these moments that I've had.

Friday, January 31, 2003  

Doh!... Too Blizzardy
We're gonna head up in the early hours.

Well... 7am-ish.

posted by Darren | 8:24 PM

Blizzard... but not the Dairy Queen variety
Snow storms hit London and the East Coast for the second time in a month. Always a few weeks too late. Come on 'God Almighty', Christmas happened last month and all we got then was the usual 5 degrees above zero drizzle and grey days. It ain't right!, the 'walking in a winter wonderland' business doesn't quite work when everyone's got the new year blues and are just trying to fight their way too and from work.

This also puts the kybosh on our trip up north to see 'the folks'. Maybe. No updates here later on Friday, or over the weekend, means we've hit the road. Where's my thermals?

posted by Darren | 12:10 AM

Wednesday, January 29, 2003  

'Regrets', I've had a few... or should that be 'drinks'?
Today was spent paying for last night. Not so much a hangover, as a sleep-over. Just wanted to curl up on my desk at work and snooze. Going to bed at 2am, after blogging, instead of heading there at midnight when we got home, was the first mistake. Not drinking enough water prior to bed was the second. Dave was up at 5am with a raging thirst. I woke at 6am, lying there knowing that I needed a drink, but being unable to move. Lying there, then tossing and turning, feeling dry, but not having the energy to get up and head to the bathroom, cursing myself for not leaving a glass of water next to the bed. All in all, then, 4 hours sleep. At my age. (haha. That should be 'at my current(permanent) unfit stage of life').

Was wishing it was Friday, until I remembered we are driving north on Friday night to see both sets of folks. We are gonna arrive at Dave's parents at around 1am on Saturday morning... if we make good time up the M1. Dave's aiming to empty his parents' attic of e:bay-able old magazines and annuals. Sunday its off over the Pennines to see my parents, who tomorrow get back from a week in Lanzarote celebrating my dad's 60th Birthday. Their first holiday alone... ever. Thats 36 years. They've always had friends, us kids or relatives with them before. We're wondering if they'll manage NOT to kill one another. Was gonna get him a model truck for his birthday(its a hobby and it keeps him out of the pub) and saw this in a model shop window on St Martins Lane on our way to the Retro Bar last night. Went back to make enquiries at lunchtime today. I don't think I can stretch to the £215 price tag, or even the $250 price on this US website. Its a beauty though.

posted by Darren | 10:30 PM

Absolute Beginners
The Bowie Quiz at the Retro Bar off the Strand and we(Me, Dave, Rob) come near the top with 16 & 1/2 out of 20, but well in the pack of also-rans. The winners got 18 and the runners-up had to battle for second place through a tie-break, on 17 & 1/2. Thanks to Rob for most of the points. Thanks to Martin for coming along, but through rules about numbers per team, he had to side with Nathan and, for the first time ever, I was on a team that got more points than Martin - they got 16. Lucio stayed out of it 'cos he don't know nuthin'(sorry, sweetheart) and Andy stayed out of it 'cos he's 23 and 'who's this David Bowie guy again?'. Saw Dawn and celebrated her new job as Web Officer for a local London Council Housing Office(no, it doesn't thrill her either, but its 20 times her current social security income, so she'll take it) and I think she was on a team that beat us, just ever so slightly.

Tonight was gonna be one of those early nights, though we arranged this about 10 days ago and, as usual, I didn't feel up to it and, as usual, I enjoyed every minute of it. And, of course, made plans to go every Tuesday from now on.

I can't see us winning any time soon.

Thanks to Big Man Restless, who Dave chatted to, for organising the quiz.

posted by Darren | 1:46 AM

Tuesday, January 28, 2003  

Well, maybe nothing so spooky, but I dreamt of something eerily similar to this, one night last week. Nothing strange in this, I'm often having dreams about train wrecks and planes falling from the sky(yes, before 9/11). I'm curiously fascinated by these kinds of destructive event - buildings imploding in on themselves(both man-made destruction and accidental), roads being swept away in torrential flooding, bridge collapses, volcanic eruptions, twisters.

