Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Catching up

Yes, yes, I know, I've been a bad-blogger AGAIN. This is why I don't have kids - I'd forever be putting them to one side while I go off and do other things, then *BAM!* it's three days later and they're up to their waist in poopy.

Anyway, I've got good reason for my absence. Well, not exactly good, because it's been predominantly work-based; basically I've got next week off, so as usual I'm working like a blue-arsed fly to get everything done not only for this week, but also for next. Humph. Let's review the events of the last few days, though.

Sunday was spent doing everything I'd planned to do on Saturday before I was thrown back to cro-magnon times by the lack of electrickery. And this entailed preparing myself for the imminent purchase of a BRAND. NEW. iMAC. Basically, I've decided that if I'm going to be getting a new Mac and an iPhone (at some point), I want to use them to the full extent of their abilities, so I spent a good few hours updating all my address book contents ready for full-on syncing good times. And yes, that means if I've got any contact details for you I've either raided my iPhoto files or your Facebook page for embarrassing photos to sit alongside your phone numbers and email addresses. You sexy lot. Rawr!

I also set up a Gmail account, on account of the fact that they're shit-hot on the whole iPhone-mobile-tinternet thing. Hell, I even became an expert in IT by sorting out all my POP settings AND solving a 'send mail' issue. I'm not afraid to say I felt like a genius that day. If anyone wants my glorious new addy, it's over there on the right.

BEST. READER. EVAH. I picked up a phone call on Monday morning from a reader of one of our new magazines - he wanted to ask about how to get hold of future issues. He was a rather posh-sounding older gentleman, and I answered his questions as best I could. Satisfied, he then said "oh, I'm so glad you've been able to help, because I f**king love that magazine."

I promptly burst out laughing, and subsequently spent the next 10 minutes on the phone to him, during which time he swore like a trooper while regaling me with various stories about himself. Towards the end of the conversation, he told me that he was 60 next year, then asked how old I was.

"Thirty in a couple of weeks," I replied.

"Oh. You poor bugger. Shall I tell you something about growing old?" he said.

"Go on then."

"Well, there are three things about growing old. The first one is that you start to loose your memory."

"Uh huh…" I said.

"And … well, I can't f**king remember the other two."

He was awesome. I hope he calls back sometime.

Met up with Scanner and Yaz for coffee at lunchtime. We were midway through a delightful conversation about … lord, I don't know, ninja-kittens or something, when a diminutive hobo came and stood by our table.

"I've had enough!" he shouted.

Yaz looked at him, and with a completely straight face and a flick of her ciggie, replied "yeah, me too."

He then went into some sort of weird rant about how he'd been to Heaven and met God, and he wanted to fight God, all while prodding Scanner on the arm. I just sat their thinking how he bore an uncanny resemblance to Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins in Lord of the Rings, if Bilbo had had wild hair and a grubby shoelace holding his trousers up. Eventually Scanner had enough of the hobo's prodding.

"I've had enough!" he shrieked before jumping up and shouting "f**k off!"

Bilbo seemed a bit put out by this, and shuffled off. I think he took rather a shine to Scanner.

Lordy, today's been a weird one. For reasons I won't dip into too much, we've been working on a super-massive chronology of the Vulcan race for our latest issue, and it's pretty much pushed me and my colleague in all things Star Trek to breaking point; it was definitely our Everest. After two days in design-land, I finally got my grubby little hands on it late yesterday afternoon, at which point I decided I'd throw myself into it and not stop until it was done. I eventually finished at 2:30am this morning, at which point my dingers were fitting all the krong weys, and I decided I never wanted to see the word 'Vulcan' ever again.

My last act before closing it down and popping it back on the server was to write a large note off to the side of the layout saying 'WE ARE NEVER DOING ANYTHING LIKE THIS AGAIN.'

Fortunately, after sleeping in a bit and wandering into the office at about 11 this morning, my frame of mind was rather less fragile, and we subsequently spent the day tarting it up a bit more and fact-checking the behemoth. Thank God it's done now - I hope it looks awesome in print, and that there's not a caption left on it that reads 'it's 2:30 and I want my mummy…'


And finally… In response to a photo-request from the delightful iPandah, I'm proud to present my Apple OS X Leopard t-shirt. Or iShirt. Or maybe iTee. Whatever - here's my freebie top:

Nice, huh? It's an American Apparel t-shirt too. None of this cheapo nonsense from Steve Jobs, I tells ya.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Zero sparky equals no malarkey

Directly opposite my bed is my little ol' telly, and my little ol' VHS player - bygone relics of the pre-high def era, and carryovers from when I lived in a six-foot square room at Sparky Ma and Pa's. In addition to playing the occasional videotape (how quaint!), the video also plays the far more important role of acting as a glorified clock when I wake up during the night; I just raise my head, stare bleary-eyed at the little blue LCD display, then slump into unconsciousness once again, maybe uttering "jus' 'nother 15 minute…" to no one in particular.

This morning I woke up to find the display blank. Oh, I thought, must be a power cut, before throwing the duvet back over my head and having "jus' 'nother 15 minute…"

I nevertheless had to get up early 'cos the decorator was coming round to start work on my exterior woodwork, so I eventually jumped out of bed and quickly got dressed, because it's been pretty cold lately. I flicked the light switch - nothing - definitely a power cut then. Ooo, chilly - I know what'll warm me up - a cup of tea! And then I remembered that you need to boil water to make tea, and without electricity you can't boil water. Damn. I'll just check my email then.


Surely there's something on telly to take my mind off this?

