these moments that I've had.

Sunday, February 26, 2006  

4 days on the unusually frozen south coast, with each office seemingly being told to cut back on the heating bills, led me to go to M&S for some white tees on Tuesday, but even then I still had to wear my coat while trying to type up my reports.

Good to be back in London, except for having to venture back to Stratford on Friday, where I heard about one of our staff being threatened the previous day, with being shot. What is happening to society?

On our drive back from Exmouth Market, where we had Saturday lunch with Steven and Marcus, there was an altercation between 2 cars and a bus near Finsbury Park, which resulted in the female-driven-car moving forward to block the male-driven-car's escape, by moving very quickly across it's path and having her right-hand side rammed, in addition to losing the left hand wing-mirror against the bus. Much arguing, shouting and general abuse ensued for the next 100 yards, as each car seemed to be trying to either get out of everybodies way, or just get away full stop, but we managed to slip through it all and make our escape before having to make witness statements. They didn't seem to be insured, and at least one of them seemed non-British.

Watched Corpse Bride last night. I'm quite a fan of Nightmare Before Christmas, and enjoyed it a lot. Dave isn't so keen, but seemed to enjoy it, though he always seemed like he was itching to get back to his PC to continue to work out how to manipulate his new software purchase, the one that translates mp4's into PSP-enabled video files. He got it sorted today.

Off again on 3 long work days, round London, Essex and Suffolk this week, though, so only one night away. Hopefully, then, Dave won't be too aggressive this week in his dissatisfaction with my current work regime.

posted by Darren | 7:14 PM

Sunday, February 19, 2006  

It's the BAFTAs tonight and any Americans watching, and indeed, any of the American actors being interviewed on the red carpet, would be forgiven for thinking that it rains in London all the time. Truth be told, a recent study has shown that if you ride a bike to work in London, you can expect to get wet just 12 times a year. It has also been very dry lately, hardly any rain at all up until the last few days; just in time for the world's entertainment cameras to be pointed this way.

I suppose we could let it be our little secret, and the lucky Americans who venture over here to find that it DOES NOT RAIN ALL THE TIME.

Hope Brokeback Mountain gets its fair share of gongs, though the films it is up against all seem pretty well deserving - haven't seen them all, but Capote, for example, has some great performances.

What did we do this weekend to celebrate this festival of outstanding cinema?

We went to see Final Destination 3 with 2 friends.

Ahem. Though it did exactly what it said on the tin, and did it quite well, we thought. Dave is a huge rollercoaster fan, and we all liked the first film in the franchise('2' is on TV tonight, though it clashes with the BAFTAs and 24 - hhhhhmmmmmm, frustrating). A good ending(?) to a lucrative franchise.

I saw some clips of Steve Martin's Pink Panther on the way out of the cinema. I smiled. And actually, I laughed. I loved the old Pink Panther films and it looks like they've kept the slapstick and absurdity of it all for this new version. I know that it's had it's critics, but it looks like it would be a good way to spend a couple of hours laughing.

Off to the south coast for four days tomorrow. Just in time for the rain. It always rains when I venture anywhere south or east of Southampton. Hopefully Portsmouth will have some of that sunshine it usually reserves for me, later in the week.

posted by Darren | 7:08 PM

Thursday, February 16, 2006  

Isn't driving in London just the best?

It took me 2-and-a-half hours to drive 26 miles today.

You do the math, I'm too tired to work it out right now.


I wasn't displeased with the Brits winners.

I'm of that age where I either like 'mainstream', or I don't really care that much anymore, or both.

posted by Darren | 11:47 PM

Wednesday, February 15, 2006  

The walk from the house to the Tube is notorious in these parts for being "The Most Boring Walk in the World"(copyright 1997 North East London Homeowners Assoc'n), but one silver lining is a number of trees along the way, especially during summer months.

Incredibly annoying/frustrating/sad that some oiks have broken three younger trees in one of the more despondent stretches of the walk. I can't see the council bothering to replace them either.

Why? Why would someone do that? It really does beggar belief.

posted by Darren | 8:04 PM

Tuesday, February 14, 2006  

Smoking Ban in the UK
That should help my mum get back on the Nicotinelle-bandwagon that she fell off over New Year. My dad says it should save him some money, but I really don't see him cutting down because of this.

It'll keep my clothes smelling fresher, at least, after the odd night out I still manage to fit in. Less than 2 hours in a pub a couple of weeks ago left me REEKING of smoke, and it hadn't even seemed smoky at the time.

This law may not even happen yet, though, so lets not get carried away.


When the Winter Olympics come round, Dave and I love to take bets on whether Great Britain will manage ANY medals at all, and to speculate on the whereabouts of our last female figure skater of any note, Joanne Conway, who is from Dave's (and my colleague Julie's) neck of the woods.

She was most notable, actually, for always falling over.

We have, though, tracked her down, and we're glad to report that she is, once again, involved with the skating world, and is currently in Torino at the Olympics.

Selling hot dogs at the ice rink.

posted by Darren | 9:29 PM

Sunday, February 12, 2006  

posted by Darren | 7:49 PM

Thursday, February 09, 2006  

Tempting Fate fails to bring the forboding result some would have worried about, as I keep my job.

So, after putting 4 of us through the mill over the last few weeks, they reach a compromise at the 11th hour, and one which gave the original hoped-for result for most parties.

It just leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

posted by Darren | 6:04 PM

The Grammys have long been considered NOT the barometer for new talent. Just see this year's nominees to know this - Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Seal, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Earth, Wind and Fire for godssakes!

