Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I'm not playing

So today is Halloween. Or Hallowe'en. Or All Hallow Eve.

Well "Whatevah," because I ain't playing.

The way I look at it, you see, is that Halloween is predominantly an American thing, something that wikipedia backs me up on:

Most other Western countries have embraced Halloween as a part of American pop culture in the late 20th century.

And even if it weren't, I still wouldn't play because we, the British, are rubbish at it. Having watched ET quite a lot as a kid, I know that Halloween is a big-do over the pond, which is fine because from what I can tell they do it right with amazing costumes and scary decorations.

What do people do over here? Put on a Scream mask and dress their eight year-old children up to look like tiny prostitutes. Overdoing the mascara does not make little Susan look like a corpse. I think Tyler Durden summed it up best in Fight Club:
"Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken!"
So we're pretty pathetic at a holiday that isn't really ours to celebrate. Blame Hallmark - they clearly identified a gap in the market between Secretary's Day and Christmas. Doubtless we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving next, and be equally rubbish at that too.

This time last year I was in the initial throws of decorating Sparky Towers, starting with the bedroom, and any trick-or-treaters were swiftly greeted by me leaning out the window threatening to cover them in Dulux Blossom White non-drip gloss. They soon vamoosed.

This year I don't have quite the same arsenal at my disposal. And quite frankly, even if I did open the front door to them I've got very little to give them. I could rummage up a couple of sesame seed Ryvita and a frozen Birdseye potato waffle, but quite frankly I don't think that would satisfy today's up-and-coming young satanists.

To be honest I've already had two groups ring the door bell. The first saw me walking up the path having just gotten home from work and scampered after me - I had barely set foot in the front door! The second rang the bell while I was checking my email. They could probably see me through the window, in which case they could also see the raised middle finger I was using to scratch the back of my neck.

I'm a simple man with simple pleasures, and I just want to be left alone to cook my steak burger with blue cheese and mustard melt while gently toasting my ciabata bap under the grill.

So a number of plans have formulated for the remainder of the evening.

a) Continue to ignore them.
b) Do my usual thing when confronted by unwanted visitors - turn all the lights of while they are standing at the door and pretend no one is at home.
c) Go to the gym.

I think I'll go put my trainers on.


What the hell is up with people these days? Jo and I had a bit of an email chat today, and we've both run into situations recently where we've been confronted by people who we've been incredibly polite and helpful to, and yet they've seen fit to either:

a) treat us like shit.
b) demand EVEN more of us and moan if we don't comply.

Fortunately, just as with the Halloween thing, we've formulated a plan. It generally involves some variation of a roundhouse kick to the face.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Britland's road signs

Following on from my previous post and the road sign quiz within, I thought I should go a bit more indepth on Britland's roadsigns for those readers of international origin, or anyone about to take their driving test.

So here we go:

WARNING! Drunk drivers.

WARNING! Quaint, stupid picket fences ahead.

No Evel Knievel-style bike stunts.

No Evel Knievel-style stunts in buses.

No entry to Ford-branded motor cars.

My humps, my humps, my lovely lady bumps - no Black-Eyed Peas songs or sexual antics for the next half mile.

Put your left leg out: hockey-cokey zone ahead.

WARNING! Levitating buses landing ahead.

There - I think that qualifies you all to drive safely on Britlands roads!


Now, look here: in other motoring-related news, here's that awesome Chrysler advert from the seventies with Ricardo 'KHAAAAAN' Montalban extoling the virtue of the new, compact (!?) Chrysler Cordoba.

And if you're not saying 'soft, corinthian leather' for the rest of the day there's something wrong with you.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Turn time back!

I went out for a meal with my family last night to celebrate my nan's birthday, and by the time I got in it was about half 10.

So, I pottered about on the intermaweb for a while, then thought about watching a DVD (been meaning to re-watch The Rules of Attraction for a while), but ultimately settled on reading some more of Charlotte Simmons (who is currently fretting about having to use coed washing facilities, the freakin' prude).

After a while I turned the clocks back (not something I do randomly if it's late, more to do with daylight saving time), so it was still relatively early. I know, I thought, I'll check the news on telly, then I'll go to sleep.

And that's when I made my fatal mistake: bacause that's when I turned over to the late night quiz on Channel Five - the one that runs for four hours through the early hours of the morning.

My god - what horrific trash telly! I couldn't turn off. There was this rather strange looking man gurning and asking me to identify what was wrong on a series of nine road signs.

And he just kept walking around a crap set, basically ordering people to call him, and saying things like "I know we're going to get a winner soon - don't call me if you're going to guess, the answer's there on your screen. Look closely, and gimme a ring!"

Bizarrely, there was a small dog in the corner of the screen (named Jack) who would bark whenever a caller came through to the studio.

And that's when I noticed what was wrong with one of the road signs...

Part of me actually seriously thought about calling in, because, let's face it, the 10 grand on offer would be lovely. I even booted up my computer and went onto the Highway Code website to confirm my suspicions about the wrong road signs. But another part of me was saying "don't get sucked in by this horrific botoxed quizmaster's claims."


And after about an hour I realised there was one on ITV too, so I started channel hoping.

The host on this one was quite aggresive. Look - at one point his head even caught fire.

Although in hindsight that might've been the reflection of a lightbulb on my telly...

Anyway, back over on Channel Five, the botoxed monstrosity in the ill-fitting red suit was still encouraging people to call in, and still claiming that he could feel that a winner was imminent.

Well I watched for two and a half hours and no one won A THING.

Thank god the clocks went back or I'd be knacked and super-headachey this morning.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Unky fun

Oh, wait, I've just remembered something else we were talking about over lunch yesterday - in fact, it was the game that started the whole conversation that eventually degenerated into the quick-fire shame-shag discussion.

The original game was: which celebrity would you choose to be your uncle?

Basically, the idea is that you'll see this uncle once or twice a year, and he would give you the most fun-filled day imaginable (in a purely innocent way).

I chose William Shatner (to obvious groans from my workmates). But in all honesty, I can back this up with real scientifical data.

• Shatner likes to take the mickey out of himself, and I like self-depreciating humour.
• Despite his age, he's still very active, and likes to try new things like paint-balling and race car driving.
• He has cool friends like Leonard Nimoy.
• I believe he could impart great wisdom upon an impressionable young chap like myself.
• And at the end of the day we'd jump in the Shatmobile and go to a bar to watch green Orion slave girls pole dance. Awesome.

So that's my choice - Unky Bill. Who's yours?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Official business

I knew my Friday plans were going to hit a little bump in the road when we got the order that the boss wanted to take us all out to lunch. Lunch at my company is not a quick pint, you see.

The pub is referred to as 'the meeting room.'

This also meant that I had to hastily email and text Yaz and Marcosy who I'd planned to meet for lunch, and rearrange for Monday. Tut!

So we strutted down to the pub, and soon enough the important topics of conversation started. Today's agenda consisted of:

• Who is your celebrity shame shag (someone you would do that would repulse every other person on the planet).
• Beer goggle sex. Which celebrity would you sleep with knowing that you'd regret it in the morning.

The names Madonna and Kate Moss came up quite a lot, it must be said. I wasn't taking it all that seriously to be honest, and kept suggesting ancient, and quite often dead, celebrities. I might've even mentioned Cherie Blair, which even I think was overstepping the mark a little.

As enjoyable as this critical office meeting was, it did have the effect of royally buggering up my precision planned Friday evening. Instead of 16:30, I didn't actually leave until 17:40. Which was very bad news because - and no kidding here - my stars today said that I would "find love where books are sold."


Fortunately, the traffic was reasonably good, so I got to Kingston within an hour.

Wandering into Borders, I started scouring the shelves - not just for potential ladies, but also for books. And by gum, I didn't just buy one book - goddammit, I bought two!

First up, I did buy I am Charlotte Simmons. Out of the three copies on the shelf, one was priced at £7.99, while the other two were £12.99. Guess the hell which one I bought?

Then I bought The Dog of the South by Charles Portis, which just sounds fun from the synopsis.

Curiously, when I paid for them the guy on the till asked for my email address so Borders could email me a voucher for money off my next purchase. Question: is this a genuine offer, or have I been tricked into giving my email address out to a strange man who's possibly taken a shine to me?