I turn away from human(and animal) suffering though. I always hope there is no-one in the plane that falls(generally, highly unlikely of course - you gotta have a pilot!), that all the people escaped from that condemned building, that pets were remembered and rescued before the waters came and took away their homes.

As we know, though, world history is littered with the remnants of suffering, the kind of things that make what I have just written about pale. I hope that what is predicted here does not come to pass. We should be setting a good example, after all we have been taught about our historical stands against hatred and intolerance.

Maybe not all we have been taught is half as true as we thought.

posted by Darren | 12:28 AM

Monday, January 27, 2003  

It IS true, after all, that excessive consumption of polyols can lead to a laxative effect.

posted by Darren | 10:46 PM

Sunday, January 26, 2003  

Nothing to say
Another lazy weekend. So tired by the end of Friday, no energy to go out. We watched 'Y Tu Mama Tambien' and 'Training Day' on DVD on Saturday night and went to Greenwich Filmworks to see 'Gangs of New York' on Sunday. All of them were slightly disappointing, though undeniably good films. It seems its getting harder to please me when watching movies these days(porno doesn't count as movies in this case!).

We saw Lucio for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon. He was getting ready for dinner that evening with the new man in his life, that he met at Duckie last week. And dinner went well. After that, we called by Rob's place to rid him of some DVD's that were being trashed as part of his latest life laundry. I swear he thinks we only call round when he is throwing away DVDs and videos. The fact that we DO only seem to call round at those times is probably hard evidence that he's right. We must correct that this year. Sunday afternoon, Liz showed up on our doorstep unannounced - a nice surprise for us. We had coffee, nothing alcoholic, which may surprise those of you who know what usually happens when Liz & I are in the same room.

Back to work and the boss is off for the rest of the week after Monday, on a training course. Thats me in charge, which is fine if nothing critical goes wrong with any systems and if my bosses boss (and his boss!) leave me to get on with it - whatever 'it' might be.

Even more miserable blog entries to come this week, no doubt. When will it all end? When will I find inspiration to finally make a move to another, happier place? I had promised myself this would be the year. Bumping into Dawn last week and her words of wisdom that it isn't always greener on the other side(she's currently collecting unemployment benefit, after leaving us 2 years ago, only to be faced with redundancy about a year later on), have highlighted the other side of the coin, so that maybe I should stick it out longer still, until there is something concrete to go to.

posted by Darren | 11:30 PM

Friday, January 24, 2003  

Had a talk with my boss today over...'issues'. My issues and it was at my instigation.

Can't really say any more than that.

posted by Darren | 10:06 PM

Thursday, January 23, 2003  

Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You?

Yeah, she's a little crazy, a little mad; and the lyrics are, for the most part, a little corny, but she hits the spot with the song above, even when its only the written word.

With me, anyway.

posted by Darren | 11:10 PM

Wednesday, January 22, 2003  

Here's 10 things that it took Melinda 30-odd years to learn:

1. Never sit in the front of a cab if the driver looks remotely Turkish and/or desperate.*
2. Waking up in the morning to a snoring cat is preferential to a snoring person.
3. People who start a sentence with 'to be honest'... are anything but...
4. Never answer the door on a Sunday, the chances are 99% that they are bible bashers.
5. The human race has never contributed anything to this planet since it's existence, like locusts we have only destroyed.
6. Find a partner to share your life with, don't live your life through them.
7. If you've had your hair done and nobody comments .. it's actually a good thing!**
8. Don't screw anyone at work.
9. Don't screw more than one person at work.
10. Spend less time reading rubbish lists like this and go read a good book instead!

*Melinda is IN NO WAY racist, but her 'drive' has got the better of her on more than one occassion late at night, while intoxicated and being driven home by Turkish unlicensed taxi drivers.
** She will still ask your opinion of the'do'!... gawd bless 'er!

posted by Darren | 8:34 PM

Tuesday, January 21, 2003  

No Sleep 'til Walthamstow
I am really annoyed and frustrated by not sleeping last night. It feels like I'm going to be in bed earlier than normal tonight, because I'm so tired now, meaning I will miss out on part of the evening to do MY things in MY OWN time. Then it follows that I'll be back in this place sooner than I want to be (IF I manage to get some sleep tonight of course).

