, Team Sweatband had actually fallen apart at the last minute, so I took the initiative and immediately rebranded us as Team Sparky. And when Chunty arrived moments later, we were all set. We departed to the strains of the event compare (who looks amazingly like William Shatner) who noted that "another valiant group of cyclists depart on the inexorable winding path to Windsor."

Hurrah!

I won't go into too much detail about the ride, because basically it's pretty much all cycle, cycle, cycle, stop for a mars bar, cycle, cycle, stop for another mars bar, cycle, bugger, a big hill (that's bugger: a big hill, not bugger the hill), and so on and so forth. Also intersperse in a massive hill, which admittedly has an awesome pay-off when you get to pelt down the other side at warp factor five.

We did the 39 mile route in about three hours, which is within acceptable limits when compared with the last three years, especially when you factor in the following problems we faced en route:

a) Does my bum look big in this? No, because evidently my arse is now constructed completely of bone. It's sore as friggin' hell, despite a super-cool saddle (admittedly not so super cool when a bump in the road rammed it up into my Gentleman's Assets) and two layers of shorts, one of which is padded and no you won't be getting any pictures of me solely in the lycra layer so don't even ask.

b) Sweatband had bought a defective camelbak that wouldn't allow her to suckle any beverage, despite me and Chunty urging her to "bite down and suck." We realised there actually was a genuine problem when she squeezed it and the nipple component shot off into Chunty. Could've taken an eye out.

c) Mr Chunt's air-horn (marina approved for all your boating needs) that he had retro-fitted onto his bike kept dropping off, leading to a various comments such as "my horn's fallen off!" "Don't worry, I've got the horn," and "my horn came off in my hand."

Anyway, when we finished we were welcomed by Shatner, who must've beamed over, informing us that "the fluttering and flexible hands of a masseuse await to rub and relieve those aching muscles." Captain of a starship and king of alliteration - GENIUS!

I didn't partake in a massage, mainly because the last time I had one there the other year the woman nearly snapped me in half. I paid money for her to abuse me - what's that all about?!

Anyway, so we chilled out for an hour, then set off for home. And what did I notice when I got in? I've got stupid tanlines AGAIN. Yes, the battenberg arms have returned, but even worse is where I tanned through the holes in the back of my gloves. It looks like I've been practising my kissing technique on the back of my hand.


More pictures to come when official photographer Chunty emails 'em to me!

*****PHOTO UPDATE*****PHOTO UPDATE*****PHOTO UPDATE*****


We started at the start line, which was at the beginning of the ride. Near the start.


We stopped for a rest at this rest stop. It was actually a car park.


We conquered Butts Hill...


...And traversed Mincing Lane!


Sweatband and I show this season's hot look in cycling chic.


Sparky and Mr Chunt at the end. Crap photography by Sweatband.


Sparky says: Taut: A delicious and refreshing isotonic drink for fitness professionals, sportsman or the family.


SHATNER!


Richmond to Windsor bike ride in aid of Bowel Cancer UK, sponsored by Camel.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My bike ride identity card

On yer bike!

On Sunday I'll be taking part in the Richmond to Windsor bike ride. It'll be the fourth time I've done it, and it's always a great day out. And before anyone complains that geographically Richmond and Windsor aren't actually that far apart, it's a very twisty route, so shut it. And I have to cycle to the start line, and back home later, so all-in-all I'm looking at around 60 miles in total. It's lucky my legs are so awesomely powerful.

Usually it's just me and Mr Chunt who take part, but this year Sweatband is joining us (she roped me into running, I roped her into cycling; it's only fair). Sweatband has subsequently amassed a few more cyclists, and renamed 'Team Sparky' to 'Team Sweatband.'

She's also claiming not to be looking forward to it, as she thinks that she'll fail miserably. We can always put the stabilisers back on, I assured her, but she reckons the BIG HILL toward the end of the route might be her undoing. Quite frankly, I think she'll be fine - she'll probably latch onto me with a grappling hook and I'll unwittingly tow her up (that is as long as she hasn't rammed a stick into my wheels or smeared jam on my saddle by that point. I think I'll push her off if she has the look of murder in her eyes).

So all in all, I'm a little giddy with excitement. I'm number 136, if anyone cares.

Right, I'm off to pump up my tyres, sterilize my bladder, and polish my helmet.

Here's a picture of a dog dressed in a Star Trek uniform to keep you occupied while I'm gone.

200th!

I've noticed that a fair few people have been marking their 100th posts recently, mostly in highly creative, emotionally deep ways. Well I didn't know this was a major event in a blogger's life (gosh, I'm so darned innocent!), and I sailed past my 100th with nary a backward glance. Still, I think it was an OK 100th. But hell, let's get our groove on with the 200th!

(Just one question - what does it say about me that I've hit 200 in just five months? I'll tell you what it means: the blogging equivalent of verbal diarrhea. Let's move swiftly on)

So how am I going to mark this auspicious occasion? I thought about a statue, but I think I'll save that for 500. Maybe 1000...

I know! 200 things you never knew about Sparky!

Um... OK, let's pretend we lost one of the '0's down the back of the sofa...

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you...

It's all about me, baby!: 20 things you never knew about Sparky! (In no particular order)

1) I dance rather well for a straight man, according to Glittering Lee. Think two-thirds Mick Jagger and a third Tina Turner.

2) I once sang Spice Up Your Life at karaoke in a pub in Twickenham. There were actually five of us (this was before Geri left), although I'm not quite sure which grrrrl I was supposed to be (although to be honest, picking one is pretty much as desirable as being asked what your favourite STD is...)

3) I can recite dialogue from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan verbatim. Scrub that - I can recite dialogue from 40 YEARS worth of Star Trek verbatim (but Star Trek II even more so).

4) I thought Baywatch was a well-plotted, intelligent, and thought-provoking television series featuring a host of intriguing characters and a killer theme tune.

5) I prefer winter to summer.

6) (I can't get no) satisfaction.

7) My first crush was on Linda Hamilton during her Beauty and the Beast days, although I remained strangely besotted by her when she bulked up for Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

8) My second crush was Rachel Friend, who played Bronwyn in Neighbours.

9) I know it's wrong, but I find Kirsten Cohen and Julie Cooper more attractive than Marissa and Summer in The OC.

10) The first film I remember seeing was ET. The second was Return of the Jedi; I distinctly recall whispering an in-depth description of who and what Admiral Ackbar was to Sparky Ma.

11) I do love a Nandos.

12) My first gig was The Rolling Stones at Wembley Stadium in 1999.

13) In September 2002 I queued overnight outside the Hammersmith Apollo to buy tickets for a one-off David Bowie concert. Money well spent.

14) I'm a trained Badminton instructor (and I'm now braced in anticipation for the torrent of cock jokes, you filthy blighters!).

15) When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be a bus driver. Then I wanted to be captain of the Enterprise. Strangely, the latter has turned out to be closer to reality. Read into that what you will.

16) I get very morose when I'm drunk; you're better off plying me with coffee, or lots of coke (the soft drink!) and wait for the sugar rush to kick in.

17) I've got a series of moles on the right side of my face that resemble the big dipper.

18) Every now and then I think I should dye my hair green.

19) I was a dumpy looking kid.

20) Writing a blog has been the best thing I've done in a long time. Big-ups to everyone who has read, left comments, and generally molested, abused, and poked fun of me in this ickle corner of the interweb. You're all awesome buggers, and you all brighten my days.

On to the next 200, hmmm?