Damn Mystic Meg!

Anyway, I took my books upstairs to Starbucks, ordered a grande misto, settled into a plush chair, and began reading I am Charlotte Simmons. Despite being engrossed in the book, I did pause every now and then to take a sip of coffee and keep an eye out for any hot, well-read ladies who might want to take a seat opposite me.

Sadly, no one seemed willing to take up my spare seat, possibly because there were plenty of other spare seats scattered around.

And no, I did not loosen my trousers.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Brought to book

I like to read. A lot. I'm kind of like a book whore. And at the moment I'm not getting my fix.

I was looking for a new book on Monday when Sparky Ma and I hit Kingston in the Beemer, and I even had two in mind; A new Star Trek novel called Crucible, and Tom Wolfe's I am Charlotte Simmons. Now, I know I'd made a pact to stop buying trashy Star Trek novels, but a former colleague of mine mentioned that he'd read it and that it was actually kind of good. And I trust his judgement. As for the latter, well, I'm sort of intrigued to see how a middle-aged man handles writing from the perspective of a teenage girl.

Anyway, I'd seen Crucible in Waterstones in Kingston a few weeks back, so I intended to buy it on Monday. Plan foiled: it had sold out. They were also out of I am Charlotte Simmons.

Onwards to Borders!

No sign of the Trek book there, but plenty of copies of Charlotte - AT FIVE QUID ABOVE THE RECOMMENDED RETAIL PRICE!

Incensed, I stormed out of Borders without a backward glance.

I tried Books etc… in Shepherds Bush yesterday, and was delighted to find… a Charlotte Simmons-shaped gap on the shelf. Harumph.

I even tried the teeny-tiny Books etc… in Hammersmith today to bugger all effect. I could order it off the intermaweb, but it's been so long since I've actually browsed the shelves of a book shop in the knowledge that I've got nothing else to read and can start reading something there and then.

So now I'm still devoid of reading material. OK, I've got a handful of comics I picked up today on my weekly jaunt to the comic shop, but they're more of a quick fix - an instant but all too brief hit, if you will.

So here's the plan: I'm going to leave work tomorrow at 16:30 (note the precision of my military timing) and I'm going to head straight back to Kingston. I'm going to walk into Borders, grab the nearest member of staff and demand that they sell me a copy of I am Charlotte Simmons at £7.99! And then I'm going to take my book upstairs, order myself a grande misto in Starbucks and settle down in a plush armchair and read until they throw me out at 21:00.

I might even be tempted to kick off my shoes and loosen my trousers too.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sparky Ma Vs the squirrels

Sparky Ma told me the other the day that she's entered into the first battle of what I believe could be an ongoing conflict.

You see, she has a few tubs in her garden that have bulbs in them. And every spring these bulbs blossom into a beautiful array of colourful flowers. She is, quite rightly, a little bit proud of them.

Imagine her shock, then, when she walked past the currently dormant tubs to see that the local squirrel (or 'tree-rat' to give it its correct name - it is a rather wretched looking creature) had dug up one of her bulbs and replaced it with a walnut it had found ... somewhere.

The bulb, naked and vulnerable, had been placed carefully beside the tub, almost as if it were a casualty of war - and a warning to anyone who might dare to interfere with said squirrel's nefarious plan for tub domination.

Incensed, Sparky Ma did what any military general would do. She got her trowel, dug up the walnut, and gently brushed it clean of soil. Then she returned the bulb to the tub, and diligently patted the moist soil down on top of it.

Then she placed the walnut beside the tub in exactly the same place as she had found the bulb. And crushed it with her foot.

Squirrels: 0
Sparky Ma: 1

This is just the beginning...


There's nothing like a massive bill for tyres and brake discs and pads to get you in the mood for making some money. Thus, for the last few nights I've been polishing off the articles I've been writing for one of our Japanese Star Trek magazines. Funny - it's taken me ages to get the majority of these nine articles written, then - BAMM! - I've written two in the last two days. And before anyone says something about me just doing it for the money - No, I'm actually very pleased with them, and I've never written anything just for the cash, so "nyyyeeeh."

Where was I? Oh yeah. They've been doing some essential cable maintanence in my road over the last couple of days, and the bloomin' numpties have only gone and left a WARNING: MEN AT WORK sign right outside my house.

I was going to phone up about it, but then I thought it goes quite well with my current level of activity and state of mind.


What the hell is going on with the weather?!

Today: cold and blustery!
Tomorrow: freakin' hot!?

Wha...?! I guess this is all something to do with global warming and all those nasty people driving 4x4 cars and damned cows farting methane all over the place, but that's really not helping me decide what clothes to wear each day. I thought I was being pretty sensible today, but apparently not.

So, c'mon, is it woolly pullies or bra and panties tomorrow?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Number Five is alive!

I'm going to be very boy-like here. And by that I don't mean that I'm going to eat worms, pull girls' hair, and say that they all smell.

No, I'm going to talk about cars. I'll save the hair-pulling for another day.

Today was the day that my car went in for a service, and I got a BMW 5-series, you see. Now, as I've said before, I drive a Mini, which, as the name suggests, is a small car. To be honest, you could pretty much put it in the boot of the Five, but hey - I don't need anything bigger, and I like to think my Mini suits my character; cheeky, tough, and awesomely good-looking (well, two out of three ain't bad).

So, I got my Mini over to the garage fairly promptly this morning, which was a pleasant surprise as I only found out today that they've suddenly blocked off the road that runs through Heathrow airport so you now have to drive around it a bit. Annoying.

Anyway, so I go through the paper-worky bits with Mr. Service-manager person, and he gives me the key to the Five. Except it's not a key; no, it's more of a ... phaser?

"Have you ever driven a 5-series?" he says.

"No," I replied clearly as giddy as a ... well, as a super-giddy thing.

He looks at me like I'm going to crash his £25k car.

So I eventually wander over to the Five, which is hidden around the side of the dealership, and jump in. Whoa! It's like the bridge of the freakin' Enterprise! I half expected Spock to be sitting in the back.

After a little bit of fumbling, I find the slot into which the ... phaser, er, slots, and I press the start button. Whoosh! The multimedia screen in the middle of the dash jumps into life! Prioritising, I spent no time retuning the radio to Xfm. That sorted, I put it in first and released the handbrake. But it doesn't move, because the engine's not on.

Hmmm. Phaser in slot, start button pressed... just to rule out me being a spacker (after my bang on the head the other day), I go through the motions again. Still no engine on. So I sit in it like some kid who's pretending to drive daddy's big car, randomly pressing buttons.

Then I go back into the dealership.

"How do-"

"Press the clutch down and push the start button," says Mr. Service-manager without lifting his eyes from his desk.

Sheepishly I return to the Five, do as he instructed, and - VOILA! - it bursts into life with a sporty yet refined thrum. You'd never think it was a diesel.

Anyway, off I drive, and after a couple of miles I get into the swing of things. And rather like Justin Timberlake, I'm lovin' it.

Now, Sparky Ma and I made plans to take the Five to Kingston just to, y'know, give me the chance to give it a good test drive, and when I pull up outside Ma and Pa's house, she opens the door and without saying hello, says "oh... my... god..."

Sparky Ma is not used to me driving a big car, you see.

But, bravely, she gets in, and we toddle off. And she loved it too.

All in all, then, a super experience - slightly soured, however, by the bill for the new tyres, brake pads, and brake discs that my Mini needed. Still, my Mini is back, gleaming, fully tyred and raring to go. And as much as I liked the Five, I don't quite think I'm ready to give up the little red 'n white bundle of fun just yet...

Look! it barely fitted in my allocated parking space!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Kiss kiss bang bang

Actually that's not quite true - it was more bang, kiss. You see, I banged my head today, and saw The Last Kiss at the cinema.

Pray tell - how so did you bang your head?

Well let me tell you.

I did a load of clothes washing this morning. Actually, that's another lie - I only got up at noon (I don't sleep in that much - it was a treat!). Anyway, I did the washing, and was hanging it on my airer, which is positioned in a little nook under my stairs (which are wooden and open plan). And then, as I was backing out of the nook, I bashed into the stairs with my head.