(I think you get the general idea of how things were going)

Of course it wasn't all rosy for the decorator either; he had to sand everything by hand rather than use his sander, which obviously made his job a lot more difficult. I couldn't even offer him a cuppa. And let's not forget that I'd planned on spending the day Xboxing, watching movies, and faffing about on tinternet.

Anyway, I called the power company on my mobiley (which was running perilously low on juice itself), and they sent some bloke round. "Might just be a fuse in the subsystem," he said cheerfully, giving me a thumbs up. "Or it could be a break in the cable - in which case we'll have to dig the road up."

"Oh," I said. "How long will that take?"

He spread his arms wide. "How long is a piece of cable?"

I was very close to saying "I don't know - you work for the electrickery company, you tell me," but I figured it was probably in my best interests to not direct potent sarcasm in his direction. I smiled and shut the door. Then I reopened the front door, and looked at the decorator. "Sorry, did you want this open? It's pretty chilly."

He let me close the door.

Anyway, long story short, it was WORST. CASE. SCENARIO: a friggin' break in the cable. They sent a lorry and a little digger, and some shouty men, and they started digging holes in the road. And I sat inside reading my book, writing bits of my novel in a knackered old writing pad, and looky all misty-eyed at my Xbox and computer. Then the decorator wanted to open all the windows so he could work on the closed bits.


I think I actually just sat there for about two hours after that freezing my tits off and wondering which god I'd offended this time.

By half four the decorator had kind of had enough (can't say I blame him - he's probably wondering what sort of shoddy operation I'm running here), and the electrickery guys where still digging holes and taking tea breaks. Alright for some.

Salvation was at hand, however! For in celebration of Sparky Nan's birthday (I tell you, last week Diamond wedding anniversary, this week a birthday - she's gone celebration crazy!) I headed over to Sparky Ma and Pa's for a family gathering where I was given tea and hot food! Hurrah! And I even stole some of their electrickery and charged up my mobile.

By about 10 o'clock, though, I'd run out of excuses why I should hang around any longer, and got back in my car and headed home. Things didn't look good - next door has a massive hole outside, and I couldn't see any lights on in my neighbour's houses. I figured I'd just have to go to bed and see if the situation was any better in the morning. But wait! What was this - a small light emanating from the kitchen - a spark of electrickery! POWER WAS RESTORED!!

I'm not afraid to say that I might just have jumped in the air like I was starring in an 1980s advert for a revolutionary new type of panty-liner.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The ying and the yang

Isn't it strange how one little incident can change your mood in an instant? Take today, for example; I was driving into work as normal, and I was in a pretty good mood. The roads were clear, I was listening to the Fight Club soundtrack (which I love), and then I almost had a massive car accident.

Well, I say 'I almost had,' but the truth is that it was actually some careless woman driving like a nutter that almost had the accident. I would've been the victim.

Basically, what happened was this: I was driving down a narrow residential road near the office. A lorry was pulling out of a side road on the left, and stopped half way out to give way to me. The nutter pulled round the back of the lorry, zoomed across the give way line, and aimed her Audi convertible directly at my passenger door. I slammed the brakes on. She slammed the breaks on. I braced for impact. She somehow stopped about a foot away from my car.

I shouted "OH MY GOD!"

She gesticulated that I should've let her through.

I went utterly *ballistic*.

In hindsight, the fact that I was shouting through my closed passenger side window and her windscreen kind of diminished the effect, and the volume at which I was verbalizing my response to her driving. I reckon she probably got the gist of it though. I'm actually a little startled by the colourful language I used. No doubt somewhere an entire flock* of nuns crossed themselves and wept in unison; if a kitten died every time the f-word is uttered there'd be a world kitty shortage by now.

I think I've used up my annual quota of the word "f**kwit."

Anyway, it kind of put me in a foul mood for a good few hours. I had to watch some videos of cats doing funny things on youtube to cheer up.

My throat is still a little hoarse, though, come to think of it.

What really got me, though, is that I was suddenly struck by the fact that there's a worrying trend of people not taking responsibility for their actions. This woman was clearly in the wrong, yet she was trying to transfer blame to me. Why do people have such difficulty admitting they're at fault? I like to think that if I do something wrong I'll put my hand up and say "oops, my bad." I've done it in the past, and I'm pretty damn sure I'll have to do it at some point in the future. Why can't others?


On the plus side, I've had an awesome time post-work: I went to Kingston to go to the launch of Leopard at the Apple Store. Which is quite possibly the nerdiest thing I've done in ages. Go to a shop to see the launch of a new computer operating system?! Yes.

There was a bit of a queue outside the store (iQueue?), but when the store opened it moved pretty quickly and I was soon high-fiving the dude at the door and collecting a free Apple t-shirt. I usually don't high-five strangers, but he was really enthusiastic about it, and was counting his chain of high-fives (I was number 10 - obviously not everyone was in the mood), so I would've felt bad about just looking at him with disdain and rolling my eyes.

As long as one of the other store pixies didn't get a photo of me partaking in said high-five I think I can live with it.

*Just what is a group of nuns called?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Things you don't see everyday

Number #1: A yellow tank driving up and down Hammersmith high street.

There was a Floella Benjamin look-alike saluting from the turret.

Get yours HERE*.

*Tanks, that is, not Floella Benjamin look-alikes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gym class zeros

I had a phone call on Friday from my old gym - y'know, the one I left back in January.

"Hello," said this lovely lady from the other end. "I was just calling to find out why you haven't been to the gym for a while."

"Well," I replied, a little taken aback. "It's because I left. In January."

"Oh," she said. Now, this actually made me a little sad, because I don't like to upset people, and in the 15 seconds of our conversation thus far I'd warmed to this lady quite considerably.

There was a pause.

"Can I ask why?"