There's an argument that says that "you should sleep when you're tired and if you're not tired when you go to bed, or you are not asleep within 20 minutes, then get up and DO something". The thing is, I WAS tired at 11.30pm.

How much later can you get for a 'sensible time to go to bed', when you are up at 7am ?


Wake me up before you go (go).

posted by Darren | 8:11 PM

Monday, January 20, 2003  

£250 test to reveal when you will die
Genovations - Predictive Genomics for Personalized Medicine claim to be able to tell you when and how you will die. You simply swish their spearmint mouthwash in the morning - when your mouth is full of DNA - and spit into a test tube. Send it off to them in North Carolina and within two weeks, scientists alledgedly forecast your chances of suffering heart disease, cancer, thrombosis, osteoporosis, asthma and a range of other serious problems.

Is this empowering people, or another facet to the cult of playing God that is gene therapy and the issue of cloning?

I'm not sure I want to know that I'm going to end my days with crumbling bones, as I'm unsure there would be anything I could do about it beforehand, that would mean I would definitely avoid it. There currently is no cure for osteoporosis, for example.

posted by Darren | 8:26 PM

Sunday, January 19, 2003  

"So, what do we do now?"
Robert Redford to make sequel to 1972's 'The Candidate'(and I still haven't set up my wish list on, of which this is going to be part of. It isn't available in the UK at the moment, so overseas postage is gonna be required - any takers?)

"...his best chance of seeing a Democrat back in the White House in his lifetime[?]" says the New York Times.

With those old Nixon cohorts, Cheney and Rumsfeld currently running the country, lets hope reality mirrors fiction at the end of 2004.

posted by Darren | 8:11 PM

War, war is stupid and people are stupid
Anti-war demonstrations the world-over, this weekend.

London, Washington DC, San Francisco(and numerous towns and cities across the UK and US), Tokyo, Heidelberg............ the list goes on.

"The government is going to do what they are going to do regardless, but at least by coming we can try to make sure that people in other countries know that all Americans are not down with this war."

Unfortunately it looks like a Go for war in February some time. It just doesn't sit right with me and it won't even get near sitting right with me until there is evidence of the claims that the Bush administration is making, backed by Tony Blair.

Are we also to face the prospect of more friendly-fire killings?

This day and the next major rally planned for February 15th in London was not, and will not be, some isolated blip to be dismissed. These are days when a good portion of America and the world stand in solidarity against a very bad idea being promoted by an American administration whose priorities are badly out of kilter. It bears notice, to point out that the war has not even started yet.

There is something happening here, and it is getting clearer by the day.

posted by Darren | 7:57 PM

So, I eventually came round to the idea of going out last night, to 'Duckie' in Vauxhall, with Dave and Lucio. We met up with Martin and chatted to old friend, Dawn. Rob too ill to come along(again Rob?! He's promised to come along next time, even if we have to wheel his dead body out of the house and into the boot/trunk of our car!).

A queue had formed when we arrived at 10.45pm. A rare thing, though its a very popular Saturday night out in South London. A slightly different mix in the crowd. It was a 'The Smiths are Dead' night, with a performance(and a parody of those musicals currently resident in the West End - ABBA, Queen, Madness...) of 'The Smiths - A Musical', complete with Casio Stylophone accompaniment. Excellent.

And what a pleasure to be dancin' my tits off at 2am to Fleetwood Mac's 'Go Your Own Way'! (Sad but true). And sober and not on any non-prescribed medication either! It was like 1988 and University all over again. I am not over-the-hill and past it! Hahaha.

Bagels from Brick Lane on the way home and to bed for 4.30am. Got outta bed at 12.30. Feel like I've wasted half the day, I've just got to re-arrange the hours in my head to completely believe that the hours between midnight and 4am ARE part of TODAY.

Have just got enough brain & will-power to work on my archives problem(on the left here). Looks increasingly like a Template change is required.

posted by Darren | 4:35 PM

A Manchester radio station has been criticised for running a sweepstake on the death of child murderer Myra Hindley. They ran the sweepstake on the day the convicted murderer was given last rites in hospital. Listeners were invited to guess the time of her death, with the closest receiving £500. Hindley died on 16 December last year.