Now, some would say at least I didn't damage anything important, but seriously - I've banged my head around quite a bit over the course of the last year. In fact, I remember when I was decorating said nook late last year, I stood up under there and - KABOOM - whacked my noggin then too. Fortunately, I texted into Xfm at the time and lovely DJ lady Marsha played me a Nada Surf song in sympathy.

Where was I? Oh yeah, so I bashed my head. It hurt quite a lot if I'm brutally honest, sort of enough that I actually wouldn't mind admitting that it had made me cry, if it had in fact made me cry. But it didn't, so I just squatted on the floor rocking back and forth for a while like a monkey that's been in the zoo too long and gone a bit mental. Incidentally, there was a loud cracking sound when head met stairs, and I'm not sure if that was the wood or my head, but I do have a big comedy-style bump now (luckily my hair is hiding it).

Hours later Jo and I went to see The Last Kiss, which I was looking forward to because Zach Braff makes me laugh, and Rachel Bilson is cuter than a basket of kittens. Before the movie we had a big ice cream sundae each (it was called cookie monster!), then played House of the Dead 4 which had sweet mock-uzis. This led to one discovery for me: if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, Jo's not the handiest person to have around. She was a bit rubbish with the uzi, and the zombies kept pushing her over and jumping on her. Still, she is a giggle, so that sort of makes up for her lack of zombie-killing prowess.

While we were waiting for the film to start some dude came into the cinema and sat in front of us with his baseball cap on at a jaunty angle. Seriously, he was older than I am, which is JUST wrong. I hold myself up as the fine line at which jauntily-angled baseball caps should not be allowed. Personally, I wouldn't, but on anyone younger it is allowed. I was so tempted to just reach forward and straighten it out. It was also offending my sense of symmetry as well, you see.

Fortunately the movie started.

I really enjoyed The Last Kiss. You can tell it's written by the same guy that wrote Crash as it shares a similar fragmented sense of storytelling based around a group of interconnected people. Except that it's not so violent, and doesn't deal with serious things like racial tolerance. It's all about learning to grow up and whether or not to accept your responsibilities. And Zach Braff gets it on with Rachel Bilson.

On the downside, the male gender does not come across as being squeaky clean. In fact, we're made to look a little like we're all just desperate to get our ends away.

Jo and I were talking about this as we walked back to my car. "All men are bastards!" she said.

"Oi!" I replied, which made me sound like I'm Jewish.

"Oh, I didn't mean you - you're special!"

Now that, my friends, is what I call an offensive remark masquerading as a compliment. At first it sounds like it's something really nice - but then you go "oh... hang on... SPECIAL?!" Men don't like to be called 'special!' Men don't like to be seen as safe!

That's right up there with the time an old work colleague said to me "you're going to make someone an amazing husband some day!" Again, complimentary - followed up by the suggestion that you're the safe, sensible option. Bah!

I said this to Jo, and she countered by saying that the film showed how most men can't help but do something stupid.

I stopped dead in my tracks.

"Don't ever call Rachel Bilson stupid."

Friday, October 20, 2006

Choose your own adventure

Since we had fun with testicles awhile back - and by that I mean the game that used the word 'testicles' - I've been trying to think of another way to shoe-horn an interactive element into Sparky Malarkey. And by gum, I think I've got it!

At least, I hope so...

Right kids, the basic idea is that I'm going to write a normal blog entry, but scattered throughout will be 10 numbers. At each number I want you to insert a word (or words) of your choosing that will make the entry amusing in some way - just list your 10 words in order as a comment. Hilarity WILL/SHOULD ensue. And yes, it basically gives me an excuse to write something dull, then get you to entertain me.

Here we go!


Today's been quite a cool day. Work was fun - I spent the morning planning [1], then got to flex my photoshop muscles by putting together a cover image.

I went to Starbucks at lunchtime, and when I got back I found that everyone else had gone to the [2], so I had the office to myself. A few hours later I left, only to be given a [3] on the way out, which was a nice surprise.

Having left work, I wandered down to Olympia where I was meeting Martin at the Ski and Snowboard Show. I'd promised my regular lady barista in Starbucks that I'd pick her up some [4] at the show, so I grabbed a big bag and started picking up everyone I could find. I eventually found Martin buying some boots, so left him be for a while. The show had plenty to see, and I entered a competition to win an [5] - which hopefully I'll get because it'll save me shelling out the money to buy one!

By the time we'd walked round the show a couple of times I was weighed down with brochures, and feeling the effects of perhaps a few too many [6]. I did briefly think about queuing for a free [7], but the last time I had one it really hurt, so I thought I'd give it a miss. Perhaps the only annoying point of the evening came when some random wench stepped on my [8] - clumsy bitch. I should've had words with her.

I left the show at about eight, jumped in my [9], and headed home. Now I'm watching the telly, although to be honest, I quite fancy an [10].


And as a reward for all your hard work - here's a picture of a David Hasselhoff snowboard.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I love comic books. I love the pulpiness of them, I love the format, the low-quality paper, the fact that they often don't make a hell of a lot of sense.

But more than anything, I love the dialogue. How cool is it that the characters speak while they're getting pounded into the ground by crap villain of the month?

"Ouch! He's bitch-slapped me up-side the head!"

"Wonder Woman's lasso of truth has ensnared me! I can't help... but... tell... the... truth... YOU LOOK LIKE A MAN!"

"Don't worry - my adamantium-skeleton will protect me from anything - except THAT!"

I made all those up, but you know what I mean. Anyway, I'm currently reading the Superman/Doomsday omnibus which collects all the post death of Supes Doomsday stories into one bargain priced ma-hoo-sive volume. And what did I find within?

Why, this little gem of dialogue:

"No one has ever survived the omega beams - URRRK! - from point blank range."

Note to self: find a way of using "urrrk!" in everyday conversation...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Waiting for a time traveler

Today has been, quite honestly, exceedingly dull. First of all I woke up in exactly the same way as I did yesterday - that is, I woke up, thought I'd have 'a little while longer,' which subsequently turned into about another 30 minutes.


Anyway, I'm always the first into the office in the morning, and have noticed recently that someone has, at some point in the last week, decided to oil the padlock on the front gate. And by oil the padlock I mean that rather than spray a little WD40 into the lock, they appear to have dunked it into a barrel of crude. No kidding, I'm basically covered in it; it's all over my hands and keys. And quite frankly if I'd wanted a job where I had oily hands I'd've been a fluffer.

Moving on: I don't know whether I'm getting used to a lack of hearing, or if the drops are actually having some sort of effect, but I've certainly not noticed being deaf today. Still, I'm hedging my bets and not telling anyone because it's actually a great excuse for ignoring people you don't want to talk to.


I don't know why today has been boring. I've been comfortably busy, which is nestled somewhere nicely between 'have nothing to do' and 'WHOA! Too much work.' Maybe it was all the expectation of meeting a seven-foot tall woman from the 31st century with a killer rack after yesterday's letter to the future?

I was at Starbucks at the appointed time, but alas there no amazonian time travelers - at least not that I saw. Still I expect they have some kind of temporal prime directive to stop them from fiddling with the timeline. But, y'know, a nod or a wink just to let me know wouldn't do any harm. And I swear I won't tell ANYONE.


Anyway, I sat outside Starbucks again, on a table next to two office ladies. Annoyingly, though, they were later joined by about five more ladies, who then looked at me sternly as I sat there nursing my grande misto and listening to my iPod, obviously in the hope that I'd leave and free up a chair. One of them stood with her arse practically in my face, obscuring much of my view onto the Hammersmith Road. In protest, I sat there a bit longer than I normally would, and even made a couple of 'faux attempts' at leaving when actually I was just adjusting my seating position. I'm such a tease! I considered staying there until they had to leave, but I was a tad disheartened at the lack of time travelers, so I eventually left.

My general air of disinterest continued into the afternoon, during which time I even asked Xfm DJ Shaun Keaveny if he could bring forward one of his regular features to alleviate my boredom. He said no, which, I suppose, is fair enough.