I then proceeded to tell her that my situation had changed, and I was finding it more convenient to go running theses days.

"Ooo, that's good," she said. "How often do you go running?"

"About three or four times a week."

"Gosh. And how far do you go - if you don't mind me asking?"

"Not at all. About 3-4 miles. I've got a little route."

"That's brilliant."


"Would you consider coming back to the gym?"

"No, not really."


"Well, maybe if I found myself with a bit more time. Maybe then I'd think about it."

"Marvelous! Well, I'll let you get on - thanks very much for talking to me. And good luck with the running."

Bless her. Anyway, this morning I got an envelope in the post that contained one free gym pass, a pool timetable, and more free pool passes than I can shake a frikkin' stick at. I know what her game is, the cheeky little minx - she evidently had a hot flush after our flirtatious conversation, and clearly wants to cop an eyeful of me poolside in mah speedos. Rawr!


Good god - it's gotten cold over the last few days; I pulled back my curtains the other day to find Sparky Towers enshrouded in fog. And today I had to put on my heated front and rear windscreens before driving off. Most vexing! What's been really annoying, though, is that the heating buggered up in the office and I was freezing my chesticles off yesterday. I had a brief respite in Secret Starbucks at lunchtime, which was super-toasty, but then plunged into the icy depths again in the afternoon.

I massively layered-up today, and dug my awesome scarf out of storage, even if I do think it's a little too early for it. Maybe it's because we had a super-crappy summer, but I just can't get it into my head that we're fast approaching winter. Hell, the clock's go back this weekend! That might help me get in the winter mood - I actually quite like the dark mornings and evenings; it makes me feel all cosy.

I kind of hope we have a proper cold winter. Nothing wishy-washy. Bring. It. On.

(Until it gets really cold and I write a massively long moany post complaining about it)


Let the good times roll - Yaz started work back in Hammersmith today, so we met up for a reunion coffee at lunchtime. It was classic Tim/Yaz time, mostly because we couldn't find an empty table so she used her magic powers of persuasion to convince some old bloke that he should a) let us share his table, then b) go away.


The afternoon reached immeasurably giddy heights when I bought one of the new Wispa bars, and the coffee bags that iPandah promised to send me turned up - hurrah!

I almost had a Wispa-based incident though; the postie has been carelessly leaving post for our neighbours in the office, so I, being the good-natured chap I am, went to put it through their letterbox. Thing is, I was clutching said Wispa at this point, and almost posted that through too. I managed to catch it at the last minute, which is good because I would've felt a complete doofus if I had to ring their doorbell and ask for my chocolate bar back.

The coffee bags are an interesting thing - as the name suggests they're bags of coffee (proper coffee, not cheapo crap stuff), but they're disconcertingly massive - about three times the size of a teabag. It was like dipping a saggy old scrotum in water (I'd imagine). On the plus side, it made an awesome cup of coffee, so many thanks iPandah! Expect something in return at an undesignated point in the futuuuuuuuuuuuure!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Diamonds in the rough

This weekend was all planned out. But, the best laid plans of mice and men…

The initial plan consisted of just two vitally important parts:

• Stay in while decorator started painting my wood (on the house!).
• Attend my grandparent's Diamond Wedding Anniversary meal (that's 60 years people - 60 YEARS!)

It all started taking a different direction when I got a call from the decorator on Friday saying he was going to have to cancel because he couldn't get a ladder long enough. This was OK, mainly because it freed me up to do some other things like sleep in till 11:30. My original plan had been to get up ready for his arrival at 8am and then watch a load of DVDs - Batman Begins, Team America, Dawn of the Dead, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, stuff like that - while he slaved away outside. It was also OK because I'd not bleached the toilet and I doubt that while I was watching movies he would've wanted to see the Remains of the Day when popping to the little boy's room.

I subsequently spent a considerable amount of time on my Xbox, downloading various demos from the Xbox Live Arcade, including a game from back in the day: yes people, I now have Worms. What an awesome little game that is; I totally whiled away at least two hours on that.

Knowing full well that I'd want to start getting ready for the evening's festivities at around half four-quarter to five-ish (ready for the 1845 sit-down), I decided that I'd spend a little time with the latest Love and Rockets book I'm reading. This is where things went decidedly pear-shaped. One of my recurring concerns with reading while sitting on my bed is that I tend to get a little bit sleepy and then doze off, and I didn't want this to happen with my tightly-scheduled, erm, schedule. But this did not happen; no, because the curtain rail in my bedroom decided to rip itself away from the wall.

I have never been more awake.

I think I actually did a Doc Brown style "Uhhh!" - y'know, like he does in the first Back to the Future movie when the cable linking the top of the clock tower to the doo-dah in the street gets disconnected by the falling tree and he sees the connector swinging loose. I legged it downstairs, grabbed a screwdriver and my little granny-steps, and hoofed it back upstairs.

For about an hour I tried various methods of getting this friggin' thing to stay in the wall, but it was *not* playing ball. Bearing in mind that I live alone and don't have a tendency to engage myself in idle conversation, by this point in the day the vast majority of words that tumbled out of my mouth were of the deleted expletive kind. I was not a happy bunny. At 1740, way behind schedule and with five-minute filler all over my hands, I finally admitted defeat and headed for the bathroom. In addition to needing to shower and prettify myself up to a presentable state, I also needed to shave, because I was rocking at least two week's worth of manly facial hair. And what d'ya know? I'd run out of new razor blades. It took me at least 15 minutes to get that mutha off.

I FINALLY arrived at the very posh Petersham Hotel at about 1843, and casually presented myself at the front desk. "I believe we're dining in the wine cellar, my good man," I said to the dude on the desk, before being led down to a very nice, very private room filled with a grand table, a lot of wine, and a lot of family members.