But it comes to something when you think Coldplay should have won something instead of U2. I like U2. I Like Coldplay. I much prefer 'rock' to RnB, so the main awards of the night sat OK with me, but even I can see that this ceremony is looking more staid every year.

posted by Darren | 12:32 PM

Tuesday, February 07, 2006  

Had my 'assessment' today, along with my 3 colleagues. Wasn't too happy with the number of 7's out of 10, or with some of the comments, but on the whole I feel it was fair. Should hear on Thursday whether I've got 1 of the 3 jobs, or whether I'm going to be dumped on the scrapheap at 38 ....

with a tidy sum of dosh to go on holiday for a couple of months, sending colleagues postcards from every exotic destination.


New Morrissey single continues where the last album left off. Nice.

posted by Darren | 10:06 PM

Monday, February 06, 2006  

Well, it makes a change to wake up laughing these days.

The dream took in a trip to the countryside, to the BW's. Where Edward startled a horse, we investigated the haunted basement, where BW's mum(see, dreams don't really bear much resemblance to reality) had come into the garden to berate us(or maybe they do), where BW had tried to help some more with my job situation, while we were sitting amongst the doo-dah in a dove shed, where Mr BW was marking out their land because the local farmer was infringing upon it again.

When we left, to walk home across the fields(what? 20, 30 miles?) we stumbled across a festival, where transexual ex-child-antiques dealer James Harries was performing 'Santa Baby'. The next act on were Steeleye Span, who's recorder player had phoned in sick. Someone from the band recognised me as having filled in for said band member on the 1992 Tour of the World(taking in Yorkshire and the Outer Hebrides). Though he was very much mistaken as to my identity, I was cajoled into taking part, and as the stage was set up I fiddled with the array of recorders trying to choose the one that best suited me(though they actually looked more like extravagant flute/oboes, with lots of reedy bits that had to be put together to create the instrument).

While choosing my instrument, one might think that part of this selection process would involve testing out 'the blow', ie. the sound it makes when I blow through it.

No. I left that part of the process to when they pushed me onstage.

They started with "Morning Has Broken", which was a huge smash for them in the 70's(in my dream). The recorder part is integral to this song, so when I got to that bit and .....


came out of the recorder, it was a tad embarrassing.

Heads were held in hands, other players stopped playing and I woke up in a fit of giggles.

posted by Darren | 8:05 AM

Sunday, February 05, 2006  

The Unemployed?
Letter from employer on Saturday, confirming selection criteria(Skills Analysis) that will see 4 colleagues 'be reviewed' for 3 jobs this Tuesday. Criteria and ratings selected by 2 people who have never spent a day with us, outside of infrequent team meetings.

This could be about to get interesting.

I also may be the only 1 of the 4 who didn't get forewarning of the meeting and letter, by phone call on Friday.

Case for unfair dismissal brewing?

In any event, the measely redundancy offer(should it come to that) might just be enough to tempt me on the second chapter of my life(and Dave's).

Updates this week. Maybe. If 'they' can keep to their previously published schedule.

Which I have my doubts they can.


Rugby: Six Nations
England trounce Wales, and Scotland do us a favour by (surprisingly and quite comprehensively in parts) beating France. Thoughts of an England Grand Slam? Don't get carried away.


Heath, baby
I'm glad Heath Ledger has tried to excuse his behaviour at the SAG Awards last week. Not sure if I'm convinced.

posted by Darren | 9:38 PM

Friday, February 03, 2006  

What kind of key opens a caravan door?

A pikey.


I wonder if Demi Moore took this photo of Ashton Kutcher...

Probably not.


No news on the "job situation" as yet. Unsurprisingly.

posted by Darren | 2:23 PM

Wednesday, February 01, 2006  

"Brokeback got us good, don't it?". Well, yes, it has, and let's hope that the Brokeback Mountain train doesn't run out of steam before March 5th, and that it wins at least a few of the 8 Oscar nominations it picked up yesterday. Even Jake Gyllenhaal, shut out of most other major awards nominations, picked up a deserved Best Supporting Actor nod, alongside Heath Ledger's Best Actor, Michelle Williams' Supporting Actress, Ang Lee's Director and the Best Picture nominations.


The Independent reports on a-ha's instore gig and signing session at HMV, oxford Street, London:

"Although no teenage girl's bedroom in 1985 was complete without the smouldering, chisel-jawed Norwegians glaring down, A-ha were also able to boast a handful of die-hard male fans. James Whittaker, 29, a sales director from Leeds, was one of them. He first heard the band being played by his older sister and had taken the day off work yesterday to see the band perform.

Apparently impervious to the teasing he had endured from his mates during his years of following A-ha, he said the cold night was well worth it to watch them play the six live numbers. "I get a lot of leg pulling from my football team but I don't care. I tell them that you can like Coldplay and the Arctic Monkeys and A-ha too,'" he said. "They've carried me through school, they've carried me through the ups and downs of life and they've lifted my spirits. All I can remember from A-ha's music is happiness and smiles."



In other news, it looks like I may be out of a job in a week or so. It's not definite or confirmed, but our restructure took a bad turn yesterday when someone who wants to do a different job that is on offer, decided that the proposed money and relocation compensation did not suit, thereby throwing 4 colleagues into the pot for 3 jobs. It has suddenly knocked me for six. Though we all knew it might come to this, we always thought positively and hoped for a satisfactory outcome. Nearly 18 years service and our employer isn't willing to compromise, so one of us is looking to be disappointed next week.

posted by Darren | 2:29 PM