Things have perked up now, however! I've just had a lovely dinner, followed by a quite wonderful coffee, made using my new milk frother. Two things to remember in future, however:

1. Insert frother into milk BEFORE activation.
2. Milk is NOT a good interior d├ęcor option; it tends to run down the walls.


In my boredom today, I started searching through you tube, and look what I found - some gems from The Adam and Joe Show! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A day in history

Today, I discovered, is the day of Britland's biggest blog. No, not something that's difficult to flush down the toilet, rather an attempt to record the events of an average day in British history, in blog form, for future generations (who can then no doubt jump in their time machines and come back to experience it for themselves, thus screwing up the proper timeline and destroying the very future they've come from - I'VE SEEN BACK TO THE FUTURE, I KNOW HOW THIS WORKS!).


Anyway, putting aside plans to go down the gym (any ol' excuse these days), I've decided to detail a full day in the life of Sparky, as it unfolded on October 16th 2006, for my rocket-boot wearing, Mars colonising, genetically-engineered descendents.


Dear people of the future,

I found out today about this great idea to encourage loads of people to document the events of their day for future generations to read and hopefully gain a bit of insight into the lives of their early 21st century ancesters, and I thought "WOO-HOO! I'll give that a go." So here it is - October 16th 2006 from my point of view.

I woke up this morning at 6:30am. It was still dark outside, so I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

I woke up again at 7:05am, and although it was still darkish, I decided I should probably get up. I went into my bathroom, had a wash and brushed my teeth. Then I got dressed - jeans, t-shirt, and trainers (because I can dress casually at work), grabbed my stuff, and jumped in my car (not literally - I had to unlock it and get in the door, truth be told). The journey into work - from Shepperton to Hammersmith - takes about 40 minutes on a good day, although as there's some road closures in the Twickenham area it's taking a bit longer at the moment. There's also talk that the mayor of London is fiddling with the traffic lights to cause congestion in the west to justify his congestion charge extension zone. I don't want to dwell on politics, but between you and me it wouldn't surprise me. I hope politicians aren't as deceitful and swarmy in the future.

Oh, and Sir Richard Attenborough drove past me in the opposite direction, which was a bit surreal because it was like seeing Father Christmas driving past.

Anyway, I got into work, made a cup of tea, ate a bowl of cereal (Sainsbury's triple chocolate crunch - it's basically oats and rice and chocolate, but the oaty aspect at least makes me think I'm being healthy), and looked at some pages on the internet.

After a while, I did some work (I edit some Star Trek magazines for the UK and Japan), sporadically stopping to check my email, answer phone calls from people trying to get us to take on staff we don't need, and chat to some colleagues, mainly about what was on the telly last night. To be honest though, I'm having a bit of difficulty chatting to people at the moment because I've got a build-up of wax in my ears, and there's such a long waiting list to get them syringed that I'll be hard of hearing until December; despite this, our politicians tell us that the NHS has "never been better!" although I'm pretty sure a lot of people disagree with this, especially the doctors and nurses who work all the hours they can and get paid very little.

Oops, there I was talking politics again.

Where was I? Oh, yes... So about 12:30 I took my lunchtime and wandered down to Hammersmith. I go down their pretty much every lunchtime to get a coffee from Starbucks; mostly I go for the walk - it's nice to just get out of the office and clear your head for a while. I listen to my iPod on the walk down - today I listened to a mixture of songs, including David Bowie, The Killers, Foo Fighters, and The Rolling Stones (are they still touring in the future?).

I got to Starbucks to find it was really busy. Apparently it's one of the top 25 fastest growing branches in the UK. Blimey! In fact, it was so busy that I had to sit outside with my coffee, although that was OK because it's quite warm, which is unusual for mid-October.

The afternoon was spent doing basically the same as the morning - checking emails and editing some text.

Around 4:30pm I left work, got in my car, and drove round to my parent's house. I moved out last year, but still go round to see them a few times each week. And after a lovely dinner (chicken and chips), I came home, checked my email, looked at some of my favourite websites, and wrote an entry on my blog.

As for the rest of the day... well, I'm going to watch a programme on TV about the world's first face transplant in about half an hour, then I'll probably read my book, and go to bed about 11:30pm. Exciting, huh?

Anyway, I hope the future is exciting for you, and you all have rocket boots and flying (non-poluting) cars; sorry if my generation left the world in a bit of a state - although I hope we tidied it up a bit before we went (rude if we didn't). And if you've got a time machine, why not pop back and say "Hi!" I'll be in Starbucks on Hammersmith Road tomorrow at about 1pm-ish! Alternately, you could try re-animating me in the future, because I'd love to see how things are going. But don't re-animate me if I'm going to turn out like some weird zombie; however much fun the future is, I don't want to experience it as a weird zombie.

So that was my day. Pretty average, actually!

Good bye, future people!



There. I hope that proves insightful for future generations.

Something that amused me today was all this talk by some scientificy people who reckon that future humans will have evolved so that they all stand about seven feet tall, all the women have pert boobs, and all the men have big tinkies. And, they reckon that there'll also be a stunted troglodyte worker class who'll just be a bunch of munters with saggy boobs and tiny tinkies.

I'll let you know if I'm confronted by a seven-foot tall big-boobed visitor from the 31st century tomorrow.

(Unless she abducts me to the fuuuuuuuuuture!)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday monday

I took today off work because I'd arranged to have a telly aerial put up on my house. Silly me, didn't realise that the house didn't have an aerial when I bought it. Anyway, I've been toddling along on cable TV quite happily for the past 10 months, but I've decided I really need to make an effort and get those fiddly little bits that I keep meaning to get done, done.

So, telly aerial: Done. I can now look at teletext on my huuuuuge screen. Awesome. Aaaand, I can get a PVR recorder in anticipation of all my favourite shows starting up again soon, and also giving me the ability to go out and not worry about missing One Tree Hill on a Sunday evening.

Quite helpfully, the guy who did the installation accidently drilled a hole in the wrong place in my bedroom. And that's actually not a bad thing, because it made me go out and buy some polyfiller, which then gave me the excuse to fill the holes in the bathroom wall that former-owner left when she took down all the odd little shelves that she'd put up ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE. I swear, I reckon I basically reconstructed one wall with polyfiller after I first got the house.

Anyway, I like filling holes, I do.

So with the bathroom holes filled that pretty much means that I should by all rights decorate the bathroom soon. To be honest, it's not going to be a big job (did I just say 'big job'?), just a lick of paint. It's kind of funny, really, because it's a year on the 21st since I got the house, and a year on the 22nd since I began the mammoth redecoration process, so maybe October is official Sparky decorating month?

Hmmm... either way, I quite like the symmetry.


After telly man had vamoosed, I decided to ring the district nurse about my ears. Funny, though, seems I'm not on the waiting list like the receptionist at the doctors told me I would be... And the earliest appointment I can get is... DECEMBER.


So, with my sternest expression applied, I walked down to the doctors to 'discuss' with the receptionist why she hadn't... well, done her job, to be honest.

I stood at the reception window, and she peered at me over her glasses like a stern old school ma'am.

"I just called the district nurse only to find that you've not put me on the waiting list like you told me you would."

"Well, I told you that you would have to see the doctor fir-"

"Which I did. If you RECALL I saw the doctor at 17:30 [I always use militeristic terms when I'm angry, or being super precise for that matter] last monday. He told me that I should call the district nurse, and YOU said you'd do it for me. Apparently you did not."


"And now it looks like I'll have to wait until December for my ears to be syringed."

"Oh... in that case I must apologise. It seems I had a rush of blood to ... somewhere else."

I was going to make a snide comment about how she should reserve her sordid James Stewart-based daydreams for her own time, but I thought my point had been sufficiently made. I sneered, and walked out.

While I believe I have won this moral victory, of greater concern is the fact that I genuinely can't hear my alarm clock in the morning.



I finally got round to experimenting with the handheld milk-frothing thingy that I bought from Ikea the other week. It is AWESOME.

It cost only 99p, yet is amazingly effective! It frothed milk for my coffee superbly. I reckon I could hang it out the back of a row boat to create a rudimentary outboard motor.

And cleaning it was great too. I Just dipped it in the washing up bowl, activated its warp drive, and let it clean itself.