My family don't tend to get together that often, which always puzzles me a bit because when we do we have a fantastic time. And it was doubly delightful to spend time with them and be able to offer up rather more in the way of conversation than I could the last time I saw them, when the pinnacle of my conversational skills probably amounted to "and look, it turns from a CAR into a ROBOT."

Anyway, an awesome night was had by all; the food was *lovely*, and Sparky Ma made a speech that even had me, despite my Vulcan-levels of emotional control, feeling just a little bit emotional. And most importantly, my grandparents had a wonderful time. Sixty years - great googaly-moogaly!

Incidently, the evening ended on a hilarious note when a minicab driver mispronounced my grandparent's surname and said "minicab for Mr. Spock?"



No rest for the wicked today, either. I woke up early, glad to find that the curtain rail hadn't come away totally in the night and impaled me in a special place, because I had plans with the lovely Jo who had wangled free tickets to a screening of Brad Pitt's new movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - which, I think you'll agree, is quite possibly more of a synopsis than a title. Anyway, up to Leicester Square we went at stupid o'clock on a Sunday morning.

Like its title, the film was also very long, but I really liked it. It started quite slow, but built up steadily as it went along; I know I liked it because I'm still thinking about it now, which is a good sign. I don't know when it's on general release, but I'm going to suggest you seek it out. You might want to consider taking a cushion or some Preparation H with you though.

And what about the curtain rail, you ask? Bless 'im, Sparky Pa fixed it while I was out!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Were we ever so young?

What. A. Lovely. Evening.

Last night I went to a leaving do for one of the editors at my previous job, and had the absolute pleasure of spending time with sooooo many people I haven't seen in ages, or had simply lost contact with. It was at a pub in Victoria - well, I say 'in'; we actually spent the entire evening lurking outside on the pavement in the chilly autumnal air. By the end of the evening my legs had seized up and I couldn't feel my extremities, but I had a great time.

It's funny, the guy that was leaving, who I always called Mavis because he insisted on calling me Tom, is one of those people who I thought would stay at my old company forever, and it made me realise that we all move on at some point in our lives, be it sooner or later. What was funnier, though, was that everyone attending kind of fractured into two groups - old skool and new skool - with only a few crossing over. I, of course, was part of the old skool group. I left that company in the summer of '99, and pretty much everyone else that I worked with there moved on in the years that followed, either becoming filthy freelancers or moving on to exciting high-powered new positions. Spending just a few hours in the company of these people made me realise a) how much I enjoyed their company, and b) how much I enjoyed those good times years ago.

That company was my first real job out of school. I wrote to them because I loved their magazines, they called me in, loved my A-Level graphics project (which I'd based, surprise surprise, around Star Trek), and they offered me a job. I started a few days after my 19th birthday in November 1996.

It was very exciting; I had my own desk, a phone, a computer I barely knew how to turn on, a job I didn't know how to do, and they even put my name in my favourite magazines. I was surrounded by some of the best people ever, including Grum, Chunty, and Glittering Lee, and while we all moaned about the pay (or lack thereof), I think we all genuinely loved what we did. I certainly learned a number of skills that continue to serve me well to this day. But you can't live on fun and good times forever, and just over two and a half years later I broke up the party by getting a proper job - well, as proper as a job can be that involves you reading, writing, and watching Star Trek on a daily basis.

I suppose that job was like a first love, or even your first car; you know it's not going to last - couldn't possibly last, in fact - but deep down it will always be special. I still have fond memories of those good times - our strictly-adhered to one-hour lunchtimes where we'd head off to the pub for a swift pint, Chunty and I going for coffee in the bookshop in the shopping centre (where my obsession developed), sitting in the graphics department playing a game where we could only talk in song titles, being made to wear a Borg headpiece while working, the production manager proclaiming that he was Doctor Who and assigning us all companion names (I was Romana), and that afternoon where Grum and I were the only two people in graphics so we kicked back and spent the entire time chatting.

And so it was, surrounded by all these faces from the past last night, that I just piped up and said "wouldn't it be great if we could all get together and do one last issue? Y'know, just storm into the office, take over the computers, and put one together old skool-stylee?"

The answer was a unanimous 'yes.' Seems I'm not the only one who was feeling a bit nostalgic.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Midweek update

Nothing terribly coherent today - just some things I want to get off my manly chest.

First and foremost, I'm feeling far more cheerful today. That is a good thing, mostly because I did not reach the point where I wanted to punch someone or throw a complete mental in the office. Good times.

And on to…


I got a letter from my bank yesterday informing me that they'd made a massive mistake, and would not in fact be taking the best part of a grand out of my account to pay for my house insurance as they'd stated in a previous letter. This is a good thing for two reasons; most obviously, I would've been slightly irked if they'd taken a grand, but also because while I sort of remember getting the previous letter, I clearly didn't pay too much attention to what it said, because if I had I would've been slightly irked. Obviously.

But while they owned up for their silly, silly behaviour this time, I'm beginning to think that my general rule of thumb for dealing with bank letters - open, sigh audibly, skip to the end to see if it bears the legendary phrase "YOU DO NOT NEED TO TAKE ANY FURTHER ACTION," file in stack, take no further action - might need to be reconsidered.


