these moments that I've had.

Friday, February 21, 2003  

After seeing The Hours last week, I am reading 'A Home at the End of the World'. Michael Cunningham's ability to get under the skin of his characters, and such diverse characters as they are, within the same story, has amazed me and rekindled my love of 'the novel'. 'Flesh and Blood' is coming to America with me tomorrow.

Regards 'America', we're off to LA and Las Vegas on Saturday. Just a week and a gift from Dave. His love of coasters again taking us to far flung places. I think I may becoming aware that I love to look at them but can't bear the trepidation of being taken to such heights. Vertigo has, indeed come back to haunt my thoughts and dreams. At the same time I am fascinated by the thought of flying high, floating above all else, hovering beyond reach. It’s the coming back down to Earth that’s the real issue I suppose.

You have a home Here.
Have a Dream.
Have a Dream.

posted by Darren | 9:45 PM

Wednesday, February 19, 2003  

Another 'crash' analogy
2 days of walking round the woods in the name of Leadership Training. My company holds great sway in development, so they sent myself and 5 colleagues into the wilds(?) of Nottinghamshire on 2 days of Iron John-type activity in the name of Management Development.

Activities included:

Leading 5 blindfolded colleagues over 2 stiles, through some woods and up a hill; following the lead of the man with the map(for 'map', read 'A4 sheet of paper with crude line drawings, not to scale and with huge swathes missing') in order to find 'Wall of Pine', 'The Coppice', 'Engineering' & 'Three Trees'; 'playing catch'(in an organised fashion of course) between the aforementioned 'Three Trees'; more following-of-instruction-of-guy-with-(crude)map, in search of 'bath', 'another bath', 'dog house' & 'consignia'; 8 minutes to cover a mile of waterlogged, deeply rutted terrain in search of 'yellow arrow', 'Hadrian's Wall' & 'exhausted tree'(it took us 12 minutes and I was lagging behind at this stage - Caterpillar boots aren't really as suited for this kind of thing as they'd like to make out); target practice with one of these; more trudging, this time involving a steep hill, which, coming so soon after the 8-minute speed trudge, finally saw me clutching my chest, sure that the coronary I thought would come, seemed to have finally arrived; recovering as best I could, the final, entirely plausible scenario for teaching me good leadership was to get the 2 teams of 3 to compete with each other in carrying a tray each of a dozen eggs, over a 1.5 mile course of hilly terrain(along a track used to run horses - it had been very wet lately and there were divots everywhere - we're talking 1 foot deep), taking about 90 minutes, the last 50 minutes of which took place after the sun had set for the day, in temperatures touching freezing, without being able to touch the eggs while they were on the tray. And the final little hitch in the process? The trays had no lips/edges/sides - you get my drift, they were flat. One team got there with 5 eggs intact, my team had 4.
(We later discovered the 2 tutors had different ideas of the rules of the game. The team who won had been touching their eggs all the way round, manoeuvering them into more stable position on the tray. We took great comfort in this. We had the moral victory. (We don't get out much, obviously)).

The end result is that I'm not sure what all this had to do with leadership and I feel like I've been in a train wreck.

posted by Darren | 10:49 PM

Monday, February 17, 2003  

He is DogPoet
The bus slides through the morning drizzle, containing sleepy commuters. In whose heads I could guess are dreams and lists, hunger and hurt pride. In senior seating someone's mother leans slightly against me, with each green light a gentle pressing against my shoulder. The umbrella dries in my lap. Last night the dream was desolation, and it was no absence or hollow pit. Bigger; an excavation in my heart, a yawning yearning. The bells of my lungs swept out sobs, so loud that had you been sleeping with me, I would have woken us both, and you'd shush me and run a hand through my hair, and I'd be with you and without her.

- you gotta go read him.

posted by Darren | 10:24 PM

"...and then there's the hours after that...."
Never mind Moore and Kidman, nor even the overlooked Streep, Ed Harris deserves the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Hours. Hands down. No contest.

posted by Darren | 9:04 PM

Are you tired? Tell us why.

posted by Darren | 8:45 PM

Sunday, February 16, 2003  

Two Sides to My Life & Thoughts this Weekend, both Important

Chelsea Kelsey & Kim Phaggs
Readers Wifes at Duckie were excellent. Buy the single on Monday 17th, if just to annoy the right wing press. While watching them I was thinking of them on Top of the Pops or CD:UK and wondering if the producers of those shows would dare book them. The snog at the end of their set gave me the answer, a kiss is still too dangerous for mainstream television.