This also had the unforeseen effect of reviving the bubbles in the bowl for the remaining washing up - RESULT!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday in review

I'd set my alarm clock to wake me up at around 8:30 this morning, but me being me, I managed to turn it off in my sleep (yes, I actually can do that), and thus woke up some two hours later.

My grand plan for today revolved around a quick jaunt into Kingston, as all Saturday's seem to be consisting of recently. My sole reason for this was to move some cash between accounts, and in hindsight you'd think I could've done this during last week's cushion expedition to Kingston. I probably could, but quite frankly I do like going to Kingston.

So I tottered off, moved money, had a lovely coffee, and witnessed some extreme emo-ing.

Now, I think I'm going to draw a line under this whole emo thing, because I honestly don't think it'll get any better than this; today's emo-encounter was amazing.

Somehow, a group of young emos in their stripey tops and skinny jeans had managed to get themselves caught up in a length of video tape, and were fighting to break free. I suppose for a generation used to CDs and mp3s the humble and archiac video tape can be quite a frightening thing, especially when you snap open a video cassette and the next thing you know you're being entangled by what appears to be 15 miles of sinewy film.

Alas, I was not able to hang around to watch the outcome of this incredible emo Vs video tape encounter, but I like to think that they were horribly strangled and died a long and painful death.

No doubt some heartwrenching and angst-ridden soft rock anthems will be written about their tragic demise by some lank-haired musicians wearing NHS glasses and cardigans stolen from their nans.

When I got home I decided that I really should pump up the tyres on my car, because it has seemed to be pulling to the left quite a lot over the last few... er, months? And yes, my portable pump-o-matic agreed with me in a fashion that, had it been the robot from Lost in Space, it would've waved its wibbly arms around and shouted "WARNING!" a fair bit.

I thus proceeded to pump said tyres, and seriously looked like I knew what I was doing. I had dirty hands and everything.

The afternoon was spent reading my current book of choice, which is thus far a tad hit and miss, although there's some Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez stuff in it towards the end, so I'll crack on regardless.

Evening saw a trip to Sparky Ma and Pa's, where Sparky Ma was experimenting with some kind of Italian-style meal, which was lovely, followed by The X-Factor, which saw Simon and I proceed to take the mickey out of the girl with the vending-machine teeth.

Now I'm back home, writing this, and wondering if I should watch Almost Famous, which Simon has lent me because, for some inexplicable reason I've not yet seen it and everyone, including me, thinks I'll really like it, but I'm a bit knacked and I quite fancy an early-ish night. Also, I really don't think I'd be able to appreciate it in my current state; my hearing has degraded AGAIN, and I'm pretty sure the songs won't work quite as well with subtitles.

Friday, October 13, 2006

El Deanio time

I was looking forward to today for one very good reason: today was the day I was meeting up with El Deanio for the first time in a long time, and for the first time since he'd become a daddy. 'The Daddy,' you could say - to the cutest little baby on the planet, I might add.

Anyway, I went prepared; in league with Yaz, I spent lunchtime perusing Shepherds Bush's finest sports shops looking for baby trainers as a belated gift. I settled on a pair of Nike Racer Low with velcro straps (makes El Deanio's life easier, I figured). They're a tad to big for the little fella, but I figured El Deanio has already got him some trainers in his current size, and as I doubt he'll be getting any smaller these give him something to grow into. The shop assistant was not amused when I asked if I could try them on.

Anyway, here's what they look like with a Starbuck's mug (grande size) for comparison):

So in late afternoon I wandered up town (second time this week - must be some kind of record!), and met El Deanio in Baker Street. I was "winding my way down to Baker Street," as Gerry Rafferty might say.

It was awesome - it was genuinely like we'd only seen each other last week, when in fact it's been a year. We had a Nandos, then wandered through town a bit. And El Deanio, who is renowned for dispensing profound statements on such a regular basis that we once covered an entire notice board with them (when one of Jack Nicholson's teeth was auctioned a few years back he commented "You want the tooth? You can't handle the tooth!") proved just how happy he is to be a dad when he said "You don't know love till your son has pissed on your Paul Smith suit."

That, my friends, is definitely the sign of one proud parent.


My car up and announced yesterday that it wants to be serviced. Not in that way, you dirty buggers! No, it wants its oily bits checked (don't we all?). Anyway, I phoned up the dealer today, and was damned lucky to find that they can actually get me a courtesy car sooner than about four years away! Yes, I can have one the week after next - amazing! (Just goes to show that when I moaned last time someone actually paid attention).

Anyway, I drive a Mini. And do you know what sort of courtesy car I'm getting?

Another Mini, you say?


I'm getting a BMW 5-Series.

That's right - a big-ass uber-powerful executive barge that's about twice the size of my Mini! Awesome-squared!!

Now I do love my Mini SOOOOOOO MUCH, but I also love the chance to drive other cars, specifically other people's cars, safe in the knowledge that I can give them back at the end of the day and get my car back all washed and shiny. And the 5-Series is going to be sweet... I'm sorely tempted to take the day off work and just drive it around West Londinium.


Thursday, October 12, 2006


Oh, heh, this is funny!

Popped round to see Sparky Ma and Pa tonight. Seems that Sparky Ma found a pair of undercrackers of mine from a good four years or so ago at the bottom of the airing cupboard today. We can only surmise that they'd fallen down there pretty much the same day I'd put them in there, and have laid there like some undiscovered archeaological gem just waiting for Indiana Jones to find!


Sparky Ma washed 'em, and might've even ironed them (must check for precision crease) - new pants for me tomorrow!


Emo girl has posted just THE BEST bulletin evah:

Fake whores on myspace.



pisses me off tbh

Man, she's so awesome! I'm definitely not deleting her from my friends list!

Get out of my bubble

Have you noticed recently that people seem to be a lot more ... pushy than they used to be? I was up-town yesterday evening, and the amount of people who just walked towards me like they were a bowling ball and I was the pin is unbelievable. There was barging, changes of direction without warning... pedestrians just seem a lot less organized than they used to be.

And it's not just central Londinium that is plagued by these people - it's everywhere! My lunchtime wandering into Hammersmith has become a constant struggle against a tide of power-walking business people, dazed oldies, spackerish school children, and damned dawdlers.

My observations have led to me break down society's various pavement pounders into these easy to manage categories:

1) The office worker: Generally the office worker strides out of their office bang on one o'clock, power-walking in their expensive leather shoes toward Pret a Manger to get a low-fat sandwich (to go). Their power-walking tendencies suggest that they want to be percieved as important, busy, and efficient. We all know they're lazy, good-for-nothing time-wasters who don't actually know what they are doing, and so generally hand all their work over to the office junior to do for them.

Office workers occasionally head out en masse, striding side-by-side down the pavement, giving way to no one. And when they bump into you, they will undoubtedly blame you, and call you a naughty word. Possibly one beginning with 'C.'

2) The oldies: Does exactly what it says on the tin. Oldies dawdle, pushing their tartan wheelie-bins around and often stopping for no reason, and without warning. Oldies appear to move in slow motion, but can be deceptively quick to get in your way if you try to overtake them.

3) Mummies. Ugh, with pushchairs and brat-children. Every bit as bad as oldies, but you know they've actually got the common sense to be polite and move out of your way, or at the very least make a little room to let you by; they never do, however, and that makes them complete bitches.

Mummies in pairs should be avoided at all costs, because THEY WILL NOT LET YOU BY, and reporting to your local NHS walk-in centre with pushchair tyre-marks across your face can be embarrassing.

4) Mobilies. Mobilies are a sub-species of office workers, but they use the fact that they are holding their phone to their heads (while conducting THE most important phone call in the history of important phone calls) as an excuse to look down at the ground as they walk, putting all responsibility on you for moving out of the way. Mobilies continue on a straight path until they end their call or reach the end of the pavement.

ADDITIONAL WARNING: Mobilie fag-break. The mobilie fag-break hangs around outside their office with a cigarette in one hand, and the phone in the other. They also only look at the ground, but will pace up and down. Do not get stuck behind one - they will turn on a moments notice and bash into you, causing your double latte to spill down your front. They are twats.