I turned back time to 1999 today by popping the CD soundtrack to the Godzilla movie in my car. Before you berate me for being a weirdo, let me remind you that while the movie sucked reasonably royally, the soundtrack was actually quite good. In fact, I'd say it's right up there with Prince's Batman CD. Anyway, I was listening to it while driving home this evening, and was paying particularly close attention to the lyrics of Piff-paff-puff Daddy's 'Come With Me,' the track that sampled Led Zep's 'Kashmir' to quite good effect. Well, that is until you start paying close attention to the lyrics. May I present as evidence:
"I want to fight you
I'll f**king bite you"
What!? "I'll f**king bite you"?! Good grief, that's hardly gangsta is it, Mr. Daddy? Diddy. Doddy. Whatever. What are you - five?


On the subject of music, has everyone heard the new Kylie song? Yes? Effing dire, isn't it? Mind you, I'm not a fan of her music; if you ask me it's all been pretty much downhill since 'I should be so lucky.' Anyway, the new song - is it just me, or does everyone else feel utterly compelled to do jazz-hands during the "WOOOOO!" bit in the chorus?


Just watched Supernanny. Why is it that she never goes to a family that actually adhere to her rules when she leaves them at the mid-way point of the show? The parents *consistently* go utterly mental at their kids after about a day without her; I just saw one little brat punch his mum in the boob. I wonder how many times Supernanny thinks about tranq-darting the entire chavvy lot of them? Can you show people getting tranq-darted on telly? I hope so. Supernanny would make an awesome big-game hunter.

Location, Location, Location: LIVE! is on now. Kirsty-wotserface totally just said you should move to Wokingham if you want to "live long and prosper." Closet nerd. Marry me!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Don't ask me why, but I've been in a bit of a grumpy mood today. It might be because I burnt the inside of my mouth while eating a hot chocolate sponge pudding last night, which has subsequently made eating or drinking anything above room temperature a little bit painful. Or it might be because the weather is miserable, though I doubt that because I actually like miserable weather. Let's not question it, huh? All it's meant is that I've hit the toffee muffins with alarming regularity, and spent last night huddled up on the sofa watching Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country on DVD. How very Bridget Jones-with-a-penis of me. I did not, however, cry about my love life excessively. Or, indeed, at all. Although I will punch the first person who reminds me of the line about Klingons having no tear ducts from the aforementioned movie, OK?

Looking back, though, I notice that I always seem to hit a bit of a funk around this time of year. Those of you who've been lingering here for a while might remember me talking about getting a new job this time last year, and the thought briefly entered my mind again this afternoon. I dismissed it quickly, though, because I like what I do too much; every job has its ups and downs, anyway. Maybe it's just my time of the month? Maybe I need a duvet day? Theoretical secretary could bring me a toffee muffin in bed.

On the plus side, I wrote a bit of my book at lunchtime (yes, the one that I was supposed to have finished in February), and I always write better when I'm in a mood. I only wrote a little bit, but I was really rather pleased with it. And I'll certainly be heading out for a run this evening because that always works well as a de-stress tactic.

In the meantime, I'll just be sitting here, gently sipping from a cup of coffee and wincing quietly. It's something else to whine about anyway. Grrrr!


I was having a lovely email conversation with Willow C yesterday which I'm sure she won't mind me mentioning here*. She was asking me about the new Star Trek movie, having just heard that the news that Simon Pegg is going to be playing Scotty (I'm not sure how I feel about this exactly, and instead shall just keep repeating the mantra "in JJ we trust" over and over again), and wanted to know who was playing Kirk. Well, the latest piece of filthy gossip suggests that some dude called Chris Pine will be slipping into Shatner's shoes, which is interesting not only for the fact that his name reminds me of Christopher Pike (Kirk's predecessor as captain of the Enterprise), but also because he's previously done nothing I've ever seen, and he apparently has eyes like hypnotoad**.

Anyway, good luck to him if it's true. All I'll say is he better read his lines in … TRUE … SHATNER … STYLE!

What this does mean, though, is that the guess I'd made as to who would get the role has gone completely tits-up. If anyone cares, I reckoned that Jenson Ackles from Supernatural would have made a quality Shatner-junior. Well, after me, that is.


Quick message to the person from California who found this blog via Google and the search tag 'slipping someone acid' - don't do it, dude: NOT COOL!


Right, I've been meaning to link to this for aaaaages and keep forgetting. Online Puzzle-Bobble? Totally addicted.

*If you do, Willow C - tough! Rawr!

**Incidently, that link takes you to what is currently one of my favourite websites. It's right up there with this - which, quite frankly, is the pinnacle of acting that the new guy should be striving for.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Annnnnnd… chillax…

Oh yeah. I'm sitting here, and I've just realised that this is the first weekend in a looooong time where I've been totally selfish and done only what I've wanted to do. And do you know what? It feels good.

Everyone should make time for me-time. Or you-time, if you see what I mean.

So how have I wasted this entire weekend? Like this:

• A decorator came round to look at the wood on the outside of Sparky Towers. It's been in dire need of tarting up since, well, I bought the place two years ago, so I thought I'd better do something about it - especially if winter's going to be half as wet and miserable as summer was. Despite appearances, it turns out my wood is healthy and strong (which came as a pleasant surprise bearing in mind how shitty it looks), and he's gonna make a start on it next week.

• Downloaded the demos for The Simpsons Game and Project Gotham Racing 4 on the Xbox. The Simpsons is surprisingly good fun, and feels like you're actually playing an episode, if that makes sense. PGR4 is something altogether different, though. I got PGR3 with my Xbox, and pretty much still regard it as the pinnacle of driving games. The new one - even in demo form - quite simply blows it away though - particularly the weather conditions; good lord, slamming that Ferrari through a massive puddle then gliding it beautifully on opposite-lock round a corner was quite frankly, and rather tragically, the sexiest thing I've done this weekend.