Hey Chad! You fucked up!
If we hadn't had the chads, we wouldn't be seeing this or this.

Right wing Florida officials now want to burn all remaining evidence of the 2000 coup d'etat in the USA. We truly are entering one of the most important times in world history. Its 2 weeks until the weapons inspectors final deadline, just in time to fly back from LA into the whirlwind. There is a wider picture than just the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and it won't be a pretty one.

What happened to this beacon of democracy, freedom and peace?

More disturbing news from the NYTimes:

In Colorado Springs, the police fired tear gas at a crowd near Palmer Park. An unknown number of people were arrested or taken to the hospital. A police spokesman said the crowd had ignored orders to disperse. One woman, Paula Bard, 49, said she and her husband had taken their son, Sage, 7, to the rally.

"My son was playing on a slide in the park when they told people to clear the park," Ms. Bard said. "They tear-gassed all the people in the park. My son was scared."

Tear gas? In the USA? At an anti-war demo?

Will Bush's God help us all?

posted by Darren | 3:51 PM

Saturday, February 15, 2003  

Valentines day, antiwar marches the world over, working overnight until 5.30am because the Heathrow location crashed, sleeping on Saturday after this until 4pm, energized from this to take on Duckie at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern tonight where the Readers Wifes band are supposed to be playing, congestion charge comes into effect in central London from Monday, training course in Nottingham on Tuesday & Wednesday, trying to complete an overdue project at work in the remaining 3 days in the office this week, flying to LA next Saturday, driving to Las Vegas next week.

Its all go.

posted by Darren | 8:57 PM

Wednesday, February 12, 2003  

I'd like to thank the members of the Academy
Oscar buzz as the nominations are announced.

Go 'Gangs...'!

Go Julianne!

Poor Peter Jackson, so, 'Go Scorcese!'

Stayed on at work for nearly an hour tonight. Reminded me of the good old days in stores, when I worked myself into the ground for this company. Moving to Head Office in 1997 soon showed me how it SHOULD be. Work the hours you're paid for, for the man who don't give a shit about you personally. We're all expendable and you'll be tossed out with the trash in the blink of an eye. So.... I resented the fact I was still there an hour after I should have left. The one silver lining was that by staying on, I helped avoid overnight work which I also would have been involved in. It was more 'luck' and the work of an IBM engineer that averted the overnight work, but I've gotta cling to something to make me see it was worthwhile. Don't I?

posted by Darren | 10:54 PM

Tuesday, February 11, 2003  

Baby, its (still) cold (upstairs) outside
Dave's on the verge. See the evidence here. His PC is still under the knife.

Paging Dr Lucio. Paging Dr Lucio. Emergency.

posted by Darren | 10:48 PM

Alka Seltzer
Three pints of Stella Artois and I get a hangover. I've recently thought of giving alcohol a rest. It certainly can't be said that its good for you. Yeah, a sip of brandy or glass of wine every day might prolong life, but a few pints of sugary beer a week are only going to give me hangovers and a big(ger) belly.

So what do I do this evening to follow-up on last nights alcohol consumption? Go for a drink with Melinda, who's **th birthday it is. Only one pint today, though, and Fosters at that - non-hangover guaranteed(?).

posted by Darren | 10:44 PM

Monday, February 10, 2003  

Upstairs is colder than normal
Until Lucio fixes Dave's PC, the heat generated by 'our equipment' has been halved. Fair keeps the upper floor warm during these cold, dark nights when they're both on 'n buzzin'. Lucio's back from Amsterdam, birthday drinks at the local gay bar with him in around an hour and then home to bed, cos I'm beat!

posted by Darren | 8:22 PM

Sunday, February 09, 2003  

deja vu
Back in October and November I wrote about Las Vegas, Los Angeles and training courses through my workplace. Next week I spend 2 days in the wilderness(well, a field outside Nottingham) on a 'Leadership' course and at the end of that week Dave and I fly to LA(and Six Flags Magic Mountain) for the weekend, followed by a drive across the Mojave to Las Vegas for four nights of rollercoasters and sightseeing.