5) Crazies: They are crazy. Crossover the road my friends, cross over the road.

6) Paper-pushers: a relatively new development, thanks to TheLondonPaper and London Lite. They will try everything to force their free newspapers on you, even if you're already holding copies of each. Here's a headline for you: Paper-pusher beaten unconscious by pedestrian driven mad by free newspapers! It will happen - do not test me!

7) Charity muggers: The lowest of the low. They will jauntily accost you in the street with happy-happy greetings before springing their devious tales of charity woe upon you. Ignore them, slap them, pepper-spray them - they must be stopped!

8) General nobwits. The general nobwit is anyone who does not fall into any of the above catergories. They're just ignorant and fail to understand why they should give a little room if they can barge you out of the way.

All of their above are a common sight on Britland's high streets these days, and the one annoying habit they share is that they all seem willing and able to invade my bubble at every opportunity. My bubble (the spherical personal space encompassing my general area) is not to be breached unless you are invited.

I do not like having my bubble violated.

Step away from the bubble.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

To good to miss

So I read with interest that Madonna flew into ... some African country and picked up this season's MUST-HAVE celebrity accessory:

A small boy.

Yes, she boug- erm, adopted, a small boy. And he's called David.


You can imagine the poor little blighter waking up after his first night in the care of ol' Madge to see her looming over him, screeching...



Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Weirdy beardy

Did anyone see the first episode of the new Robin Hood on Saturday? I didn't, but I've just watched a repeat, so technically I did.

Shit wasn't it?

I sorta wanted to like it, but it was all a bit too cliched for my liking. Look - ta-da! There's a comedy side-kick! Look - they've made it all modern-like by having him wear a hoodie; Robin Hood, hoodie - d'ya geddit? Oh, what a wheeze...

And I know the BBC probably threw a lot of money at it, but c'mon... it looks like it was filmed in and around one crappy house set. Seriously, I half expected Robin to open the front door of his manor only to walk into the Sheriff of Nottingham's bathroom (who would, of course, be in the bath with a hair net on, comically clutching a rubber duckie). We all know Doctor Who is filmed on a Cardiff council estate, but at least they show the odd corner shop and the London Eye every now and then.

And talking of the Sheriff - I've pretty much lost all respect for Keith Allen since he unleashed his daughter on us. I was watching this, half picturing him with boobs, smudgy make-up, and wearing a ball gown, waiting for him to start singing about pimps and crackwhores. I don't know what's more disturbing - the fact that I genuinely could picture it, or the fact that I was thinking about it in the first place.

Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Anyway, I digress. The real thing that I noticed about Robin Hood is that, in the same way that Doctor Who has got people wearing Converse trainers and pinstripe suits, Hoodie's fashion statement seems to be edging toward the fashionable beard. And by fashionable beard I don't mean like Mel Gibson's crazy beard. No, because it looks like he's in the process of swallowing Don King, which is NOT COOL.

Yes, I know that beard's have been around for a long time, but all of a sudden they seem to be catching on. They suggest something... Look how masculine I am; look, I really have gone through puberty; look, I really need a razor or some fashion sense.

And I'm not immune to this beardy sensibility. I've sported everything from a little bit of chin fluff, to a goatee, to the 'boomerang' (beard without sideburns or moo-tache), to super-massive Wolverine-style sidees (which, if I can find a picture of, I might be tempted to post). And I'm currently semi-bearded up with what I think is a neato sort of moo-tache/chin-fluff combo (it's not quite full on beard, it's definitely not a Craig David shaped beard). I think it conveys a certain slightly edgy, lovable rogue sorta look.

Either that or it just says spacker can't shave properly.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Emo girl

I've come to the conclusion that Myspace is, for the most part, a pretty weird place.

First of all, it's riddled with bugs, and glitches.

Secondly... it's all very vacuous, isn't it? Ooo, we're an up-and-coming new band, listen to us and then you can say you were our friend if/when we ever make it big. Or, ooo, I'm just seeing how many friends I can collect because then I can say I've got five million friends. Or, ooo, come look at me on my sexy webcam as I do sexy things for free. Did I mention I'm sexy (jiggle jiggle)?

Over the last couple of weeks I've had so many bands and bored slutty 18 year olds with webcams asking to be my friend that I've pretty much gone on a 'deny friend' frenzy.

And I'll be the first to admit that out of the people who are on my friends list, I think I only genuinely know one of them; on the other hand, the vast majority of other people on the list are bands or people whose lives or work interest me (no, really, I actually don't know George Takei personally!). Finally,there's the people who just asked to be my friend, and I clicked 'approve' because it didn't require as much effort as moving the mouse to the 'deny' option.

And that's where emo girl comes into the equation. Emo girl is not her real name, but is what my one and only real Myspace friend referred to her as; he doesn't know her specifically either, but used the term emo girl as a loose description of this specific teenage sub-genre.

For those of you who have used Myspace, you'll know that there's several different ways of getting in touch with your friends; there's mail (obviously), instant message (it sends messages - instantly!), and there's bulletin (which allows you to send an exciting message to all your friends simultaneously). And for those of you that don't use Myspace... well, I just told you how it works.

Bulletins are a great way for bands, for example, to let you know if they've got some gigs coming up. Emo girl is not in a band, but she bulletins anyway.


She bulletins to say she is bored. She bulletins to say she wants to chat to someone PC to PC. She bulletins to say's just added new friends. She bulletins to say she's just been added as a new friend. She bulletins to say she'd like a kitten. She bulletins to say bye. She bulletins to say she wants a cup of tea; well get up off your fat arse and make one, slacker.

Seriously, she must sit at her computer ALL DAY. She can't work, and she's definitely not in education because her spelling is just awful.

And yet, I can't quite bring myself to delete her...

I suppose it's a little bit like watching a monkey flinging it's own poo around; it really shouldn't be allowed, and yet we just can't help but find it intriguing...


You'll all be super-pleased to know that I went to the doctors today about my manky ears. Yes, they're bunged up and you'll need them syringed, he told me. Well, dur.

Anyway, he's given me some sodium bicarbonite ear drops, and told me that he'll sort me out with an appointment to see the district nurse so she can do the dirty work and flush 'em out. Doctor's these days just don't want to get involved in the nitty-gritty, do they? If it's not a ruptured spleen you've got to go on a waiting list. Yes, I said a waiting list - 10 bloomin' days!

I can feel the pressure in my head increasing. Next time I feel the need to sneeze I'm going to pinch my nose and mouth shut and hope it all goes flying out my ears.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Getting on my wick

So I finally got annoyed enough with my ear to try a hopi ear candle today. And the result of this incredible, age-old mystical form of treatment?

Well, a bit rubbish, to be honest.

I picked up a couple this morning (one for each ear) while in Staines, and the woman in the shop said that although she'd never used them, a lot of customers raved about them (this gave me a mental image of some people using ear candles like glow sticks and getting off their tits in a field). I smiled, and walked off with the miracle cure clutched in my grubby little paws.

Half an hour later I was at Sparky Ma and Pa's, and Sparky Ma was reading the instructions to the hopi ear candles and occasionally reading bits out in a slightly dubious 'this hippy-crap ain't really gonna work' kinda way.

So I rested my head on the table, Ma whacked a candle in my ear, lit it - and we were away.

Dum-dee-dum-dee-dee... There's not really much you can do while the ear candle smoulders away in your ear, and the flames you can see licking away in your peripheral vision are kind of disconcerting. This is probably why they advise you to close your eyes and enjoy the mystical, erm, experience...

Anyway, 10-12 minutes later and the candle was down to the filter (it's actually more like an ear cigarette). I opened my eyes, ready to tilt my head upright and for the floodgates to open and all the lovely wax to come flooding out an-


That's right. Nothing happened.

Actually, that's a lie. There was a little bit of ear goo. Damned thing didn't even make me feel high.

So I sat there, watching The X-Factor repeat and taking the mickey out of the little 16 year-old who cries all the time thinking what a waste of money those bloody candles were.

File under - Diagnosis: Rubbish.

The search for a cure continues...

More You Tube...