• A quick trip to Kingston to buy soap (I'm very particular about the soap I use), and using it as an excuse to drop into the Apple store to fiddle with an iPod Touch and a new iMac AGAIN. Seriously will be buying one of the latter veeeery sooooooon…

• Spent Saturday night updating my iTunes in anticipation of the above. Truth be told, I was a bit lazy from the word go when I got my first iPod, and my iTunes was home to partial albums, duplicate songs, and missing artwork. While I've not loaded everything I've got on there, I've put a significant proportion of hella-awesomeness on - including a live version of a David Bowie track I *love* that I didn't even know I owned!

• Read the four comics I bought this week - and was pleasantly surprised that they weren't actually that horrific! My appreciation of comics has, perversely, been tested recently by my love of Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez's Love and Rockets, and because I've been reading so much of their work over the last couple of weeks, it's served to highlight how dull most other comics are. I also read a lot more Love and Rockets, though, which only strengthened my appreciation for the Hernandez brothers' work as some of the very best comics, and indeed, literature around…

• Good. God. Sainsbury's toffee muffins, six for the price of four. They are AWESOME.

• Oh, I finally got round to hoovering. I wasn't joking when I said it was beginning to look like I had a shag carpet. I recognised about six weeks ago that it needed doing, but a variety of things got in the way and I kept making excuses not to do it. Job done now though! Thank god - it was beginning to bung up the wheels of my chair.

• Naps. It's criminal how much time I've spent in bed this weekend. I've had two long lie-ins, and two afternoon naps. My bedroom has such a warm glow about it when the sun shines in the window, particularly in autumn and winter, and I've been making the most of it. Either that or someone's been dropping chloroform on my pillow.

• Caught up on the second episode of Jericho - still not really doing it for me: I'm giving it one more chance to catch my attention before I ditch it - and the first episode of Californication starring David Duchovny and some woman I used to see in the pub round the corner from my office. I thought I'd either love this or hate it, and was surprised to find myself in the middle ground, nudging closer, perhaps, to the loving end of the scale. It's a bit like Sex and the City from a male perspective, and Duchovny is very good; it even made me laugh out loud at one point. Definitely one to keep an eye on, as long as it can keep up the momentum.

That's me then - all that's left to do is the washing up and a run, then I'm going to settle down with my book and maybe catch an early-ish night.

*satisified sigh*

Friday, October 12, 2007


I think I finally decided that humanity is a lost cause this week. Why, you ask? Because I think this week more than any other I've just seen people go completely off-their-tits insane at other people. I've seen some old bloke riding one of those electric buggy things down the wrong side of the road, and when a woman on a bike said he should get on the pavement he called her a "f**king bitch" and flipped her the bird. I've seen a man on a bike shout swearily at a pedestrian for daring to step out onto a pedestrian crossing. And then there's the people who are just being stupid - stepping out into the road without looking, then not apologising when a car has to make an emergency stop; I think I've seen at least five near-misses this week.

Most annoying, though, are the people that appear to have lost all sense of spatial awareness. Seriously, during my lunchtime walks to Hammersmith I've realised that I ALWAYS have to step aside when people are walking towards me; there's no more mutual side-stepping - they just barrel towards me without a care in the world. Maybe I've turned invisible? Today alone, within the space of just one minute I experienced the two most severe instances of this; the first occurred as I walked towards a woman who was describing something to her friend with particularly extravagant flourishes of her arms. I had to leap into the road when a particular flourish as I neared her could've ended up in her bitch-slapping me into the path of an oncoming bus.

The next one was even worse - some young woman just kept walking towards me, and because I was walking next to a wall I had nowhere to step aside to. And what did she do? She rammed into me with her freakin' big handbag! Bee-yatch! She literally made no effort to move even a small amount. She didn't even scowl or attempt to call me anything. It was almost as if I wasn't there.

That being the case, if I see her again I'm going to trip her up.


Sweatband and I went for our first run together in ages last night. It was awesome - I totally whupped her. Seriously, I'm pretty sure I was about 20 metres out in front at one point. She seriously wasn't impressed - especially when an ambulance zoomed past us and I said I'd called it for her.


Anyway, turns out she might need me to cat-sit the delightful Jude again in the next couple of weeks. Last time I looked after the little bugger he was awesome, but this time might be a little more, um, trying. First of all, Sweatband's bought him a new little bed, and apparently he likes it rather a lot. Sweatband used the word "intimate" at one point. Secondly, I think he likes me. He kept making excuses for walking over me, then cuddled up next to me.

I never thought I'd have to let a cat down with the line "look, I'm really flattered, but…"


Plans for the weekend? Not much! After last weeks freelance-writing fest, and a few evenings that have turned out busier than I planned, I'm thinking I might go for the lots of reading, lots of napping, lots of sitting around in my pants kind of thing. I've also got the urge to watch Star Trek VI, and I might plonk a load of songs on my iTunes (been listening to David Bowie's 'Hours…' album and was horrified to realise I'd not ripped it yet).

Oh, and I've also got a decorator coming round to look at my wood - on the house, you perverts!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Winter looms

Bloody hell - yesterday, overcast but reasonably warm-ish, today arctic tundra. OK, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it's been cold and miserable today, which has in turn made me cold and miserable. Part of that might have something to do with the fact that I have a desk job, so I sit relatively still for most of the day; not scary "he's not moved in a while, do you think he's dead?" still, but still nonetheless. And it's been raining *biblically.* It's the kind of day where I contemplated leaving the curtains drawn when I left the house this morning, because it was only going to be dark, miserable, and crap when I got home in the evening, so I might as well save myself the effort.