It could have been handled more responsibly and sensitively said the Radio Authority.

posted by Darren | 2:52 PM

Saturday, January 18, 2003  

My boss has this bug-bear.

It irritates the hell out of him, drives him to distraction, sends him into fits of rage. He's normally mild-mannered, easy-going and a joy to work for. (Translated as he doesn't pressure me too much about work that I take far too long over!...He IS a 'good bloke' though too!).

He can't abide being added to Mailing Lists.

This is unfortunate for at least 2 reasons.

Its indicative of the society we live in these days that we all appear on numerous computer based roll-calls of our names and addresses. We are increasingly being monitored, measured & studied by many organisations, mainly for the purpose of getting hold of our hard-earned cash.

The other reason is that we work in I.T. This increases the amount of mail shots he receives because of the very nature of our work and his management position.

So, its not surprising then, that he receives these mailings. Receiving them at home as well as at work adds to the burden.

He can be heard most lunchtimes calling these companies, asking them who gave them his name, why he has been cold-mailed without any consent or previous contact with him for his approval. It can get quite heated.

I admire his stance on trying to maintain his privacy and that of his family.

How much simpler, though, to pop them in the recycling bin.

posted by Darren | 5:01 PM

Friday, January 17, 2003  

The face was familiar. The matted beard brought to mind something Dickensian. The smell hit me only after I'd reached the counter and was within 5 feet of the man. Then I realised he was one of the vagrants/tramps/hobos local to Soho and Wardour Street in particular. He must have collected enough begging money for a bite to eat or a coffee.

When the coffee was made and placed on the counter, the East European sales assistant asked him for payment. He didn't have any money. He almost whispered this and shook his head forlornly. She looked to her manager. He asked the man if he had money. Again a shake of the head, this time not accompanied by any speech. This time, his head lowered ever so slightly - out of some ingrained and ill-placed reverance? Manager - "I can't let you have any coffee if you have no money".

I had in my hand a receipt from the coffee I had bought there that morning. I had come in to get my free refill. It flashed through my mind that I should just hand it over and tell them to let him have my coffee. A chance for a good deed for the day. It was a free refill, I could make myself an instant coffee back at the office.

I didn't do this.

There was another customer between me and the man. Was I too shy? (I am a shy person, I worry too much about what others think of me. Others who I don't know and who should not have any influence over my decisions).

Did I think that the other customer was closer to the man, had been in there before me and he should step forward to offer to help this guy out?

Was I embarrassed? For the man, for the shop workers, for others in the shop, for myself?

Was I (am I) uncaring? I've had my moments of being cruel but feel I am becoming more attuned to helping others in society, rather than not helping.

Was I defending my right to spend MY money on ME after working for it in a job I don't like? Thats very Conservative with a capital 'C' and Republican with a capital 'R' of me isn't it? Not me at all.

Have I finally become a Londoner? A city dweller with no consideration for my neighbours, my fellow travellers? Maybe.

Whatever, its left a nasty taste in my mouth.

posted by Darren | 10:05 PM

Thursday, January 16, 2003  

Back to work and a head like a car crash. Thats London Underground for you.

posted by Darren | 9:48 PM

Wednesday, January 15, 2003  

I am riddled with consumption and Doctor Merryweather fears I may not make it through the night, even with the help of Mrs Miggins CAKE, brought round to raise my spirits.
Pray for my soul.

STOOPID head cold, tho I can't deny the break from the office was needed. Might go in tomorrow, might not.

On a lighter note, guess where we're going in February...........oh, I said already didn't I?

We booked a week off in late February and Dave has been plotting away behind my back, which I knew, but wouldn't tell me what he'd planned. Lucio added to the intrigue by saying I wouldn't need a passport(well the USA is English speaking, he may been confused, poor lamb). Dave couldn't contain him self any longer and told me last night.

LosAngeles and LasVegas! What a doll!

Of course, Coasters will be involved. Six Flags Magic Mountain and the resorts of southern Nevada and Las Vegas itself. Its been a few years since I went to Six Flags, so there'll be plenty to see and do: X, Goliath to name the main newbies.