... And two more reasons to bow down to the genius that is William Shatner.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Old school

"Well now we're respected in society
We don't worry about the things that we used to be
We're talking heroin with the president
Well it's a problem, sir, but it can't be bent
Uh yes!
Well now you're a pillar of society
You don't worry about the things that you used to be
You're a rag-trade girl, you're the queen of porn
You're the easiest lay on the White House lawn"
- 'Respectable,' The Rolling Stones

I popped to Kingston today, mainly because I'd seen some cushions that I thought would go lovely with my sofa; chocolate brown, £7 each, and three for the price of two. Bargain.

Then I thought...

I used to be so hardcore, and now I'm all about the soft furnishings. When did that happen?

I've been thinking about time, recently. Even more so since last night's badminton - it brought back a lot of memories from years ago. Y'see, I first started playing badminton with those people when I was at school; we all met at a badminton night class I ended up going to when I was... 16? 17? Gosh. Those were the days; I loved my days in the sixth form - good friends, dedication to the specific subjects I adored. Good times.

Easier times, in fact.

And then the years sort of slip by without you actually paying any attention ... and I'm wondering at what point I stopped being the carefree 16 year-old and became the 28 (neeeeeearly 29) year old with responsibilities. A different life, and maybe a different person?

(And don't anyone post a comment saying "when you turned 17," thank you)

Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing my life now. I love it: I'm physically fitter than I've ever been, I've got a wealth of experience behind me, interests and hobbies I would never have considered before, and I've got the most amazing bunch of friends I could possibly hope for (many, like Sweatband, Yaz, Mr Chunt, Marcosy, Comics pal Graham, and El Deanio who I've met through work, as well as you out there in bloggerland too – you know who you are). You could say I've become the sort of person that I was trying to be all those years ago.

And yet...

You'll laugh, but one of the most profound things I've ever heard came from Star Trek (and no, it was not "fire photon torpedoes," although that is also quite profound now that I come to think about it):

"Have we two, you and I, grown so old ... and so inflexible ... that we have outlived our usefulness?"

That sentence struck a chord with me the first time I heard it, for some reason, and it's still with me now. I became an editor when I was young - about 21, in fact. I've never really told anyone this, but at the time I didn't feel ready, and in the back of my mind I always thought I'd have the excuse that I was too young to be in such a position of authority - running a team of people, with deadlines and all that grown-up stuff - if I needed it. I didn't, but it was reassuring to know it was an option. And now it's not there anymore.

And now I'm seeing young(er) people coming up in similar roles, and I don't feel unique anymore, yet I don't feel older, and I still have my dreams to fulfill, and I'm not ready to pass the torch because this, here and now, is still my time (Raaaah!).

You can never go back, can you? And if you could, would you want to?

I suppose I'm rallying against the constrictions that being grown-up places on us. The nine-to-five, the bills, other people's expectations, etc.

Because sometimes you just feel like you want to go climb a damned rock, huh?

So this has all been kinda serious, huh? Sorry, I just thought I'd write it because it seemed like it'd been in my head for a while. Maybe this'll exorcise it. I don't know.

(Whoa! My iTunes is *SO* catching my 'nod-to-the-past' vibe! Steve Winwood - 'Higher Love'? BRING. IT. ON!)

As for the post heading, well, I think that has something to do with the fact that it's been 10 years since I left school, and that seems like quite a momentous occasion because in the intervening years everything has changed. Do you know, I barely know anyone I went to school with anymore. And if I did see anyone, I might try to pretend that I didn't know them. I've always said that if there was a school reunion I wouldn't go for the sheer fact that if I wanted to be in touch with those people I would've made the effort to stay in touch with them. That and the fact that I don't feel like I have anything to prove. I've survived out here in the world and I've made my mark, however big or small it may be.

Maybe I should've called this post 'Defiance'?

Anyway, so there's no punchline to this. No gag. But I kinda hope you get where I'm coming from. Because too many people use excuses such as being "too old" and "can't be bothered" to stop them from exposing themselves to new and exciting things.

Yeah, kid, you might be a stock market whizz kid, but do you know how a warp plasma conduit works? No, I didn't think so.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Getting my cock out for the first time in two years

Yes you read that right - I've just played badminton!

Wha...? What the hell did you think I meant, perverts?!


Anyway, as I might've mentioned at some point, I used to play badminton. A LOT. I ran a club, became a qualified instructor, and made the ladies swoon with my awe-inspiring technique (I could've made another cock reference then, but your filthy minds are already running hot) and adonis-like physique (you may add your own smutty joke her, I shall allow it just this once).

As tends to happen though, things fall by the wayside after a while, and as the club night was Friday, I eventually began to stop ... going (being in my twenties, Friday's are generally an awfully inconvenient night I tell you!). And despite constant texts, emails, and prodding from my former club, badminton faded into the mists of time... (what a romantic way of saying 'I stopped going').

Until tonight, that is.

Yes - tonight I returned in all my racquet-wielding, cock-smacking glory! (This is truly the dirtiest, and yet most innocently intended post I've EVER written - I JUST CAN'T HELP IT).

To be honest, I expected to be a bit spacker-tastic, and was pleasantly surprised that I could still hit the cock with relative ease. And I was astounded to find that I've gone down in club lore; when introduced to a relative newbie he replied "Oh, are you the guy that can play with the racquet in either hand?"

Why yes I am, my friend; watch and learn. WATCH. AND. LEARN.

There were a couple of things that held me back from the true, absolute greatness of years gone by:

• Hair. As my hair is really quite long now, I'd not anticipated that it would get in my eyes. Which was a bit of a pain; must utilise baseball cap next time, trendily reversed to provide unhindered vision.

• Deafness. I had to keep explaining to people that I'm slightly deaf, and if they shouted "you get it," they'd better actually turn to face me so I could lip read. Otherwise I wouldn't hear a damn thing and would just stand there like a simpleton. I genuinely am running out of variations on the word "what!?"

Here's a few choice quotes from the evening:

• "How am I supposed to know the bloody score?"

• "You- Oops."

• "Bugger" (in Captain Jack stylee).

• "Whack it into his face!"

• "Smack it you bitch!"

• "Where's the cock?"

• "SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT" (actually a drawn out version of 'Shot,' not 'shoot')

All in all it was a very worthwhile and entertaining evening. And by god, I've still got it!

Some stuff

I've been looking through the photos that were taken of the run on Sunday, and while Scanner Dave appears in one, and Sweatband apparently appears in three (!), I don't appear in any.

Now, initially this royally pissed me off. Don't they f-BLEEEEEEEEEP-ing know who I am? I was on friggin' Radio 2 for crying out loud.

Then I realised why I wasn't in any of the pictures, and I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier.

I was running too fast for the cameras to capture.


(If you wanted to have a look at the Sparky-less images, go here and follow the links to Hampton Court. My number was 2352 if you wanted to look for me)


There's a florist in Molesey called The Buttonhole.

At least, it was until some enterprising young urban terrorist, er, removed some of the letters from the front of the shop so it is now called, yes, you guessed it, The Butt hole.

Awesome in the extreme.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

You Tube a-go-go!

I've not got time to write a super long post today. Y'see, now that I've been on the radio, I'm sitting by the phone waiting for the calls to start. And they will start.




In the meantime - I've been scouring You Tube for things to amuse you all.

And so - especially for Miss T:

And next - is it a child? Is it a midget? Is it a tiny clone of James Brown? Quite frankly, who cares - just watch him bust some awesome moves:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

In review

"Your part's not very big."

"It's about the same length as Patrick Stewart's."

And thus began the acclaim for my guest starring role on Radio 2's Star Trek documentary.

Although I think I sounded a bit special, everyone very kindly seems to be suggesting that I actually said something that came across as being reasonably intelligent (bless you - I thought that I was the deaf one).

Marcosy even said that I sounded "erudite," although as I don't know what that means, that suggests that I'm probably not the thinking man who I suggested might watch Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Which probably explains why I prefer Star Trek II where lots of stuff gets blown up.

*Scurries off to dictionary ... E-R... E-R-U... Oh... Oh, why yes, yes I am!*

All in all then: Hurrah!