Things didn't improve as the day went on. I went out at lunchtime for my regular jaunt to Secret Starbucks and came back looking like I'd thrown myself in a lake (still, it's good training for the Grim Challenge, which I really must get round to signing up for). The obvious downside of getting soaked at lunchtime is that I then had to sit there for the rest of the afternoon with soggy trousers. I briefly thought about taking them off, but decided against it purely for the fact that I'm wearing amusingly-patterned underpants today and I didn't feel like showing my whimsical side. Or my penis.

It's definitely a warm hoody and sensible undercrackers for me tomorrow.


Do you remember my wicked de-cluttering idea from a few weeks back? Yeah, kind of went a bit quiet on that front, huh? Which probably makes you think I've not bothered with it after all the initial excitement. Well, yee of little faith! I have been doing it - in fact, this weekend just gone was quite possibly the pinicle of my de-cluttering efforts - rawr!

I read comics, I started - and finished - the new Gilbert Hernandez graphic novel Chance in Hell, which was awesome (and a beautifully-designed little book too), I spent Saturday evening - that's SATURDAY EVENING! - writing articles for work, and I spent the vast majority of Sunday finishing said articles. By the end of the weekend I was weary and spent, but totally glad to have cleared the decks. The only thing I didn't do was the hoovering, but I'm just going to tell people I've got shag carpet instead of wood-flooring now. Anyway, with this cold weather it's toasty on my toes!


Has anyone seen the TV show Jericho? Y'know, the one that got cancelled but was revived after its fans bombarded the studio with packs of nuts?* Well, after missing the first episode last Wednesday, I managed to catch a repeat. And it was … hmmm…

When I first read the premise for this series - population of small town in Kansas witness a nuclear bomb blast in the distance, subsequently struggle to find out what's going on - I thought "ooo, that sounds good," but as it turns out the fiction was nowhere near the reality. Basically, the plot for the first episode went something like this:

A mysterious stranger with a strange, mysterious past who looks like a bad Skeet Ulrich look-alike goes back to his hometown of Jericho to ask his dad for money. Daddy says no, and he decides to leave after visiting his grandfather. Turns out gramps is dead - damn! Bad Skeet Ulrich look-alike gets in his car and heads off for parts unknown. A nuke goes off in the distance. Bad Skeet Ulrich look-alike crashes his car while looking at the explosion, killing two people in another car. He shows NO remorse, but we're made to feel sorry for him because he has a limp and an obviously fake head injury. Meanwhile, the townsfolk, who appear to be comprised mainly of bad actors, go nuts because no one knows what's going on, aside from the fact that a nuke has exploded. A sullen teenage geek finds out that another nuke has gone off in Atlanta, because his mum was on holiday there and she was leaving an answering machine message when she got wiped out - sucks to be her. Sullen teenage geek immediately goes into zero-emotion survival mode, thus suggesting that a future episode will be dedicated to him finally coming to terms with his grief. Bad Skeet Ulrich look-alike's dad, who is also the town mayor, gives a rousing speech in order to unite the town (the president from Independence Day would be proud).

Elsewhere, bad Skeet Ulrich look-alike finds a crashed bus full of little school kids. He saves one kid from suffocating after she banged her throat when the bus crashed by cutting her throat with a flick knife and shoving a bic biro in the hole. She miraculously awakens, and does not freak out about the fact that she has a pen sticking out of her neck and that it whistles when she breathes. Bad Skeet Ulrich look-alike heroically drives the damaged bus back to town. Credits roll. Turns out bad Skeet Ulrich look-alike was actually Skeet Ulrich. Shit!

I really wanted to like this series, but from the first episode I have to say it was pretty piss-poor. I would've cancelled it too. I will, however, stick with it for at least the next couple of shows, just in case it gets better. Heroes it ain't, though.


Talking of cancelled TV shows, I had a bizarre dream at the weekend. I dreamt that the powers-that-be decided to revive The OC, but couldn't afford the main cast. That being the case they introduced an entire new group of characters, and occasionally they'd bump into Seth and Ryan who would appear for all of 10 seconds. They'd literally just say "hey," then nothing much would happen.

Not my best idea for a TV show, I must admit.

*Seriously, I couldn't make that stuff up.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Photoblogging: An evening with Tim and Jo!

Earlier this week I hatched plans with my pal Jo for an evening of food and movies round Sparky Towers; bizarrely, and quite rudely, I've never had her over for food - time to rectify that! The event was almost derailed by the postal strike, but fortunately Amazon came through and delivered the evening's planned DVD bang on time, and after both of us having a bit of a rubbish week at work, we were massively looking forward to chillaxing on my awesome sofa for the evening. The whole thing was planned out with almost militeristic precision:

• Some awesome food.
• An awesome movie.
• The taking of some saucy photographs.

Oh yeah…

Tim catches up with this week's Scrubs while waiting for Jo.

Jo arrives, and Tim slaps the burgers in the oven. Probably need to open the door first, doofus!

Nice baps!

Let's see a thumbs-up soldier! The burgers are done and everything is officially awesome!

Mmmmm… Looks at those beefy bastards - is that gorganzola oozing out the top? You better believe it!

The burgers are assembled - BRING ON THE CHIPS!

Quit your bitchin' and get in my kitchen - dinner is served!

Now you see it…

… Ta-daaaa! Now you don't.

Uh-oh - someone looks fit to burst! But wait, there's more!

Hooray for pudding! If that's not a cream-filled coronary waiting to happen I don't know what is.

Bring on the movie! Ooo, spooky!

And let's record the event for posteri- Alright, who blinked?! Good grief - how unprofessional!

Take two! That's more like it.