Staying at The Excalibur in Vegas.

Visiting Buffalo Bill's in Primm.

Maybe a flight over the Grand Canyon.

And, oh my god, he's insisting on the Stratosphere Tower Big Shot!

I'm scared already!

posted by Darren | 5:13 PM

Tuesday, January 14, 2003  

Yep. Another day off. Its not all plain sailing and fun-filled though you know. I AM actually full of a head cold. Its making reading, looking at the TV and surfing/blogging uncomfortable. Very annoying.

I'm spending the evening trying to watch 'Tomorrow Never Dies'(as watching TV from a distance isn't too painful) and thinking about our Spring trip, organised by Dave in secret and revealed to me this evening - Los Angeles and Las Vegas at the end of February... Hoo hah!

posted by Darren | 8:39 PM

Monday, January 13, 2003  

Off work today, head cold, still here, surely means another day off, wouldn't want my colleagues to catch it would I?

posted by Darren | 11:54 PM

Sunday, January 12, 2003  

Our friend Melinda used to be a torch singer.

posted by Darren | 12:29 AM

Saturday, January 11, 2003  

I wasn't even listening to music when they started out, or even when they made it HUGE with 1977's 'Rumours' album, but I am currently fixated on Fleetwood Mac(again). Its true I've been here before, but I've fallen under their spell again due to the 'Very Best of Fleetwood Mac'. 'Go Your Own Way' has me hooked. Lindsey Buckingham now knows which side of his bread is buttered and has currently given up trying to prove he can do it without the rest of the group. His solo output never contained anything to match this song or 'Tusk', 'Big Love', or 'I'm So Afraid'.

The 1970's were actually cool in so many ways(we didn't know this in the 80's of course), just ask Dave. Everything about them passed me by at the time(I was 12 in 1980 and living in a small town, so a lot of 'culture' never even reached me) and when I now dig into that decade, its for the uncool that I reach - Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd and those Robert Redford and Warren Beatty conspiracy thrillers.

Then again, who am I trying to kid? Look at the links on the left! Not too nerdy maybe, but not exactly cool either.

I think I'm coming to terms with this though.

posted by Darren | 8:58 PM

Thursday, January 09, 2003  

Its THE hot topic at work, so best I mention it. "Its bloody freezin' 'ere innit?!"

It IS indeed very cold at the moment, but I think not a patch on the ice storms mentioned in previous weeks by our friends on the US East Coast. Still, the UK grinds to a halt after a couple of inches of snow and what starts off as an interesting diversion to us in London(it rarely snows here in our hot capital), turns into a frustrating journey to and from work due to council incompetency(no gritters were sighted in London's E17 in the last 2 days) and our own lack of decent walking boots with grip! (oops!) (CAT working boots don't.... well....... work).

Do we never learn from our American and European cousins?


posted by Darren | 8:43 PM

Wednesday, January 08, 2003  

Bloody bus driver.

If anyone else gets the 158 bus between Stratford & Chingford, please contact your local councillor to complain of any poor service issues. They'd love to hear from you and I'd love you to let them know because of the way the driver spoke to me after he started to drive off as I struggled down the aisle tonight and I requested he stop.


posted by Darren | 7:45 PM

Monday, January 06, 2003  

Gratuitous grab for the Pink Pound? Not really. Just fun.
If anyone knows where I can see the Marmite ad(apart from on TV) where the male lifeguard, who has just been eating a marmite sandwich, gives the drowning man the kiss of life and they start kissing, because yes, the drowning man cannot resist the taste of Marmite, please let me know!

posted by Darren | 7:32 PM

Sunday, January 05, 2003  

Show me the, really
Am I the only person who seems to be constantly behind with organising my finances?

I used to be so organised and tidy with the bills. I still have a filing box, nicely separating all the different categories of admin in my life. Its just that most of the paperwork that comes into the house gets a cursory glance and is then 'filed' on top of the shelf above the filing box, with the intention of 'sorting it later'.