Jo sent me this picture, saying she figured I was the only one who of her friends who would find it funny:

You may choose your own punchline, depending on how you think I would respond:

a) I don't get it.
b) Filthy bitch!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Radio ga-ga

I finally got my copy of the Radio 2 Star Trek documentary (featuring yours truly) through the post today, and dutifully abandoned all work in order to listen to it. It's pretty good - although the focus has changed somewhat since I actually did the interview; at the time, the producer told me that it was only about the Star Trek movies, so that's all we spoke about. Now, however, some intelligent soul has clearly realised that it's the 40th anniversary year, and they've changed it to cover all of Star Trek. Meaning I only feature for about 15 seconds; yes, I'm only getting 15 seconds of fame (time is clearly short these days). Mind you, when it also features Leonard Nimoy, I think it's probably best that they dial back the Sparky in favour of the Spocky.

On a side note, every time I hear Nimoy speak I'm reminded how massively cool he is. Wait till you hear the story about him being invited to CalTech...

Anyway, back to me as this is my blog after all. How do I rate my performance? Well, I'm not quite as spackerish as I expected, but do you ever get that feeling when you hear the sound of your own voice that you come across as sounding ... well, a bit odd? I do. I always think I sound reasonably cool, and chirpy, and cheeky. But not here (but then again I am half deaf at the moment, so I'm surprised I can actually hear anything). Maybe it's because Patrick Stewart appears shortly after me, and I'm not afraid to admit that he's just got the dreamiest voice ever. On the plus side, he also only appears for about 15 seconds, which I think officially gives me the right to list my appearance as a 'cameo,' or 'special guest star.'

On the downside, though, they do present me as a writer from Starburst magazine; I haven't written for Starburst in about six years! And, erm, hello! I've been editor of four different Star Trek magazines over the last seven years!! Harumph.

Finally, though, I must admit I'm relieved they chose not to use my quote about Star Trek Nemesis. I was asked what my thoughts were on the most recent film, and being Mr Diplomatic Star Trek Editor my response was (and I remember it verbatim):

"Star Trek Nemesis? Oh, it's just a cheap rip-off of Star Trek II..."

And coming from someone who actually quite enjoyed Nemesis, it's probably best they cut that...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Waxing lyrical

Because you demanded it, and by 'you demanded it' I actually mean 'because no one demanded it,' it's time for an ear update!

Well, to be honest there's not actually been that much excitement on this front. I've been putting my ear drops in, and they fizz and pop away like a fizzing-poppy thing, then it tickles, and I giggle for a bit. Then it tickles some more, and I try prodding it. Then it tickles even more, so I ram some toilet paper in there and it comes out all brown and skanky (rather like Victoria Beckham after a trip to the tanning salon, I imagine).

That said, I'm pretty sure there's been some movement within my ear, which has led me to one conclusion.

Yes, like Pavel Chekov in Star Trek II, I've been infiltrated by a Ceti Eel.

On the plus side, no one's tried to make me kill Admiral Kirk or shoot myself in the head yet.

I tell you something, though: it's sure gonna hurt when that little bugger pushes its way out. I might have to take a day off work to recover.


On a related (sorta) note, I heard the most AMAZING song today. I'm sure you've all heard SexyBack by Justin Timberlake, right? Well, this guy on Myspace has, erm, 'reconfigured' it to make a song that he calls Shatner Back. It's so great that I simply had to ask to be his Myspace friend.

Check it out here, and I defy you not to agree that it's superior in every way to the original!


And on another related topic (music not Star Trek - but did you like how I segued almost seamlessly?), I picked up a copy of Sam's Town, the new album by The Killers, today. As I wrote the other day, I've literally only really gotten into this band recently, but I want to be ahead of the game this time round: it's a superb album. It's got a bit more of a raw edge to it than Hot Fuss, which I appreciate greatly; I think that's one reason why I like the Stones - their albums seem to have a slight ramshackle edge to them, and I prefer their live albums even more.

So, yeah, I reckon I could look super-cool and say you should all check it out. You should check it out. In the meantime, I'm going to sit here and throw a hissy fit over the fact that I've probably missed any chance at seeing them play a venue where they might appear anywhere near real human size...


Can I touch on the run again? No? Humph - rude! Well I'm going to anyway. I feel remarkably super today, aside from the aforementioned kink in the knee, which will, I'm sure, work itself out in due course. Scanner Dave on the other hand is feeling... a tad gentle...

And Sweatband? Well, she appears raring to go for the next one. We'd actually all planned to head to the pub after the run for what I thought was intended to be a celebratory bevvy (it fell through because trying to find a parking space near Hampton Court was impossible); Sweatband informed me today that she actually wanted to engage in a little post-run analysis. ANALYSIS!? Good grief! Sensors indicate it was wet and muddy, that's my analysis!!!

Anyway, we've arranged to meet on Wednesday for, can you believe it, a night run up Richmond Hill.

Three words, my friends, three words: GLUTTON. FOR. PUNISHMENT.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Hampton Court 10k run!

Yes people, today was the day of my second 10k run - the Hampton Court 10k run!

To be honest, things didn't start well; just as I was leaving the house I realised I'd pinned my number on the back of my turquoise monstrosity Tesco-promoting T-shirt, so I had to swap it over. Then it began pissing it down with rain. Then I got stuck in traffic (on a Sunday morning!) on the way to Hampton Court because by the looks of things about four million people had entered.

Anyway, using my cunning knowledge of Hampton's backstreets, I managed to get there eventually. The car park - if you can call it that, as it was essentially a field - was by this time super-muddy. Fortunately the rain had stopped. I got out of my car and it started raining again; forget the 10k, I was number one favourite to win Hampton Court's first wet T-shirt competition (Henry VIII would disapprove, I'm sure). Wet, and muddy, I traversed the deer-poo gauntlet, and bumped into Scanner Dave from work who was also taking part. Eventually we managed to find Sweatband, how was doing hardcore runner things like shouting "C'MON!!!!" at random people and questioning whether there would be distance markers. Collectively we decided not to take part in the mass pilates class that the organisers were putting on in an attempt to get us to warm up; being wet and muddy already we did not feel the need to look like twats as well.

Eventually, the run started, and to be honest I enjoyed it a fair bit more than the last 10k I did, although there were a few TOO many people, which combined with the mud and the rain was a bit off-putting at the beginning. Things improved as the pack spread out a bit, however.

Some points that spring to mind:

• There was some wench who kept running alongside me, then stepping in front of me so that I had to do an emergency jump to the left (having an innate knowledge of the dance moves to the Time Warp definitely helped here). I was very close to pushing her into the mud at one point, and I think I would've been entirely justified. Anyway, how would she have identified me? "He was wearing a turquoise T-shirt?" Ha! Me and everyone else, SUCKER!!!!

• At several points throughout the run there were big signs saying 'WARNING! HAZARD AHEAD!' Gosh, I thought, I wonder what it can be? I mentally prepared for everything from a crocodile pit to those weird stompy metal things they have in the Star Wars movies, and was thus a tad disappointed to find that it was actually either a bit of uneven ground or a change in terrain.

• After my earlier pondering over whether to do the run in fancy dress, I was surprised to see that there was actually only one fancy-dresser. And he, like I had thought about doing, was dressed as Superman. He was doing very well, to be honest, although with the wind and rain he was nevertheless having some cape-related issues.

• There were no deer in evidence... I expect the grounskeepers rounded them up somewhere safe and warm. Or shot them all.

So that was that, basically. I did it a tiny little bit slower than the last 10k I did, which I'm putting down to the weather, but on the plus side I got another medal. On the downside, it's nowhere near as good as my last one; in fact, when they gave it to me all wrapped up in a little plastic sachet I wondered why they were handing out congratulatory condoms. Anyway, here's what it looks like:

Yes, it's a 10 pence piece on a ribbon.

So that's that. I'm off to de-wax my ear again (which is another excuse for going to lie down on the bed, although there will be a wax update - a wax-date if you will - soon... That's something to look foward to, huh?).

Oh, and finally - massive thanks to everyone who sponsored me. All the money you very kindly donated is going to Cancer Research, a cause which is very close to my heart.

Whoa - that was serious! Um... I DID IT FOR YOU GUYS - WOO-WOO!!!!