Oh, wait. I expect you want to see the saucy pictures too, huh? Well, OK then! Let me bring you up to speed first, though: basically, my other friend who is also rather confusingly called Jo, told me the other day that she having to do a presentation on scalpel safety. Yes, safety when using a scalpel (health and safety gone crazy? Discuss!). Anyway, as part of this she is having to do a presentation, and I said she should totally subvert it by having a massive picture of someone flipping the bird, but looking like they've had a scalpel-based accident. She thought it was an awesome idea, so with the aid of other Jo (are you keeping up to speed with this?), and a bottle of ketchup, I did these photos for her:

Watch out for me as the hot new face of scalpel safety! Rawr!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's frakkin' over

I'm a bit inconsolable at the moment. Y'see, on Tuesday evening I spooled up the FTL drive and watched the final (five, fittingly enough) episodes of Battlestar Galactica's third season.

I won't set a course for spoiler territory, but suffice to say it was as awesome as awesome can be, totally teased us with a cryptic cliffhanger, and without a doubt left me wanting more, more, more.

Now, I do like watching a good DVD boxset over the course of a week or so, but I totally watched this one in an obscenely short period of time; four days, to be precise, Saturday to Tuesday - which doesn't sound that bad until I tell you that I only watched two on the Saturday. That leaves 18 episodes spread across three days, which is a bit chicken oriental, especially when you take into account the fact that I was at work on two of those days.

The thing is, now I'm in a bit of a post-Battlestar Galactica slump. It's like the end of a relationship; I'm trying to keep myself occupied (not like New Caprica, I should add) by doing other things so I don't think about it, such as throwing myself into my work and putting on a brave face when people ask if I'm alright. I've even just got back from my first run in days - I think I'd gotten soft and comfortable with BSG, a bit like Apollo when they popped him in the fat suit, and I need to look my best now we've gone our separate ways.

It's just like when The OC finished, and you know what I was like then.

Anyway, life goes on; I've got a stack of comics that need to be read, a few articles to write, a super-awesome evening with Jo tomorrow, then three - yes THREE - Gilbert Hernandez books waiting for me. I think good times are ahead.

Although Battlestar Galactica is definitely one ex I certainly would friend on Facebook. Rawr!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Keeping you up to date with everything that's been happening

Yes, I know: I've been a bit of a bad blogger recently, and I know there are people out there who are desperate to know what I've been up to (I think their names begin with 'M' and end with 'arcosy'*), so by way of an apology, here's the latest hot news from me.


Eek! *Dilemma…* I've been tracked down by an ex-girlfriend via Facebook! Do I accept her friend invitation, or do I click 'reject'? Or do I just … subtly ignore it until she forgets about me…? Lordy, these are the pressing issues of this technologically advanced time we live in. I'm not too sure why she wants to be my friend? Does she think we're going to hang out together? Does she want to send me clip-art beverages and invitations to TV quizzes? Does she want to introduce me to her new boyfriend? I don't know! Ack!!


Saw the funniest thing EVAH this afternoon, but sadly didn't get a chance to capture it on camera. Office cat turned up for some sweet sweet kitty love. We've got a bench outside the office, and I was taunting her with a leaf so she was squeezing her little kitty paws through the gap to try and grab it. Then, for some reason she decided that she wanted to jump up on to the back rest of the bench from her position squished between the bottom of the bench and the patio doors. God knows how, but she actually leapt up and somehow managed to grab on to the top with her paws, but her back legs were swinging through the slats; it was hilarious - it looked like a combination of someone slipping over a cliff and a kitty doing pull-ups; her little kitty face was showing little kitty terror, as if she was imploring me to help her. I didn't help her, but I did laugh at her. After straining a bit, she eventually hauled herself up, then wobbled on the back of the bench while looking at me with utter disdain.

Seriously, if I'd gotten a photo of that it would've been straight up on I Can Has Cheeseburger with a caption something like 'Iz dng meh pull-upz!' Damn my phone for being inside!


Something I did have my phone for… D'ya remember my half-hearted support of Togo in last year's footie world cup? Well, it struck a chord with Rob in the office. He's just gotten back from a holiday in New York, and he picked me up a gift at the United Nations.

Holy crap, your eyes don't deceive you - that's right, it's an awesome tiny Togo flag! It's even got a little pointy bit on the end of the pole! I've never felt closer to my people than I do at this moment. I mounted it on a little promotional jumping toy thing, and have placed it on top of my iMac; when the door's open it flutters in the freakin' breeze!

And do you know what else is cool? The bag it came in looks like it's from the United Federation of Planets. Awesome.

Roll on Friday evening! Why? Because I'm entertaining! Basically, I'd said to Jo ages back that at some point she'd have to come round for dinner. And a few months back she told me that she wanted to see the film Zodiac. So, seeing as I just ordered the movie on DVD, we're combining the two together! We're going to have posh M&S burgers and maybe a naughty dessert like profitta rolls, then we're going to have a gala screening of Zodiac.

What that really means is that while I've already seen the film at the cinema and thought it was awesome, the book kinda scared me shitless, and I think it's probably for the best if I have some company when I emerge myself in the story again. Not that I'll make that at all obvious to her.

It's scary! Eek!


I've also threatened Jo with the fact that I'm going to try and get her watching Battlestar Galactica. Holy crap - I've almost finished the third season on DVD; I watched 10 episodes on Sunday alone, and keep inserting the word "frak" into all my conversations! Strictly speaking I should be going out for a run tonight, but I've got four episodes left, and it'd be frakkin' rude not to watch them.

I think I should watch them - do you agree?

So say we all!

*Someone else whose name begins with 'M' and ends with 'arcosy' emailed me today to tell me that he spilled tuna juice over himself yesterday and tried to wash it out in the gents but all that happened was that he ended up with a wet top that smelt all fishy. Stupid fish-boy! Muwahaha!