Today I cleared the bottom shelf of my desk at home of 'clutter'. Credit Card statements from April 2001 were amongst the pile of papers. Old photographs still without a home after moving in with Dave 18 months ago. Birthday and Christmas Cards, pro-actively bought well-ahead of time lay undiscovered and 'lost' until today. I knew they were in the house somewhere!

I also paid some bills online.

A refereshing start to the New Year. Not part of a spoken resolution, as such, but refreshing and resolute nonetheless.

posted by Darren | 3:39 PM

Saturday, January 04, 2003  

"LORD OF THE RINGS!"......... said with deep, booming voice.........drove Dave to distraction("Where IS Distraction?".."Well, take the west road out of Keighley. Half a mile after the Otley crossroads, take a right and Distraction is 2 miles further on."), in the Autumn/Fall of 2001. I haven't really said it much in the last few weeks, of which I think he is glad.

Finally(well, its only been out 2 weeks) went to see "The Two Towers" last night and it was worth the wait.

It was that difficult middle film in a trilogy, but they seemed to tie the ends up neatly enough, balancing an end to a stand-alone film in its own right with a curiousity for what is to come next. 'Gollum' had a lot to do with this curiousity, with his schizophrenic psychosis in the final scene and had much to do with our enjoyment of the whole film. I'm wondering if Andy Serkis could be nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal. All of Gollum's movements come from Andy's own movements, with the CGI character overlayed. A lot of my amazement and enjoyment, though, came from Gollum's facial expressions, his eyes and the script - 2 characters within 1, arguing with each other over their plans for "my Precious-s-s-s...".

The 'Battle of Helms Deep' scenes were as great as we had been led to believe. The scenes initially washed over me, but then I found myself thinking just what a great achievement it was to make it so believable that it WOULD just wash over me. It was practically all CGI for godssakes. Brilliant, just brilliant.

There were new characters played by Brad Dourif(excellent) and Bernard Hill( a far cry from 'Boys from the Blackstuff', but maybe not too far from 'Titanic').

Melinda's attention was focused right from the very beginning on Viggo Mortensen as 'Aragorn' and I can understand why!

Dave and Lucio have always had a 'thing' for the larger gentleman(I'm talking tummy here, not other body parts!), so were keen to see Sean Astin's 'Samwise Gamgee' again. He was even better looking than in 'The Fellowship' and Gollum added to the humour surrounding the character of Sam by calling him 'the fat Hobbit'. I'm sorry boys, though, I can't get beyond Elijah Wood's 'Frodo', there's just something about him....("Its because he looks 14 years old!"...shouts Dave........well, Dave would actually pobably have shouted "..12 years old..." but he wouldn't have actuallly MEANT 12 and I don't want you getting completely the wrong impression of me). The scenes near the end where Frodo and Sam continue their quest, much in the same way as they did in 'The Fellowship', had me all mushy as it was so beautiful and, yes, homoerotic and a kiss would really not have looked out of place, but don't get your hopes up, it, of course, didn't happen.

We'll have to wait just a year(thank god) for "Return of the King" and I really can't wait. In the meantime, then, wheres that tourist guide to New Zealand, or for that matter, Middle-Earth...?

posted by Darren | 1:15 PM

Thursday, January 02, 2003  

Doh! I enjoyed News Years Eve!

After all the moaning about not wanting to go out. Still, it wasn't a great venue(we knew it wouldn't be), but drinks at Lucio's with Dave, Rob and Hugh beforehand was lovely and we only went to the pub at 11pm. Rob left at 12.30, Dave and I at 1.15am, so it wasn't a late one, but we sure packed some drinking in to that short space of time. (Lucio incidentally, thinks he left at 3am, but can't be sure, nor can he remember numerous incidents from throughout the night. That bottle and a half of wine that he and Hugh drank before the rest of us arrived must have taken its toll!). Phone calls from Tom in Paris at 11pm GMT and us phoning him back at 1am his time, midnight our time, topped off the evening.

So, no real hangover, but eating 'opened-too-long' paté at 5pm on New Years Day was not a good idea. I even went into work late on the 2nd, which is not like me(well, 2.5hours late is not usual for me!). It tasted OK at the time...

posted by Darren | 6:53 PM