Last summer Dave's PC crashed and uncle Lucio had to come round and rescue it. Yesterday, in the middle of an e:bay post, Dave's PC gave up the ghost and just crashed - no power, no response from the on/off button, nothing wrong with the external power supply or cable. A phone call to Lucio, away for the weekend with Tom in Amsterdam, confirmed what we thought - internal power supply problem. Dave's at a loose end now, having been in the middle of a full-on e:bay quest for the last few weeks. Doing anything else seems like a compromise, a waste of his quality time(this is my view), but we are trying to persuade each other (and ourselves) that we really do want to go see 'Catch Me If You Can'(another subject from last November) or '8 Mile' this afternoon.

Thanks to Phil Ringnalda, he associated with helping thousands of Bloggers(see's Help areas and you can't fail to notice Phil's very useful tips), resolve an endless list of types of query. From his advice came the solution to my Archives problem, plaguing my blog since October(I'm not a quick learner) and now I can link to them(see above - hurrah!) and you can view 'em on the left here. Cheers, Phil.

posted by Darren | 1:47 PM

Saturday, February 08, 2003  

who wants to be the disco (3) queens?
Peter Robinson/NME: "Pop maestros reclaim electro throne" and "...its difficult to accuse Neil and Chris of jumping on the electro bandwagon when they put the wheels on the bloody thing in the first place". An improvement on "Release", definitely, but better than "Introspective", "Disco", "Nightlife" or "Relentless"? I think not. Maybe, given time.

posted by Darren | 12:18 AM

Thursday, February 06, 2003  

The Plastic Cat is a mine of interesting information
Thanks to The Plastic Cat for this. Still won't make Rob any more interested in the movie. In fact, he's probably hurling right now. I like a little boy-on-boy actor rumour, especially when its 2 actors I admire so much( :-) ) and where Six Degrees of Separation comes into play.

Thanks to The Plastic Cat and, of course, Dustin Hoffman for this:

Donald Trump is in an elevator. No, no, no. There's a very attractive woman in an elevator. She's by herself and it's going up or going down and a door opens. And Donald Trump gets in. And she goes, "Oh my god, you're Donald Trump!" And he goes yes. "I've got every book you've ever written, I've got your pictures all over my walls. I think you're the most charismatic, sexiest, most imaginative man that exists on this planet. I know I'll never get the chance again - you and me like this in an elevator. Could I go down on you right now? And Donald Trump looks at her and says, "Well, what's in it for me?" [laughter and applause]

Dutch Courage
Lucio and Tom are off to Amsterdam for the weekend. Dear Dutch wives - Lock up your husbands!

Lancashire Lass
A colleague said, "Are you one of the many, jumping on the Lisa Stansfield revisionist bandwagon?"(whatever that means). No, Martin just gave me a copy of her 'new' Greatest Hits CD today and it has nice sounds on it. The bonus disc of Frankie Knuckles, David Morales and Junior Vasquez remixes soon changed a few tunes in the office, suddenly swaying in their chairs and tapping of fingers and pens on desks. Similar reaction to the '' compilation album last week(another gift from Martin - a mine of musical freebies! Thanks mate), which has now become a regular playlist item in the office. My colleagues are really starting to show their age and realising that, after all, it don't really matter.

Growing up and getting used to it.

posted by Darren | 11:47 PM

Wednesday, February 05, 2003  

our friendship is over
A colleague once said, 'We've sorted out our professional issues, but whatever happens, our friendship is over'.

I've never really had any major issues mixing business with friendship. Its nearly always been smooth going, both parties always able to mix and separate the two.

There was the one time I fell in love with someone who worked for me, of course, which didn't help the relationship I was in at the time, but apart from that(!), plain sailing.

posted by Darren | 9:27 PM

Tuesday, February 04, 2003  

Whoosh! Whirlwind weekend and already one whole day back at work. The folks loved seeing us, twin beds not withstanding. Well, we were under their roofs - "not until you're married" 'n all that. First time for me at Dave's parents house. He showed me some of his old haunts - well, the High Street and Wendy's record store, "Flip Side". Wendy was full of stories and laughter, including sitting next to fellow Geordie(& c-list celebrity TV presenter), Jayne Middlemiss at the Brit Awards a few years back and asking her if she remembered the "X32" bus out of Ashington. Star-F*cker.

The landscape was so beautiful as we drove through the Cheviot Hills and Cumbria, down to my parents' and my original home in Lancashire. Its easy to forget that this landscape and one of the few real areas of wilderness in England, is so close, just a few hours away from the claustrophobic, raucous life we live in London.

It cleared my head.

posted by Darren | 11:09 PM